Q. A 2-year-old is beating parents on waking up. How to approach this behavior?

Answered by
Dr. Shania Zafar
and medically reviewed by Dr. Divya Banu M
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 14, 2019

Hello doctor,

My 2 years old little girl is beating us the moment she wakes up. So whenever she sleeps after some time she starts waking up and starts beating and after some time she is fine but with no past memory. She also says something while she is asleep. She is doing this every day.

Dr. Shania Zafar

Psychologist/ Counsellor


Welcome to icliniq.com.

As reported by you that your 2-year-old is hitting you, scratching her face and banging her head, it seems like your daughter is engaging in self-harm behaviors. It is the way of children to cope up with their negative emotions. I would like to know about the speech of your daughter. Is she able to express her need?

The Probable causes:

Sometimes your child's needs remain unmet due to lack of understanding by the caregivers or due to lack of speech so they end up engaging in self-harm behaviors.

Treatment plan:

1. Do not pay attention to her actions by punishing her as this would reinforce the behavior.
2. Focus on the child's feeling.
3. Help your child in calming down.
4. In the daytime try to spend quality time with her engaging in games and other play that your daughter likes.
5. Consult a psychologist to help her learn self-soothing strategies and also the psychologist would facilitate you in dealing with this complex behavior.

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