How can I prevent my daughter from pinching herself when she is mad?

What should you do if your child hurts themselves when they are angry? Is this cause for concern?

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10  Answers

500 9

I feel it is a cause for concern. It is a clear signal of distress. That something in your communication or interaction with your child is causing more stress than she can handle. In reading on this topic in childhood development you'll discover that "self harm" at an early age is a sign of stress and frustration. The child is facing things he is not emotionally ready for. On a day to day basis it is of utmost importance to access their physical needs in a timely manner before addressing their emotional reaction to that need. For instance, if a child is very hungry or very tired and acts out. It is better to first address the tiredness or hunger with calm. By doing so you elevate the stress on the child rather than take it to the next level by applying discipline. Wait to see if this addresses the emotional outburst completely. If your child is old enough to communicate with you ask them if they feel better and then ask what made them so upset. You will learn more about your child in asking questions in time of calm. Your child is constantly giving you cues to their needs with their behaviors. Parents who aren't fine tuned into those behaviors because they too are reacting under high stress, will find it extremely difficult to stay in control. But the most important time for a parent to be in calm control of a situation is when the child has lost ability to control themselves. Example. the traffic is driving you crazy, you are running many errands and everything is taking longer than it should. The baby is tired and getting hungry. He first whimpers, (1st sign of distress) You simple try to calm him with your voice and he tries to calm himself. You yell at someone who cuts you off and now you are really losing it. You have heard him begin to whimper again and softly cry. (2nd cue of stress) You are focused on getting your errands completed feeling they must be done now. He starts to really cry (extreme stress cue) You let him cry for the next 15 minutes until you finally get home. You take him out of his seat and place him on the floor. You go about taking things out of the car and putting them away. He is beside himself with stress, hunger and being tired. He walks over to you bites your leg. You react with frustration and anger and correct him. Now, if the cues had been responded to it would have been a completely different ending and the bite would have not happened. Those mothers that find the few minutes it takes to get their child a cold drink, a break from the car. 10 minutes in a grassy area to chill and calm down themselves while their child eats a snack, are fine tuned to their child. They aren't misbehaving out of temper, they are responding to built up frustration and a need to get your attention which whimpering, crying and reaching for you has not been responded to.
In addition, if the parent places stern, seemingly unforgiving responses to slight shows of emotion the child starts to feel they are not permitted to have emotions and this could make them feel no way of expressing that pinned up stress and frustration other than self harm.

9 29

My daughter would scratch herself or pinch herself... I didn't even think of the too many don'ts. I tend to notice if I'm saying "no" too much because it bumms be out... My mother in law gave great advice, "say no when it counts, then when you say it, they'll listen. Don't say no if it isn't necessary or if it is simply inconvenient, otherwise the no won't be respected when it needs to be." When kids are looking for attention, and acting out, they are NEEDING attention. I agree that we shouldn't condone destructive behavior by being audiences, but one should stop and go, "are we too busy? Have I given time to my child? Has our life changed? Am I stressed and is this making my child stressed? (my daughter is the emotional borometer for our family... when I'm overwhelmed is when she tends to act out more) Are big changes taking place or coming in the near future? Is he/she getting picked on at school?" Kids sometimes don't know how to get out what is going on inside. They deserve special attention and help to express themselves appropriately :-)

1 0

In my experience as Mom of an LD challenged kid, any type of self-mutilation (strong word, I know) is cause for a parent to think through--not ignore.

My 13 year old ADHD/LD girl started hitting herself in the forehead last year when she got frustrated, could not remember something or when I used condemning tone in my voice with her (which I did when I was getting tired or overwhelmed myself).

I believe she did the behavior because she needed to express a feeling and did'nt know how. I also think she wanted to get a positive (nurturing) response from me. She was frustrated/angry (hurting inside) and did not know how to express she did something drastic (hitting herself) so that I would see it and be alarmed. Being alarmed alerted me to her distress and let me know she needed help with something. In short, she needed my help but she didn't know how to ask for it.

I told her to use her words (which we had worked on for MANY years). Use her words to label her feelings; "I'm frustrated", "I'm angry", "my feelings are hurt", etc. Then say what is wrong; "my hair dryer is not working right"...or "what you said to me was unkind"....or "I'm mad because your not paying attention to me"...or "I hate this shirt--it is ugly and I don't want to wear it". Then say what you want; "Can I get a new hair dryer?"...or "please talk nicer to me"...or "please help me Mom with....______" or "can I wear a different shirt?". (be careful that your child does not use this scenario and become manipulative--parents still need to say no sometimes even when feelings are expressed appropriately!!)

This story sounds simple--it was NOT!! I have ADHD too and it took years of effort and practice--some good days, some bad days, some really gloomy days. What helped us though is when she was little I used the montra "use your words to tell me how you feel" now that she is a teenager that vocabulary has meaning for her (us) and when things like this happens it lays a foundation for more productive conversations.

To help create that foundation, when she was little we used to have a poster on the wall (like you see at the doctor's office with the smiley face to sad face that tells the doctor how you feel). We used to act out what those feelings felt like--then label the feelings with words...once she had that down, we expanded her thinking to telling me what was wrong and then asking for what she wanted.

One last thing--my girl has an extremely high IQ with an extremely low processing speed. This means she is a smart cookie but it takes awhile for her to process and then understand what has been said (even if she understood it just yesterday)...then it takes her a little more time to respond to a request or demand. Lots of kids like this get labeled at school and by family members or even family doctors (not specializing in this area) as "difficult" "stubborn" "sassy" "lazy". Parents of a child like this often get labeled as "lazy" "difficult" "stubborn"...because everyone thinks it is a parenting problem. And, of course, it is. However, unless you know this is an issue with your kid--you don't know YOU need to do something wrong in order for them to learn. Owch, I know, right!!! This is also a HUGE IEP issue at school and directly related to school behaviors AND (so that I can circle back around to the issue) it is also related often to self-mutilating issues.

I know it is long--and I hope it is helpful to someone. xo

1 0

OOPS...I meant to say in the "one last thing" paragraph, line 10, word 5.... [need to do something "different" in order for them to learn. ]

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33 3

Maybe your child is pinching themselves to get a rise out of you. Can you engage with your child on more one on one activities, like creative activities, reading stories, running around and imagination games. Then ignore the pinching and say nothing. Try that and see if it makes a difference.

16 0

My son used to scratch at his face. We realized we were giving him too many rules & regulations so we cut back to just a handful. Also, every time he scratches we tell him we don't do that that if he's frustrated to tell us.

But on the whole cutting back on the don'ts helped the most.

23 0

i have the same problem except with biting herself my little girl bites herself to the point of bruising when she upset

1 0

I don't need to worry about this. My daughter was 8 when she began cutting herself and she has really lost her willpower. It makes things a lot easier on me. Especially since my bastard husband is always at the pub.

23 0

i hope you take her to counseling or something.

5 0

My daughter pinches herself whenever she is angry as well. I think the best solution is to ignore her behavior. Sometimes If the child is young enough (my child is 15 months ) they are doing to test what does and doesn't hurt them as odd as that may sound. Some children have a hard time expressing themselves and inflict pain on themselves to show an emotion which is not always anger but frustration. Ask your child what they want , or simply give them a hug and let them know that hurting themselves is not a nice thing to do.

39 8

try doing the extreme and pinching yourself and adding to the pain she inflict upon herself. I have 4 rules that all 5 of my children agreed upon. Love and appreciate yourself. Love and appreciate others. Safety. and kindness. She didn't love and appreciate herself and safety. Send her to the corner for double her age, ask her which rule she broke and ask her in the FUTURE how she would change this action. 5 kids all under 11 this works. I see great results form someone who deserves the greatest! Dawn

1 9

My son headbutts things when he gets mad and then cries for attention afterwards. My husband and I just ignore it and we dont give him any attention for that behavior. It has cut back quite a bit and he only does it when he is really tired now.


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