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My 17 month started hitting herself from last 2 months. If I say no she starts slapping her on legs or tummy. If she is angry she does same. Sometimes while drinking bottle milk, she is calm but hits on her head...I don't understand why she is getting used to slapping. Is this normal behaviour? It's disturbing me at least... Is this is not normal, what should I do to get rid of this habbit. Thanks in advance.


Brenda Nixon, M.A. Replied: You could discuss it with your pediatrician or a family counselor. It could be a number of things; anger, frustration, a form of self-calming, or a medical condition. Being her best advocate, I suggest you talk with a medical professional to rule out any problem in that area. If nothing shows up, then you have a behavioral issue to deal with.
Posted On 2010-11-20 07:38:51
Sharon Silver Replied: It must be very frustrating for you to have to watch your sweet child slap herself. Well, that's basically what's happening with her, she's frustrated. She's just about to talk and enter year two where independence rules. She's frustrated that she can't have all that she wants. And then when you say no, she erupts with frustration and doesn't know how to handle those feelings so she slaps because it gets your attention. I think there may be two things going on here. When you described how she's hitting her head while eating that seems like a comfort ritual. That kind of repeated action is somehow comforting to a child. Anything done consistently can create a numbing effect. I would see if this behavior continues or changes into something else. If it does then I would have a chat with a behavior specialist in your area. There's a good chance that as she moves through the frustrating late toddler years and early two's she will stop this. The other slapping behavior you described is done out of pure frustration. She's just about to begin talking and is frustrated that she can't communicate. She knows what she wants, but has no way to express it. She's also almost two and that's when frustration seems to be uncontrollable for little ones. I wouldn't look to "break the habit" as you say I would look at it more from the standpoint of how to assist her. Try and be aware of what's going on before she begins slapping. See if you can put words to it. Doing that lets her know that you understand her. I'd also look into baby signing. She seems very bright and would probably pick it up quickly allowing her to communicate with you instead of trying to get your attention through slapping. The other thing that might be helpful is a seminar I have on my site, called Correcting Toddlers. It's the sweetest most loving and firm way to correct really little children without yelling or punishing. Check it out it's just what all parents need when they have toddlers and two years olds. Good luck.
Posted On 2010-08-07 23:31:52
Peter Hanfileti, MD Replied: Self hitting is not uncommon in kids, but I would be curious as to why it is happening with your child now, and just in the last 2 months. It certainly sounds like frustration is a trigger, but the fact that she does it when she is calm and taking a bottle is not consistent with that assumption. One thing I would pay attention to is your own level of frustration/stress that she may be picking up on. Young children especially are like barometers of your state as well as the energy state of your whole family. If there have been any major changes in your family's routine, living arrangements, illness or loss, or any other stress provoking events within the last few months, just know that she may be reacting to those things even though she doesn't have a conscious or literal understanding of what is going on. By acknowledging the influence of these potential factors, you can change her perception of what these stresses mean and reassure her from an energetic perspective that all is okay and any stressful situations can and will be resolved. If she is able to feel this reassurance coming from you, hopefully the self hitting will dissipate over time. I encourage you to get other opinions on this, and certainly discuss it with your own doctor at her next visit.
Posted On 2010-07-30 15:13:54
Sharon Buchalter Replied: While it is not extremely common for infants of this age to hit themselves, there may be several reasons behind it. Sometimes infants of that age may hit themselves as a result of frustration, due to their inability to speak. Sometimes children of that age hit as a result of seeing hitting or being hit themselves. Are there any siblings at home? Sometimes an infant will slap themselves to show what a sibling is doing to her. This may also be your daughter's way of communicating what she sees within her environment. If your daughter goes to daycare or is watched by a babysitter, you want to be 100% sure that no violence is occurring. Children who are exposed to hitting and violence are more likely to display that behavior themselves. It may be their way to show you what is happening to them. Sometimes hitting oneself can be a result of a physical problem. In fact, sometimes children use slapping as a way to relieve other pain. Therefore, I recommend visiting your daughter's pediatrician and bringing it to his or her attention. In the meantime, try to teach your daughter to self-soothe, rather than hit. Provide her with a soft, fluffy animal that she will enjoy holding and squeezing, in place of hitting herself. If you see her going to slap herself, put the animal in her hands as a soothing object. Another method is to help your daughter acknowledge her feelings. For example, "I know you are upset. Mommy loves you. Let me give you a hug." It is important to help children label feelings. At that age, it's difficult to ask them how they feel, so you will have to communicate through different means. Giving hugs and reassuring your daughter can help calm her anger or frustration. Some children may use hitting as a way to get your attention. Telling her to stop doing it can actually increase the slapping behavior. Instead, spend time with her, reinforcing positive behavior by smiling, holding her gently and using a happy, calm voice. When possible, try to create as calm of an environment as possible for her, playing soft music, singing a lullaby and using soft voices. It is especially helpful to create this relaxing environment right after you trace a pattern of what triggers the anger. Keep a diary of your daughter's behavior so you know when it's especially important to give reassurance. Most importantly, keep calm when dealing with your daughter. You may get frustrated, but this will only increase tension. Talk to your daughter's pediatrician to identify resources that may help her, such as a speech evaluator or a psychologist specializing in child development. This could help with a formal assessment in order to provide you with further recommendations. Please note that her behavior may worsen initially as you change your reaction to her behavior; however, after a while, this should subside and lead to a less frustrating situation for both you and your daughter. Good luck and please let me know your progress.
Posted On 2010-07-30 00:16:37
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