Dealing with Self Abuse
Topic: Dealing with Self Abuse
Here are some suggestions for effectively dealing with self abusive behaviors
In most cases, when kids hit themselves, it’s their excitement (lots of energy and no way to get rid of it) or their wanting to provoke a reaction in the people around them.
- The first thing to try is to offer other ways of releasing their energy, like squeezing their body or offering to run laps around the playroom with them. If you get a sense that (s)he is building up to one of these ‘hitting’ periods, give them the squeezes before the period, if possible. If not, you can offer them as soon as they start to hit themselves. Also, squeeze directly on the place that (s)he is hitting (if (s)he’s hitting his/her head against the floor, offer to squeeze his/her head.)
- Ask yourself: ‘How am I feeling about this?’ Most people feel uncomfortable in these situations, and the child picks up on that feeling and it is a motivator for the child to keep doing the behavior. Don’t worry if you have been feeling bad, you can always turn this around. When you feel and act calm (not reacting in an entertaining way), your child will not be getting the same reaction from you, and very well may diminish the behavior. We see this happen all the time. The book, “Happiness Is A Choice”, is a tremendous resource for helping people feel more comfortable.
- Other factors to look into:
- Your child’s diet
- Is this the way your child gets what (s)he wants? Many children get treats and things once they bang their head or hit themselves, so they learn to do this when they want things. If this is the case, you’ve got to make it an ineffective method by no longer giving what (s)he wants when (s)he does this.