DS is 18 mos but has been open-palm smacking himself on the head for the last couple of months. It's usually because he's frustrated at not being able to do something or if we suggest doing something he needs to do but doesn't want to do. As much as possible, we practice gentle discipline and maximize the yes's, but there are times, of course, when he needs to do things he doesn't want. We try to make those things as fun as possible, but it doesn't always work.
Anyway, this hitting-self thing is really disturbing. We do NOT hit/spank/physically "discipline" him in anyway and the only time he's been hit is by his 2 year old cousin.
: They used to "play" together occasionally, and the cousin would smack him on the head if no one was near enough to prevent it. That is the only situation he's been exposed to hitting, so I'm wondering if it's because of that.
Do other toddlers do this? How do you respond? We tell DS to "be gentle" with himself and "love" himself, as mommy and daddy love him, give him a hug, reflect whatever frustrated feeling he may be having at the moment and see where that goes. But I'm not sure it's working. Sometimes he smacks himself for no apparent reason! It really disturbs me and I'm just wondering about other ways to handle the situation. We try not to get visibly upset when we see him do it, but it's getting difficult, because he seems to be hitting himself progressively harder and more frequently.