Nail Biting and Hair Teasing as an Expression of Emotional Tension
Nail biting is sometimes combined with the child’s need to tease a tuft of hair and tuck it at every opportunity when he finds himself in emotional tension. In some cases, this automatism develops independently of the nail biting, and can be so pronounced that the child pulls out a large portion of his hair. It happens that he swallows his pulled-out hair (trichophagia).
Hair Loss as a Rare Occurrence
Hair loss is a rare occurrence among dispensary patients – 1.0% of boys and 1.3% of girls. There is nothing special to say about the causes. All those experiences and environmental influences that can lead to a state of mental tension can also lead to tousled hair.
Case Study of a 7-Year-Old Boy
The child is 7 years old and is a very spoiled child. When the mother was six years old – she began to demand that she feed, wash and dress herself, the boy became defiant and irritable. His parents reacted to his resistance with harshness, beatings and other punishments.
Then a restless dream came to Johny, he began to lie, and in the hours of self-indulgence he gladly wraps his hair around his finger and pulls it out. They began to admonish him, but without success. At school, he proved to be very dependent and timid.
Stuttering and Worsening of Symptoms
Shortly after starting school, he began to stutter, and his curling hair became even more intense. He has no interest in learning, although he has above-average intelligence. When his parents force him to work, Cedo plays, pretends to be clumsy, or pulls his hair passionately.
The Harmful Effects of Neurotization
The parents have already “lost their nerve” with him, they are punishing him more and more often, but they have neurotized the child so much that the symptoms of his neuroticism are becoming more pronounced day by day.
The Need for Calm and Realistic Parenting
It is time for the parents to cease their inappropriate behavior with the boy and begin bringing him up in a rational, realistic, and stimulating manner.