Trichotillomania in a 4 year old

Hi there,

My daughter is 4 and pulls her hair, we know that if she continues, her hair simply won't grow any more, last summer we practically shaved her head, and for about six months she didn't touch her hair, so we let it grow back. Unfortunately now the hair is longer she has begun pulling it again. I'm not sure how to proceed, as she's too young to reason with, she wants long hair, she hates having it short, but what else can I do? She seems to start pulling when she's not getting the attention she wants, unfortunately she is one of three, the youngest is 9 months, we both work, so she's not going to get the attention she wants!!! Any advice? Will it stop? Should we cut her hair short again?

Hi Brownpanda2, have you talked to a medical professional about this and have they given you any guidance? I found a few links that I believe can be helpful and include the following tips;

"Studies have shown that the younger the child, the more likely he or she is, to grow beyond the pulling behavior.

Cultivate an interest in cookery, or other hands-on, active pursuits.

Keep some play dough or silly putty around and play with it yourself.

Anything YOU are doing with your hands, your child will want to mimic.

Encourage outdoor activities, sports etc.

ots of children can stay pull free by diet alone.

Changing layouts of rooms can help … keeping things in motion. Most trichsters don't like to be still … they're not likely to enjoy watching films so much and if you do watch them, make sure to have frequent breaks.

Hypnotherapy is very effective with children, and many reputable hypnotherapists would be willing to assist with the parents' permission. Take a good book with you and stay in the room with the child unless he or she asks you to leave."

http://www.trichotillomania.co.uk/Parents/small1.htm

http://www.kidsgrowth.com/resources/articledetail.cfm?id=2251

Thank you very much, it gives me hope that I can help her, she's so confused because she doesn't want to pull, she wants her hair long like Shakira, but the bald patch is getting bigger again!!

My pediatrician has no clue and has been no help whatsoever, we live in South Italy, and these things aren't understood or acknowledged.

Just knowing that she is not the only one, that there is nothing specifically 'wrong' with her is huge relief. I just hope I can help her and not make it worse.

Thank you again.

Brownpanda2, I now better understand that you are in a position where you have to try to help her on yourself. Were the two links helpful at all? I am here to help you research, so please let me know what I can do for you.

Dear Brownpanda2,
I read your post about your daughter, I rose concern about my son picking the top of his head and my 3 year old daughter twisting her hair into knots sometimes. I don't know your circumstances but my therapist told me Trich, can b a learned behavior..I have a severe case of it and alot of anxiety, it could b generations back to someone close to your daughter, remember it's not always obvious unless u see actual bald spots..people try to hide it sometimes. i would reaach out to a child therapist looking to make an appt for an evaulation to determine if she has it, it can b treated to reduce effects by meds,,don't wait do it while she's young..my mom said i starting as a child by simply breaking off split ends on my hair..now look at me i'm a mess at 35..married with children..Thank god i have a supportive loving family that accepts me for me, my husabnd tells me someones hair doesnt make a person its their heart and personality having a great body and a pretty face is a bonus..my ears dont hear that and or except that when u have such a condition....Good luck in your search for answers!:)