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How on earth do I get my 6 year old to stop sucking on his clothes?

(14 Posts)
Oakmaiden Thu 01-Sep-11 11:57:20

It is driving me insane. His clothes all have mis-shapen sleeves, the collars and zips on his coats are chewed and tatty, and it is all so soggy and yeugh. Just pointing it out to him doesn't seem to do the trick....

As a touch of background my eldest son also does this if he hasn't had his meds (he has ADHD, Aspergers and Tourettes).

There are concerns with my 6 year old's development in the same areas (mostly ADHD) - but they are just concerns and I have decided at the moment not to pursue a diagnosis as I don't think he is severe enough for meds and that is all a diagnosis seems to provide anyway. However, I do wonder if he has tic disorder type difficulties too (he eye blinks and sucks air between his teeth). No I am typing all this down I wonder if the chewing clothes is part of the same thing.

Or am I over-reacting and it is fairly normal. If so, how do I get it to stop, please???

MadamDeathstare Thu 01-Sep-11 13:17:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Oakmaiden Thu 01-Sep-11 13:27:05

I could try that, MadamDeathstare. I don't think he is aware he is doing it though, so it might be hard to actually get him to use an "acceptable sucking cloth", but certainly worth a go. Thank you.

seasickgal Thu 01-Sep-11 13:34:16

My son did this and eventually stopped ,probably because he was constantly nagged.I still find the quilt cover sucked though, and he is 11!

Continuum Thu 01-Sep-11 14:57:17

It's only on reading this that I realised ds, at 7 and with definitely no special needs, has finally stopped sucking on his clothing. However, I am still telling him off for sucking on inappropriate things, like today it was the dvd remote, but just the usual, pens, toys, lego, a few weeks ago I caught him sucking on a marble shock We keep telling him, I really hope one day it will stop!

Sorry I can't be of much use, maybe this thread will help me!

NeverendingStoryteller Thu 01-Sep-11 22:02:57

My youngest did the clothes sucking thing for about 12 months, but it eventually stopped all by itself. The sucking seemed to get worse just before he first started school, but stopped when he got settled.

janx Thu 01-Sep-11 22:44:33

I am glad I am not the only one with this problem. My dd is nearly 7 - no special needs but will suck and chew on anything - clothes, remote control, books etc. She is a thumb sucker too - no end of nagging, bribing etc does any good - I am really fed up with it

Collision Thu 01-Sep-11 22:47:15

I painted NailBite onto ds2's buttons.

That stopped him!

TastyMuffins Thu 01-Sep-11 22:54:51

My DS had a problem with mouthing things, collars, zips, toggles on hoods especially and generally putting things in his mouth. It is worse when he is tired. I tried to make sure he has plenty of things that provide oral stimulation, whistles and wind instruments, harmonica, bubble blowing, fruit puree ice lollies and occasional lollypops.

My DS has some sensory issues so I try to make sure he has plenty of appropriate things to stimulate him.

Chewing gum was suggested but I didn't want to start him on that without trying other things.

There could be a degree of copying from the older sibling with yours so it might be something you need to try to tackle with both.

Oakmaiden Fri 02-Sep-11 00:10:49

So - nailbite on his zips and things... lots of oral stuff to use (I wonder if the school would let him have a chewy pencil end or something?) and a suck rag... These things I will try.

Tasty - I did think about copying, but I don't think so, because my eldest only does it when he misses his meds for some reason... and then it is more of a problem when he is at school (he doesn't seem to do it when he misses them and is at home). So I don't think youngest will have noticed.

JennaTailor Fri 02-Sep-11 09:11:57

My now 8 yr old used to do this (no SN) ....and grew out of it about a year ago.
He had done it all his life - when we took the dummy way he moved on to a sheet when he was too old for that he moved on to sucking his teddys ears ...when he grew to old to carry teddy's ...he moved onto sleeves.

Glitterandglue Fri 02-Sep-11 22:58:38

I'm in my twenties and still chew on the collars of my shirts. I don't think it was ever a comfort thing for me (and I didn't even notice it till I was about sixteen) but I am just a terribly fidgety person. I always have to have something to fiddle with or something in my mouth or I end up finding things. At the moment I have a collection of straws from the last few days around my monitor and they regularly get picked up and bent, concertinaed in and out, chewed on etc. I don't even notice I'm doing it half the time.

I do recall seeing something on Jo Frost though which you might want to have a go with. Two girls had habits, one of scratching very gently at her face (but was regular enough to cause wounds and later scars) and one of wrapping her hair round two of her fingers and sucking. The advice was to give them other things to mess with and keep reminding them of these other things; one was a large makeup brush and I can't remember what the other was. But it was the sort of thing they could use to keep themselves stimulated but in an 'acceptable' way.

You just have to keep on it and whenever you see him doing it, give him something else to use instead. Eventually most kids grow out of it. I apparently didn't, but it doesn't bother me (doesn't misshape my shirts and no one else has to handle soggy clothes, heh).

Continuum Sat 03-Sep-11 08:24:11

Interesting to have an adult pov, especially about the fidgety thing. I don't put things in my mouth but almost constantly need something to play with and ds can barely keep still but when he is still that's when things go in his mouth.

Maybe the answer in my own case is simply to provide something that won't cause me worry if it goes in his mouth, unlike remotes and marbles!

Oakmaiden Sat 03-Sep-11 10:10:31

Thank you for that, Glitterandglue. It certainly gives me something to think about!

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