my 7 year old son all of a sudden started grimicing. The doctor tells us, it is tics due to stress and will probably disappear in about 3 months. As a parent I feel helpless to help him. I have tried to reduce the stress in his life. But school is a major stress factor for him. Is there any way I can help him overcome these facial twitches?I am even afraid to discipline him in fear of making his tics worse.
No, there is nothing you can do to stop the tics, and you definitely should not discipline your son. Transient tic behavior is not all that uncommon in children, and I agree with your pediatrician's approach.
Search this Forum and you will find some other recent replies to questions about childhood tic behavior.
Tics are something that cannot be controlled by someone else. Sometimes children can delay a tic, such as when they see the doctor, but they will release it soon after they leave. Reducing stress is helpful for anyone, but it won't make the tic go away. If it is a transient tic due to stress then it will eventually go away on its on. If it's Tourettes then over time you will see and hear both motor and vocal tics that wax and wane. There are all kinds of tics as well. Some are more common than others such as eye blinking, throat clearning and head jerking. The best thing to do for your son is to ignore the tic. Please do not ask him why he is doing it or encourage him to stop - he cannot. Tourettes is usually genetic and a diagnosis is not made until symptoms have been present, both motor and vocal tics, for a year with no less than a three month cessation of symptoms. My son is now 7, but when he was six he was diagnosed with Tourettes (and epilepsy). He's had so many different motor and vocal tics that have come and gone, been mild and severe. We learned to ignore it just as you would someone who coughs or sneezes. His classmates obviously know he has something, but me and the teacher decided to not discuss his condition with the class and let the children make their own conclusions - unless someone started making fun of him then she would talk to that child privately. It was the best decision as my son is happy.
One last note, don't be afraid to continue your discipline. Children need a consistent pattern of discipline, so don't allow the tic to excuse any unacceptable behavior. Treat him the same as you did before, but realize that something is going on that he can't control and a little extra love never hurt anyone (but don't spoil him!) Hope this helps.
Does anyone know how close in the relations that Tourettes has to be to be inherited. I mean, does the father or mother have to have had it, grandparents, etc. My deceased husband was adopted and since he is gone, I have no access to his medical records. Not even for an emergency..For times like this I wish I had made him find out before he died.
On your reply to Vikki you said, "...and you definitely should not discipline your son." I am a bit confused and wondered if you meant she shouldn't discipline at all or was it your impression that she was questioning whether to discipline him to stop the tics? I took it to mean that she was afraid to use any discipline on him (for something he had done wrong) for fear it would make his tics worse. If I am wrong in my interpretation I would like to clarify that no one should ever punish a child because they have a tic. I just interpreted her question the other way and encouraged her to continue discipline as necessary for inappropriate behavior - in other words, don't let a tic excuse the need for time out if your child is misbehaving.
Please tell me if I am wrong - as I have a child with Tourettes and even if he is gasping away or doing head nodding and he begins to shout at me because I didn't bring him a drink fast enough, then I try to correct the behavior in a calm manner and remind him of his own manners, regardless of whether he's tic'ing away or not. I don't worry if using discipline will make his tics worse or not because I feel that his tics are something that I or anyone else cannot control. However, I do not advocate using screaming or spanking as a means of discipline because not only do you not accomplish a single thing, it exacerbates the problem and that will stress ANYONE out!
I am just a mother here, so please tell me if I am wrong.
I agree with you, and perhaps I understood her question the wrong way. I was encouraging her not to discipline around the tic behavior. In amore general sense, discipline should occur as usual (provided it's sensible) in response to volitional misbehavior.
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