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Old 01-18-2008, 08:53 AM
 
4,963 posts, read 3,925,200 times
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Hi there
I have two boys ; 7 & 9. They are both pretty good boys and do well in school. However, my 9 year old has taken to hitting himself in the head when he makes a mistake. He will do this in basketball, or even in the car when he says something wrong. It came to a head yesterday as he hit himself with a book in school so much that two of the other children told him to stop. One of the children called and left a message last night saying that he hoped my son was ok and he was sorry he made him hurt himself and cry.
I asked my son about this and he says he needs to punish himself when he makes a mistake so he wont do it again. And also that he wants to make his classmates happy and is frustrated that he cannot. What pressure my son must be under? and I dont know why. He is in scouts, basketball and bowling. He gets resource for reading and is improving a lot on that subject. Homelife ; it hasnt changed. no divorces, deaths or anything like that.

he just seems to want to be perfect and not make mistakes. I tell him that none of us are perfect and that we all make mistakes. However, his response is that mummy ; you never make mistakes. Any idea on what I can do to help him stop this behaviour.

Thanks
dorothy
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Old 01-18-2008, 08:57 AM
 
Location: Oz
2,238 posts, read 8,696,279 times
Reputation: 1368
Please take him to talk to a child psychologist. A child hurting themselves is not good. If you isolate what the issue or problem is early, you may be able to easily fix whatever is going on.
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Old 01-18-2008, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Woodbridge, Virginia
20 posts, read 90,890 times
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My son Adonis used to do some of what you descirbed. He would hit his head against a wall or hit his head with his fist. Of course in our case this was due to problems in the home including the separation of my wife and myself. He was placed in special education for the emotionally disturbed and he did see a therapist for a while. This mostly happened while he was 6 or 7 which was about 2 - 3 years ago. I believe that his school teacher helped more than the therapist because he saw her more often than his therapist.

Anyway I haven't seen him do this in a year or so. Since at least one of the incidents happened at school, you should be able to get help from the school too. See if your sons school has a counselor and/or a psychologist and ask them to talk with your son. I know one thing that my children have had is special classes with the school counselor that focused on anger issues, social issues, and how to deal with separation/divorce issues, all depending on what my children needed at the time. So you may want to find out if there is something like that at your sons school too that could be focused towards helping him. I think the counselor would take my children once or twice a week for about an hour or so.

If you can learn the root of the problem that will help you find a solution. I know when any of my children have commented to me that I don't make mistakes I have pointed out to them that I am not perfect and gave them examples. I believe it may help your son if you give him some examples that he has witnessed of when you have made mistakes so that he will see that you are not perfect.

These are all just ideas and suggestions for you. I hope that something I have typed gives you ideas on what will work best for your son.
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Old 01-21-2008, 02:46 PM
 
12,425 posts, read 13,084,552 times
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It sounds like he feels he is under a lot of pressure to improve and he is not good enough. I would definitely take yourself to a counselor to discuss your concerns. Kids are good at acting out what pressures are being put on them. If there are areas to voice, "Honey you are just fine the way you are," and reduce the pressure to improve, change, do better, whatever, that could help.

Just by the list of "activities" your son is could be a source of the pressure he feels. Those activities can be very competitive and pressure filled. Maybe reduce his involvement to one only of his own choosing?

As far as his very poignant statement about parent not making mistakes, it is important that he sees and hears examples of you as a parent goofing up. My kids at every age LOVED the stories of me being fallible, messing up. It is healthy for him to hear those and know it's OK and laugh about them. It gives them more sensitivity to other people's feelings too. So I brought out all the old stories of embarrassment, humiliation, getting caught in a lie, hurt feelings, these make you closer to each other and build a stronger relationship.
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Old 01-21-2008, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Twilight Zone
875 posts, read 759,249 times
Reputation: 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by okaydorothy View Post
Hi there
I have two boys ; 7 & 9. They are both pretty good boys and do well in school. However, my 9 year old has taken to hitting himself in the head when he makes a mistake. He will do this in basketball, or even in the car when he says something wrong. It came to a head yesterday as he hit himself with a book in school so much that two of the other children told him to stop. One of the children called and left a message last night saying that he hoped my son was ok and he was sorry he made him hurt himself and cry.
I asked my son about this and he says he needs to punish himself when he makes a mistake so he wont do it again. And also that he wants to make his classmates happy and is frustrated that he cannot. What pressure my son must be under? and I dont know why. He is in scouts, basketball and bowling. He gets resource for reading and is improving a lot on that subject. Homelife ; it hasnt changed. no divorces, deaths or anything like that.

he just seems to want to be perfect and not make mistakes. I tell him that none of us are perfect and that we all make mistakes. However, his response is that mummy ; you never make mistakes. Any idea on what I can do to help him stop this behaviour.

Thanks
dorothy
He needs therapy. I'd like to know who told him he needed to punish himself. Is there someone in your household that is a perfectionist? That sounds like either someone told him that, or he over-heard someone talking and didn't understand.

Good luck!
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Old 01-21-2008, 07:38 PM
 
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
34,542 posts, read 42,708,506 times
Reputation: 57189
He might need a psychologist, but before you go all overboard, you might just require that he not do it. It might just be a habit he acquired when he found out he gets attention for doing it. I bet everyone gets super solicitous toward him when he does it?

Have a talk with him and tell him that this behavior is not acceptable and that every time he does it he will have a consequence.
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Old 01-22-2008, 05:15 AM
 
4,963 posts, read 3,925,200 times
Reputation: 2917
Update ; yes, we did talk to him and explain to him that he is hurting himself, and also none of us are perfect. We ahve started to point out misakes when we make them and laugh them off.

His teacher also spoke to him and she had him pinky promise he woudlnt do it again. I think he understood that we are all concerned about him and that we all want whats best for him. We said that if he does make a mistake, thats ok ; just to learn from it and to move on.

I hope we have nipped it in teh bud. Yes, we did consider a shrink, but also didnt want to go overboard. We didnt even say it to my sil who is a neurophychiarist as she would have us panicked.

Thanks for all your advice, I took it all.

dorothy
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