19 answers

17 Month Old Daughter Hits Head as a Result of Temper Tantrum! Help!!

My 17 month old daughter will violently hit her head on anything in reach when she doesn't get her way. She hits her head on the floor, tables or anything else, sometimes causing injury! I have tried stopping her midway in her attempt, but it seems useless. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!!!

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What can I do next?

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my sister put her kids in cold showers for that behavior and it worked awesome for her. A few times .... and she will be done with this.

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Sounds like you have a strong willed child. I had one also but it started more at three. The following website has some great info about head banging.

http://www.drgreene.com/21_1104.html. It will probably give you some assurance.

The best thing you can do is to try to avoid situations that send her off and make sure to not try to do errands etc. when she is tired or hungry. Instead of saying no you can try to redirect by using "you can .....instead".

Also, don't try to rush to take away things that comfort her, i.e. pacifier, bottle etc. To often society tells us to get rid of every peace of comfort a toddler uses to soothe themselves. When those things are gone and they still can't express themselves verbally very well it can make for a very frustrating existence for them.

T. C.
Spa Girlfriend Parties

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Hi A.,

I am so sorry to hear of your troubles. Unfortunately you are not alone. Our first child was a head banger. I'm told that there are two types, those who stop when they realize that it hurts and those who don't. Ours didn't. I don't remember exactly how it stopped since it was 6 years ago now, but it did. I checked on the internet, search for "head banging", children, tantrum. Something like that should get you plenty of information about it. Some say that the best thing to do with tantrums is just ignore them. Sometimes this works, but with my child of 2 definitely short timeouts with me sitting right there and a very strong no was very effective. You do have to be consistent and loving and patient. They are learning so much, including the english language, and I think they will trust you and learn to obey when they know (from experience) that you love them. I think that it is important to teach the child that it is not okay to hurt him/herself. So, in this case I don't think the idea of ignoring them is best. I have found a book by James Dobson, called The Strong Willed Child to be very encouraging. One piece of especially helpful advice was to be patient with the toddler who is doing something that you don't want them to do. The advice is to be loving, firm, patient and not to back down. We don't have to get angry or yell, just explaining to them and showing them what you mean (it may take from 1 or 100 times), but they will get it. This so encouraged me that I put it into practice and as a result found the infamous terrible twos to not be so terrible, I even enjoyed them. One thing that I think deceives us as parents is that in the moment we can get frustrated thinking that we don't have time to deal with the tantrums and disobedience and disrespect, but I think the honest truth is that that is the very reason we are the parent is to teach them the way to go. Each trial can be an opportunity to teach them if we can hold it together, remember who's the child and stick to the plan. They need to know that know matter how they act that you aren't going to change, that your love for them is unconditional. This more than any strategy will give them the security that they are desperately seeking. A teacher at school told us once that if a child knows the boundaries, that they will direct all their energy toward learning, but if the boundaries change they will direct all their energy toward finding the boundary (i.e. tantrums). After 8 years of parenting I think that this is so true.
I also find sign language to be an incredibly helpful tool with a toddler. As they are beginning to know what they want but don't know how to express it, they get very frustrated. Just knowing a few signs, like: more, please, hungry, thirsty, yes, no, mom, dad, etc... can make this time so much easier for them. I found this little bit in a book called Toddlerwise, by Gary Ezzo. Great book and great series by the way. Here's one website with some simple signs http://www.signwithme.com/images/SWM_cheat_sheet.jpg
I hope that everything goes well with your daughter. If all else fails or even to start, I highly suggest praying for wisdom. That is the one thing that has truly never failed me.

Kindest Regards,


2 moms found this helpful

I had a step daughter that did this, plus pull her hair out in chunks when she was upset. I thought that she had Aspbergers Syndrome, but a psychologist suggested a different form of parenting. One of your daughters problems seems to be that she is really a smart little girl. She know how to get your goat!! The only thing that saved me with my step daughter was a book by Thomas W. Phelan. It is called 123 MAGIC. You can find it on the internet, and usually Barnes and Noble or Borders. They also can order it for you. I kind of was reluctant to read it, but when I did I was glad for it's simplicity. It is an easy to read book. I read it in one day cuz I needed help with her so badly. Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

How are you responding to it? You might be giving her positive reinforcement for her negative behavior and not realizing it. I had a friend (Master in Psych) whose son would hold his breath and pass out as a baby during a tantrum. She played the indifference card and it soon stopped.

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my litlle one did that, i had a play pen, and when she did that i put her in it, and walked of, part of the reason the do that, is to get a response from you,maybe try not saying a word, pick her up take her to a safe place, like a play pin or her crib,and ignore it for about 5 mins, let her know that hurting herself is not the thing to do, it may take a month or two, but it will stop, and then she'll try somthing else to pull your strings. when my daughter did that, if you don't have a playpin or crib, restrain her in her stroller, or carseat, you don't won't her to hit her head to hard. also maybe, if you notice a situation, that is going to end up in a tantrum, try to distract her with somthing, a funny face, or make a big deal, about an object, exp. she's about to get mad and, you pick something she doesn't see allot of, ans say WOW!!! look at this!!! is n't it net do you won't to touch it!!!, mayby in and funny voice, with funny faces, it doesn't always work but it's worked quite a few times for me.

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I am so glad you asked this question. My 22-month-old son does the same thing when he gets upset. My husband and I will try to distract him when he starts banging his head or hitting his head. Sometimes the distraction works, sometimes it doesn't. Many people have told me that he will grow out of it and not to give him the attention he's looking for when he has the tantrum. When my son starts hitting his head my husband and I will either walk away so he knows he won't get the attention he seeks by using this negative behavior or we move him to the carpet so he won't hurt himself while banging his head. My mom also gave me the advice that so many others gave you - splash the child with water. I have actually done that a few times with my son and it worked. I am just so glad you asked this question because I thought maybe my husband and I were doing something wrong or something was wrong with our son. Now I know this is a common problem for many parents and we're not alone. Good luck with whatever you decide to do and hopefully your daughter will stop this behavior soon.

1 mom found this helpful

Have you ever thrown a glass of cold water in her face when she starts her temper tantrums???
Doing that stopped my son from having temper tantrums and causing injury to himself when he was little...And it won't hurt them to get wet...I did this to children I baby set too and it stopped the temper tantrums.....Hope this helps you...B. K (I am now a grandmother)

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I have a 15month old and our doctor warned us that the temper tamtrums on right around the corner...he was right. He told us that some kids hold their breath, bang their heads, stomp, scream anything to get attention. He said just ignor it (while watching) if that makes sence. Once she relizes that you don't "care" she will give it up. I know it sounds hard and it is but it works. Sometimes it takes longer than other time but for the most part it works. Now the actual injury part is it just bruses or does she cause bleeding? You could try picking her up & putting her on the carpet or a cushion and let her bang away there. Just a thought.
Good Luck & God Bless

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