ADHD and Skin Picking {darn that bloody anxiety!}

My daughter Natalie, who has ADHD, buzzed with anxiety this morning. She woke up at 5:30. She was too nervous to eat. And she picked and squeezed and made herself bleed in at least 4-5 spots; I couldn’t keep the Bandaids coming fast enough!Why was she so anxious today? Her fourth grade class is taking a fieldtrip.
Having a change in her routine this major would be enough to cause a noticeable change in Nat’s behavior, but this particular trip is also fraught with social anxiety. The teachers divided the kids up into groups, with each group assigned to a teacher, teacher’s aid, or the principal. Natalie learned that she and L., an on-again, off-again friend of hers, are both in Mrs. McCasland’s group. Natalie is anticipating that this girl will ignore her, whisper about her to the other girls, and generally make her life miserable. She’s probably right. Sigh.
At least Natalie was able to talk about the thoughts and feelings that were dominating her brain and behavior this morning, and that gave me a chance to try to help her. I gave her positive statements to repeat to replace her negative thoughts, and, bless her heart, she sincerely tried to utilize this coping skill, even taking my suggestions and building on them.
Me: “I always feel safe with Mrs. McCasland. Mom trusts Mrs. McCasland to take good care of me today.”
Nat: (Repeats my words, and adds:) “Mrs. McCasland truly cares about me. She will give me hugs when I need them.”
Me: “I can’t control how L. acts today, but I can control myself. If she is with other friends, I’ll remind myself that she still likes me too, and I’ll walk with Savannah, or Will, or Mrs. McCasland.”
Natalie: “Yeah, or anybody.”
So I drop Natalie off at school. I text Mrs. McCasland to give her a heads up that Nat isn’t just nervous about the fieldtrip itself; that the social dynamics are her biggest concern. Then I sit down and turn on my computer. A new blog post is up on my ADDitudeMag.com ADHD parenting blog, and it’s about Natalie’s problem with picking her skin, and how anxiety is one of triggers behind this behavior.
How right I am about that, I thought. Today proves it. And though in this case, being right doesn’t bring me pleasure, confirming that my instincts are spot-on at least gives me tools; helps me know how to help Natalie. It’s a small consolation, but I’ll take it!
Does your child with ADHD having a picking problem? My blog post on the topic explores the issue further, including a tip from our psychologist that has been helpful. Please share your tricks and tips for dealing with this problem too!
(photo from ocdsymptoms.co.uk)

Kay Marner is the co-editor of the book “Easy to Love but Hard to Raise: Real Parents, Challenging Kids, True Stories.” Marner is a frequent contributor to ADDitude magazine, and writes an ADHD parenting blog, “My Picture-Perfect Family,” for ADDitudeMag.com.

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adhd and school, adhd and social problems, adhd behavior problems, adhd symptoms, anxiety, CO-MORBIDITIES, General ADHD, Kay Marner, school behavior, stress and resilience ·

About the author

Kay Marner is the co-editor of the book "Easy to Love but Hard to Raise: Real Parents, Challenging Kids, True Stories." Marner is a frequent contributor to ADDitude magazine, and writes an ADHD parenting blog, "My Picture-Perfect Family," for ADDitudeMag.com.

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The "ADHD Mommas" are not medical or mental health professionals, nor an ADHD coach. Any opinions shared here are just that, opinions. I, and the other "ADHD Mommas," are sharing our experiences with our own ADHD children. Please do not re-post or publish any content or photos without a link back to {a mom's view of ADHD}. Have the courtesy to give credit where credit is due. Copyright protected. All rights reserved.

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