Behavior: Social Skills, Self Esteem


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Joined: Nov 06, 2006
Posts: 2
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Posted Nov 06, 2006 at 11:05:17 PM
Subject: chewing

I am just starting to look at this web site. I must say thank you to all for giving me the benefit of your collective insights. It seems that when you first start to run into "issues" it is so difficult to even understand what you are dealing with - I was really sort of shocked - I would have sworn that the people who are 'experts' in child development and education would be at the schools - perhaps they are feeling over worked. What I have been feeling since first grade started is that I am a bad parent who is failing my child because I am not teaching him to read and to spell. This is my oldest. He has always had trouble - toe walking, falling, stuttering, and always ' he will outgrow it"... he first few weeks in privat school left both of us in tears and the teacher telling me I was unprepared and F on his papers. The public school now sends home a report card full of D and F's for the first quarter of first grade. The note from the teacher tells me he needs to practice at home. He tells me that often he does not get the ideas in class and that wehn he askes for help often the teacher will give him the correct answer or tell him she is busy. He says it makes him feel bad. He says he feels alone.
My question is about this - the stress and anxiety. Of course the 'grade' is and issue but the real issue is how should I respond to this to protect this child? Since the start of school he has lost weight and he has started chewing on the cuffs of his shirts ! This chewing habbit is really an problem to me - I notice it a lot, and to me it makes him look very odd when he does it in public, also he seems to do it a lot and I wonder how I should get him to stop. I think perhaps I should sort of not react to it and address the causes of his daily anxiety. I wondered if any other parents of first or second grade boys had noticed this chewing and how they reacted to it or how long it went on?
I have my first meeting with the school next week.

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Joined Jul 11, 2005
Posts: 550

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Posted:Nov 11, 2006 7:56:00 PM
Subject:Re: chewing

I would say getting him tested to find out why he is having trouble would be a good way to start. You may also wish to have him seen by a counselor or therapist to teach him more positive ways to handle his anxiety and help with the chewing issue.


scifinut mom to: ms 16, bp/adhd/anxiety/complex ld mr. 20, add/dyslexic I hear and I forget I see and I remember I do and I understand. -Anonymous

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Joined Nov 12, 2006
Posts: 7

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Posted:Nov 12, 2006 8:45:46 PM
Subject:Re: chewing

His academic problems could be in various areas...the school (along with you, the parent) should figure out where to start, such as what areas need to be evaluated. Is it reading or another problem, or could it be a difference in how he learns and how the teacher teaches? I am not sure what grade your son is in, and a lot depends on this because I don't know what implementations have been done thus far.

As far as the chewing on his cuffs, does he give any reason for it? I am not sure if I would jump to counseling (although it can't hurt). It could just be something that can easily be resolved (maybe he has a problem with his teeth or gums). He does need to have someone at the school whom he can trust and relate to (such as if he likes art, being able to go to the art teacher to talk when there is a problem). The school should know these things, and which teachers/faculty are good at these types of things. He needs to find somewhere to fit in at the school with other students. Teachers can partner students with lower self-esteem with easy-going students who are welcoming to other students. Any way to build self-esteem and confidence needs to be done.

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Joined Nov 03, 2004
Posts: 59

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Posted:Feb 16, 2007 1:38:04 PM
Subject:Re: chewing

I had a similar situation with a student who had TS he would chew on his sleeves and sweatshirt. Especially, when he was trying to control his tics. We allowed him to wear a sweatshirt over his clothes so when he was chewing it stopped him from chewing on body (arms, hands, etc.,) In our situation the more we tried to control the situation the more stressed out the student became, as long as he wasn't physically hurting himself we monitored, but didn't intervene unless he was hurting himself.

First grade is tough and I can relate to what you are going through my son didn't have the chewing, but to hate school so early in their academic careers leaves a lot of hurt, anger, fustration, and hopelessness.

I would document what you are seeing and request a child study meeting, I would recommend that you put your request in writing and take it to the principal to get this started for testing. Here is the problem with him being so young your school is going to advise you not to get him tested so early unless their are apparent issues that the educators are seeing.

In my state their needs to show a gap between performance and ability sometimes up to two years. It is often hard to show that gap so early in their education.

I understand the stress that you are feeling as a parent of young child with stress. Because I have been through it, I would suggest this to you. Hire a high school student that wants to work in the field of education to read with your son and do homework with him. Do not try to be the educator/mom. Your job is to be his soft place when he comes home. To comfort him and help him relax. Remember these kids are usually exhausted when they come home from trying to look "normal". It is difficult to teach a young person who is past their burn out stage.

I would also document the amount of homework and time that it takes for him to complete it. Things that you may take for granted, maybe screaming at others for help.

My son has/was severe ADHD, could not read in second grade and didn't know the letters of the alphabet (names or sounds). He was also my first born and I had no idea what was expected. I thought Developmental Kindergarten and Kindergarten would have helped. I also, had a Kindergarten teacher tell me that he would get it. I had my concerns then and when you ask questions and no one else sees your concerns you start to doubt yourself.

Good luck, if I can help let me know.


Shel If your not kicking hard enough your not making waves!

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Joined Mar 17, 2007
Posts: 3

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Posted:Mar 17, 2007 6:55:20 AM

i am not a parent. i am someone who knows this first hand. sometimes when you get worked up or very fidgety, it helps to chew on something. i have ADHD, and i am actually getting permission to chew chewing gum during school to help me with my concentration. chewing things is just something i have always done and it always helped. it used to drive my parents mad. i would chew the buttons off my shirts, chew up pens, you name it. i also understand how it must have felt for my parents. wopndering why i was always doing this. but this inability to keep still had little if not no effect on me learning to read and write. i was reading goosebumps in kindy.but the thing people have to realise is that each person is different(even those with LD's and ADHD) and the needs of them may be very different to someone elses. the best way to solve most issues like this ,i find, is to work out a way that works for the person. this may be trying to stop he chewing, it may be targeting what might be stressing them, or it may be like me, and finding some thing that they can chew. whatever works. ADHD is a pain in the neck, and yes it does make us different to other people in some ways. but it doesn't mean we are any worse. we just need different things sometimes. like i said. my advice is to work out what works for the individual.

(insert clever signature here)

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