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2 y.o hitting/scratching his own face when angry

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

When my ds, who was 2 on 2/23 gets angry, he starts hitting at and scratching his own face.  The other day, we were in the car and I couldn't stop him and he ended up with bloody scratches all over his face!!  These fits are basically in place of normal tantrums.  I have since cut his nails very short so he can't do too much damage and if I can, I sit calmly with him and tell him I can't let him hurt himself and hold his arms away from his face.  Is this at ALL normal?!  I am pretty worried about it

post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 


post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

that was meant to say "anyone?"  :)

post #4 of 6

i dont think i can offer much help, except to say my son does something similar. he doesnt scratch, but he pretty much slaps himself in the face when he gets mad. i tend to think its an alternative to when people cover their faces when they are upset, only this is more exuberant because he is a toddler. i can't tell you at which point it becomes a problem. i hope someone else can offer more information

post #5 of 6
I won't comment on if it is normal or not but I do think parents should trust their gut. If you think something is not right, get help. At 2 years of age the earlier the better, it can mean a big difference if you are right.
post #6 of 6

Not sure if you would consider this similar self-harming behavior, but my 20 month old son has just recently started biting his hand or arm really hard when mad, usually stemming from not getting his way on something. I was quite startled the first few times it happened, as he had deep teeth marks but thankfully never broke the skin. I really think now a few weeks into this happening that this is his attempt(without trying to sound too harsh) to manipulate the situation and get what he wants. He saw how much concern he got from doing that and decided to play it for what it was worth. The last few days I've either simply told him not to bite himself and walked away so he couldn't see my reaction and the behavior stopped short. My DH has also playfully pretended to bite his own arm when my son does that which to my surprise actually resulted in the tantrum ended and my son bursting into giggles.


If your DS is scratching himself to the point of bleeding however, I can see where you would want to intervene. As previous posters mentioned, if you're concerned that something more is wrong then perhaps it's worth looking into for your own peace of mind... however... it may just a phase some toddlers go through?

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