Help for Children and Teens with Trichotillomania and Hair Pulling
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Advice for Parents of Hair Pulling Children and Teens: 
Dealing With Administrators, Teachers And Coaches

by Abby Leora Rohrer

While some school officials are familiar with trichotillomania because they have already encountered it in some form, many more are not.  You can help to educate them and help them to join your family’s team so as to provide your child with the best support system possible.

I’ve written a draft letter for you to use to speak from or to send to your child’s teacher or coach.

I recommend that you don’t tell your child that you are “smoothing” things over for her, which might give her the impression that you are enabling her behavior.  She needs to deal with the social ramifications of hair pulling with her peers and the world in general.  However, shame from authorities in her environment, in my opinion, would be damaging to her.

Dear (Name),

My child has a sensitive issue which is difficult to deal with in a public environment like school.

She has a problem that you may never have heard of, but is very important for you to know and understand as an educator of young people. It is called Trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling). This means that she pulls hair from her __________(head, eyebrows, eyelashes--- fill in this area with whatever is appropriate).

Approximately 5% of the population (or up to 15 million Americans) suffers, usually in silence, because of the social stigmas associated with behavioral problems. The cause(s) of compulsive hair pulling is not well known and there are many different theories about its origins.

Please be sensitive to her situation. Please do not point out to her when she is pulling her hair. Simply ignore the behavior or call me directly if you feel that it interferes with schoolwork or other activities.

If you must address it, please do so “matter-of-factly” in the same way you as nail-biting or a similar habit. Please don’t publicly discuss it in a harsh way. Our family is working on finding a solution to help her and you can assist by helping her to feel as good as possible about herself at this time.

If you are interested in learning more about trichotillomania, please visit

Thank you for your understanding in this matter.

(Sign your name)

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