17 answers

2 Year Old Hits His Head on the Floor.

I have a two year old who gets frustrated (like many toddlers) but he hits his head on the floor, or wall, or table to get attention, usually after I have disciplined him. If I scold him for it, he continues and I'm afraid he is really hurting himself! Sometimes he ends up hitting his head harder than he intended to and it is very painful to watch. Is this a common problem? Should I take him to a doctor? Perhaps a helmet? Please help!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I appreciate all of the responses to my request. I actually did take Jack to the doctor and he said "no, he isn't autistic, he's just two." I've found the less I acknowledge the bad behavior, the less it happens, (as many of you had advised). I'm sure he will be moving on to bigger and better things. I am grateful that there are so many moms out there willing to take the time to share their experiences with me.

Thank you again,

S. & Jack

Featured Answers

If possible ignore him, or at least make him think you are when he does this, so he won't think this is an attention getter. Pay a lot of attention and praise him when he does someting good or plays nice etc.

I am a Behavioral Therapist, and I would tell you that this is NOT normal at all. Head banging is a red flag for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Are there any other things going on? I would recommend you see a Developmental Pediatrician.

More Answers

Your problem is your reaction to what he is doing. I used to be a preschool teacher and I can remember a child in my class that used to do this (hurt himself) and try to distract the whole class when he got in trouble. It was easy for me to not give him any attention but not for my class. I had to remove him from class each time he would do it. After a while he learned that it didn't get him anything and he stopped. Kids are VERY quick at learning what works and what doesn't. Sounds like his plan of you backing off so he won't hurt himself is getting to you and might be working. As for it being painful to watch, don't watch and see if he finds something else to do. Self inflicted pain to manipulate others is not something you want him to grow up learning to do. Try your hardest to just ignore the behavior and stay focused on the offense and discipline. Hang in there mom, kids can be very creative!

1 mom found this helpful

My son hit his head on the floor too just a faze and will stop evenually. Nothing you can do. He will learn. G. W

A young child banging his head could mean many different things. It could be a coping mechanism for him to deal with his anger. My oldest son would do it on his bed during nap or night time....drove me nuts! But it was his way to relax, and he is a wonderful kid who is in the Talented and Gifted program now.

But for some children, it can be a sign of a medical problem like autism or ADHD. So I would definately bring it to the doctor's attention to rule out any medical problems.

Much Luck!

This is normal. They don't know how else to express their frustration,I found what worked for us was to try to ignore it but sometimes it was hard. Other times I would talk softly and try to help him with what he was having dificulty with. Don't worry it dosen't last forever.

I've not dealt with this w/mine, but read about it. I read all Love and Logic books like a crazy person once mine were 2 or so lol...and their advice is to sort of comment on it rather than getting frustrated yourself. For example, the next time this happens you'd say something like, "Wow, I bet that hurts", but without concern or any emotion. It's exactly like you said "to get attention" so I'd just not get worked up about it since that's what he wants. I'd imagine this is normal as nothing seems "weird" when you have a 2 year old...they are pretty much capable of all sorts of strange things, huh?!

Does he have any gut issues? Diarrhea or constipation? For autistic kids head banging is often linked to thier GI problems.

This is a normal way for a toddler to get their frustrations out. My oldest son did it when he was young. My ped. said to make sure he was a safe place; like carpet instead of tile, and walk away and ignore it completely. He was done doing it within a week once he stopped getting a responce from me.
It's hard to go through, but it is normal and it is a phase that will pass.

My son went through a phase of hitting his head on the floor when he was mad or frustrated. My Pediatrician said that is one reason kids come with such thick skulls. He said it is normal and not to worry--as long as it isn't excessive or lasts abnormally long. My son grew out of that phase within a few months.

S. ,
It is NOT normal for a child to hit their head HARD and I want to ask you if there is any other issues? He may have sensory issues. Does he have trouble with language? Does he not like tags in his shirt or get his hands dirty? Does he walk on his tiptoes? If you could answer those it will help me help you a little more. YOu can email me anytime.

I am a Behavioral Therapist, and I would tell you that this is NOT normal at all. Head banging is a red flag for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Are there any other things going on? I would recommend you see a Developmental Pediatrician.

I have siblings and kids who do that. I just ignore it and it's gone away. (My daughter is just getting into that, although with her it's more of a throwing her head backwards on the ground to start a tantrum.) Sometimes disciplining it only encourages it, cause it gets them attention.

Good luck

My brother used to do that when he was about that age. My mother would not say a word to him when he started, she would just tell anyone that was in the room that we had to leave and we would all get up and walk out. Since my brother didnt' have an "audience" he would stop banging his head. If she tried to get him to stop, it would just get worse. So she found that just waling out and not saying anything was very effective. My niece tried it on her 3 yr old who was throwing a tantrum after being disciplined and it worked for her. He was screaming and hitting the wall and she just turned around and walked out. He stopped after a few minutes when he realized there wasn't anyone watching him. When he went to find my niece, she just said calmly that she wouldn't stay in a room with him when he was screaming and hitting the wall. She has done this a couple of time and it has been very effective with him. Hope this helps

If possible ignore him, or at least make him think you are when he does this, so he won't think this is an attention getter. Pay a lot of attention and praise him when he does someting good or plays nice etc.

i have a 3 1/2 yr old that does the same thing. he would also do alot of other things that would hurt himself like pinching & scratching himself really bad. the dr tested him & he is autistic. the reason why they do these things is cuz its pleasure to them i know that sounds crazy. it would hurt us but not them, that is how they get the feeling of things around them by the deep pressure.his therapist had me do a deep pressure massage & firm touch on him. it seemed to help and we also put him in a blanket and gently swing him back and forth like a swing. i hope i could help you.

One of my children did this as well when she got frustrated with something. It doesn't last long - it is just their way of dealing with it!

both my twin two year olds do this. one of my girls used to do it, and she would do it so hard when we tried the "cry it out" method that we thought she would beat herself to a bloody pulp. We were not able to do cry it out with the girls. We are more wise the second time around and we do not let this get to us. At some point survival mechanism will kick in and they will stop banging their heads because it will hurt. If it does not hurt enough to stop, must not hurt tht much. good luck.

You are exactly right, he is doing it for attention. My son went theough this phase also. We did nothing when he did this. If he accidentally hit harder than he thought or left a mark on his head we would make sure he was fine without talking to him but other than that we would just ignore him and he figured out pretty quick that we weren't doing anything and he was just hurting himself for no reason. I know it is hard to think that he might really be hurting himself and you are doing nothing for him but he is only doing it for attention. He is only trying to get what he wants. My son stopped this pretty soon after it started and now we are in the every so lovely screaming phase when he wants his way! Good Luck To You!

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