Is it normal for my 6 year old to hurt herself?

Jessica - posted on 04/30/2015 ( 4 moms have responded )

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My daughter has always shown emotions of anger or frustration. When she was a baby, she cried all the time, and we were told it was colic. As a 2-4 year old she would have "temper tantrums" over not getting her way, her cousin not playing with her, or being told what to do. Now she is 6, and has had some behaviors that are very concerning to me. At first, it was pinching herself, ex:She does not like wearing shorts under dresses. We went shopping and found a dress. I told her if we buy this dress for school, you have to wear shorts under it. She then preceded to clinch her mouth and pinched her arm really hard. This was not the first time i witnessed this behavior, and because of the circumstance I took it as being spoiled, or mad because she wasnt getting her way. I spanked her in the dressing room and told her to never do that again. I have witnessed her holding her breath, pinching herself, and pulling her hair when she is angry or frustrated. My daughter also has spells of unconsolable crying. She cant tell me whats wrong, or why she is crying. This goes on for a few days at a time. The most recent and most alarming event happened yesterday. I picked her up from the after school program and she is wearing a bandana around her neck (like a western style) that i did not give her. An adult at the facility had given it to her. Her teacher tells me that a little boy was in her seat, and instead of asking him to move, she popped him in the face with the bandana. She got in trouble by the teacher, started to cry (she never gets in trouble at school, or after school program), and went and sat by herself. A few minutes later the teacher looks over, and my six year old daughter has tightened the bandana around her neck to the extent of having a red neck and face! While in the car, I asked her why she "chocked" herself. She finally said because I hurt him, so I had to hurt myself. I do not feel that this type of behavior is normal. What are your thoughts? My daughter is very smart. She tested through kindergarten requirments about half way through the year, she has a very large vocabulary, she excels in sports (tball, 1st base) and very artistic, and head strong. Please give me your thoughts on this.

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Dove - posted on 04/30/2015

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And please do not spank her for this... hurting her for hurting herself only 'proves' to her that it is an OK thing to do. I know you are worried and frustrated and that is normal emotions, but trust me when I say that spanking will NOT help the situation. You both need some help and that is OK. A good counselor will work w/ her AND w/ you to give you good tips on how to curb these behaviors.

Dove - posted on 04/30/2015

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Absolutely very concerning and I would be calling her doctor today and getting a referral to a child psychologist immediately. Your daughter needs professional help... now.

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Jodi - posted on 04/30/2015

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I would say stop spanking her altogether. At all. For any reason. She clearly associates hurting herself with her feelings of disappointment and anger, and if you hit her when she is feeling these things, then you are not helping.

I would suggest maybe talking to a counsellor. The chances are there will be one available through the school. She seems to be using these behaviours as a way to cope with her anger and frustration. It would be worth having her talk to someone about it and helping her find new coping mechanisms.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 04/30/2015

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I agree with Dove on every point. There has to be another way to teach her to cope with disappointment. You hitting her indeed reinforces hurting herself, or someone else when misbehaving.

Also, I think you need to address WHY the teacher did NOT take the bandana from her after the incident. That is insane.

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