Posted by: annie | 2009/02/05

violent outbursts

i have six year old son and when he gets angry he bangs his head against a wall or he slaos his face. today he was being really rude and i gave him a smack. he scratched his face twice and the scratches are really deep. Im concerned about this behaviour and i am not sure what to do. Please advise

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Our expert says:
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Try the parenting forum as well. Some children do at times respond this way, turning their feelings of anger and aggression against themselves. I'm not clear from your message whether he has always behaved this way, or if this is a recent development. If it continues, or if it escalates into further episodes of significant self-harm, it would be waise to take him to see a child psychiatrist or psychologist for assessment and more specific advice. Meanwhile, you could try offering him a target for anger --- perhaps a pillow or a soft toy, he can hit and smack when he feels so angry, rather than himself, and see if he can swap the target of his aggression

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