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Talking with 8 year old about tics?

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Talking with 8 year old about tics?

Postby PocPer » Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:02 am

Hi,

My 8 year old son was recently diagnosed with TS. After much research on how to let him know, we sat him down, explained that he had a neurological condition along with the details and let him know he could come to us with any questions. Over the past few months or so, he has noticed his tics when he looks in the mirror and has asked what they are (he also has slight ADHD and tends to forget the details we review). We let him know in a very matter-of-fact manner that what he was seeing is his tics and it's part of TS. Also important to note that I have directly asked him in the past if his tics bother him and he's always said "no." We did come to an agreement (prompted by him) that we don't call out his tics, that if we see him ticing a lot, we ask if something is bothering him.

The doctor we are working with feels no medication is necessary because his life is not being negatively impacted in any manner. And honestly, we'd prefer to not have to introduce medication unless there are no other alternatives.

In the last few weeks, his tics have increased. There are times when his entire face is ticing and sometimes to me it looks painful. The other day be mentioned that his tics were bothering him after I asked him if anything were bothering him. I sat down to talk to him about it and said that with TS, sometimes the tics will be worse than others. I also asked him questions such as if something was bothering him at school or if he was anxious about something...

My husband and I disagree on the approach I took because my husband feels Im leading him to reasons whereas I feel Im trying to uncover if there's a reason why his tics were increasing.

I don't know what is "right" in these situations or even if there's such a thing, so I would love feedback from those of you who have TS to understand what is helpful. If you were 8 years old again, how would you want your parents to deal with the times when they noticed your tics increasing?

Thank you in advance for your insight!
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Re: Talking with 8 year old about tics?

Postby plank » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:41 pm

Don't look for "reasons" the tics are increasing. The reason the tics are increasing is that your son has a neurological disorder, and life stressors and random chance can affect the frequency and severity of the tics. Having his mother concerned about him all the time is generally a pretty big stressor, it'll send the message that something is wrong with him pretty loudly if he wasn't already feeling that way.

I say this as somebody who used to be in your son's shoes. Also, thank you so much for avoiding the medication route. I was put on a gamut of more experimental neurological medications than I can count; at the best they zombified me and at the worst they caused severe and painful allergic reactions. All for the price of monthly checkups that make you feel like some sort of lab experiment. Although maybe that's just me.

Sounds to me like you're doing your best in a bad situation. Try to treat your son like he's normal, as much as you can. That's all I ever wanted.
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