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Hitting and head-banging in 19mth old

(10 Posts)
TeenyTinyTorya Wed 29-Oct-08 21:08:25

My 19mth old ds is lovely 90% of the time - so funny, affectionate and loving. Just in the past month or two, he has started getting quite frustrated and impatient, and has been lashing out at other children and adults.

At toddler groups, he will hit other kids without any provocation, it's almost as if he's trying to see what will happen. He also hits or scratches if another child takes his toy, or if he can't get to an activity because of children in the way.

He is at the stage where he is learning new words every day, but currently only has about 20 words that we can understand. He does make himself quite clear with tone and gesture. If dh and I don't understand what he wants, or if he doesn't get his own way, he'll bang his head off the nearest hard object, cry, and look at us accusingly.

How can we deal with this? I'm trying to understand why he's getting frustrated with us, and work out what he wants. When he hits other kids, I say no and take him away from the situation. I've also been trying to teach him to be gentle with his baby doll, stroking and patting rather than hitting, but he will hit the doll and then laugh.

TeenyTinyTorya Wed 29-Oct-08 21:34:22


TeenyTinyTorya Wed 29-Oct-08 23:06:17

Oh come on, someone, pleeeeease grin

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Wed 29-Oct-08 23:08:34

Ignore is my first though.

Although both ds1 and ds3 have been headbangers (hard enough to bruise in ds1's case) and both improved after dietary changes. Not suggesting you rush in and change the diet, but might be worth keeping a food/headbanging diary for a few weeks.

The other stuff will come.

BoysAreLikeZombies Wed 29-Oct-08 23:12:11


First of all, he is perfectly normal - not able to share, not able to explain his needs amd wants to his peers, it's easy for him to lash out/snatch/scratch.

Stay close at hand, to divert/catch his hand mid-swing/hoik him away from a flashpoint.

Headbanging - my oldest did this, on the hard kitchen floor. I would lift him, without comment, onto the rug and leave him to it - no attention whilst headbanging is hard but effective.

As ever,remember the MN mantra - 'this too shall pass' - it's a stage that they all go through.

TeenyTinyTorya Thu 30-Oct-08 09:53:39

Thanks, I try to think he is just a normal toddler boy, but other children don't seem to do it as much as he does. Then he gets funny looks from other mums as well, so I feel embarrassed about it.

Thanks for the advice.

america Thu 30-Oct-08 10:19:06

DS has been doing this for a few weeks now too. He doesn't seem to understand that it hurts to bang his head against the wall/door/cupboard and then cries in pain.

What in his diet could possibly cause DS to bang his head?

Wade Thu 30-Oct-08 11:25:36

Mine did this for a while out of frustration. But (touch wood) is doing it less now. As long as she hasn't found a particularly hard surface I ignore her - which is really hard - then look secretly around the door and she does stop when she no longer has an audience. I also asked other Mum's if their lo's did it and they looked at me in horror shock blush!

woodstock3 Thu 30-Oct-08 13:52:22

my 18 mo ds headbangs (on wooden floors, cupboard doors and other hard surfaces), and like yours, then looks at me in outrage as if it was MY fault that it hurts....have tried ignoring it but found it difficult tbh as im worried that he really will hurt himself. now i remove him with a quick 'no' from whatever he is banging against and distract him with something else. it is usually a response to being denied something he wants or being told off and no doubt from his point of view it is v effective as it has a gratifying impact on his parents!
i think frustration is normal at this age and although my ds doesnt hit half the other kids at playgroup do so i think that is pretty normal tbh, all you can do is keep doing what you are doing ie saying no and removing. we have tried similar approaches to encourage ds to be kinder to our poor patient dog, who (more through enthusiasm than malice) keeps getting climbed on and poked in the eye, and after an awful lot of repeating he is definitely getting it. the headbanging still happens but seems to be decreasing too as he increasingly works out it hurts and develops other ways to express displeasure with us (shouting NOOOO at the moment being the favourite). agree with those who said this shall pass!

FattipuffsandThinnifers Thu 30-Oct-08 14:34:28

It's perfectly normal, and is probably just frustration. IME toddlers are often mini-egos - the world is there for them, and before they understand the concept of sharing and cooperation, there'll be plenty of tantrums if they can't get what they want.

I'm sure it'll get better when his vocabulary extends and he can express what he wants more meaningfully - it's just frustration at not being immediately understood and getting what he wants now. It will improve. And don't worry what other mothers think - bet their own kids aren't angels, they're probably just relieved it isn't their child for once!

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