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My daughter chews her hair… What should I do?

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I have a dughter (7 years old) who ever since she was a baby like to put my hair close to her mouth, i thought this was just a comfort thing but lately all her father and i do is yell at her to quite chewing on her hair. She takes the ends of her hair and sucks on it untl we catch her. She does this watching tv, talking to people, playing, and when she is really trying hard at school work. I did not think it was serious until the other day when i pulled her hair up so she could not reach it. SHe came home from school with what looked like a burn mark on her arm when asked what happened she said she could not reach her hair so she sucked on her arm! Then today her teacher called me and said that she was caught sucking on another students hair during story time! Should i have my daughter tested, if so what for or is this just a faze? Any Suggestions?

My daughter chews her hair… What should I do?

Answered by on -

A.

I would suggest that you find a good behavioral therapist, one who could teach you the proper punishments and rewards and competing behaviors. It is highly unlikely that your daughter has some deep seated problem that causes her to do this. It is probably just a behavior that has probably been reinforced by the feeling of comfort and as such, is very deeply ingrained. Many children suck their thumb and many adults bite their fingernails or pick their cuticles, all of which they find to be comforting in a very basic way. Most likely some simple behavior modification will cure your daughter’s problems. I would find a good behavioral therapist who would help with this. Good luck.

My daughter chews her hair… What should I do?

This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on June 19, 2005.

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2019). My daughter chews her hair… What should I do?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 15, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/06/19/my-daughter-chews-her-hair-what-should-i-do/
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Last updated: 3 May 2019
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 3 May 2019
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