When my son reached the age of 9 I began to notice repetitive movements and obsessions. The first thing I noticed was that he was always clearing his throat. I can remember constantly asking him if he was okay. Parenting a child with Tics never even crossed my mind.
Not long after that his teachers began to complain that he would lose focus super fast and always needed things on his desk to be in a specific place or order. Not to mention he was very fidgety and needed something in his fingers to touch and play with.
My oldest daughter then noticed a few months later that my son would smell every bite of food before taking a bite.
It seemed that some of these repetitive movements would come and go. Some would stay for a while and some would stop with-in a weeks time.
When I stopped and thought back I realized that my son had been dealing with these repetitive movements and vocal outburst for many years. Such as this loud “eeeeeeee” sound he makes when excited or nervous.
My husband and I were watching a show one night called “Raising Tourettes.” I looked at my husband and I said “That is what DeShaun has!” We then took him to the doctor and sure enough he has Tics.
What Are Tics?
Common motor and vocal tics include but are not limited to:
- Throat clearing or sniffling
- Shoulder shrugs
- Neck twitches
- Involuntary and repetitively utters obscene words
Will My Child Outgrow Tics?
When I took my son to the doctor the first time they put him on a add/adhd medicine and said he will eventually outgrow it or he will be able to control it as he gets older. His doctor at the time was referring to the add/adhd.
We had absolutely no idea at that time he was battling Tics. Even though he had consistent Neck Twitching and Throat Clearing I didn’t think anything of it.
Honestly, I think it depends on the child. Do I see my son outgrowing his tics? I don’t know but what I do know is the medicine the doctors had him on wasn’t cutting it. It made him sleepy. Which made him very crabby.
So crabby that there were days I couldn’t stand to be around him! My own child. It was that bad.
He argued with me over everything. And if you didn’t answer his question exactly how he wanted it answered he would repeatedly ask the same question over.
This caused a RIF to say the least in our home. There was a lot of tension between me, my husband, and my son.
There were a lot of days I would pray he would stay in his room so I wouldn’t have to deal with him, it was that bad. I felt horrible! But what else could I do?
I hate arguing and I’m kind of old fashioned. You know the type…. “Because I’m the parent and I said so.” End of conversation.
Only it never went that way. It would always somehow end up with me screaming and eventually crying. If someone ever tells you parenting a child with tics is easy they aren’t being honest!
When we found out my child was in fact battling Tics the doctor did say he could outgrow it. I guess it is just one of those things where time will tell us.
Anxiety Tics In Children
As I mentioned above these types of tics can be throat clearing, twitching, eye blinking and or vocal outburst. Childrens MD Mom Docs has a great article on when to see a specialist.
For us it was when I seen the TV Show Raising Tourrettes. I had absolutely no idea a child with add/adhd could have Tics as well.
Turns out my child has whats called Anxiety Tics. Of which he can and probably will outgrow or at least be able to control at some point in his life. I hope. Again only time will tell.
However, when we revisited the doctor and found out he has these Anxiety Tics she told us that the medicine he was on can bring the Tics out making them more noticeable.
- Can I Help My Child With Tics?
Just to clarify, I am not a doctor, I am just a mother who happens to have a child with a Tic Disorder. From my own experience the best thing that has helped my child was taking him off the medicine the doctor prescribed for add/adhd.
Yes, the medicine was basically Riddlin. I swore before I ever even got pregnant with my first child that I would never allow my kids to be on Riddlin yet here we were.
I won’t lie, the only reason I took my son off the medicine was because the cost went from $86 to $172 a month! Our insurance deductible apparently hadn’t been met for the new year.
Related Post: How To Stop Yelling At Your Kids
There was absolutely no way I was paying that much a month. Seriously, that’s a car payment! And it wasn’t like this medicine was needed for a life threatening situation. His teachers would just have to deal with it. As I would.
I felt horrible for feeling that way but $172 a month was a lot of money for medicine that I felt like was just making my child extremely sleepy and crabby.
He was like a different person when he was on the medicine. My sweet and caring little boy just disappeared when the medicine would kick in. It was like he became Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
This made me feel like I was failing at parenting a child with tics. I mean how hard could it be, right? Apparently hard because I felt like a failure!
How To Help And Parent A Child With Tics
a. At Home
The best thing my insurance company ever did was adjusted the cost of my sons medicine. I don’t think I would have ever taken him off of it otherwise.
About a week after being off the medicine my sons sleep pattern seemed to return to normal. He was sleeping through the night and not waking up at all hours unable to go back to sleep.
Before when on the medicine he would take melatonin and stay up half the night unable to sleep. This would cause him to want to sleep in class.
So, we tried upping his dosage and again it backfired. He would fall asleep quickly but would wake up at 3am and could not fall back to sleep. Again causing him to become sleepy during the last part of the school day.
His lack of sleep was also causing him to be extremely cranky which led to screaming matches in our home. At one point I couldn’t stand to be around my child. I loved him dearly but I didn’t like him very much.
b. At School
After a lot of conversations with my sons teacher we decided it was best to have a meeting with the Nurse, Principle, and School Social Workers. At first I wasn’t very keen on this idea.
In fact I felt kind of judged and well like a bad parent. I felt like they were judging me because my child was out of control and no one not even his teacher could control him.
Of course it wasn’t all like that. It was just something I made up in my head. After a couple meetings we all agreed that Special Education was best for my son.
He would stay in his own class but would leave for special classes to help with Math and Reading. Honestly, this was the absolute best thing ever!
We made the switch with only a quarter left of school but I have seen such a difference in that short amount of time. This was also the same time I took him off his medicine.
Therefore, I believe the two together coincided and made a huge difference both at home and at school. My sons focus isn’t 100% but he does seem to be able to comprehend just a tad bit better than before.
Treatment for Tics
I would definitely check with your child’s Pediatrician first. They can refer you to a specialist if needed.
One thing I have learned in my journey is that each child’s needs are different. Just like discipline, what may work for your oldest may not work on your youngest. Treatment for Tics and or add/adhd is no difference.
a. When To worry About Childhood Tics
Again I’m not a doctor just a mom who has experienced a child with childhood tics. For us we began to worry when he had inclined troubles at school.
I thought the arguing and screaming matches at home was just something I would have to deal with. Like it was his personality and nothing I did would ever help. I just accepted it.
You don’t have to do that. And you shouldn’t. As parents we want the best for our children even when we don’t like how they act and behave.
My personal best advice is to seek outside help at the very first signs. This includes your child’s school. I know that may feel intimidating. But trust me it will help.
Parenting A Child With Tics Is not Always Easy
Parenting in general isn’t easy. Parenting a child with Tics is just plain exhausting.
However, you are NOT alone! There are more parents out there than you realize that deal with children and Tics.
If it is something that is becoming a daily problem and you have already reached out to your child’s school and Pediatrician, then I would highly recommend finding local parents that have children with Tics. You could form a small support group.
Of course if you are an introvert parent such as myself you could always try your church or find Groups on Facebook. Again you could even form your own Group.
You are NOT alone in this and you shouldn’t feel like you are. There are other parents out there just like you and me who are looking for support as well.