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Self Harm (9 yr old boy)
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Self Harm (9 yr old boy)

My son is nine years old and has been self-harming as a reaction to discipline. He gets into a rage when he is given out to or disciplined and starts strangling himself.  This happens rarely but is very shocking to witness, (although it is an act to a certain degree on his part, I don't think he is actually applying pressure but he holds his breath to make himself go red in the face).  

We brought him to our GP to have him evaluated and she said he was perfectly well and clever enough to realise that this raises an enormous reaction from his mum or whoever (he has done this once recently in his creche).  The GP didn't feel he needed further evaluation, and wasn't depressed (both myself and his dad suffer from depression which is controlled in both of us)  He promised the GP that he wouldn't do it again and that he was only doing it to get a reaction.  

We are a close affectionate family and I have no idea why he feels he has to go to this extreme to get a reaction from us.  He is disciplined like any other child so I don't understand why he reacts so iintensely to being disciplined (in his creche or at home).  

Has anyone come across this before and can anyone offer some advise on how to deal with it?  Is this total emotional blackmail or is this an underlying unhappiness?  (he tells us he loves us dearly and is very happy, he says there is nothing bothering him and he knows he can talk to us about anything) By reacting to what he is doing is giving him the reaction he wants but we obviously can't ignore this extreme behaviour!

Thanks.....
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17 Comments Post a Comment
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535822_tn?1389452880
I think your Doctor is correct ,how do you discipline him?maybe he gets too much of a reaction, if you down played it maybe it will stop, how about you lesson the Punishment and discipline and focus on giving him plenty of games and fun does his Dad do a lot with him he sounds like he needs more Positive attention , and Fun
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks Margy, ya his dad is really really interactive with him to the point that he'll spend the day playing with him!  (as he's an only child they do wrestling, boxing, footie, playstation, board games etc etc) I'm wondering if he's maybe getting TOO MUCH one to one attention and can't hack NOT getting it when he's in the creche or when I'm doing household chores etc?

He does seem to have a negative/defeatist outlook tho in general and it's something I am aware of and try to encourage him to think positively about things instead...  I think your right tho, we need to play down the reaction and maybe he'll give up doing it.

Thanks
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535822_tn?1389452880
Thats the answer dont react at all possibly you feed into it, you have the insite about it , leave it alone ,take no notice he may give it up.
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484465_tn?1347117312
keep disciplining him and ignore him when he does that.  sounds like another form of tantrum

or if he's spending so much time with you and your spouse, you may want to consider putting him in a whole bunch of activities, programs and keep him very busy.  wear him out.  all you'll have to deal with is homework help and putting his butt to sleep.  maybe he'll come around to appreciate your attention and affection more and stop being a pain
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Avatar_f_tn
Good call, ur spot on, thanks......
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Avatar_f_tn
How are you disciplining him?  He may be an overly sensitive child who it doesn't take much to get through to.  If the punishment is too harsh - he may feel humiliated.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Thats a very good point, he IS a very sensitive child and generally very good (except for the usual all boys together harmless messing with his friends)

We generally discipline him by giving his console penalties, ie. half an hour less time on the Wii or playstation etc.....I tend to lose the head and raise my voice occassionally (and I mean occassionally) when he doesn't listen but no more so than any mother.  

His dad is much more laid back in his method of discipline, which sometimes I think is too lenient but he is firm all the same.  We're discussing the way we discipline him at the moment as I feel sometimes we differ and maybe he's confused....

Getting confused myself now too if truth be told as to what we should be doing and what's the best method......
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