why does my toddler hit himself

Whe does my toddler hit himself? Find out why, plus how to stop it! (2021)

Last Updated on August 22, 2021.

There is a reason why your toddler might be hitting themselves. It’s not just a phase or another way for them to explore their world. Why does my toddler hit himself? This post will explore some of the reasons behind it and how you can stop your child from hitting themselves in the long term.

Why does my toddler hit himself when he’s mad?

It’s a pretty common behavior for toddlers. When they get mad or frustrated, they might hit themselves. They may think it’s the only way to calm down or they want a break from whatever is upsetting them. This behavior can be similar to others your child does, such as hitting or biting you when he doesn’t get what he wants.

Here are the 5 most common reasons children hit themselves.

Lack of communication skills

Children who have trouble communicating may sometimes hit themselves to show they are upset, frustrated, or mad. The only way for them to express their feelings is through physical actions and self-harm can be a part of that.

Emotional immaturity

Some children are just not developed emotionally enough to be able to understand their own feelings. They might know they feel bad, but don’t always have the skills to appropriately deal with it and hit themselves instead.

To get attention

Some children might hit themselves to get the attention they want. A child’s primary goal in life is to seek power and attention, and if hitting themselves is the only way to get your attention, that’s what they will do.

RELATED: How to help toddlers with transitions

To self-soothe 

A child might hit themselves because it’s a form of self-soothing. Kids don’t like feeling sad, mad, or frustrated. They want to feel better but don’t know how else to go about doing so. It seems counter-productive, but self-harm releases endorphins, which can make them feel better.

They are physically hurting themselves

Another reason for hitting themselves is that it’s a way to deal with physical pain. Children are not always able to speak about what physically hurts, so when they’re in pain and have no other way of expressing themselves, self-harm may happen.

why toddlers hit themselves
why does my toddler hit himself

How Do You Stop Your Child From Hitting Himself?

Self-harm is never an appropriate solution. If your child is actively hitting himself, stop him. It’s about the only time where it’s appropriate to gently physically restrain him. Explain that you will not let him hurt himself and that you’re there to help him through his big feelings.

Once the anger and frustration have settled, start working on your child’s emotional intelligence. Give them the tools to better express themselves. Help them develop the ability to regulate their big feelings. This is not a quick fix, but it’s the right long-term solution.

When it could be cause for concern

If your child is seriously injuring himself, or if the self-harm incidents increase in frequency, it’s time to talk to your child’s pediatrician. They can help you figure out the best way to deal with this situation.

What You Should Do Next…

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2. Join Our Free Online Community

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3. Take a Free 60-Minute Parenting Webinar

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