why do toddlers hit themselves when mad
Genecks has something there. TimbaLanD it was explained in the net that though children are most likely to exhibit such behavior the most positive action that the parent can do is to tell his/her child that hurting himself is not good or that it would do the child harm. I think it would be best if as adults (or young adult in my case) we prevent this behavior from children. I for one (as I learned from my mother) and my twin alice (not her real name) never exhibited such behavior when we were children. Neither did my brother. Some of my friends claimed to be tantrum throwers some weren't. We've actually discussed this quite often. I know of someone though who's really bright and an achiever (he's top of our batch, consistent class honor, etc) and he used to bang his head when he was young. My point is that just because a child bangs his head doesn't mean there's something wrong with him. Not yet, in my opinion anyway. But as explained children do this as a way of getting what they want. It can be a form of manipulation especially in the case of younger toddlers, say babies and children around 0-5 years of age. Some older children may exhibit this way into preschool and preteen age because they have been conditioned to do so. If they see that they get what they want when they throw a tantrum and hurt themselves, then the tantrum becomes advantageous for them, hence the specific behavior.
Children are smart, even babies. They can manipulate us, especially parents who have a soft side for their children. But as Genecks said there can also be a different underlying cause especially in an older age group. I think that behavior such as banging the head may also be signs of emotional or mental confusion/disturbance in children. If for example this is their reaction towards failure or disappointment when they commit mistakes, I find this reaction disturbing. I do not find it normal for anyone, even children, to hurt themselves when they fail at something. This is short of self-mutilation. The best thing to do I think is to tell/teach children from a very young age that banging his/her head is wrong. And if he/she does this to get what he/she wants, the parent/adult must stand firm and refuse to be manipulated. Another preventive measure is to not let any situation arise in which the child sees it necessary to bang his/her head. That is how my mom raised us. She scheduled our eating time, play time, learning time, everything. We didn't grow hungry and have to wait for our food. There was no need for crying.
If we did, it surely was because of something else and she would see to what was bothering us. The basic necessities were provided for. Food was there, toys, play, attention. We knew that crying would not get us anywhere if we wanted something (note the want and not the need). If we wanted something we told her. If we could afford it, she'd buy it for us. If we couldn't she'd explain why not. There were no tantrums, no head-banging. I can't exactly say I'm a well-balanced person psychologically. But what I know is that I can't blame any of my idiosyncrasies because of my childhood. To sum it up I say prevent children from banging their head, whether most children do it or not, or even if some people will claim it as normal. It's just not good for their health and it might prevent the development of far more serious psychological disorders.
My son does this!. He gets both hands and slaps himself on either side of the head repededly when he is upset/frustrated! He used to head bang too when he was upset/frustrated. He has never been expsosed to hitting at all. not even by a 2 year old cousin! lol. So yeah, I thought 'where is this coming from! '. But I have to say I think its probably pretty normal!. disturbing to watch but normal.
He is just venting his frustration on the way that comes natural to him! The fact hes not hitting out at someone else is a good thing I think and I dont see it as him 'punishing' himself either. I just think its a motion for him. frustration turned into energy needing release! I would personally like him to do something else. But it is his body. They wouldnt do it if it really hurt so I try not to worry. I treat it as I would treat any 'tantrum' (basically what they say to do in the article 'cry for connection') and hope it passes!. His head banging passed long ago and was replaced by this. I am showing him how to take his anger/frustration out in other ways that are appropriate/acceptable (such as screaming into a pillow or taking it out on poor teddy or something). as its something that needs to be done, because the headbanging was replaced by this and one day this will be replaced by something else as well I guess! I just think. what do I do when I am angry/frustrated?. I cant just bottle it up inside! So yeah. its all well and good for me to want my son to 'love himself' and not do this to himself. but needs must be met and to acheive this I think you need to offer another way for him to vent. (if any of that makes sense! )
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