A child who strikes himself and is often overwhelmed by his emotions.
Sometimes the little ones hurt themselves voluntarily by banging their heads or clapping themselves with their hands for example. Although this behavior may be worrying for parents, it often reflects frustration that the child can not express otherwise.
What happens when a child strikes?
Children, especially at an early age, have difficulty expressing their emotions or frustration. To hurt themselves allows them to express and physically feel the anger, without seriously hurting themselves.
Although it may sound strange, they experience real relief with this behavior that allows them to distract themselves from their frustration.
How to react when a child strikes?
Seeing your child hurt himself can be painful for the parent. Still, it is important to stay calm and avoid getting angry.
The important thing here is to encourage her to verbalize her emotions. Do not hesitate to put words on what he feels like for example "you're angry" or "it's hard to be frustrated". Stay close to him throughout the crisis by speaking to him in a reassuring voice. You can place between it and the hard surface a rug or a word object so that it does not hurt itself.
Do not try to stop him from hitting himself with these actions as this may make his anger worse. Ask him what he needs to calm down: a hug, a blanket, or a book for example.
And after ?
After the crisis, do not hesitate to put words on what he just lived: "it was a very big anger!" Or "next time, tell me if you feel anger rising in you".
You can also help him find ideas to express his frustration the next time. For example, take a deep breath, then blow hard, hit a pillow, or go running.
It is important to help your child understand that his emotions are normal, including negative emotions, and that we have the right to express them. It does not make sense to punish him because he is angry. With your help, he will gradually come to express his emotion other than by striking himself.
To find out more: Louison Nielman and Thierry Manes' "Activities to ease my frustration", Fleurus editions.