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Does your 4 year old make strange grunting sounds?!

(11 Posts)
fadingfast Wed 26-Aug-09 22:28:15

I seem to remember seeing a post about this a couple of years ago, and thinking how odd it was. That'll teach me!

Over the past few months, DS (nearly 5) has been making what seem to be involuntary grunting noises. It's noticeably worse when he is tired, for example when I read to him at bedtime he is snuffling and snorting away without really realising he is doing it, like some sort of nervous tic.

Is this something he will grow out of? I've not particularly commented on it, as I thought to make a big deal of it might make it worse. When I did mention it tonight, he said 'it wasn't me!'.

Any ideas?

whethergirl Wed 26-Aug-09 22:46:19

fadingfast, kids always seem to come with some weird behaviour to freak you out don't they!

It could very likely be a normal phase, but personally I'd mention it to the doc.

I don't want to alarm you in any way...but I did read the autobiography of a man who had tourettes syndrome. Tourettes is not all about swearing/spitting involunatarily by the way, there are other symptoms and this man in particular didn't have the swearing/spitting thing. But I do remember that his symptoms started off when he was about 6 years old, with grunts and sniffles that he just couldn't stop.

I actually wrote to the author afterwards and received a very friendly and quick reply - he has two kids of his own, one of them who was suspected of having tourettes but turns out he didn't. So if you did want to drop him a line, I'm sure he'd only be too happy to answer any queries, he is a really lovely bloke. His website is

I am NOT saying your ds has tourettes though, it might be something that is a phase and will stop doing it in a few weeks or whatever. It just rang a bell with me with this book I'd read and thought I'd mention it anyhow. It could just be a tic that is unrelated to tourettes - more likely I suppose, I don't know enough about these things.

Chooster Thu 27-Aug-09 13:48:31

My DS (5) is the same and in fact I jut started a thread on Childrens health a few days ago about tics - maybe take a look. In a nutshell we've had spells of shoulder shruggling, clearing throat, a stutter and now its kind of grunts but sound like him going "Mm, mm, eh, mm," that sort of thing. Like your DS he does it when tired particularly and I really notice it when I'm reading him his story in bed! Its so off-putting smile.

His tics only last for a month or two and then go away but then another comes along. I had considered the GP but I'm reluctant to start that ball rolling until I've observed him a bit more. Also I dont want it discussed much in front of him as I dont want him to think there is something wrong with him, especially as I dont think he knows he does it. At the end of the day the GP can help form a diagnosis but there is nothing they would actually do to a 5yr old to try to stop it, and it doesn't sound like its affecting his life. I'm going to observe them and perhaps make a note of what he does and when - and how long it lasts for.

On my thread someone posted a link to transient tic disorder which does sound like my DS. Its a form of tourettes but most children outgrow it. Dont get me wrong I'm not unconcerned about it but I'm not worried enough to be that keen on getting a diagnosis - he's still so small and it could pass in another year or so.

whethergirl Fri 28-Aug-09 00:58:37

Chooster, I admire your attitude and think your doing your the best thing for your ds. It would be so easy for some of us to turn it into a big issue when, like you said, it could just pass like so many things in childhood. Hopefully no-one else will think to make a comment in front of him, I do think that kind of self awareness makes it worse.
When i was little I had a bit of a shoulder shrug thing going on, and I still get it sometimes even now, if I'm stressed or very tired. Not really noticeable now although it used to drive me mad as a kid, the more aware I was of it, the more I would do it. I also have OCD tendancies; tics, ocd and tourettes all have links.
If you do start to get worried, maybe see the gp without your ds, but I agree, better not to make it an issue in front of him.

fadingfast Fri 28-Aug-09 22:20:24

Oooer. Am a bit worried now - was expecting loads of replies saying 'don't worry, totally normal, he'll grow out of it'. Hopefully he will. Tourettes hadn't even occurred to me! I guess for now I will just keep an eye out and not say anything, but might have a quiet word with the GP in due course. I just hope starting school doesn't make it worse.

Thanks for your help

PinkyRed Fri 28-Aug-09 22:35:04

I used to do this!

Ha - I'd forgotten all about this. Had a very comforting little 'huh huh' noise I used to make. Used to have to do it to my complete satisfaction before I could stop. Very odd.

I just grew out of it, btw. Never had any treatment, never went to dr or anything (70's childhood, parents who didn't believe in taking up the dr's time with anything less than a broken leg)

I wouldn't worry about it if I were you.

LadyGooGoo Fri 28-Aug-09 22:44:23

Me too!

Remember having a grunting/clearing throat phase, and squeaking phase, altenating between winking and blinking and I'd be unable to swallow sometimes. All of which I'd feel compelled to do or not even notice I was doing it.

Grew out of them all.

Looking back I don't know how my parents resisted seeing a psychiatrist for me!

mimsum Sat 29-Aug-09 00:35:47

loads of kids have tics - they're not 'nervous' tics as they don't necessarily have any connection to being stressed or whatever

if you draw attention to it it will get worse as he'll then be concentrating on it and trying not to do it - imagine your nose felt really itchy and you were told you couldn't itch it, you'd end up really concentrating on it and being driven mad by it and it would end up feeling much worse - that's how kids who tic feel if they're told not to do whatever their tic is at the moment

All three of my kids tic, but only ds1 has a diagnosis of tourette's - TS is only diagnosed if there are multiple vocal (ie noises), and motor (physical) tics which go on for more than a year with a break of no more than 3 weeks (I think) during that time. Lots and lots of children have transient tic disorders which come and go and they grow out of, or like my dd have a chronic tic disorder (she grunts/clears her throat, occasionally whoops but doesn't have any motor tics) and it really is fine. Ds1's tics bother him sometimes but his have always been much more severe

Keep an eye on it, but I wouldn't do anything other than mention it to his teacher in private, as you don't want the teacher on his case about something he can't help

Mumcentreplus Sat 29-Aug-09 00:49:09

My DD 6yrs makes little animal/cat-like squeeky noises..very affectionate with them smile

mears Sat 29-Aug-09 02:41:46

He probably has a post nasal drip which my DS1 had - he is now 22yrs old and it has passed.

DS3 used to grunt but then I realised he was masturbating against furniture blush

He grew out of that too - than goodness because he is now 18!

whethergirl Sun 30-Aug-09 01:05:49

grin at mears ds3 masturbating against furniture!! Good one to bring up at the dinner table when his girlfriend comes to tea...

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