Monday, September 29, 2014

Hum-dinger of a Problem

My 8 year old hums.  And by "hums", what I really mean to say is he is CONSTANTLY humming.  In the tub, at the dinner table, in the middle of conversations, and during those "quiet moments"- like in church, the movies, or independent study time in school.

There are many reasons children hum and we already know why he does it.  Our problem is -- what to DO about it?  I know what some of you are thinking.  Humming can't be that bad.  It's a sign of a happy child, right?  Just let him hum and be happy.  Trust me.  I'm glad he's happy and likes to hum. The problem is that it's constant and it's a distraction in class to both his teachers and the other students.  It's obviously not appropriate during certain parts of the church service, or when others sitting close by are attempting a conversation.  I don't want to make him feel "naughty" or "bad" about humming.  I get that for him it's a soothing mechanism.  But I also want him to able to adjust "normally" without irritating everyone around him or getting in trouble at school due to his humming.

We've done the gentle reminder approach, quietly tapping him on the shoulder at church, placing a finger up to our lips.  When that doesn't work it becomes a soft whispered reminder, "No humming."  The third time is usually a combination tap-him-on-the-knee with a whispered, "you need to stop humming."  After that, both the hubs and I are ready to lose it.  "Seriously? Stop the humming!" doesn't usually come out quite as "gentle" or as "quiet" as we'd like, as in the case of yesterday, while the sacrament at church was being passed.  This is a time for quiet contemplation, for reverence and reflection, for meaningful soul searching.  This is a time we dedicate our thoughts to our Lord and Savior.  But when your 8 year old is constantly humming video game tunes and starts up again IMMEDIATELY after being shushed (at least 4 different times IN.A.ROW.) - well, that's a bit maddening for a parent.  I thought the hubs was going to lose it yesterday.

I've googled the situation and have found many opinions which run the gamut from "It's a phase you just need to ignore" to "he's stuck in Freud's oral stage.  Give him gum to chew."  But no one really ever talks about if they've been successful in getting their child to refrain from inappropriate humming.  (Yes.  We've had that discussion with him as well.)

We've got to figure something out.


Ruthykins said...

I don't support the gum idea, but candy to suck on might be okay. Can he hum quietly? Do his friends tell him it's weird? That is what stopped me. I didn't even realize I hummed all the time till it was pointed out to me, but you've already done that. I don't know. Tell him to whisper hum, or hum in his head.

KiennaP said...

I hear it's psychological, most people don't even notice they are doing it. Another thing I've seen is that it's what people do when they feel lonely. It's like talking to yourself, you just need to hear something going on. I've read some articles that say it's a sign of ADHD, and some people say it's just a "tick". If it's really a problem then just have him leave the room for a bit so it's not disturbing others maybe. If you know why he does it, there could be many ways to make him stop. But we really need to find something, because he's humming in the morning while I'm trying to sleep :P