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Karyn Jones
Karyn Jones, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1716
Experience:  Diploma of Counselling and Transactional Analysis Counselling, Lifeline counselling, Pastoral Care.
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Why does my 3 year old son hit himself

Resolved Question:

Why does my 3 year old son hit himself?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Karyn Jones replied 5 years ago.
Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX you for bringing your concerns to Just little toddler and I can truly imagine just how upsetting and worrying this must be for a concerned and caring mom..and feel for you..It is so hard to be three...children see what they want to do, and often don't have the skills yet to do it.or express it or their needs.
When children hit themselves, it is often a response to a discipline style that includes punishment. A child like your son will do best, XXXXX XXXXX for now, with a ton of understanding and a thimble of limits/expectations...(as you have shown much wisdom and insight by doing this already).. He is going to be harsh enough with himself its important not to reinforce his tendency.... I don't know if you are doing timeouts, or any other kind of punishment, but please stop...But rather a very helpful technique to use would be to teach him how to handle his frustration in a constructive way and to help him express it by way of saying to him when he is about to hit himself again
"I know you're frustrated...but let's find another way to handle it." Then teach him to breathe deeply to handle stress: "Good air in. (Deep breath). Count to ten, then Breath out through your mouth."
After that, please don't make a big fuss when you see him hit himself again, so that you don't reinforce the behavior. But do immediately address the feeling that is causing the behavior and offer him an alternative: "You seem pretty frustrated..right now. Let's breathe deep together again and let it all out"
This is not uncommon for children at this particular developmental stage ..and I am sure this little toddler will outgrow this behavior pretty quickly, but it's a great opportunity for you to teach him to start managing difficult emotions...and to express them in a healthy way..
Your goal is to help him to find other ways to manage and release his frustration, as well as to help him learn to be more forgiving and compassionate to himself in general...and Its be kind to xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.time.
When my son did the same I would just go up to him and take hold of his little arms and place them around my neck..and then we would use the breathing technique which proved very successful..and ended up laughing and having lots of fun..pulling faces during deep breathing together..It really works..
Please take good 'self' care this can be a challenging developmental age though a fun time with them also..
Please 'accept' my response if it has proved it contributes much by way of keeping this very valuable service going for you and others alike in the future...
Please be encouraged...I located a very useful parenting site below for you as it has some very helpful hints...
Blessings and warm wishes
Karyn J( ProfClinicalDipCouBmin)
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