Childhood Diseases

Posted by: Mom | 2010-05-06


Hair pulling


My son is three yrs old the third from four kids. When he was an infant he always liked touching his eye during feeds and when going to sleep. However since last year he started pulling at his eyelashes. Most of his eyelashes have now been shortened or plucked out due to this strange behaviour. The plucking increased when our baby was born 7 months ago. I dont know how to make him stop and wondering if it is serious. Just feeling worried about it.


Expert's Reply



Your son has developed a rather difficult habit disorder where he pulls out his own hair. Children usually start by pulling out their eyebows and eyelashes. This habit has a very long name:'trichotillomania'. You can read more about it on the internet. It is a difficult habit to break and in children it is often best to say nothing about the habit and it may disappear by itself. Stress is one of the most common causes and in your son's case it is probably the arrival of your new baby which has set him off with this hair pulling habit.Your son is a bit young still but if you would prefer him to be started on treatment he should be seen by a child psychologist. One of the methods psychologists use in treating children with trichotillomania is called habit reversal training and this may help your son.

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