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Jared7
Jared7 asks:
Q:

My 4yr old stepson picks the skin off his thumbs and picks his fingers

I noticed awhile that when he turn 3yrs old he started doing this. Hes 4 now. Im concerned over it because he's picking his fingers to, looks gross. I try talking to him about it and with his mother, but havent got a clear response from him and she doesnt wanna pay attention to the problem right now. GGGRRRRR, so as dad Im trying to figure it out. He's told me before because he gets sad and because they itch. We all do not live together, Ive been in his life since his second birthday and the bio doesnt have any relationship with him or us; just a back story.


Help please!
In Topics: Physical Health, Children and stress
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Wayne Yankus
Nov 12, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Dear Jared:

Check with your son's pediatrician.  If he has eczema or dry skin, he may pick because it really does itch.  Vaseline and lotion (unscented and white) usually helps. He is three years old and may not be able to really tell you why he does it, but like so many habits, it is hard to stop.  the sad part is a concern since most three year olds are not sad.  Bring this up to his doctor for some guidance, and confer with his mom as to your concern.  Best wishes with your son.


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Additional Answers (1)

AnnieFox
AnnieFox , Child Professional writes:
The fact that the boy's mother doesn't want to "pay attention" to her son's behavior and the fact that you are frustrated by the wall she's put up (GRRRRRR!) tells me that there is some tension in this family. Often children are like the canaries in the coal mine. The child has been through a lot of transitions and loss in his short life. I'm not a therapist but it certainly sounds like he is anxious and his habit of picking the skin on his fingers may be some type of soothing behavior. Your concern is well placed and not because it "looks gross" but because this child is obviously having trouble dealing with whatever is going on with the adults in his life.  If you want to do the right thing for this little boy, I'd strongly suggest that you and his mother get some counseling. Even if you and Mom aren't married any more, you still need to be on the same page when it comes to co-parenting this child. When the two of you make the peace, he is less likely to be so anxious.
> 60 days ago

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