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Old 05-27-2010, 12:39 PM   #1
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Pulling/picking at lips.

DS is 2 1/2, and whenever he gets anxious or tired, he starts picking at his lip. At first we would just make him aware that he was doing it and ask him to stop, and he would. Now it's gotten to the point that he just picks at the one spot, and now has a scab there and it looks like he busted his lip. What can we do to get him to stop it? No matter how much we ask him to stop/move his hand/try to distract him, etc, he just says "but I want to pick at my lip!" and screams if we do it again. He actually started crying the other day because he kept picking at it and it hurt.

There has to be something we can do, but I'm lost.

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Old 05-27-2010, 01:33 PM   #2
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Re: Pulling/picking at lips.

I still tend to do this as a grownup. What works for me is to keep my lips moisturized, so that there aren't dry or hard bits to pull at. You might also try having something he's allowed to fidget with or pull at - maybe a worry bracelet or something. Hope that helps!

Last edited by Sleep deprived; 05-27-2010 at 01:34 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-27-2010, 01:46 PM   #3
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Re: Pulling/picking at lips.

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I still tend to do this as a grownup. What works for me is to keep my lips moisturized, so that there aren't dry or hard bits to pull at. You might also try having something he's allowed to fidget with or pull at - maybe a worry bracelet or something. Hope that helps!
There weren't any dry/hard bits until he broke the skin in one place. I'd never heard of a worry bracelet before, I'll have to look into that, thanks.
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Old 05-27-2010, 02:02 PM   #4
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Re: Pulling/picking at lips.

yes, I did similar things as a child. Apparently it can be a way kids exhibit anxiety or stress. I agree that replacing it with another way to relieve stress would be a great idea. Help him get attached to a lovey, blanket, or something that gives him that same satisfaction without injuring himself.
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Old 05-27-2010, 02:10 PM   #5
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Re: Pulling/picking at lips.

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yes, I did similar things as a child. Apparently it can be a way kids exhibit anxiety or stress. I agree that replacing it with another way to relieve stress would be a great idea. Help him get attached to a lovey, blanket, or something that gives him that same satisfaction without injuring himself.
He never really attached to anything other than me and DH - no pacifier, no toy, nothing. He has a favorite blanket, but he really could care less if he uses it/takes it with us anywhere. I'm trying to find a WAHM to make a worry bracelet now, or maybe I'll get him an I-Spy bag or something to keep him entertained/distracted. I just don't want him to end up like my mom and I - we chew the skin around our nails when we're anxious. I'm a lot better than my mom, but she'll make herself bleed pretty bad, and I don't want DS to end up like that...
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Old 05-27-2010, 02:12 PM   #6
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Re: Pulling/picking at lips.

I've noticed DD doing this as well... just randomly too, not during any particular stressful event or anything (like baby crying). We get her attention and tell her to stop picking at her lip, but she usually starts at it again.

It never occurred to me that it would be anxiety or stress related...
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Old 05-27-2010, 02:52 PM   #7
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Re: Pulling/picking at lips.

well it might not be Katie. It is just a possibility I was throwing out there because in my case, it was anxiety related.
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Old 05-27-2010, 03:29 PM   #8
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Re: Pulling/picking at lips.

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well it might not be Katie. It is just a possibility I was throwing out there because in my case, it was anxiety related.
I didn't think anything of it for a while, but it's become more obvious that it's an anxiety issue with DS.
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Old 05-27-2010, 11:56 PM   #9
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Re: Pulling/picking at lips.

I had a patient whose lo had this same problem. While it doesn't address the underlying issue, she put bandaids on his finger tips to keep him from picking (the fun ones, so they're like stickers).
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Old 05-28-2010, 05:52 AM   #10
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Re: Pulling/picking at lips.

My 4yo does this, too. He's done it as long as I can remember. He also picks at his nails/hangnails to the point of bleeding. We try to remind him not to pick when we catch him, and keep lip balm on his lips.
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