Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by crazymama30, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    We have had this problem on and off, but I was curious. Do any of your difficult children chew on their shirts or coats? difficult child has chewed holes in several t-shirts. He pulls up the collar and chews on that. This is really annoying, as he runs out of shirts.
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    M did this for years. He eventually got some vanity and didn't want all of his shirts stretched out. I think it helped when I started getting him button down shirts instead of crew neck collars.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Mine used to. It's was a sensory problem with him. He used to chew almost down his stomach!
  4. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    OH yes. difficult child 2 big time into that. He doesn't do it so much now but occaisionally still see it. I actually got to the point I wouldn't buy him knew shirts for a while (unfortunately that was at a point he didn't care how he looked). I don't know of a way to stop it except I was reminding him of what he was doing. If it wasn't that then he had his tongue out while he did things.

    Sorry you are going through this.

  5. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    My difficult child did this severely. He needed to wear short-sleeved shirts year round to keep him from chewing up the cuffs. He HATED clothes, still does, so I got to the point where I didn't care if he wore a coat, sweater, or not. The more I asked him NOT to do it...the ODD kept him doing it, not only the sensory part. I have no tips on how to get him not to do it...sorry.
  6. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Mine chews her hair. Yuck.
  7. maisies_mummy

    maisies_mummy New Member

    Not chewing but we have licking lol. Licks arms lol.
  8. ML

    ML Guest

    Yes, my son did this from about kindergarten through first grade. At some point of my nagging he started to nibble on the skin around his fingernails and I told him to go ahead and bite on his shirts. I found a good sale and bought a bunch of cheap tshirst and pretty much threw them away weekly. Now he is in 3rd grade and he doesn't do this any more.
  9. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Yes. It's intermitent. With our difficult child it's an anxiety symptom.
  10. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    both of mine did. They both stopped once they got braces and could get the clothing hooked on their teeth!
  11. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    All 5 of my boys do this and only 3 are difficult children. Their friends do it too. In fact, middle easy child has had to throw away his shirt from yesterday and today because of holes.
  12. Babbs

    Babbs New Member

    Chewing is very much linked to sensory seeking behaviors and self calming. When one realizes how many nerve centers there are around our mouths, heck it's no wonder so many of us get "orally fixated"! hehe... Chewing not only activates our earliest form of self soothing (sucking on thumb or pacifier) but also provides deep pressure to the jaw which is also self calming. Your difficult child's getting double bang for his/her buck by chewing.

    One thing I'd suggest is find a less costly but acceptable alternative and have him try to retrain himself to use the alternative. Will your difficult child's school let him have gum during times of stress? Granted it has to be written on an IEP and strict rules but it works wonders. My favorite is to give students coffee stir sticks or straws to chew on - not as hazardous as chewing on a toothpick or the end of a pencil or pen. Many kids chew on clothing because it is convient. Is your difficult child allowed a water bottle in class with water? Sucking on the water bottle during stressful class periods is a good alternative, add a tiny width crazy straw inside and you've upped the sensory feedback many times over.

    If he's really going through tshirts like gang busters, I would recommend you sit down with his IEP team - this may be his way of telling you he's not handling the stress and/or anxiety as well as he may appear to be doing. It may be an early warning sign that he needs more movement breaks or a slower pace.
  13. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    WOW, thanks for the input. I believe he is self calming, and also has been anxious as this was the first day of school. Sometimes he goes for weeks without doing this, and then all of a sudden he starts again. I hate to add gum to his IEP, as he would flaunt it over all the others. For now I will buy t shirts at good will.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Oh, yes. difficult child 3 does this A LOT. He's not as bad as he was, but cuffs and necklines of shirts are the worst. He will also pick at his skin.

    I bought him a teething ring, told him to use that instead. And it works!

  15. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    I had forgotten about the picking of his skin! difficult child is better about that, but he picked his eyebrow clean. It's just now starting to grow back (thank goodness).
  16. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    My younger brother (now in his 40's) chewed his shirts until he had holes. I'm sure it was a coping skill to anxiety or some such thing. He's an adult now ... doesn't chew holes in his clothes. LOL.

    Take heart.
  17. Babbs

    Babbs New Member

    The only problem I see with a teething ring (and which is why I don't recommend them in the schools) is that it's not an age appropriate alternative. Many of our kids have social skill problems and don't have good networks of friends - last thing we need to do as parents is give them an alternative that would target them even further as "different" etc....

    Gum, straws, chewy food like dried fruit or beef jerkey, deep breathing exercises are all age appropriate alternatives no matter how old difficult child is.

    One thing to remember is that we all have sensory supports to help us get through the day - how many of us doodle when we talk on the phone? or twirl our hair? or bite our pens? or drink coffee and smoke cigarettes? Sometimes what helps is think about what helps you deal with anxiety or tension and share that with your difficult child.

    Most people don't "outgrow" chewing on their clothing. It just gets replaced with a more socially acceptable alternative.
  18. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    My difficult child did that to shirts constantly for a few years. It was a mess. He grew out of it and we changed his stimulant. I'm not sure which helped the most.
  19. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Mine did too but she eventually stopped. She was very oral as a baby and child. She'd chew on everything she came in contact with, even her hair.
  20. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    My kids pick at their skin too. Oldest difficult child had a scab for a month because he kept picking it off and it never healed. I finally threatened death and dismemberment if he didn't stop and it healed shortly after that. My oldest and youngest difficult child both scratch constantly too. If my oldest is bored, he will rub a sore on his nose from rubbing it over and over again. Not a constant rub, so some people don't notice him doing it, but he'll keep putting his hand up there and rubbing or scratching the tip of his nose until its sore.