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Chewing T shirt

(14 Posts)
LittleBeck Tue 09-Aug-05 15:46:33

My 6 year old has recently developed a habit of chewing the neck of his T shirt. It has become extreme - he always has a massive wet patch on the front of his shirt and the necklines are quite damaged, so I've had to throw several away altogether.

He is quite highly strung, but should I be worried that he is unhappy?

When I was a child, I did the same thing, and I also ground my front teeth until they were almost completely non-existant. I always thought it was because my home life was very unsettled as my father was abusive to my mother and my sister and I were terrified of him.

But my son has a relatively stable life, although my dh and I argue sometimes, but nothing serious and I can get a bit stressed, having 3 children.

Any ideas about why he does this and how I should be dealing with it?

Fauve Tue 09-Aug-05 23:50:19

Hello, ds has always done this and is now 11 - still going strong at it. Like you, we are a family of chewers, my sis chewed her collars to bits. It's not at all uncommon, it would seem esp among boys, at least at ds' school. I have thought about trying a postural approach, eg getting him to do yoga classes (again), but have not got further than thinking I ought to do it. I'll be interested to see if anyone else comments. Sorry not to be able to offer a solution!

Doddle Tue 09-Aug-05 23:55:26

Mine too, holes in his collars, chews the buttons off, turns his duvet upside down to chew the buttons off the bottom of that too!!! He's also quite highly strung and this seems to be the latest in a long line of slightly(!) irritating nervous habits.

I think it's just part of his character, apparently my father was a great collar chewer as well, so we just live with it and issue (not so) gentle reminders when it's getting out of hand or he's wearing one of his few good articles of clothing!!!

He does appear to have a top gum full of adult teeth just waiting for the baby ones to drop out and we wondered if it was linked to this.

PeachyClair Wed 10-Aug-05 00:47:53

Oh, my four year old started this a few weeks ago! Annoying isnt it? I put it down being stuck with his AS brother (who on a bad day clobbers him mercilessly should I even dare to got to the loo. I've told him I will get him a dummy if he doesn't stop it, he got through three t-shirts (litrerally, as in bit through them) this week!

On hot days, maybe take the t-shirt off and let him break the habit? can't fdo that with my DS2, he has strange mole that no-one will tell us anything about other than it should never see the sun.

LittleBeck Wed 10-Aug-05 11:36:12

Good to know it's relatively common and that the consensus appears to be that it's not down to a deep seated unhappiness.

He is my middle child and specialises in irritating behaviour. It's a bit of an eye opener, because everyone says he is like me and I can sort of recognise this, but never understood how annoying I can be .

My difficulty is that I'm sure that lots of his irritating ticks are to do with a combination of attention seeking and a lot of nervous brain chemistry, which is probably exacerbated by people (mainly me) getting irritated by him.

I suspect I should avoid telling him off about it and try to distract him when I see him doing it. And maybe at the same time, try to give him as much positive attention in general - he is the naughty boy of the three and so ends up getting lots of negative attention.

Good tip re: romoving the t shirt. Sounds obvious, but it didn't occur to me.

SaintGeorge Wed 10-Aug-05 11:39:59

My eldest chewed cuffs rather than collars.

I cured him by spraying the inside of the cuffs with DH's aftershave. He thought it was great at first that he 'smelt manly like daddy' (yeah, right) but soon decided the cuffs tasted too disgusting to keep chewing.

vickiyumyum Wed 10-Aug-05 11:40:19

my ds1 who is 8 is always doing this and has been doing it for as long as i can remeber, if its a t-shirt he chews the collar, if its a long sleeve t-shirt he'll chew the cuffs and if its a jumper with azip then he chews the zip pull. it drives me mad and am constantly telling him to take that top out of your mouth, but the more i tell him the more he does it, so try and ignore him, as much as i can and then he does stop doing it. i do wonder if it was because he had a dummy until he was 2 1/2 and then it was taken away and now he uses sucking his clothes as comfort. (he does tend to suck rather than chew, so no big holes yet!)

jalopy Wed 10-Aug-05 13:04:38

My 11yr old does this. It drives me bonkers! Haven't found a cure!!

mawbroon Wed 10-Aug-05 14:02:17

My nephew did this for a while. My sister chatted to him about it and it seemed that he really didn't know why he did it although it appeared to be related to activities where he needed to concentrate eg reading, homework etc They agreed that he could chew gum when he felt the urge to nibble his clothes (before this, my sister had never allowed chewing gum) and as far as I know, he has never chewed his clothes since.

Fauve Wed 10-Aug-05 17:17:31

I would do that if I knew of a 'healthy' chewing gum with no nasty sweeteners in. This boy would get through a lot of it.

Can't be related to dummy use - ds never had one.

LIZS Fri 12-Aug-05 12:07:39

ds does this intermittently, particularly when anxious or uncomfortable. First noticed it at 3/4 when his winter coat had a soggy chewed collar and also in the last 18 months or so. His OT suggested it is something to do with his sensory system and that he simply derives comfort from it.

maddiemo Fri 12-Aug-05 12:27:37

My six year does this as well and has ruined all his school jumpers. I used to chew my hair and chew tissues.

brightstar1 Sat 13-Aug-05 11:54:39

hello. Ds2(9)and Ds4(3) chew anything in sight!most frustrating thing I've had to deal with as mum!Except can't find a way to deal with it!just try to ignore it,but take out object without making fuss,and they know wot im saying, seems to have longer affect.Ds2 is getting sore mouth now tho and isso hope will make him stop.

spidermama Sat 13-Aug-05 12:15:49

My ds5 went through a phase of doing this recently. It lasted for about four months. He also had huge wet patches down the front of his T shirts and also on the sleeves. It was pretty foul but it's over now. He did it mainly at school which he was finding stressful.

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