My son is hitting and harming himself

by Debra

Question: My 6 year old son is in 1st grade and has always made noises and can't really sit still. I have always been told, he's just being a boy, but recently his teacher has called us and said that the noises have almost stopped but now he is hitting his head on his desk.

Today she said she handed him a pencil and he acted like he was going to poke his eye with it! The teachers, my husband and I are all worried about him hurting himself. He has headbutted since he was a baby but hasn't done it since he was about a year old.

I need help! I don't know what to do or even where to start. I dont know if I should take him to a pediatrician or a psychologist or if I just need to change something at home?

He does have problems with getting his work done at school, but when he brings it home to do it, he gets it done in like 5 min and I don't even have to read the directions! I just don't understand whats going on!

He won't really talk to me about whats wrong. It's like he doesn't know why he does it. At first I thought maybe to get attention, but now I think maybe its not.

I guess my question is: What should I do? Take my son to a doctor or is he just being a boy? And if I do take him to a doctor...what kind of doctor? I guess I have a lot of questions. Thank you in advance for any help.

Answer: I would definitely take him to see a professional. Any form of self injury is very alarming and the sooner you get help for him the better. If it is mild self abuse that you truly believe is him being silly and wanting attention I wouldn't worry as much.

However, just to be on the safe side, getting a professional opinion is likely a good idea. A family therapist is a good option if you need to see someone covered by your insurance. A board certified behavior analyst would be an even better option to be able to observe him at school and really evaluate why he is doing it.

If you are able to work with a behavior analyst you may be able to find one in your area at

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