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Why is he doing this? :(

I am a mother of 3 beautiful children (2 girls and a boy) The other day during lunch sat him down to eat his sandwich. Long story short, the bread fell off of one of his squares he proceeded to cry about it...I told him to fix it because i was still preparing the other sandwiches. Then he does this...................HE STARTS HITTING HIMSELF IN THE HEAD WITH HIS FISTS!!!!! Uh why? Is this an attention getting mechanism? My girls never did anything like this. I went over fiddled with his bread (not sure what i did to it, but he ate it). Hes 3.5 any suggestions?????

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Asked by okjb79 at 8:02 AM on Mar. 7, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (8)
  • sounds like just a frustration reaction.

    Answer by sati769leigh at 8:11 AM on Mar. 7, 2010

  • I can clearly see a frustration issue...but does he have to hit himself? :(

    Answer by okjb79 at 8:22 AM on Mar. 7, 2010

  • Sadly my DS does that also and he just turned 5(he just started doing it recently too but I am pregnant also so that might be adding to my sons frustration) what I tell him is don't hit MY "whatever your child's name is" and it seems to work and I also make him talk to me to see what is REALLY bothering him. Not 100& fool proof but does help. Good Luck. ;)

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:33 AM on Mar. 7, 2010

  • I don't intend to alarm you, but when my son was 3-4 years old he would bang his head with his hand or on a table when he was frustrated. He was also diagnosed at age 2 1/2 with mild Autism (borderline PDD-NOS and Autism). He is now 8 and grew out of this self-injurious behavior by the time he reached Kindergarten (WITHOUT the use of medications!), once he became fully verbal (he did not speak until he was 4, and we feel his frustrations stemmed from being unable to express his wants and needs clearly). Autism can also mimic or include Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD) and related behaviors.

    If this behavior continues, follows a pattern related to typically frustrating moments that shouldn't be THAT frustrating, or gets worse, I would ask your pediatrician for a referral to a NeuroDevelopmental Pediatrician for an evaluation. Better to rule out a more serious issue!

    Answer by LoriKeet at 8:44 AM on Mar. 7, 2010

  • It's normal. It's frustrating, yes, but it's normal. He's not going to cause himself any serious harm, and odds are, he's not going to even really cause himself fleeting pain (though if he does, it's a cause and effect thing - if I hit myself, it hurts, maybe I shouldn't hit myself...)

    I wouldn't make too big a deal out of it, because you don't want to encourage it (even trying to discourage it, a big response or a "oh, honey, don't do that, here, let me help, sort of thing, that can encourage it). When he does this, you could try looking at him and saying, in a very calm but concerned way, something like - "Wow. You look really upset. When you calm down enough to talk about it, maybe I can help." Or something along those lines. That way, he knows you care, and you see what he's doing, without feeding into the hitting himself, and it helps reinforce the whole "use your words to tell me what's wrong" thing :-)


    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 8:45 AM on Mar. 7, 2010

  • I should add, my ds did this sort of thing - he would hit himself, etc. There were a few times he bit himself, but one time he did it hard enough that it hurt, so he never did it again. Once he really started to "get" the whole "use my words to show what's wrong", then it stopped. Even when he wasn't entirely able to communicate verbally, being able to do it enough to convey his frustration, again, even when he didn't know the words "I'm frustrated", it helped. In the case you described, it could be something like - Mommy, bread bad, fix please... (just to make up an example, I'm not saying this is how your son talks).

    I should also add, he's now 17, and MUCH more likely to do things like hit himself in the head (picture the "I should have had a V-8 ads), when he's frustrated with himself than his almost 16 yr old sister. I think a lot of times, it's just a guy thing.

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 8:51 AM on Mar. 7, 2010

  • He loves his mommy so whatever you do to fix something for him will be wonderful! Girls & boys are different I have 2 boys & 3 girls. All are different!

    Answer by Stefono at 9:18 AM on Mar. 7, 2010

  • my son does the same thing when hes in his fit mode he will hit himself n the head and throw himself to the floor and cry

    Answer by elias1mamma22 at 12:58 PM on Mar. 7, 2010

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