My 14 Month Old Hits His Head on the Floor on Purpose

Updated on March 26, 2008
A.K. asks from Malvern, PA
11 answers

my son bangs his head on the floor when he is really mad. i dont worry about his other tantrum symptoms under control like whining, crying, but when he hurts himself it worries me he will have anger issues and self control issues. i know how to deal with people who speak. so how can i get my throught to my raging babe?

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A.S.

answers from Philadelphia on

My son (now 30 months) did this until he was 18 months and then grew out of it. When I spoke to my doctor about it (since I was very concerned as well), he said that he would not hit his head hard enough to actually harm himself. I always just tried to stay calm and talk to him since it seemed like when I tried to stop him, it made him do it more.
Good luck and hang in there, it most likely will pass.

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R.H.

answers from Philadelphia on

A.,

Although it sounds very scary, I don't think you're alone. I don't think it's indicative of long-term problems either. Deal with the short-term consequences and you will make it through this phase.

And as for wiping butts with your degree, sometimes that's the best thing you can do with it! I sing nursery rhymes and wipe a little boy butt all day with my law degree. Ha!

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B.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Mine did this when he was 16 months old. At first I was terrified but my mother in law told me not to react, to just comfort him when he came to me. So from then on when he did it I would "look away" (but still kind of watch just in case you have to stop them from REALLY hurting themselves) and he'd come to me crying and I would pick him up and ask "what happened?" and he would point to the floor and I would just tell him that it must have hurt and he shouldn't do that. A week later he never did it again. I think most babies go thru this, it's just a stage and a control issue. They're testing us. If you're very concerned though you can talk to your doctor and see if he/she has any other tips! Good luck!

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K.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

It is said with temper-tantrums to walk away and ignore... But from a nurse's point of view and mom of two boys that have had their share, one needs to keep the child safe, so maybe remove him to a safe place to bang his head, divert his attention and keeping a consistent routine worked for me, giving in never did. Hope this helps. KC

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J.A.

answers from Philadelphia on

My daughter did the SAME thing at 13 and 14 months. My friend has twins and one of them does it too. He just turned 15 months.
I don't know why they do it, but I worried just as you seem to.
Eventually, my daughter quit "hurting" herself when frustrated.
I would just keep an eye on him and gently stop him when he does and redirect his attention.
He will learn that behavior is not favorable.

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T.T.

answers from York on

My daughter did the same thing & would pull her hair too. Her doctor explained that she was frustrated b/c she couldn't verbalize what she needed or how she was feeling. Even though she was talking, we started teaching her sign language for words she might need to use. Also, when she would bang her head or pull hair, I'd grab her & hold her & ask her to show me what she wanted. Or while holding her, I'd tell her I knew she wanted ...., but it would hurt her, etc. It helped tons. I know boys are a bit different. When mine's having a fit, I cuddle him more & he calms down. If its really bad, I count to 5 & if he can't calm down, I put him in time out for throwing a fit. Or, I just leave him & walk away. Good Luck.

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B.L.

answers from Philadelphia on

Wow, my oldest son (now 29) did this too, while looking at me. I used to quickly pick him up, talk to him, etc. Then someone told me to ignore it. So I did that for a long time. Then one day he hit his head on the concrete at church. That must have hurt, because he never did it again. No brain damage that I can tell. I think he'll eventually stop no matter what you do. Hang in there, intelligent woman who'll use her BA one day!

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M.M.

answers from Philadelphia on

My second son did the same thing and this is the advice I got from the pediatrician:
Is he knocking himself out? No, then ignore it. Is he physically harming himself - blood, severe bruising? No, then ignore it.

I ignored it for a few weeks and he stopped. He is now 5 and since that age he occassionally regressed to the head banging, but by 3 had totally grown out of it.

Here is one question...is your son talking? My son was not even babbling at that age, his major frustration was not being able to communicate. I put him in speech therapy (he qualified for EI since he was severly behind) and it worked MIRACLES on him!!

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B.L.

answers from Philadelphia on

My son did it as soon as he could sit up against the wall or crib. It was funny at first, but then it seemed like he was enjoying the sound or something and it became repetitive. He also got a reaction out of us, whether it be laughing or frowning. Maybe they are just checking for different responses from us. Who really knows? Oh, by the way, congrats on your BA :}

B

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A.S.

answers from Philadelphia on

My son (now 30 months) did this until he was 18 months and then grew out of it. When I spoke to my doctor about it (since I was very concerned as well), he said that he would not hit his head hard enough to actually harm himself. I always just tried to stay calm and talk to him since it seemed like when I tried to stop him, it made him do it more.
Good luck and hang in there, it most likely will pass.

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C.K.

answers from Philadelphia on

My first child did something similar. I took him to a homeopath and he recognized the symptoms right away. Worth checking out.

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W.K.

answers from Philadelphia on

My son (now 9) did the same thing frequently as a baby. I also worried about injuries as well as defiance and anger issues. One day, while playing outside our home, he became angry when it was time to come inside. He got down on his hands and knees and banged his head on the concrete driveway. He never again expressed his anger in that manner! Seriously.
Even when very youg,it appears children will throw a tantrum to get what they want. They need to learn the consequences of poor behavior, regardless of their age.