Toddler Self Mutilation

I am a single mother of a twenty month old. My child has begun to bite himself, pull his hair out, and bang his head on things out of anger. These tantrums appear to be getting worse. He has even been so mad that he bit his gums until they bled. It began as simply biting himself out of frustration but has turned into a complete melt-down. I am very concerned that there is an underlying issue that I don't want to go unnoticed. Do you have any insight?

There may be so many things going on that it is difficult to say. One thing we know is your child is feeling distress, and he is having difficulty expressing it. It would appear these gestures are an attempt to self soothe this distress.

It could be something as simple as sensory integration or gastric distress, to something much more complex. Young children often due to their lack of verbal skills will act out their behavior. I would try to ensure that nothing physical is going on with him. If their is a psychoogist or clinic in our area that specializes in early childhood, I would recommend a fully assessment.

Good luck to you, and please keep us updated.


Kristen mcClure

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Oct 21, 2011
Keep Fighting for Your Child
by: Troiani's Way

Please please please pay close attention. My daughter is 7 and for years I was telling herPediatrician that something wasn’t right. I would dress her and do her hair and she would pull her hair balls out, tear at her clothing and scream. She did it in the presence of others and people just told me, “she doesn’t like those clothes, or her hair done like that, stop dressing her up she isn’t comfortable”. I wanted to scream and pull my hair out. Please don’t give up, keep educating yourself, searching for therapists/psychiatrists. I am a mom of four and even though I used to accept it, I now know that is not normal. For more information on my story you can go to,

Aug 01, 2011
Same problem here
by: Anonymous

I have a foster daughter who does the same thing. We are correcting the problem by being right there when the tantrum starts to intervene. (This is when it happens most)Time out has been effective but we have to watch the behavior on the chair as well. We firmly say "stop" or "no" I stress FIRMLY and hold her hands or pull her hand or arm out of her mouth. We have found the behavior has gone down. It is now just a couple times a week instead of every tantrum. I think that given a couple more weeks she will find another way to cope. It has been a rough transition but we are doing the best we can.

Mar 22, 2011
by: Anonymous

I am no Doctor but I have seen a couple shows on Discovery Health similar to your story. The Diagnosis on one case was Schizophrenia. Another show was Lesch - Nyhan Syndrome. I would research or talk to a DR regarding those. I hope things are better. Hope that can help in any way.

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