Child sometimes hurts herself when frustrated - advice on how to deal with this please...

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twice_as_nice
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Child sometimes hurts herself when frustrated - advice on how to deal with this please...

Postby twice_as_nice » Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:58 am

Hi
Recently, and on very rare occasions, when my daughter (who's 8) gets upset or frustrated (e.g. not getting her own way about something), she has started showing signs of trying to hurt herself. it doesn't last long, she normally blows up and calms down very quickly.

About 6 months ago, she stared pulling her at her hair when she got frustrated, which I tried to ignore to see if she'd stop it, not wanting to draw attention to it.

More recently she started obviously trying to show me that she's hurting herself (like purposefully pulling up her leggings, looking at me with a very angry / frustrated face and scratching at her legs purposefully, from ankle to knee. I don't think it really hurts - no marks remain afterwards - but the look on her face says she wants to hurt herself and wants me to know she wants to hurt herself). On these occasions, I have reacted, cuddling her and saying something like 'please don't hurt yourself honey', which calmed her, though even if I hadn't reacted, it's all blown over very quickly (i.e. once she's vented her frustration, she calms down quickly).

She now seems to do the scratching thing with slightly more frequency (though it's still only happening once a week maximum) so I don't know if I've done the wrong thing by bringing giving her attention when she does it?

Anyone come across this sort of behaviour before and know what you might do about it? I'm not sure if bringing it to attention (or the attention of a child physiologist or something) is right thing to do or not as it's really not very frequent, but I know the behaviour is unusual.

has anyone come across this with their own child of a similar age? appreciate any advice.

misstemple
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Re: Child sometimes hurts herself when frustrated - advice on how to deal with this please...

Postby misstemple » Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:28 am

I have no experience in your position, so no advice as such...ony your post struck a chord with me.
But when I was 5 years old my mother was away in hospital with my sick sister for long periods of time and I started pulling my hair out in bed (probably because the darkness, the privacy allowed me to get away with it). I recall it was quite addictive and looking back on photographs it was shockingly obvious what was happening and nobody did anything for me. What hurt physically was clearly the hurt of being suddenly motherless.
I did not continue to self harm beyond this period of absence. Regular bouts of rough-n-tumble with my older brother along with a wild-child confidence to explore produced all manner of scrapes, cuts, sprains, you name it! I am quite squeamish now oddly enough.
Today I still recall a bit of a pattern of slight neglect of semi-serious issues that is very difficult to shake off as I know in no way was any of it intentional and overall I had a very loving upbringing.
I think you should get professional help, I am sure others will know the route, perhaps via your GP? Is the child social & getting on at school? Sometimes frustration shows up outside of the actual problem.
Apologies if I have strayed off-topic.
Have a lovely Monday all NVN and wishing the OP a good outcome here.

ally30_1998
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Re: Child sometimes hurts herself when frustrated - advice on how to deal with this please...

Postby ally30_1998 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:44 am

Hi, totally understand how upsetting this is to deal with.

If you can speak to someone with specialist knowledge anout your daughter around that might be helpful for you.

Have you read any books on the subject? I had written a longer post but then read another reply and thought that more succinctly covered it.

It is difficult, but try not to fret too much about it - you are aware of the issue and will now do what is needed to help your daughter. She is very lucky to have such a switched on and caring mum. HTH

IrenaP
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Re: Child sometimes hurts herself when frustrated - advice on how to deal with this please...

Postby IrenaP » Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:27 am

When I was about 7 years old I got in the habit of pulling feathers from the duvet when they were poking out. I don't know why I did this but I did end up with trichtolomania and other OCD ish behaviours by the time I was a teenager. On the outside I looked perfectly normal (hair intact) but on the inside I had serious confidence issues. I don't know why this started as I don't think I had any particularly traumatic experiences but I think the onset of adolescence and self consciousness must come earlier than one would think.

However this was pre internet so I didn't know there was a name but generally I found ways to grow out of these behaviours. Partly I developed coping mechanisms and partly I found activities that I was passionate about that kept me busy and not thinking and worrying so much. I was a worrier!

In hindsight I think some sort of therapy would have helped but not in the way to get me down and make me think I'm weird but something to help me deal with this and realise others are going through similar things. Self hurting however is not something I wanted to experience and definitely professional advice would be important.

nannyalison
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Re: Child sometimes hurts herself when frustrated - advice on how to deal with this please...

Postby nannyalison » Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:00 pm

As well as seeking professional help, it might be worth showing her over coping methods for dealing with frustration.

Perhaps create a calm space for her to go to when she is angry, which has different tools to help her calm down. Involve her in the creating of the space and talk through what is should be used for. Add in a CD player with calm music, relaxing sensory bottles (which she can help make), some cuddly animals that she can hold on too, and maybe even a pillow that she can 'beat up' if she needs to. I would also add a notebook/diary that she can write, scribble or draw in when she is mad.

I think it's important that you reassure her that emotions are normal, and teach her ways to regulate and control them.

NinaB
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Re: Child sometimes hurts herself when frustrated - advice on how to deal with this please...

Postby NinaB » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:15 am

I think you should take your daughter to a child psychologist or child psychotherapist. It sounds like quite a young age to start but I know this can happen more at secondary age. It sounds like self harm. Or even to your gp, they would refer you to CAMHS.

I hope this helps

jomi273
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Re: Child sometimes hurts herself when frustrated - advice on how to deal with this please...

Postby jomi273 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:49 am

First of all please don't worry. This is so much more common than people realise and it sounds like your reaction is exactly right. My daughter has gone through bouts of self harming, scratching herself with her nails, badge pins, pulling her hair out etc and now at 14 seems to have stopped....although I have no doubt it might happen again. The best thing about the scenario is she is actually sharing this with you and is open when she feels like this rather than doing it in secret.
I did the same as you, but found out shockingly through school where my daughter also flashed her cuts to a teacher, I am glad you have been spared that experience! You do need to tell school you are aware and on it though! Get practical too, make sure she has antiseptic wipes and if she scratches or cuts encourage her to keep it clean as infection is the highest risk if someone self harms and little though she is she needs to understand that. I strongly suggest getting your doctor to refer you to the wonderful CAMHS team we have at St Georges. They helped support my daughter and me when we were going through this and in our case although there is no outward indication whatsoever and I though my amazing daughter was just being a dramatic tween (she does go to a theatre school!) diagnosed very high functioning autism and extreme emotional disregulation. As well as the fantastic advice and support with lots of tools for anger management etc we have had which has made a substantial difference to our relationship and support for my daughter, Knowing this has allowed us both to move forward. My daughter is doing her mocks and works professionally as an actress, she occasionally loses it and I suspect there's always the risk she might turn to self harm again but we are both prepared and have an arsenal of knowledge and tools to deal with it if that time comes.
I am sending you a hug and the reassurance that you will both get through this, be glad you know and can help her move to some new emotional intelligence that will arm her well for the traumatic teen years to come. xxxx

Davinao
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Re: Child sometimes hurts herself when frustrated - advice on how to deal with this please...

Postby Davinao » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:02 am

Hello there. We witnessed a milder, more covert version of this with one of our daughters. We did seek help as it was clear there were feelings she could not articulate or manage herself. We went to an amazing Play Therapist in Putney, called Tessa Hardingham. Her practice is called Parents and Children. I will say, without reservation, it was the best time, money and energy we have spent. Play Therapy is superb for younger children (ours was 8 at the time too) as they can direct the narrative in a safe way. My daughter enjoyed the experience and was sorry when it was over. I would urge you to talk to a professional and help your child with her concerns rather than risk them becoming buried. Good luck.

Sheds
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Re: Child sometimes hurts herself when frustrated - advice on how to deal with this please...

Postby Sheds » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:23 am

Hi twice_as_nice

I highly recommend that you get a book called 'Inside Out Izzie' and either read it to her, or have her read it. It is written especially for the 8 - 12 year olds and I am certain that it will help you both enormously.

If you are interested in understanding more, from an adult perspective then please do get in contact with me. I can talk to you or offer you further reading materials and things to watch on the internet if that is what you would rather.

It is something that I have a wealth of experience in and am able to share.

Kind regards

Inge
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Re: Child sometimes hurts herself when frustrated - advice on how to deal with this please...

Postby Inge » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:44 am

Thanks for posting. Definitely consider a coach or psychotherapist. It may well not go away and once they are older you will have less control to suggest things like play therapy or similar.

Check out Lisa Parkes - the Smiley Coach. I can highly recommend her. http://smileyforlife.com/

It sounds like she has BIG emotions she doesn't know how to handle.

On an aside - there seem to be so many children with things like this. Where have we gone wrong? Have kids always been like this and did we just not care? I can't imagine this is all from social media, as especially at age 8 it's not like most kids do a lot of social media.

Sheds
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Re: Child sometimes hurts herself when frustrated - advice on how to deal with this please...

Postby Sheds » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:35 pm

Hi Inge

In answer to your question I believe that children do not understand where their emotions are coming from, and that applies to many adults too!

It also seems that we have got into a mindset that somehow negative emotions are to be avoided, changed into positive ones etc., etc.... That is a tall order and does not really help when life is a variety of ups and downs. Far more helpful to understand the nature of how we operate which is empowering and leads to greater resilience and happiness. A feeling of sadness reflects sad thinking. A feeling of anger - angry thinking. A feeling of guilt - guilty thinking. A feeling of happiness - happy thinking. A feeling of excitement - excited thinking. Thoughts come and go...

Sheds
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Re: Child sometimes hurts herself when frustrated - advice on how to deal with this please...

Postby Sheds » Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:09 am

Hi twice_as_nice
I have sent you a PM response this am and not sure if it has actually sent or not as it is sitting in the outbox instead of sent messages.

Has it arrived with you?

twice_as_nice
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Re: Child sometimes hurts herself when frustrated - advice on how to deal with this please...

Postby twice_as_nice » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:14 pm

yes thank you! :)


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