Sounds like anxiety to me. Anxiety is not the same as being anxious. Anxiety is a response to a perceived threat or danger - an abnormal state characterized by a feeling of being powerless and unable to cope with threatening events, (usually imaginary), and by a physical response, as sweating, trembling, etc. (or licking in your son's case). Many suffering from anxiety are not aware of their perceived threats and many are unable to control their urges without help. Have you considered OCD - obsessive compulsive disorder which is one of the anxiety issues. I might suggest you google this term and see if the description is similar to that of your son. Do you have a pediatrician who might be able to guide you? Anxiety disorders are highly treatable but, if this is the case with your son, he will not outgrow it nor will it go away. Hope this helps ....
I have a son who periodically does things like this. He is 9 now, but I first noticed it in Kindergarten when he started clearing his throat all the time. My husband and I thought he was getting a cold, but he contined to do it. We would give him something to drink thinking that would help, but we figured out this had to be a nervous habit - for whatever reason. We did tell him it was very noticeable, and explained if he kept doing it would become a habit he wouldn't be able to stop. He did eventually stop, and some time later he began smelling his fingers. This was also very obvious, and my husband and I asked him why he was doing this - he said he wanted to make sure his fingers didn't smell bad. We decided to gently remind him to not do it each time we saw him do it, and eventually he stopped. Then in 2nd grade he began periodically scratching his head - at first I thought he just had an itchy scalp and had him wash with dandruff shampoo, but he kept doing it. Most of the time it was when he was doing his guided reading homework. I would thoroughly check his head to make sure it wasn't lice but I could find nothing. He did eventually stop that, with my gentle prompting. But I think some children do these kind of things when they're nervous about something. Just look at how many kids bite their nails, and if you visit a 3rd grade classroom you'll see many children who have bite marks all over their pencils. My son doesn't bite his pencil or his nails, he just has other habits that show up occasionally. I wouldn't worry - sometimes I think we overanalyze things, and by doing this we might give our kids some kind of complex. Good luck. What we've done has seemed to work well for us.
My son does the exact same thing as well as suck the collar of his shirt leaving wet marks where everyone can see and my son is 12yrs old. This seems compulsive as we keep telling him to stop but it seems he cant. This is very embarassing, not only for us as parents but other kids notice him doing it also. Need help and not sure what to do.
My son is 7 and also has gone through many phases of odd behavior. First was licking his hand and sucking his shirt. Then he was having arm twitches and it looked like he was throwing air punches. He eventually stopped that and started making throat clearing noises. From there, he started licking everything in sight, and now he has to touch the ground with both hands every couple minutes. It's very hard to ignore the behavior but it seems to go away after a few weeks and then a new behavior starts. Does this sound familiar to anyone else?
Did you get this resolved and how? My 7 yr old daughter does the same. Started whom hand last year. Now its just.the tips. Winter wasn't an issue now its coming back. She won't open palms at times cause worried she will lick. Thoughts?
From 1st grade until 4th grade, I had this behavior. It began appropriately 6-months after my mother divorced her second husband (the only father I'd known) as a knawing habit where I would chew the knuckle of my right index finger until a massive callous developed a year later (which didn't fall off until I was 19) and then progressed to knawing the tips of both index fingers and the inside corners of the cuticles on both thumbs...those callouses still remain, actually. And I am now 45-years old. By 3rd grade I was licking my hands every 60-seconds from morning to night, compulsively, endlessly, uncontrollably. It got so bad that my teacher moved my desk up against the wall in front of the chalkboard, separate from the rest of the class so that I was seated behind her, as she was sick and tired of watching me do it; I remained there for the entirety of the school year. When at the end of the year my mother discovered where I'd been sitting during class the teacher told her why. So when I got home, my mother had my step-father beat me ruthlessly with a thick leather belt simply because I couldn't explain "WHY" I was doing this. 35-years later I learned in therapy that it was a coping mechanism for dealing with my mother's violent physical abuse, as well as her recent marriage to a third husband in eight years who loathed my existence so deeply, he emotionally abused me DAILY from the minute he moved into our house the previous winter -- my mother all the while demanding he treat me as harshly as possible, though picking up his slack when he wasn't home by beating me with belts and sticks, smacking me in the face with a 1.5 carat diamond ring, ripping the hair out of my head, throwing my most beloved possessions in grocery store dumpsters and threatening to send me away to live with strangers who would, "Show me what 'mean' really is."
The children mentioned here in these comments are either being emotionally/physically abused or they are simply overwhelmed with anxiety -- TERRORIZED, frankly. By either endless chaos (constant moves/relocations, failure to make friends due to changing schools too often, a new step-parent, etc.) and/or their current living situation.
His hands are too dry, my son does it too on waking. Try lotion to moisturise them and the taste may put him off. This behaviour will pass, he is normal and don't make him feel otherwise.
My daughter does this! She is so 7. When I asked her why she does that she said her hands feel dry and she doesn't like the feel of things. She also can't touch anything when she gets out if the bath and has wrinkly hands. It seems to help when I give her hand cream.