Nervous Tics in a Ten Year Old – They’re Back

Written by dad - 18 Comments

After a good, long run, our ten year old’s nervous tics came back this spring. Once again, he’s been experiencing involuntary blinking and has also been wrinkling his forehead. I don’t think it’s all that apparent to casual acquaintances, but it’s incredibly obvious to us.

It’s hard to say exactly what (if anything) triggered it this time around. While his tics have been stress-induced in the past, his last bout occurred in the absence of any apparent stressors. Moreover, he hasn’t experienced anything particularly stressful in recent weeks.

The only thing that I can think of is that his tics re-emerged right around the time of his spring buzz cut. Perhaps that sort of change to his appearance made him feel a bit self-conscious? That doesn’t seem particularly likely, as he actually likes having his hair buzzed. More than likely, that was just a coincidence.

As before, we’ve gone out of our way not to draw any attention to it. Rather, we’re assuming that it will just go away on its own as it always has in the past.

Published on April 17th, 2008 - 18 Comments
Filed under: Health
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Comments (scroll down to add your own):

  1. Might it not be teasing from other kids? They might be making him nervous with comments about his new looks. It might not be too obvious though.

    Comment by Riaan — Apr 18th 2008 @ 8:00 am
  2. Riann: Could be, but it’s not like him to embrace something so fully if they’re actually a source of angst. I suspect that the haircut and tics are coincidental in this case, and that something else (hormonal changes, etc.) is at play in this case.

    Comment by dad — Apr 18th 2008 @ 8:09 am
  3. Have you checked with epilepsy – scary sounding, I know, but the ‘eye flutters’ were one of the largest symptoms my niece had prior to being diagnosed.

    Not an alarmist, really – just thought it may be helpful.

    P.S.(She’s 14 now and puberty seems to have helped – asymptomatic for 2 years now.)

    Comment by Deb — May 30th 2008 @ 1:12 pm
  4. My 12 year old son has also developed these tics. It started with repetitive eye blinking, and then went away after a few weeks. He now moves his arms like he’s drumming his body with his elbows. His left elbow always stays bent at a 90 degree angle, which is a new development also. I ask him why he is doing this and he says he cannot control it. If he drums with his right arm, then he has to drum with his left arm and the cycle is never ending. He thinks it’s OCD (Monk is his favorite show) but I think it might be something more.
    He also has the tendency towards ADHD since toddlerhood. His nutrition has played a huge factor in keeping him off Ritalin all these years. He cannot eat processed sugars or red food coloring. I also notice if he eats too many foods with partially hydrogenated oils in them he gets ADHD.
    Within the past 5 months, he has a morbid pre-occupation with death and has been sleeping on our bedroom floor. Or, he thinks Jesus will come again while he is still alive and he will not get to live to be an old man while on earth. He cannot watch any scary commercials even, or he will have nightmares. He covers his ears and closes his eyes and repeats loudly, “watermelon, watermelon….”

    Does your son also fall into any of these categories?

    Thank you for being a mom who cares enough to reach out.

    April in Ohio

    P.S. His twin sister has Marfan Syndrome and I know he is worried about her heart.

    Comment by April — Oct 20th 2008 @ 2:51 am
  5. Hi April. No, our son doesn’t have any of these other symptoms. Just the facial tics, and they come and go. He hasn’t had them for quite some time now. In general terms, these instances seem to coincide with stressful events — back to school (though it didn’t happen this year), soccer playoffs, moving, etc.

    Comment by dad — Oct 20th 2008 @ 8:26 am
  6. Our son developed a head tic about a week started with a head thing (kind of a backwards nod like he was stretching his neck)..then as Christmas approached, he started popping his jaw a little. It has been a stressful 6 months (my husband lost his job in July) for us and he is definately a nervous child (he is very, very bright and tends to always be concerned that others are following the rules, etc.) We notice as he gets nervous or there is a lot going on, its getting worse. When things are calm, we don’t see him doing it as much. We have asked him if he’s worried about something or if his neck is bothering him, but we are not sure what to do. Do we take him to the doctor?? I know he often hears my husband and I talking – regardless of how hard we try to limit conversations. He’s a very inquisitive child. Any thoughs…we are really nervous about him going back to school with these tics.

    Comment by Jen — Dec 26th 2008 @ 7:35 pm
  7. I have a 8 yr old about to be 8 in 2 weeks that does the same thing, I notice that he does it when he is uncomfortable… when he is around a lot of people he starts to panic. I think that he has resorted to the tick because it kind of soothes him. They have gotten better, I dont think that it is anything to worry about.
    Hope this helps anyway.

    Comment by Kristina — Jan 15th 2009 @ 11:35 pm
  8. …thats supposed to be about 9….

    Comment by Kristina — Jan 15th 2009 @ 11:36 pm
  9. Our son exhibited similar symptoms at age 4. His Pediatrician diagnosed it as a tic. But we got a second opinion at age 5 from a Child Nuerologist at Childrens hospital and it was diagnosed as a fairly are condition called eyelid myclonia with absence (a subtype of petite mal epilipsy). The eyelid flutter and sometime eye roll episodes last one to two seconds and can be frequent through the day. It definitely occurs more when stress or lack of sleep occurs. Many with this are also light sensitive so it increases with brighter days, early morning, etc. Worth seeing a nuerologist just to be sure. Most are misdiagnosed as having a tic.

    Comment by Matt — Jul 23rd 2009 @ 4:24 pm
  10. Our son now 10 has had several “ticks” for the last 3 years or so…scraping his toungue until it’s so raw he can’t put anything in his mouth….jerking his head…clearing his throat constantly…among other habits such as constantly talking to himself and acting out little plays in his head….which would often verbalize without him realizing it. He is an incredibly bright boy and gifted musically, so we just thought he had an active imagination and would grow out of it. Our pediatrician whom is held in very high regard told us that many young boys do get a minor form of Tourettes syndrome and is often associated with ADHD. He advised us not to bring attention to it (or criticize him about it) – but that in most cases, it just goes away as the child progresses in age.

    Comment by Mike — Jul 28th 2009 @ 6:10 pm
  11. My 12 year old son has been constantly licking his right hand for 8 monthes. It now in the last month turned into tugging on his shirt, then licking hand, then rubbing eye, then picking his nose……all in that order.
    My x and I are in the middle of a custody battle, and though I have not discussed these adult issues with him, he has been listening to his dad for sometime now with what I would call ‘brainwashing’ and trying to alienate my son from me. When he is at his dads, he sleeps in the same bed with his dad. He said he has to because dad says that ‘dad is loney.’

    I took him to counsling, but was told they couldnt do anything with out his father signing off to give permission. He has since said that he will not allow our son to go to counsling.

    What can I do? He starts seventh grade in a couple weeks, and I see this handlicking getting worse and afraid it will cause issues for him in school.

    He is with his father in PA, a for half of the week, and it seems that PA, is ok with 12 years sleeping with in the same bed as their father.

    Comment by gee — Aug 9th 2009 @ 9:19 pm
  12. talk to his family doctor. you dont have to have his consent to take him there. do you? to me it seems like an ocd. maybe you should talk with the dad and work on the issue together. is that something that might be possible?

    Comment by kristina — Aug 10th 2009 @ 12:10 am
  13. yeah hi im a 29 year old with a tick disorder and it started when i was younger bout ten then different ticks started to happen they are very aggrevating and veyr hard to live with if anyone knows where to go for treatment please let me know …………..thank you.

    Comment by robert — Sep 21st 2009 @ 12:30 pm
  14. My 8-year-old son has a strong tic (shaking). Usually, it doesn’t start until he comes home from school. What’s up with that?

    Comment by Dan Reynolds — Feb 18th 2010 @ 8:34 pm
  15. I have a 12 year old son that has had tics for about 4 years. The strange thing is that is can go months without having anything and then one day he wakes with them. He has eye blinking and mouth movements. I have noticed that they start early spring or summer. Very rarely does it have them in the winter. I am wondering if the pollen in the air starts them? Anyone heard anything on that? Thanks

    Comment by Melinda Haithcock — Mar 6th 2011 @ 2:32 am
  16. My son is 10 and his tic started about 2-3 months ago. Blinking of the eyelids and rolling of the eye and when it gets bad he pushes his lips out. Interesting that you said spring, summer because spring is when my sons started. I see an accupunturist who has said he can help we will see.

    Comment by Kappie — Jul 3rd 2011 @ 5:59 pm
  17. DO any of your children take any medication, my son has developed some tics and am wondering if its connected to Singulair he is on for asthma, it has been mentioned as a potential side effect?

    Comment by Carolyn — Feb 13th 2012 @ 10:50 am
  18. My child is a 15 year old boy who has been doing the neck stretching thing for about 3 years. He is very active in sports and to our knowledge has not had a neck injury of any sort. I even had an x-ray of his neck and it was negative. He stretches it in all directions and he says it is because it is so tight. He does complain of pain and I give him a ibuprophen from time to time for it. It looks like he is doing it involuntary but I can’t really tell. He does have a slight stutter also. He talks very fast and we are constantly telling him to slow down. He talks so fast that he skips over some words. Should we see a neurologist?

    Comment by Sonia Guyer — Sep 17th 2012 @ 8:55 am

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