Twisting our strands of hair, biting our nails, constantly rolling our glasses, mixing our sentences with the same word every time… We all have our physical or language twitches!
Our little ones also develop it during their childhood, whether it is out of habit or to reassure themselves. it is expected thatOne in five children A, and for the most part, it is completely harmless.
At 4 or 7 years old: What is the origin of tics and mania in children?
tics Involuntary, rapid, and repetitive movements or soundsAnd But not rhythmically. Most often, the tics are concentrated around the face: blinking or squinting, making a face, rubbing your nose, which are therefore kinetic tics, fits of coughing, sniffing, or small tongue sounds, for example, which are later tics .
In general, tics can appear in children when they reach primary school entry age. But they can also evolve earlier. The causes can be multiple in origin because they often reflect excessive tension. So it can be associated with a change in the organization, an exciting event, a source of stress, the accumulation of fatigue …
Why does the child have tics?
So this little mania often appears after an upcoming event disturbing his daily life : The start of school, the arrival of a little brother, a movement .. something that worries him and can only express it by biting his nails or eating his jacket. Tics are often transient And it fades once the child’s fears are calmed.
Sometimes they keep insisting when their case is gone. It is already possible that the child, often a little nervous, has realized that his obsession is very effective in daily management Lack of self-confidence and feeling insecure Or contain aggressiveness… From then on, every time he finds himself in an awkward situation, he will indulge his own little obsession, which, over time, will become a hard habit to shake.
Tic or obsessive-compulsive disorder: what is the disease?
These compulsive (irrepressible) behaviors are part of minor anxiety disorders. Our child, by biting his nails, twisting his hair or biting his jacket, controls his internal tensions and releases his anxiety, even his violence, while getting pleasure (sucking fingers, from the jacket …). These small involuntary gestures of self-communication help reassure him, like a thumb or a pacifier that he can’t help but suck on.
Warning: Tics have nothing to do with TOC, an acronym for Obsessive-compulsive disorder. OCD is an obsession or compulsion, focused for example on hygiene, responsibility, symmetry … driven by repetitive and disturbing thoughts. TOCs are The fourth most common mental illness Post-phobia, addiction and depressive disorders. They generally appear after the age of 25 but in 25% of cases they appear before the age of 14. Early disorders are more common in boys.
Instead of trying to make it disappear at all costs, it’s better Find the reasons for this involuntary gesture And determining the times of its occurrence: Before bed? When is he cared for by a babysitter? At school ? Once the origin of the tic is discovered, we can try to talk about it with our child to find out what is bothering him. Our good listening will reassure him!
Plus, rest assured: It’s not because you have to fix his jacket sleeves every week or because you’ve noticed that he’s methodically twisting his hair while watching TV, for example, your child will become obsessed and full of ticks. Anxiety is present in all children.
Let us avoid pointing out his mistake at all times and talking about it openly in front of him. In danger of making him nervous about his obsession Even worse, it affects his self-esteem. On the contrary, let’s try, as parents, to downplay the drama and adopt a more positive approach: let’s tell him we can help him get rid of his cramps ASAP, which will go away one day or so. else. If so, we don’t hesitate to tell him that they are heresy… and which ones are still out there! He’ll feel less alone, less guilty He will understand that it is not a hindrance.
If our child shows the desire to stop and ask for our support but we are helpless, we can offer it to him Consult a psychiatrist. There are also, for some fads, little deterrents to put in place, like resorting to bitter nail polish when he bites his nails! On the other hand, it is important in the latter case that the initiative comes from our child: otherwise, our approach risks being seen as punishment and doomed to failure.
Eyelashes, coughing fits, making a face … the various treatments
Apart from the bitter nail polish that can only be applied to one mania, we can give it to our child Various analgesics to control his tics Practice a breathing or relaxation ritual, do more exercises to de-stress, do a creative activity or an individual sport in order to develop self-confidence…
These various suggestions can speed up the disappearance of the tic, reduce its frequency or help our little one better accept it. But we must bear in mind that tics are, by definition, uncontrollable and that the best ‘treatment’ remains To mitigate it, be patient and give it time to talk about it And find the cause or reasons for its development.
No matter how crazy our child is, We are keen to monitor its development. If we see that things are getting worse: for example, our child is pulling a lock of his hair or bleeding from his fingers, or if this obsession is exacerbated by other signs of stress (social, food, sleepiness …), then do not hesitate. Talk about it to our pediatrician who can direct us if necessary to a psychologist or psychotherapist.