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Spitting compulsion - how do I handle this?!

(12 Posts)
RaRaRa1999 Thu 03-Mar-16 19:46:33

DS4 has always had little habits that are around for a while before another one takes over. For example scratching his knees every few paces while walking, willy scratching, head scratching.
I do my best to ignore them but his latest habit is both putting his hands in his mouth and licking them and playing with the saliva in his mouth - creating spit bubbles which may or may not dribble onto the floor/clothes if he's not quick enough sucking it back in.
I have no tolerance for this one and he knows it, however he continues to do it! I've lost it with him twice today and there's been tears several times. He says he likes it and makes him feel good. I've taken away his iPad time 2 days this week but that hasn't deterred him. He's constantly doing it and looking at me to see if I'm noticing. I'm trying my hardest to ignore him but it's so hard when I'm fuming inside. Does anyone have any suggestions as to a better way of handling this? I just want it to stop! I'm normally really patient but this is testing me!

RaRaRa1999 Thu 03-Mar-16 19:47:55

I should add that I rarely loose my temper so the fact I did today really shows him I'm cross but even that hasn't stopped it!

Spandexpants007 Thu 03-Mar-16 19:48:55

Reward good behaviour?

pookamoo Thu 03-Mar-16 19:49:41

What age is he?

kelda Thu 03-Mar-16 19:54:22

What age is he? I think you need a distraction technique. If it's compulsive behaviour he will find it very hard to stop, and even harder the more you make him aware of it.

Maybe distract him by giving him a glass of water, something to play with?

RaRaRa1999 Thu 03-Mar-16 20:05:07

He is 4. Is it normal/common to get compulsions so young? Should I be worried about it?

pookamoo Thu 03-Mar-16 20:06:43

DD1 started biting her nails at 4 and that is definitely a compulsion, so I'd say the age is normal.

Distraction may work, as well as explaining to him why it's not nice to spit.

PJ67 Fri 04-Mar-16 00:19:02

My son has quite a few habits/tics and I know he can't help it or stop it although I do find some more challenging than others and sometimes say 'stop doing that'. He has told me that the habits don't bother him but what does upset him is me going on about it. The more you mention it the more he'll do it but just try to remember it's not in his control. I know it's really hard though.

RaRaRa1999 Fri 04-Mar-16 08:20:53

Thanks everyone. PJ67 how old is your son? How old was he when he started?

Spandexpants007 Fri 04-Mar-16 10:36:00

I would probably give him something to carry for you or ask him to do something for you when he does it

PJ67 Fri 04-Mar-16 11:38:26

My dad is 9 and they probably started when he was about 2 and come and go. My ds has had more things like eye blinking, shoulder shrugging, mouth movements etc although he did have a spell of touching his knees a lot as well. Hard to know if your sons are tics or another type of habit but they're all hard to ignore. I think the distraction is a good idea. Do you think chewing gum or something
would make him less focused on the saliva if he was concentrating on chewing?

SnozzberryWibble Fri 04-Mar-16 16:21:28

I had a similar compulsion as a child which co-incided with my parents divorce. I was embarrassed about it and being told off for it was very upsetting - I didn't want to be doing it, but I couldn't help it! So I would proceed gently with distraction or identifying a potential root cause, rather than going down the discipline route.

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