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Autoaggression at the child

Autoaggression at the child – the activity form directed to causing to itself harm. It is shown by self-accusation, self-humiliation, drawing physical damages, restriction of the vital requirements (food, water), attempts of a suicide, enthusiasm for extreme sports and ways of pastime. Children are up against a blank wall, bite, scratch themselves, teenagers refuse communication and food, put life at risk. Diagnostics is carried out by method of a conversation, psychological testing. Treatment is based on cognitive and behavioural and family psychotherapy, group trainings.

Autoaggression at the child

The term "autoaggression" comes from Latin, means "attack on itself". Synonyms – autoaggression, an autodestruktion, self-damage. From the biological point of view such activity is considered as the pathological mechanism of preservation of a psychophysiological homeostasis at a certain stage of disadaptation. The self-destroying behavior – biologically caused protective and adaptive reaction which is defined by individual adaptation opportunities. Reliable epidemiological indicators of prevalence of an autoaggression among children are absent. The phenomenon comes to light at boys with neurotic and behavioural frustration more often.

The autoaggression reasons at the child

The Autoagressivny behavior arises in a disadaptation situation to social conditions. At the child it is formed at violations of family relationship. For teenagers significant is a sphere of external social contacts therefore a source of autodestruktivny tendencies are the conflicts with peers, teachers. Carry to the main reasons for an autoaggression:

  • Psychological features. The children sensitive to an emotional condition of people around having a low self-assessment, closed, unsociable, inclined to the suppressed mood are subject to Autodestruktivny behavior. They differ in readiness to divide problems and pain of the loved one insufficiently careful attitude to own body.
  • Punishments. The child cannot answer aggression of the adult. The next most available object on which it is possible to splash out the collected offense the indignation, rage becomes own body.
  • Conflicts of parents. Quarrels, shouts, abuse, use of violence in the relations of mother and father are reflected in a mental condition of the patient. There is sensation of fear, helplessness, desire to intercede for the offended parent. The impossibility to express emotions, to affect the conflict leads to an autoaggression.
  • Lack of attention. Self-damage – a way of manipulation with parents. Concerned about behavior of the child, they show more care and love.
  • High requirements. Expectations, inquiries of adults form at the patient the underestimated self-assessment, fear to fail, sense of guilt. The autoaggression becomes way of self-punishment for mistakes, bad notes at school.
  • Autoaggression of parents. Children copy behavior of adults. After mother the child refuses meal, is closed in own room, losing communication and cheerful pastime, imitating the father, calls himself the loser, the fool.


The autoaggression at the child arises on the basis of the intra personal conflict in situations of social disadaptation. Is result of redirection of destructive activity from an external object on own personality or a body. As an object the parent or other adult on whom wellbeing of the child depends often acts. Two multidirectional tendencies – to do much harm to other person face, having splashed out all negative emotions (anger, rage, offense), or to keep the benevolent relations, continuing to receive resources (love, care). Usually the choice is carried out unconsciously, owing to the psychological features the child prefers to transfer destructive tendencies to himself. Such mental protection saves from experiences about the broken relationship, a lack of resources, loss of a social position. The autoaggression is a pathological way of maintenance of psychological and physiological balance in the conditions of disadaptation.


The simplest and widespread option is division of a children's autoaggression on physical and verbal. The first is characteristic of boys, is followed by infliction of harm to a body. The second is psychological punishment, is implemented through self-accusation, self-humiliation. By substantial criterion allocate the following forms of an autoaggression:

  • Self-damage. It can be observed at all stages of mental development. It is expressed in drawing to itself bruises, cuts, pricks (punctures), stings, tattoos.
  • Violations of food behavior. Often develop at teenagers. Are shown by refusal of food, an impulsive gluttony, the use of the dishes provoking rash, pains and weight in a stomach, obesity.
  • Chemical dependence. It is formed at younger school students, teenagers. Tobacco smoking, drug addiction, toxicomania, alcoholism belongs to this form of an autoaggression.
  • Fanatical behavior. The child behaves according to rules of group to the detriment of own desires and requirements. Example: participation in religious cults, movements of sports fans.
  • Autistic behavior. Autodestruktion is expressed through restriction in communication, cheerful interesting pastime. The child becomes isolated, discharged of people around.
  • Viktimny behavior. Acts of the patient are directed to increase in risk of commission of a crime over it. Is implemented by means of walks at night, provocations of the actions of other person capable to do harm.
  • Suicide behavior. An extreme form of an autoaggression which purpose is deprivation of of life. Happens opened and masked (interest in extreme sport).

Aggression symptoms at the child

Children of early and preschool age impulsively put themselves damages: beat with hands the head, scratch, pinch, bite, pull out hair, hit against a wall. Reaction develops against the background of emotional excitement directly after punishment or the ban from the adult. Differs in involuntariness – the kid is not able to delay, consider, choose a way of realization of aggression, to switch to other emotions. At the advanced preschool age autodestruktivny actions begin to separate from a provocative situation. The child accuses himself of development of various conflict situations, for example, in emergence of a quarrel between parents. Self-punishment happens in thoughts, physical actions disappear from strangers.

Younger school students use physical damages as a method of manipulation with adults. For example, do themselves harm to cause pity of mother, not to go to school. In the teenage period certain types of an autoaggression become conditions of receiving recognition by peers, parents. Girls limit food volumes, believing that appeal depends on symmetry. Young men begin to smoke, take alcohol to prove independence and a maturity. Suicide attempts are way of punishment of and the simultaneous solution of all problems or are aimed at the maximum drawing attention. Often teenagers put cuts in wrists, climb high structures of unfinished buildings, are on an edge of steep, ride bicycles and motorcycles at a high speed, without using protection.


Autoaggression, being fixed as the mechanism of response to difficult social situations, interferes with formation of productive ways of resolution of conflicts, narrows variability of interactions with people. The child, and subsequently the adult has no skills of conversation, is not able to state and defend own opinion, avoids negative reaction of people around, limiting behavior. Disturbing and hypochondriac, autistic traits of character are formed, there are adaptation problems in new collective. In extreme options inability to be socialized becomes a complication: young people interrupt training, cannot build up the relationship with an opposite sex, establish families.


The autoaggression at the child is distinctly shown from 2-3-year age, reactions arise directly in a conflict situation, their identification is possible. Than the child, especially abstract becomes more senior, and delayed in time the destructive behavior is various. The teenager often does not realize, denies existence of an autoaggression, disadaptation. The psychiatrist and the psychologist are engaged in diagnostics. Methods of inspection are selected individually depending on age of the patient. Are applied:

  • Clinical conversation. At inspection of children up to 6-7 years poll of parents is the most informative method of diagnostics. From 7-9 years the doctor in addition talks to the child. Questions are focused on identification of symptoms of an autoaggression, features of the relations in a family and school, a hobby, hobbies.
  • Questionnaires. Tests of two types are used: the autoaggressions and complex techniques of a research of the personality directed to definition. The first differ in profitability, but are insufficiently informative. The second are labor-consuming, but allow to estimate expressiveness of aggressive tendencies, their importance in the general structure of character. The technique of diagnostics of aggression of Ch. Spilberger, Bass-Darki's questionnaire, a questionnaire "Auto-and heteroaggression" of E. P. Ilyin, the Patokharakterologichesky diagnostic questionnaire of A. E. Lichko with autoaggression scale assessment is applied.
  • Projective techniques. At interpretation of the represented situations, creation of drawings children with an autoaggression focus attention on loneliness, grief, helplessness of characters. Are often represented scenes of danger of death, suicide, destructive interaction (are interpreted). Use of the Draw History test R. Silver, the Pictural apperceptive test, the Frustratsionny test of S. Rosenzweig and his children's option developed by N. V. Tarabrina is widespread.

Treatment of an autoaggression at the child

Therapy of an autoaggression is rather effective at an integrated approach, selection of the methods corresponding to a clinical picture and age of the patient. At treatment of children of early age emphasis is placed on correction of the intra family relations. In process of a growing of the child various methods of psychotherapy – from simple behavioural the technician before deep study of the extramental intra personal conflicts are entered. The general scheme of treatment includes:

  • Family psychotherapy. Meetings in the form of conversations and a practical training are applied. Parents are recommended to exclude the situations provoking an autoaggression at the child, to show attention and care, to show frictionless ways of the solution of problems. In practice safe ways of expression of aggression – outdoor games, expressional drawing, singing accustom.
  • Cognitive and behavioural psychotherapy. Sessions are held individually. Negative installations concerning the personality – a low self-assessment, hyper responsibility, uncertainty, expectation of anger, disappointment of people around come to light and corrected. Inexpediency and harm of autoagressivny actions is discussed, are developed and approved technology of their knocking over, replacement, removal of the emotional pressure which is the cornerstone of destructive behavior.
  • Group trainings. This form of psychotherapy is most effective at school age. On occupations children work skills of communication, learn to reach compromise in the conflicts, to respect opinion of the opponent. Reactions of other participants are feedback for the child, he begins to realize own importance, positive and negative lines.
  • Medicamentous correction. Use of drugs is necessary in cases of the expressed autoaggression doing essential harm to health. Medicines allow to stop symptoms at an early stage of treatment when the effect of psychotherapy still is absent. Tranquilizers, antidepressants, neuroleptics are appointed.

Forecast and prevention

The forecast of an autoaggression is defined by age of the child and timeliness of therapy. The favorable outcome is most probable at children with simple and direct forms of autodestruktivny reactions in the early childhood, the preschool period. Prevention is based on creation and maintenance of the kind, confidential relations on family members. It is necessary that interpersonal interaction was perceived by the child as interesting and safe. For this purpose it is necessary to refuse severe punishments, to train in constructive ways of solution to the conflicts (the arrangement, concessions, exchange). It is impossible to suppress aggression of the child, it is necessary to find ways of its safe expression.

Autoaggression at the child - treatment should be carried out only under the supervision of a doctor. Self-treatment is unacceptable!!!

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