Kids handle anger and frustration in different ways, but if your child is hurting themselves on purpose it is important you tackle it head on. Whether they scratch their arms, pull their hair or hit their head, you need to be able to show them how to properly handle their frustrations.
1. Make sure no one else is hurting them
While not the case for all children, some may bang their head if this is how they were punished in another situation. Talk to their minder and teacher to see if this is the case with your little one.
2. Help them get rid of pent up anger
Help your child release any pent up anger by encouraging them to run around the park or play outside. This will help them burn off any steam leftover during the day.
3. Interrupt the hurt
When your child is hurting themselves, gently pick them up and sit them down on your lap. Cuddling and hugging them until they feel safe enough to stop.
4. Help them express themselves differently
A lot of kids hurt themselves because they don’t know how else to deal with their anger or frustrations, so it is up to you to show them. Give them alternative ways to deal with stress: counting to ten, breathing calmly– in through their noise and out through their mouth, and simply talking about the problem are other ways you can help them deal with it.
5. Tell them you love them
Tell your child that you love them and that you don’t want them to be in any pain. Now is not a time to give out to them or punish them for lashing out.
6. When to talk to a doctor
While it is a pretty common way for kids to react to stressful situations, this doesn’t mean that it is ok to allow them continue. If you are struggling to handle the situation or they aren’t showing signs of stopping, it may be a good idea to discuss the matter with your GP, before it gets out of hand.