Hitting self - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 03-06-2003, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
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I keep meaning to ask this. My 9yo does this when he gets mad at himself or frustrated, most notably when he can't get his shoes on and the bus is coming or when he plays his gameboy and messes up. Sometimes he bangs his head on the wall. Other than this he is a perfectly normal and sweet kid- right on track developmentally emotionally, intellectually, and physically.

I have no idea how to handle this. I think I haven't always been the best model for how to handle stress but I never throw things or hit myself. What should I do? Right now, I just help him with his shoes and take the gameboy away when it happens. I have talked to him about it and told him why I don't want him to do it. I have even suggested that we go talk to a doc about it which he doesn't want to do.

I would love to hear from someone else who has dealt with this.
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#2 of 4 Old 03-06-2003, 02:54 PM
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My 6 year old has hit himself a handful of times. Dh and I each handled it the same way -- told him that we don't hit in our family, even ourselves. And that he is our son who we love, and we don't like anyone to hurt our son, not even himself. He argued a few times that it was his body and his choice. We were firm that hitting is not allowed. Period. He stopped.
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#3 of 4 Old 03-14-2003, 07:18 PM
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One of my sons did this too. (He's 10). We did a couple of things. Reinforce his feelings eg know how frustrating it is trying to get on your shoes in a hurry, please let me help you. Breathing - deep breath in (we say good air in) count to ten and breath out thru your mouth (bad air out). I do the goodair/bad air thing at work too! And congratulating him on mistakes. Mistakes are great! Now you can learn it! (something my dad used to say to me). I guess alot of positive reinforcment. I had the same problem as a child. (I dont think it completly went away, I still dig my nails into my hand when I get really mad).
These ideas worked for myself as a child and my child too. Hopefully they will work for you!
Good luck!-

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#4 of 4 Old 05-07-2003, 09:05 PM
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My son, age 9, when reprimanded or frustrated will launch into a litany of "I hate myself," "I'm stupid." "I wish I were dead." "I wish I were never born, etc." When he told me seriously a few weeks ago that our hamster wouldn't care if he died, I made an appointment with a therapist. The therapist said that that although teenagers have difficult issues, around age 9 is a hard time for kids. We've only been to the therapist a few times but one thing he did was to tell my son in a humorous way that the only reason to get that mad at yourself is if you do something truly horrible (He made up some ridiculous scenarios--running over a lady and her 11 kids with the car, etc.) When I see he's getting into a tizzy, I ask him if the problem is as big as our bogus scenarios and he usually smiles and relaxes a bit. I don't know if it's a permanent solution or not but I hope the therapist has more tricks up his sleeve. If you can, you might want to see a good child or family therapist now while your son is small and his problems are still relatively small and uncomplicated.
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