To worry about my son's headbutting

(33 Posts)
MuminMilan Sun 17-Feb-13 18:33:59

I have a 15 month old ds who headbutts everything: stone floors, walls, windows, toys, me. Usually it is a reaction to bring told off, but sometimes he just puts his head down and runs into the French windows. When he headbuts me it really hurts me, so he must be hurting himself, but he continues to do it. Needless to say I try to catch him where I can, but he has got it down to a fine art... AIBU to worry that this is weird behaviour (and that he could hurt himself) or is it normal at this just a phase?

ScillyCow Sun 17-Feb-13 18:35:18

I would get it checked out. DOn't think it is that common.

I would definitely go to GP.

I had a headbutter! Like most things it was a phase I despaired for a while then bought a bean bag every time she was told off and went to head butt something I would lay her on the beanbag and pretend to ignore what she was doing. Within a couple of weeks she had stopped. Good luck smile

MoreBeta Sun 17-Feb-13 18:38:45

I had a cousin who used to have tantrumns and headbut concrete floors. It never hurt him at all but terrified his mother.

Not good though that he headbuts you. Do not worry about him hurting himself, as you say he has got it off to a fine art. He is hurting you though.

Not sure he can be reasoned with at 15 months but I wonder if he might learn not to do it if you did some mild exclusion punishment like being put in a play pen for a few minutes to calm down.

TitHead Sun 17-Feb-13 18:52:48

My DS went through the same thing at around the same age. All the advice semmed to be ignore ignore ignore. I did a bit of research and found it is actually very common and more so in boys. He did it with such force it was scary to watch. I ignored where possible or if I was concerned about saftey would move him away place him down somewhere safe and ignore. A couple of months later it stopped as quickly as it started.

OneWaySystemBlues Sun 17-Feb-13 18:57:16

This might be a useful read? www.babycenter.com/0_head-banging_11554.bc There are two pages, the second one has tips on how to deal with it.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Sun 17-Feb-13 19:08:09

That sounds unusual. It might be worth canvassing the GP's opinion.

DefiniteMaybe Sun 17-Feb-13 19:10:16

My ds did this. He started at about 18 months and carried on until he was 3. In the end he just stopped doing it.

flamingtoaster Sun 17-Feb-13 19:11:39

My DS did this for a few months at about the same age. In his case it was frustration and as soon as his language became fluent he stopped completely. I used to have a large soft cushion that I would slip between him and whatever he was banging his head on.

Shellywelly1973 Sun 17-Feb-13 19:16:36

My youngest ds did this from about 14months til 18 months. It so distressing to witness as a parent.

I used to ignore it&try to distract him.

Great link from oneway.

jojane Sun 17-Feb-13 19:17:41

My ds1 did this for a while, he was a late talker and looking back it was frustration at not being able to communicate at the level he wanted to.
We tried ignoring, telling off, holding him, distraction amongst other things but nothing seemed to work, he grew out of it

threesypeesy Sun 17-Feb-13 19:21:55

my youngets dd does this shes 1 and headbutts the floor, radiator,me , her sisters,toys, doors she also slaps her own head seems to be a frustation thing. we tell her not to do it that its silly but she laughs doing it! horrible to watch and hopefully a phase

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 17-Feb-13 19:22:43

I've had several head butters. I wouldn't fret about it.

OHforDUCKScake Sun 17-Feb-13 19:38:16

He gets told off at 15 months? hmm

natwebb79 Sun 17-Feb-13 19:41:14

My 15 month old does exactly the same when frustrated and having a tantrum or teething. HV said all very normal/common, he'll grow out of it and just try to distract him. I'm getting brilliant at ninja-quick headbutt dodging after being given a fat lip the other week when he was particularly upset and flung his head forward!

littlemisssarcastic Sun 17-Feb-13 19:44:40

He puts his head down and runs into the French windows? shock
I would be more concerned about this than any of the other things you mention.

SolomanDaisy Sun 17-Feb-13 19:48:03

It's really common! My DS did it for a while at about the same age, both when he was cross and when there was something which made an interesting sound if he head butted it. It passed, he now occasionally does a fake head butt as he doesn't want to hurt himself!

fertilityagogo Sun 17-Feb-13 19:52:01

I had two headbutters!!! Second time around my cousin suggested it was a reaction to teething.... I think she was right. The head butting seemed to be an attempt to manage the pain/irritation (albeit not an ideal one!!)

I found that the second time around it was lessened after a wee bit of bonjela or calpol.

Both boys older now and head butting a distant memory....

SashaSashays Sun 17-Feb-13 19:57:20

Eldest DS was a headbutter, it horrified me.

His worst crime was doing it until he made himself cry and then pointing at the baby (DS2), I think this was to accuse DS2 or get more attention but used to make me really upset.

At about 3 he headbutted the leg off one of our tables, also regularly headbutted walls and floors.

At some point he just stopped, I'm not sure if it was for attention or through frustration, but it did just stop. I imagine if you have a look around there will be suggestions for dealing with it. I can understand that its worrying but I think its quite common, mainly in boys.

ScillyCow Sun 17-Feb-13 19:58:43

Seems much more common than I thought!!

Ohforducksake, children do need to be told no at 15 months, for lots of different reasons. My daughter who was a headbutter would potentially do it if told in a reasonable tone "no DD2, you mustn't run in the road" there's telling off and telling off! confused

DueInSeptember Sun 17-Feb-13 23:57:08

I remember my sister headbutting the wall as a toddler. She'd do it when she was having a tantrum, in a sort of rhythm. She's 32 now and no harm was done.

HopAndSkip Mon 18-Feb-13 00:18:47

It sounds perfectly fine from these comments. There was 4 y/o at the nursery I used to work at who headbutted a lot. He had mild autism, I'm not sure that had anything to do with it or not, but it did improve slightly as he began to communicate clearer (his speech was quite delayed and a big struggle for him), so I think it was frustration in part from not being able to explain his side/his reasoning for doing something so on. So hopefully as your DS's language develops he won't feel the need to anymore He can just shout & scream at you what he wants instead grin

Morloth Mon 18-Feb-13 01:02:09

DS2 was a headbutter.

He grew out of it at about 2.5.

Before then he had a permanently bruised forehead and I seriously considered keeping a helmet on him for extended periods.

ThatsNotMySock Mon 18-Feb-13 01:24:30

Just to agree with previous posters, my ds1 was a terror for this, from about 15 months to 3yrs old shock It was frustration (he was a relatively late speaker) and just complete stubborness. It looked scary, it was awful to watch him go through, ignoring made it worse, it was a horrible time. But yes, hv agreed it was normal-ish, and he wouldn't damage himself (I am ashamed to say I didn't believe her as he did it so hard and so often) but he's now nearly 4, and very clever, bubbly, calm little man. When he was 3ish, we did a mood chart - we showed pics of emotions so he could point and say what he was feeling, even though he couldn't speak. We would also transport him to a big soft cushion/beanbag where he couldn't hurt himself. He can now say how he feels which helps him, but 15 months is too young for that. But yes, it was traumatic, so I know how you feel!

DS2 is also a head butter (sob) but not as often. He's 18 months and sounds a lot like your ds. We just pop him on the sofa and he'll grumble but calm down (DS1 would have leapt off the sofa and bashed his head off the nearest hard thing for ages, so ds2 feels like a dream smile )

It is just a phase, have some wine! grin

jojane Mon 18-Feb-13 10:40:30

Hopefully this thread has shown you that you aren't alone, it's nothing to do with you as a parent and it will eventually pass! I used to get so worked up about ds1 doing it until a man came up to us in the supermarket with a teenager in tow when ds1 was on the floor head banging and said" my son used to do that, don't worry he will grow out of it" made me feel so much better

Icelollycraving Mon 18-Feb-13 10:51:43

Ds is a headbutter. He tends to do when he is not allowed something & has a tantrum. I think I literally swooped down & made such a huge fuss the first few times,he then did it to really cause the reaction.
I now move him if it's near sharp edges/concrete floor & either ignore (but not really) or distract.
He does it less often these days.

Pandemoniaa Mon 18-Feb-13 11:01:43

ds1 was a headbutter from about 16 months till about 2.5 and it accompanied his tantrums. It was terrifying and I couldn't believe he wouldn't do himself real damage but he grew out of it, thankfully. My hv said it wasn't uncommon and that he wouldn't really hurt himself. He didn't but it still looked bloody scary to watch him launch across the living room and hit the wall head first.

MuminMilan Mon 18-Feb-13 17:20:32

Thank you for all the really helpful messages. I think it is, in part, a communication thing as we live in Italy so he is learning two languages and gets more exposure to Italian as he goes to the nursery everyday. i have to admit that iI don't always understand what he is saying as well as the staff at the nursery, and i think that he does it more with me than there.

I do always try to at least get my hand in the way to catch him from really hurting himself, and have given him a cushion as well, but I'm not always quick enough. Am sure as many have said it is just a phase, but I was hoping for a couple of months whilst it sounds that I might be looking at a couple of years!

SolomanDaisy Mon 18-Feb-13 18:27:35

It was only a couple of months for my DS, if that. Interestingly, he's in a bilingual environment too. He's 19 months now and his speech is pretty clear, so I wonder if it is related.

fertilityagogo Tue 19-Feb-13 19:57:34

Another two bilingual headbutters here too. Only lasted a few months as well. But don't rule out teething/ molars either! In our case I'm sure the two were related....

Spinkle Thu 21-Feb-13 14:56:14

Oh my DS was a headbutter. Not much language made him very frustrated. I ignored it, was horrible, even when he'd do it on the patio. Lasted a few months then suddenly stopped.

I don't wish to frighten you but he's since been diagnosed as autistic but it's not necessarily an ASD thing. Get him to the HV if you are worried about his communication, don't hang about.

Spinkle Thu 21-Feb-13 15:00:47

* I mean 'especially when he'd do it on the patio'

Please don't worry about the ASD thing, I just wanted to point out it was down to his communication skill - part of the package of him. FWIW he doesn't stop talking now. Ever.

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