DS is 3 and mimics EVERYTHING he sees. The sillier/wilder/stupider the better.
He spent a week at day camp and now smacks himself in the head, hard. A lot. Sometimes he looks like Homer Simpson: <smack> "ow"<smack>"ow".... etc.
We really don't like the behavior for a number of reasons. His dad, however, gets super angry and threatens to end whatever fun they're doing (reading, playing, whatever) and send him to his room if he continues. Unfortunately, this seems to be a compulsion after only a few days. We are tired of telling him not to do it, but he doesn't stop. I ask why he does it, he "doesn't know."
My feeling is that this is another "wait it out" phase and the more attention it gets, the longer it will last. But DH will not accept that as a means to deal with it. (He also disagrees with my handling of the "monster" in the bedroom b/c it validates that there is actually a monster in there, but that's another thread that I'm not going to start....)
Advice? (Either to end the head-smacking behavior or convince DH to ignore it...)
He cannot actually injure himself by smacking himself (as far as I am aware of), so I think it is one of those wait-it-out things. This is clearly a trigger for your DH, though, and he needs to deal with whatever feelings this behavior brings up for him.
Your DH might try to say, "That really bothers me, I don't want to see it so I am going to leave now." No threats, no anger, just respecting his own limits.
DH does think he can injure himself. I'm with you, Nik. I just tell him that hitting hurts and we don't do it. To anyone. Or anything. I mean, if he's not allowed to hit our trees, why should his head be a target? I think he's starting to get it.
You can also tell him that injuring his head will make him less smarter. Hehe. Kidding. Although, yeah, he could potentially injure himself. Maybe he's doing it to attract attention. The best way to get rid of the behavior is to ignore it.
I don't know. I think that the kind of force he would have use to hurt himself would be way too painful for him to inflict on himself, even if he were strong enough.
My main issue(s) with it are that 1. He looks like a moron. (I know, this is the nature of most little boys at one time or another, and many grown ones, but still....) and 2. This is not "his" behavior. He's copying other kids' negative behaviors whenever he sees them. Drives me crazy.