Hair pulling in children, or trichotillomania, is a disorder that can be distressing for parents and children alike. While it’s normal for babies to pull their own hair as a way of self-soothing or exploring their bodies, excessive hair pulling can be a sign of a more serious problem.
In this article, we will explore the topic of hair pulling in children, including its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.
Hair Pulling in Babies
It’s common for babies to pull their own hair, especially when they are teething or tired. This behaviour is usually harmless and self-limiting, and most babies outgrow it by the time they are 2 years old. However, if your baby is pulling their hair excessively or in a way that causes them pain or discomfort, it may be a sign of a problem.
Is Hair Pulling Normal
While hair pulling in babies is usually normal, hair pulling in older children may be a sign of trichotillomania. This disorder affects about 1 to 2 per cent of the population and is more common in girls than boys. Trichotillomania is a chronic condition that causes children to have an uncontrollable urge to pull out their hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, or other body hair.
Why Baby Keeps Pulling Other People’s Hair
If your baby is pulling other people’s hair, it’s likely that they are still exploring their environment and learning about cause and effect. They may be pulling hair as a way of testing their strength or as a reaction to the sensation of the hair.
It’s important to teach your baby that pulling hair is not acceptable behaviour and redirect them to more appropriate ways of exploring their world.
Image Source: Shutterstock
What to Do to Stop Baby From Pulling Hair
If your baby is pulling their own hair, try to distract them with a toy or other activity. You can also offer them a soft item, like a blanket or stuffed animal, to hold onto instead of their hair.
If your baby is pulling other people’s hair, it’s important to intervene immediately and redirect their attention to something else. You can also teach them to touch hair gently and ask for permission before touching it.
Treatment for Trichotillomania
If your child has trichotillomania, it’s important to seek professional help. Treatment options may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is often used to treat trichotillomania and involves helping children identify their triggers and develop coping strategies. Medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may also be used to treat trichotillomania.
In conclusion, hair pulling in children can be a normal behaviour, but excessive hair pulling may be a sign of trichotillomania. If your child is pulling their hair excessively, it’s important to seek professional help. With the right treatment and support, children with trichotillomania can learn to manage their urges and improve their quality of life.
Image Source: Shutterstock
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.