Trichotillomania: Dealing With Hair-Pulling Disorder (page 2)

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Updated on Aug 12, 2013

Be an Advocate

You can offer teachers or school counselors some educational information about hair-pulling to make sure that they fully understand the condition. If your child is willing, you may want to have a conference with the teacher where you both can explain the situation.

Help Avoid Embarrassment

Kids who pull their hair are often embarrassed over their hair loss, and they have to decide how to deal with peers noticing. If your kid wants to try a creative hairstyle, a hairpiece or a hair system, help her experiment. If she chooses not to hide the hair loss, support her unconditionally. Decide together how both of you will deal with questions—you may want to suggest glossing over the truth with a face-saving explanation, such as an allergy that causes hair loss, alopecia.

Keep Things Normal

If your child feels that all of your conversations revolve around her hair, it can actually impede her progress. Instead, talk about other areas of her life, such as friends, schoolwork, hobbies or talents. Don’t allow this issue put a stop to the rest of the joys of her childhood.

Take Care of Yourself

It can be easy to feel that you should be spending all your emotional energy to help your kid overcome the problem. But it’s important to take time for yourself each day to read, play a computer game or exercise. Have “in-the-moment” solutions ready, such as taking a walk to excuse yourself and avoid saying something unproductive. Since you are a strong player in the quest to help your child, taking care of yourself is actually a selfless act in the bigger picture.

Trichotillomania is most commonly seen at ages 9 through 13, but it can start as early as infancy and stretch through adulthood. As soon as you notice hair-pulling, you should immediately take productive action.

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