Daughter has a habit of shaking a pen or pencil all day

How do I address my daughter and try to correct a habit that I thought she would outgrow?




It started when she was around two with a princess wand. She carried this wand everywhere, but she would shake it and stare at it all day.

She changed to carrying and shaking smaller objects such as pens and pencils once she started school full time. She is now eleven and continues to do this. Some of the kids have teased her but most are just used to it. I really thought she would outgrow this.

Should I be concerned that this is a bigger issue? if so, where do I start?

I need to help my daughter before this gets worse. I believe that people perceive her as distracted and so she has missed out on several opportunities because of it.

Please help!!



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Sep 14, 2021
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ME TOO
by: Anonymous

Me too! I just came back from playing with a a pencil. I came to hop online to see if I was the only one that has this habit. I'm so relieved and happy I'm not alone!!!

I like to pretend that the pencil (or other certain objects) is something or someone. Usually I like to make it me. Imagining I'm famous and wearing different suits and shoes. I also like to use this habit when I am down and need some cheering up. I have Anxiety Disorder and Intermittent explosive disorder. So this really, REALLY helps me out! Also, if I watch certain movies, I know I'm gonna have the urge to do it again!

I also like to think that this isn't just considered a habit. I would consider it a gift. Because with this gift, we like think beyond the imaginative, creative mind which makes us special. I love this as well cause it's fun and entertaining.

So glad I'm not alone. Thnx for this amazing message. Really made my day!!!

Aug 13, 2021
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Fellow Pencil Shaker
by: Ro

Okay, let me just say that it blows my mind that other people not only so this, but that they experience this the EXACT same way as me. I genuinely never thought there was anyone but me who did this! I loved reading all the comments here, it made me feel so understood. Im 24 and have been doing this for as long as I can remember, albeit behind closed doors now. Im super curious about how this is such a shared phenomenon.

We all seem to be the same type when we wag away - our imaginations are often SOARING and stories are coming to life in the chambers of our minds. For the OP tho - dont worry about it. She’ll be okay :)

Jul 31, 2021
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I also do this.
by: Salvador Martinez Jr

I'm 28 years old and I have been doing this since I was a child. I had no idea other people did this as well. I've never been so relieved to know that I'm not alone.

When I do this habit I'm always imagining a story or scene play out in my mind. I used to think there was something mentally wrong with me. Then my sophomore year of high school I realized what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to become a Writer and Film Director. I have Social Anxiety Disorder, so being a Film Director is a bit much. But being a Writer is for sure my greatest passion. We are creatives and we have to do something to get our creative thoughts out there, even if we’re just imagining it while waving a pencil.

I don't do this in front of anyone anymore and I don't only use a pen/pencil. Sometimes I use small random objects that are close by. Sometimes even just my hands and fingers will do the trick. I've come up with countless stories while doing this since I was a kid. Some of those stories have even became actual books and films (by someone else). I get so mad and jealous when I read a book or watch a film that is so extremely similar to an original story I imagined long before the book or films’ release. I believe once an idea is thought of, anyone in the world can think of it. So write it down!

I'm a Pisces and an Old Soul. I have Agoraphobia and Social Anxiety Disorder. I have this strange habit. But I am normal. Or not normal? Isn't it better to be different? To not be a generic person like everyone else? I like to think we're special. Not better than everyone else, but different. There's nothing wrong with that.

If anyone wants to chat about this or anything else, this is my email: salvadormartinez022693@gmail.com

Peace and Love

✌️👽💕

Jun 06, 2021
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It’s Normal
by: Sebastian Delgado

I use to do this with a red baton that would come with a volleyball set. I was like 4 years old at first when I started doing it. I always took it with me everywhere and would sometimes shake it in front of my family. Then when I went to 2nd grade, I switched to sharp pencils. Then after multiple cuts, in middle school, I switched to unsharp pencils with the eraser cut off.

I’m 19 years old now and to this day, I still shake pencils. I don’t do it in front of everyone anymore, I now do it privately ever since 2nd grade. My imagination has expanded to multiple storylines. When I shake my pencil, I think about my own Star Wars universe, call of duty universe, and even think about anime with it. When I play career mode in sports game, I shake my pencil to imagine that I am the character and that I’m experiencing what the character is experiencing in the game.

I’ve even used this shaking pencil to improve my Junior tennis career. Before matches, I would be somewhere private and imagine myself playing my best tennis while shaking the pencil. It had helped me significantly and it helped me land a Texas State ranking of #24 and to continue my career in tennis at the D1 Level.

I know it sounds weird but I’ve literally thought my whole life I was the only person that does this and I’ve never been so happy to find a website where I’m not alone anymore that does this. People that understand me and know why I do it.

I’m more than happy to talk with others about their experience. If you ever want to reach out and talk about your experience doing this, my email is sqdelgado9679@gmail.com and we can find a way to get in touch. I’m just so relieved that I’m not alone that does this.

Apr 25, 2021
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Same problem
by: Anonymous

I am 17 years old and shake the pencils for 2-3 hours a day. I started shaking a pencil from the age of 4-5. As far as i can remember i enjoyed a game i played so much that i was waving my arms to think even when i wasnt playing that game. But as swinging my arms became tiring over time,i chose to grab and swing a pencil as the best alternative.

Over time, i started waving a pencil for everything i could think of not just play. Shaking a pencil makes me happy i think some things and these thoughts give me pleasure. i usually do this when watching videos about history or wars on youtube, or while playing a games for example csgo. i also break the nib of the pens I have chosen so that they do not paint or damage my hand.

I know i wasted dozens of pens just because of my habit of shaking a pencil, and if someone reads this article they will probably think about how mentally ill I am. i am sorry, but as someone who seems normal in society, this is my secret habit.

Apr 10, 2021
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I also have habbit of it
by: Shalom Gill

I also have a habit same as she have I know that she feels that the pen or pencil is like a human or etc. Believe me that give her more attention and keep her busy in other activities. But her HABIT WON'T GO FOR LIFE TIME.Cause I am also going through it...and I am now 16.
AND IT'S 100% NORMAL.

Apr 07, 2021
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a weird habbit.
by: james

bro i do something kinda similar i lay down on like a bed grab a pen look at the roof then shake it around the pen is supposed to be legs or arms and say if i see a movie about war or something i grab a pen and look at the roof and react it with my mind and agian the pen is the arm im 11 and cant get over it i am annoyed about my dad telling everybody do yea... peace

Feb 11, 2021
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Had this habit since preschool
by: Anonymous

Since preschool, I also had the same habit of playing/fiddling a pen. I remember my mother was concerned and asked my teacher if I always did it in class.

As I grew up, I tend to do it when I'm alone at home, sometimes just walking around while my hands were almost dancing with the pen (or sometimes hangers). Whenever my family members saw me in that state, they get scared or concerned as it seems crazy. This carried on even until secondary school.

What happens when I am doing it, you may ask? It simply becomes a tool to let my imagination flourish. With a pen/hanger/something that feels comfortable are in my hands, my hands automatically fiddles with it and my mind transports to a different world. Almost as if I'm writing a novel. Sometimes I do it while studying or writing an essay. Did it negatively impact my studies? No. I dare say it helped with my creativity. I was often among the top three students in my batch. As long as one learns to control the habit in public, and not let it distract them from their priorities/work, it should be fine.

Dec 30, 2020
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Same here
by: Anonymous

I'm 19 and just joined the Army. I have done it my whole life and it's actually helped me with my imagination. Although it may be distracting, it has not really affected my learning. I passed every class and was never held back. I've actually gotten into writing on my free time and I've learned that I enjoy some things more than others.

However, a good way to help her stay focused is to give her mechanical pencils. For some reason I can't use those for the same purpose, but that may just be me

Nov 11, 2020
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I do it too
by: Anonymous

I DO IT TOO. im 18 and have been doing it for as long as I can remember. I act out like anime characters or superheroes and the pencil just helps me I guess. im way less secretive then everyone else here and my boyfriend even laughs at me sometimes when im doing it. This thread literally became my happy place because I thought I was the only person that did it.

Feb 17, 2020
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Same!!
by: TTS

I’m 16 years old and I have been wondering what’s going on with me like I really thought I was autistic but I’m not! Although I do know for a fact that I have ADHD so I’m not sure if fidgeting with a pencil & sometimes with my hands. I have been doing this since I was 4 I believe & I used a lollipop that time.. I kept it as a secret because I’m embarrassed to talk about it with anyone & I’m glad that I’m not the only one in the world that deals with this.

I’ve been doing this so much that my arms are skinny & im trying to gain more fat in my arms. I just want to know what is this & I want to stop having this because it’s embarrassing & no matter how many times I want to stop I keep on playing with a pencil like I’ll go crazy for it & when I don’t have one I just play around my hands this is so embarrassing even though I do this alone in my room.

Does anyone know how to get rid of this? It’s like an addiction to me for fun when I’m bored

Jan 30, 2020
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Omg, I'm not alone!
by: Anonymous

I'm 34. I've been doing it my whole life. My parents have video footage of me when I was 2 years old auditioning sticks in the backyard to be my next wag object. Before I could read I would make up stories holding a book, sometimes upside down and wag sticks/pens/pencils/spoons/ forks at it. I've used a mini baton and a princess wand. Something happens cognitively where I am more comfortable and more invested in a book, or conversation when I get to wag my stick at a book or light colored wall. She may never outgrow it, and that's ok, but she'll learn to control it in public. Nothing is wrong with her, she's a creative genius.

Jul 12, 2019
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done this for so long
by: Anonymous

Literally been doing this for as long as I can remember. I would use like forks or spoons but now I use pens or pencils. I mainly do it when I watch sports to almost imagine I am playing the sport. I'm 17 and I have been pretty secretive about it my whole life. Mostly just do it while I'm alone in my room.

I literally just thought of what I do habitually and sub consciously and wanted to see if other people do it too. As for your daughter, give it time. In this scenario, less is more. I turned out fine and I still do it.

May 02, 2019
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Identify the problem
by: Anonymous

I think it is worth considering quite hard as to whether it really matters and in what situations, and to let it go as much as possible. It shouldn't really be doing her or anyone else any harm in most circumstances.

However, where and if it is causing her or others real problems, I'd suggest seeing if you can identify why it is she does it - what she needs from it, whether sensory or imaginative input. It may be possible to find less intrusive alternatives.

Apr 16, 2019
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pencilplayer
by: Anonymous

I do it too, I play with my pencil or each time I am thrill or watch anime or something that thrills me and imaging. Stories about it when I play with my pencil, my imagination just takes off, and it makes me feel good, And. it makes me happy.

I know it's not normal i am 28 and. I recently have been diagnosed with OCD, and anxiety issues, so I think this is part of having a mental illness.

Oct 15, 2018
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I have done this all my life
by: Anonymous

This thread has made me feel 1000x better. Ever since I I’ve been a little kid I’ve gotten a pencil and I would walk around the house and I would think stories and the pencil made me think better. It’s really weird do not get me wrong I’ve never liked doing it but I just enjoyed doing it ever since I was little. I never did it in public or anything, but she is young so do not worry. I’m pretty normal.

I’ve recently been diagnosed with OCD and I thought back about how I used to do this when I was a kid and young teenager. I’m 20 now and stopped a few years ago. I feel better now that I see others in this thread also have done this.

After I was diagnosed with OCD I thought about how I did this as a kid and thought I might’ve had something worse wrong with me or like I might’ve been crazy. So this is a big relief. Your daughter should be fine. I’ve had a good life she should out grow it in a few years.

Sep 07, 2018
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I do it
by: John

I have been doing it my whole life. Never officially diagnosed but I know I have ocd and anxiety issues and attention deficit disorder. I think it might be a form of a tic like turrettes. But it's not been that big of a deal itself but night point to bigger issues like anxiety and ocd which have been a problem.

I also bite my nails and obsess over money, damages to my stuff like cars. Not saying other people would have these too. Having said all that. I am doing well in a complex technical field despite setbacks. Yep reading and other creative endeavors set it off.

Dec 31, 2017
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I do the same
by: Anonymous

I’ve 47 and have been doing this nearly my entire life, although I try to curtail the habit at work or in public. I was just laying here, thinking of the habit, and became curious if other people do it.

I guess so!

I will shake pencils while reading but I *really* do it when I’m creating stories. I’m a writer and there is something about it that kicks my creativity into high gear, like it lets my mind escape. My language skills and my phrasing becomes more eloquent. And the bottom line is, shaking a pencil just feels incredibly good. Hard to explain.

I’m sure my family thought I’d outgrow it. I thought I’d outgrow it. In the years when I wasn’t writing as much I did it much less. I don’t do it often when reading any longer. Like I said, it’s mostly a writing habit and why I don’t love writing with other people around.

Sep 12, 2015
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I shake pens while reading
by: Kaelin

I've always wondered why I do it, but if I'm reading a book or a long passage, I HAVE to shake a pen or pencil at the words to read them..it's strange..when I don't have a pen or pencil, I feel an overwhelming anxiety and it takes me twice as long to read a passage, sometimes never even comprehending he's in reading without it..

Jul 13, 2015
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I have the same problem
by: Anonymous

Im 20 perfectly normal but i stare at pens and shake them when i can it makes me feel good. What condition do i have? Is it OCD?

Jul 02, 2014
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Leave it
by: Anonymous

She'll grow out of it just like the wand.
It's harming no one.

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