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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10630
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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My super happy, healthy, very intelligent son came home this

Customer Question

My super happy, healthy, very intelligent son came home this morning from a routine visit with his dad with a bald spot in his hair. He has been a hair twister for a couple of years, but has never pulled his hair out. When asked why, he reported being upset that he wasn't home and scared to tell his dad. I called a child psychiatrist today who is able to see him Saturday. I don't know how to address or should I not address the issue until then
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My little man has been having the same visits every other weekend for 3 years. He does not go alone. He has an older brother who is 11 months order.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He has never displayed any behavior that is self harming, or known anyone with self-harming behavior. This is the first time this behavior has been noticeable and he denies prior pulling after before this past weekend. I am concerned that this is a stress response. And unsure how to address this with my little man without embarrassing or making him feel pressured when discussing the matter.
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

*This website DOES NOT constitute treatment and only provides information and advice. For treatment (therapy and/or medications) you must go to a licensed professional in your area. Please note that anything said here is not private or confidential, as this is a public forum.

Hello and thank you for your question. I can understand why you would be concerned about your son and this behavior. It sounds like this was a one-time incident as you stated he has never once pulled out his hair before, but has twisted it on occasion. Many children will typically exhibit behavior like this in stressful situations as children have not developed the proper coping techniques to deal with stress, frustration, and anxiety yet. Given your son's response it would be best to help him vocalize his frustrations and stressors so that others can understand what he is feelings. Try to be welcoming in this, as you want to encourage him to communicate with others as we cannot read each other's minds, so we have to verbalize what we are feeling to help others understand. You also want to provide examples for yourself to tell him how you are feeling (happy and sad) so that he can model after (modeling is common with all children). In addition, you want to help him learn to control his anxiety/stress as well through more effective coping mechanisms like deep breathing, closing his eyes and thinking of a happy place, singing/humming a song, or even tapping his fingers to a rhythm can all help to lessen stress. Show understanding about what he did with his hair, but also emphasize that it probably hurt and may not be the best look for him (you want to make light of the situation in a way that he can laugh and feel comfortable), so that is why you want to teach him other ways to cope with his stress and anxiety. Overall, if this is a one time incident with your son and he has never pulled his hair before this than there is no reason to think that this will be a habitual behavior by him as many children exhibit some mild one time incidents of self-injurious behavior (e.g. banging head, scratching themselves, etc...) that is usually temporary and can be easily redirected with proper support.

I hope this answers your questions and gives you some guidance on this issue. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns as I am happy to assist and support you regarding this issue.

*****YOU ARE ALMOST FINISHED…EXPERTS ONLY GET COMPENSATED FOR EACH POSITIVE RATING, SO I WOULD APPRECIATE IF YOU COULD GENTLY MASH ONE OF THE 3, 4, 5 SMILEY FACES/STARS THAT YOU SEE BEFORE YOU GO. THANK YOU SO MUCH AND IT WAS MY PLEASURE HELPING YOU WITH YOUR ISSUE*****

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I noticed that you viewed my answer and I was checking in to see if you have any further questions or concerns that you would like me to address on this issue?

*****YOU ARE ALMOST FINISHED…EXPERTS ONLY GET COMPENSATED FOR EACH POSITIVE RATING, SO I WOULD APPRECIATE IF YOU COULD GENTLY MASH ONE OF THE 3, 4, 5 SMILEY FACES/STARS THAT YOU SEE BEFORE YOU GO. THANK YOU SO MUCH AND IT WAS MY PLEASURE HELPING YOU WITH YOUR ISSUE*****

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