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DS has started banging his head during tantrums

(10 Posts)
GothicRainbow Wed 29-Jul-15 16:34:07

My 2 year old DS has started throwing himself on the floor and banging his head as hard as possible when he has a tantrum or gets frustrated by something.

Can anyone give me any advice on tackling this? I really don't want him hurting himself.

FretYeNotAllIsShiny Wed 29-Jul-15 16:40:35

He won't hurt himself beyond a few bruises. If you watch them, they get very canny about picking their spots. Most prefer to headbang against the carpet rather than concrete. It's not unusual and I gather they generally grow out of it. My dd2 used to do it and stopped as she grew out of her toddler years, and apparently I used to do it also.

Allswellhere Wed 29-Jul-15 17:01:54

Ah, my eldest daughter used to do this. It is quite shocking at first, but if you try to have a relaxed approach to it I think it will soon stop - if he sees it gets a 'good' reaction from you it will continue. I used to gently place a cushion under her head and walk out of the room. I would then peep through the crack in the door to make sure she wouldn't hurt herself. This way he won't get attention for doing it but also shows him you don't want him to hurt himself. Then back in, quick cuddle, carry on with what he was doing pre tantrum. My daughter soon grew out of it - and I can happily report that she is a teen now, bonce fully intact! smile Hope that helps.

GothicRainbow Wed 29-Jul-15 17:10:02

Yes he does mainly do it on the carpet in our living room but has made the mistake of doing it on my mums wooden floor - that one really did hurt him!

Did either of you provide comfort for the pain from head banging or go for the less sympathy as its self-inflicted approach?

I'm just concerned that by providing cuddles after he's done it I'll be reinforcing the behaviour. Previously I've always waited out the tantrum until he was calm and then we had cuddles but if he's in pain it makes me feel even more guilty leaving him to cry through it.

Allswellhere Wed 29-Jul-15 18:24:28

Yes I see what you mean. I've always felt that the tantrum is needed in order for a child to let out their frustrations - a bit like us going off for a little secret cry then back to what we were doing before! I would try to avoid looking shocked or overly concerned but I think a little kiss or cuddles is fine. It's really just them letting off steam and frustration and I think if they hurt themselves then the cuddle's for that not for the tantrum if you see what I mean. I remember being really shocked when my daughter did it but I think it is pretty common. Maybe if you see it coming put cushions in front of him and let him get on with it as long as you're sure he's not hurting himself. I think the tantrum is natural, it is only if they are doing it for a reaction it becomes a behaviour IYSWIM...but I'm not an expert! Just personal experience. smile

GothicRainbow Wed 29-Jul-15 22:04:16

Completely agree with the tantrum being the natural way for a toddler to vent big emotions and tbh his tantrums are few and far between and don't tend to phase me. The head banging definitely did!!

I'll try and preempt the head banging as best I can with a cushion or soft toy and keep my reaction minimal - here's hoping its a short-lived phase!!

Allswellhere Fri 31-Jul-15 14:00:26

I'm sure it won't last long. Mine was the same - not many tantrums, just the ones there were were so shocking!! I know it's hard to see your little one hurting themselves. My daughter was a bit younger than your son when she did it. Is it possible that you could give him other ways to let out his frustrations? I do think it will stop soon enough anyway. All the best smile

GothicRainbow Fri 31-Jul-15 23:19:53

I will definitely look into some other ways he can safely work out his frustrations - something preferably non-violent! Thank you Allswellhere it's always good to talk these things through with others who have experienced similar.

howcomes Fri 31-Jul-15 23:57:18

I remember my little sister doing this at the same age and it was horrific to witness! My mum used to scoop her up and carry her to our large bathroom mirror where she (sis) would just carry on her frustration by yelling at her reflection like a new audience. After a while she cut out the floor headbanging and would take herself over to the mirror instead. Good luck!

unlucky83 Sat 01-Aug-15 00:10:22

Agree it isn't easy to watch ... But if you react it can encourage it ... Guess it depends why they are doing it - to pure uncontrollable frustration or to get attention etc
My DD2 didn't head bang but did start hitting her self on the head and pulling her hair ...I went down the unsympathetic route and just asked her 'doesn't that hurt? That's a bit silly isn't it, hurting yourself? Why do you want to do that? ' she stopped very quickly ....

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