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Self harm in young children (not serious but worrying)

(3 Posts)
OhSoVintage Tue 11-Mar-14 10:12:34

Im worried that my daughter might be showing signs of self harm and how to tackle it so that it stops before it gets serious.
She currently due to be assessed for aspergers but we are not entirely sure she has it however she does and has always had anxiety.
It usually comes out as stubbiness and by performing mild OCD like rituals to feel secure.

However the last couple of weeks she has been hitting herself on the head repeatedly when she's feeling frustrated. Not enough to bruise but enough to give her a red forehead and a head ache.
I was initially shocked and tried to stop it which made the situation worse and felt it was just for my attention so decided to keep a distant eye and ignore it, distracting her from it if I can.
Well on the way home from clubs the weekend she wanted my phone (for mine craft) which I didn't want to give her as the charge was running down. I stuck my ground and after repeatedly asking me and getting nowhere she started to scratch herself on her legs. She did not cause them to bleed but they did get very red and raised the skin.
I had to pull over and talk to her, she didn't want to talk about it but then became upset as her legs hurt. We chatted and I explained it was a silly way of getting mummies attention as she hurt herself.

Its only happened a handful of times but I find it very upsetting to watch and want some advice on how to stop this behaviour before it gets any further. My daughter tends to repeat patterns of behaviour due to her other issues and I really don't want this to be something that repeats and has a danger of becoming more extreme.

woodrunner Tue 11-Mar-14 16:16:21


Maybe it would help for you to talk to her about it not being a way of getting your attention, but a way of releasing her frustration. Explain to her that she does it to soothe herself, which is a good idea, but the way she is doing it is physically harmful. Suggest coming up together with a list of ways she can calm herself emotionally that are gentler and kinder to her. Maybe deep, slow breathing, or cuddling a toy.

Also maybe suggest some alternatives fun things she can have at the ready as a consolation prize for when she doesn't get her own way - can she carry a favourite book or game, or a small sketchbook and pencil, so if she can't use your phone or get something else she wants, she can divert her attention to something she does have control and choice over. You could even pack her a small bag of things she loves to take around with her.

OhSoVintage Wed 12-Mar-14 10:45:37

Some interesting ideas there, thank you x

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