I think most people struggle with habits they wish they didn’t have. Nail biting, curling hair around your finger, etc. My oldest has had a few at various times in his young life but they didn’t last long (for a short time he used to wet his hands and wipe his cheeks with his hands, he also used to stick his hands in his mouth when he was nervous). I noticed last summer when he was in camp for the first time, he started chewing on his shirt from time to time. Once kindergarten started, it became a constant thing. It’s quite normal for gifted learners to have nervous habits so I’m not suprised by it. There’s also plenty to be anxious about in school. However, all his white shirts have a dark spot on them where he chews on them:(
We’re trying to bring the habit from the unconscious level to the conscious level. He really has no idea when he’s doing it. I point it out to him whenever I see him do it. We’ve also made a rule that when he is at home he has three choices:
1. Take off the shirt.
2. Have tape put all around the collar.
3. I put something distasteful on the collar (I’ve wet it and sprinkled pepper on it and I’ve used organic dish soap).
A friend of mine has a highly gifted learner who is now an adult. She told me that when her son was the same age, he chewed on his shirt as well. I’m sure that he’ll grow out of it in time but I am concerned about him being teased. I also want him to learn coping skills for when he is nervous or anxious so that he won’t feel the need to chew on his shirt. His little brother has learned that when he is upset, he is to ask for a hug or go and find his blanket for comfort. He’s been praying each night at bedtime for God to help him stop the habit.
In the meantime, no more white shirts!