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Is it normal for my 4 yr old to pinch or bite themselves when mad

My 4 yr old stepdaughter when she is mad has started to hit , bite , pinch or pull her own hair. I am worried that something is really wrong and don't know if she needs to see a counselor or if she is even to young. She has been through alot my husband and I have full custody of her , we did not know about her until she was about 1 and 1/2 and shortly after that her mom abandoned her and we were given custody , her mom was out of her life for about a year and then was in and out but lately she has earned supervised visits every other weekend at her grandmas house . I am just really unsure about what to do ?


Asked by worriedmom1030 at 3:01 PM on Jul. 12, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 3 (13 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (5)
  • It is my understanding that this is a pretty typical response as Jolee12345 said to frustration and anxiety. The act of hurting ones self or others is a quest to gain control and a phase. As Jolee suggested finding alternative ways to express feelings like she described and through art, dramatic play, and discussions about feelings will help ease this and to find new outlets for this behavior. Also some consistancy in schedule and perhaps a "buddy" that tags along through transitions such as a blanky or stuffed pal that goes to Mom's house and to your house will bring a feeling of consistancy and security. I am no expert but I would not be overly worried. A counselor or pediatrician's advice might not be a bad idea but just like most parenting concerns, this too will pass...

    Answer by hotelmom123 at 1:56 PM on Jul. 14, 2011

  • Honey, you come on here and people will freak you my son when he was 4 and 5 did the same thing, I spoe to his doctor and a counselor, and found out, that some children get so frstrated and have not learned how to express that, so they will harm themselves in order to not do something wrong. Another thing that i was tld is they feel that they ae ebing bad for being so angry so in a sense they "punish" themsleves. I highly recommend talking to her about WHY she thinks she does it, and explain to her that it is FINE tobe angry and find healthy ways for her to get her anger out! We had a scream pillow ( scream into it) and a punch buddy.... a faceless stuffed creature that has n form of actual life to unch when angry! Good luck, and there is NOTHING wrng with your child! Myson is fine now and he is 8 an dhappy as can be and hasnt done that in over 3 years!

    Answer by JoLee12345 at 11:14 AM on Jul. 13, 2011

  • Hard to say, but I would let her pediatrician know about it. To me, I feel like she is taking anger out on herself like maybe she blames herself for things that have happened, but...I am no counselor or anything so I would ask her doctor. I hate for a little one to think that what an adult does is their fault and I am sure it is hard that her Mom has done her the way she has.

    Answer by luvmy4kidsinAL at 3:05 PM on Jul. 12, 2011

  • I can say that I have a 4 year old and when she is mad...she hits, pinches, etc...but not herself, usually her brother.

    Answer by luvmy4kidsinAL at 3:06 PM on Jul. 12, 2011

  • I don't think it is normal. Pretty typical for a child with early childhood trauma, though. She needs professional help, IMO. I'm sure you are doing your best, but help is always good, no?

    Answer by Mom2Just1Kiddo at 3:50 PM on Jul. 12, 2011