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Toddler head banging - reprimand or ignore?

(11 Posts)
CardiffMum Fri 19-Sep-08 21:09:00

My 27 month old has started banging his head against hard objects like the floor or the wall. Mainly out of frustration when I have to say no to something but sometimes it is for no apparent reason. Have had conflicting advice - GP says tell him off harshly so he understands he shouldn't do it, health visitor says ignore it completely. Neither approach has worked so far plus he has started to slap himself on the wrist after doing it - I have no idea where he has got this from as we do not use any physical reprimands and (obviously) neither does the day care centre. New baby arrived 2 months ago so he has lots of changes to deal with but have focussed on ensuring he doesn't feel pushed out. Any tried and tested advice?

gigglewitch Fri 19-Sep-08 21:14:06

this may be stating another obvious, but have you tried distracting him - if so is it with any success?
has he had any hearing or eye tests to rule stuff like this out? DD did a bit of hitting her head when she had glue ear, presumably she was trying to get rid of the 'blockage'?
if none of this any use, bump anyway wink

HeroicHumphreyCutlassCushion Fri 19-Sep-08 21:15:35

agree with gigglewitch - distract, distract, distract.

skay Fri 19-Sep-08 21:19:42

Does he do it when he is tired at all?
My DS did it as a way of getting off to sleep. He was in his cot at the time, so he couldn't hurt himself. He's now grown out of it.
Otherwise I'd agree with Gigglewitch.

CardiffMum Fri 19-Sep-08 21:26:02

Triggers seem to be quite random - sometimes he's tired, sometimes he's just annoyed that he's been told no, and sometimes he'll be playing quite happily and suddenly start hitting his head on the floor. Trying distraction but with a 7 week old there are times when I am tied up with the newborn and he has to try to amuse himself. Definitely more aggressive when he is tired - 95% of the time though he is a very gentle boy which is why this behaviour is even more concerning.

LynetteScavo Fri 19-Sep-08 21:31:48

DS1 did this - I know how awful it is.

If I said no when we were in the living room he would run down the hall and repeatedly smash his head into the front door.

Don't repremand. I couldn't bear to ignor, so I'd hug/comfort and distract.

gigglewitch Fri 19-Sep-08 21:35:34

oops hadn't thought all the way through the reality of having 7wo blush but even if you're pointing at the [invisible] pink pig / purple spider / etc whilst exclaiming "oooh can you see that" it stops them from doing it for long enough to break the behaviour, by which time they know you've 'tricked' them and start another whole fun conversation.
is it practical to ask him, if he starts doing it when he's tired, "why don't you come and give me a cuddle instead of doing that?"
As hard as it is, try not to show that he's worrying you by doing it?

try not to worry too much, it is a normal thing to do for a time and they stop it for almost no reason in the same way that they started it hmm

gigglewitch Fri 19-Sep-08 21:39:50

<haven't explained, ds1 was my worst 'head-banger' but all 3 have done it at some point>hmm

woodstock3 Sat 20-Sep-08 20:00:58

ds (16mo) does this and i find it really upsetting which i think is why he does it - it's when he is cross and wants to do something which i wont let him do. we have tried telling him off (dh's preferred option) which he ignores, ignoring him which makes no difference, distracting which works better than anything else. but i think it is mostly the reaction it gets from you that is most satisfying. also he does seem to quite enjoy it for some reason - occasionlly he does it nto when angry, just apparently because it's tneresting, in the same way he will hit things with a wooden spoon or whatever.
tho if it is because of the new baby and seeking attention, ignoring will make it worse i should think.
if it's any comfort hv said babies have unusually well padded skulls (makes sense seing as they fall over all the time when learning to walk) and unlikely to do themselves much damage.

pippylongstockings Sat 20-Sep-08 20:23:38

Distraction is the best technique and one I still use alot with a 3.8 year old.

My DS1 was a terrible headbanger - walls, doors, floors all good in his eyes - came on at about 18 months and lasted for only 4 or 5 months but was a 'challenging' stage.

Worst time was at a friends wedding when having been told no for playing with the wedding music he proceeded to run off and headbut a door that the bride was trying to come through for her big day!!!

I guess it doesn't help when you have conflicting advice but truely it is a perfectly normal stage.

CardiffMum Mon 22-Sep-08 09:20:03

Thx for all replies - looks like it's a stage (another one!) and we'll just have to ride it out.

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