My 18mth old deliberately throws himself back when he has a tantrum.

Rebecca - posted on 03/05/2010 ( 43 moms have responded )

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Hey Everyone,

I just want to know if anyone else is having or had trouble with their toddler deliberately throwing themselves backwards during a tantrum? And if so what do you do / did do to stop it?

My son chucks huge tantrums. It starts by stamping his feet and screaming at us and then launches himself backwards and hits the ground. Then because his head is hurting he expects us to pick him up and give him cuddles. Most of the time we try to catch him and lower him to the ground and then walk away, but we are not always quick enough and if it is a big hit (most of the time when we cant catch him they are) we need to check his head to make sure he is ok.

He has been doing this for the last month and a half now and we are really worried that he is going to give himself brain damage by doing this. At first we thought, 'if he keeps doing it and we dont pay attention he'll work out that it's not worth the pain' but he hasn't stopped at all.

Any suggestions???

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Chloe - posted on 03/14/2010

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HI, i have been having the same problems with my son and hes 19months now and hes been doing it for past few months now, when i have mentioned it to my health visitor and a lady from sure start they just told me to leave him because he'll no when to stop because they wil never properly hurt themself cos they no how far they can push them self if that makes sense, my son has even chipped a tooth a little bit when he was having one n that was when he was about 13-14months old when he started to walk around and got mad when he couldnt do something now hes started to head butt things instead either the couch, floor, walls, his high chair, people you name hes done it.

If your worried have a word with your doctor or health visitor because they might be able to give you bit more abvise about it.x

Tamara - posted on 03/10/2010

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hi yes i am having the same problem with my daughter i put her into her room for time out for 1minute the other day and she threw herelf backwards smacking her head and coming out with a massive bump on it i felt extremely guilty for awhile.but i cannot tolerate bad behaviour as i also have a 2and half month old daughter aswell

Regan - posted on 03/19/2010

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My 18 month old was the same, throwing himself backwards, slapping his cheeks and biting his hand when he's angry. What's worked for me is I look interested and copy his movements and vocalizations. Then I expand on them. I say, "No, no, like this," and put up a real fuss. I've found this puts his tantrum behaviors on a conscious level and the actual force behind them is way less. He lowers himself to the ground and places his hands on his face rather than really hurting himself. He still screams and pitches a fit, but it's more controlled.

Amber - posted on 03/12/2010

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I don't know why someone said it's because your child is being ignored or isn't getting enough attention. Don't listen to that please. Like all the other moms on here I too have a kid who does this. Her doctor says it's natural and she/he is testing you when they do this. So don't give in otherwise you will have a kid who is the boss of you and not the other way around.

Amber - posted on 11/27/2012

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My 15 month old son has been throwing himself backwards for 3 months I feel like it's never going to end he also headbutts, slaps, and scraches when he is upset I always place him in the spot in the living room with pillows and walk away but honestly I feel like crying this behavior not only hurts me physically but I'm worried all the time about him hurting himself

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Bniimom - posted on 05/05/2014

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My son is only 9 months old and he is already doing this... any suggestions? Since he's so young I try to pick him up as much as possible when he does it... but I feel like it's only encouraging the behavior. Please help!

Vickie - posted on 03/20/2010

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It does change. My daughter started and stopped in the same week - just lucky I guess. We threw a pillow under her head when we saw it coming or caught her and lowered her down. If the tantrum continued after the"throwback" we ignored it. Hope any of this helps.

Julie-Anne - posted on 03/14/2010

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Been there done that! my three year old did this but grew out of it after about 3 months, now he just tells us to go into time out when we are not conforming to his requests :)
It is now my 18 month old who is in that stage of throwing himself around yelling and hitting his head on anything near by. We did as most parents do which is to try to stop him from hurting himself while not paying to much attention to the tantrum so as not to encourage a repeat performance. Good luck.

[deleted account]

yes my son does the exact thing! He stamps his feet then arches his back backwards towards the ground. he has never hit the ground yet and i think if he did i would be in hysterics if he hurt himself from a tantrum. usually when he starts arching his back i walk away and he stops or follows me, and i distract his attention like with a different toy or food or whatever.

Susan - posted on 03/14/2010

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I am having issues to, He screams at a high-pitch voice and he slaps and he tries to bite,also he throws things and slaps at his head but I end up putting him in his room. any suggestions

Mofya - posted on 03/14/2010

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Wow, I thought it was only my 19 month old who did that. Thanx for asking that question its been enlightening and helpful to read all the responses you got. I just can't wait to go past this phase.
Thanks to all you ladies for sharing

Good luck!

Christie - posted on 03/13/2010

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Well when my nephew was younger he used to throw himself back on to floors doors and allsorts lol why dont you try and distract him to something and he might forget all about it e.g. if you say he can't have something and he tantrums about it try showing him something else he can have something maybe he hasnt seen before my son throws tantrums wen he wants sumthin but he jus stamps his feet and lies on the floor lol so i show him something else and his attitude changes try it i hope it helps x

Belinda - posted on 03/12/2010

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So we are all in the same club then. Mine also sits along the wall and starts to hit her head against it.

Amy - posted on 03/12/2010

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My son doesn't throw himself backwards, but when he throws a tantrum, he will begin deliberately banging his head over and over on whatever is closest - the wall, the floor, the washing machine, the door, etc. We try to just walk away and let him throw his tantrum unless he starts banging his head on the hard tiled floor - then we intervene and move him to the carpet. I wish I had some suggestions for you, but I can't figure out how to make mine stop banging his head on things either! Perhaps as he gets older, he will learn the consequences and stop doing it. I have noticed that my son is more careful about banging his head now that he realizes it hurts! Good luck!

Kristina - posted on 03/12/2010

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I have the same issues. My little guy also gets upset at or about something and hits his head on the thing that made him mad. He does it to the floor, walls, oven door and dishwasher, my leg, the dog, toys that have done him wrong etc... Just last week I was the proud owner of a BLACK EYE! I don't bruise easily either. He hit me so hard in the face with his head, i saw stars. Not fun to watch or deal with, but i do notice that the more i ignore it, the less it seems to happen. He also is being more careful with how hard he is hitting himself. We've hardly had a day in the last month without a black & blue welt on his head. Good luck to all! It's hard to watch but I am sure the "phase" will end soon enough. Just in time for the next bad one to start. Hold on tight!

Deanna - posted on 03/12/2010

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What your toddler is doing is age-appropriate. My daughter is 18 months old now and she throws tantrums too. Luckily she doesn't throw her head back anymore, but luckily she was younger and still had her pack n play which is soft to land on. I would try to get my hands on a padded mat for him to play on so when he does do this he at least has a softer landing. But do not give in with attention or you will be sending him the signal that all he has to do is throw himself back to get it and it will be permanent instead of a phase. She grew out of it and hopefully he will too :) Hope this helps!

Melissa - posted on 03/12/2010

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my son is doing the same thing ithought i was alone with this one i just try to ease him down or put a pillow under his head so he doesn't get hurt

Karen - posted on 03/11/2010

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I have 5 kids and have been through this many times. My suggestion to everyone dealing with this is to ignore it. It's hard to do, but if you pick your child up everytime he/she does this, they know you will come running. If you just sit there and watch them through the fit, they will eventually catch on that they are not getting the attention they want and will try a different approach. When my youngest daughter, who is almost 19 months, does this, I just watch her. She knows that I see what she's doing and I'm not reacting, so she's doing it less often. As long as they aren't "slamming" their head, this approach works. They realize that they are only hurting themselves for no reason. Hope this helps you. Good Luck!

MsIrene - posted on 03/11/2010

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I am having the exact same problem. My Gabby will purposely throw herself. Crazy thing is if there is something that is going to hurt her she moves it out of the way and then she does it. Right now we are trying time out for her. It is helping a bit but we are just getting started. Good luck!!

Amber - posted on 03/11/2010

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I have gone through it with my older 2 and now going through it with my youngest. The only one that took a while to get out of that stage was my oldest. The younger 2 found out it hurt and only did it maybe 1 more time and saw that my husband and I werent going to baby them and they wouldnt get what they wanted by acting that way. With my oldest we tried time out but it never worked. We ended up not letting her have her toy or whatever it was she wanted that started the fit. She didnt get it til she stopped throwing the fit and said sorry.
It seems that all of the kids go through a stage like this. They get better long enough to go through another stage. So far around the age of 3 both of my older 2 have gone through a stage where they will get mad and try to hit you or throw things at the wall and kick and scream. That stage is really hard to deal with. I never knew what would set them off.
As for the stage you are dealing with now its normal. All I can say is just dont give in to the fits. Most of the time they are just trying to see how far they can get with doing it. Just wait it out it will get better.

Joanne - posted on 03/11/2010

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Hiya, my son does the same, apparently a tantrum is because at this stage in there life's they know what they want and what they don't want but they don't know how to tell us, so that's what the tantrums are about, and when they have a tantrum once they get to a certain point its out of there control, and its best when they finish the tantrum to give them a cuddle as its even more upsetting for them then us. hope this helps

Marlana - posted on 03/11/2010

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My son does the same thing. He is 18 months and it started around 15 months. He only threw himself down a couple of times before he learned that it hurt and I didn't give him any attention. Now he just screams and sets on his bottom then puts his face in the carpet. My doctor told me to leave him alone but also let hime know that it is not acceptable behavior. Time outs are ok at this age, but only for a short time. Good luck and if you find a way to stop it please let me know. I have a 6yr old daughter that only threw one fit as a baby so this is all new to me.

Tushema - posted on 03/11/2010

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My son have been doing the same exact thing for the past 4 months now. Whenever he can't have his way or if my 12yr old daughter or i, is taking to long to feed him when we spoon feed him. He throws himself back on tiled floor mostly and he does it as if it doesn't hurts him. I could hear how hard his falls are sometimes when i'm in another room. I don't like it and i talk to him and tell him not to do it but he continues to do so now i walk away, but he would get right back up and do it again and again until he gets tired of hitting his head on the hard floor.

Gemma - posted on 03/10/2010

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when you see a tantrum coming on you could try putting him in his room and leaving him. how old is he??? or pop a travel cot up downstiars and put him in there wen he dos it, as with the head banging like you say is more of an issue than the tantrums at the minute, but on the other hand perhps hes doing it because he knows it gets a reaction.....my daughter is 19mths and is the same. we started putting her on the floor and walking away and after a few weeks of doing so this week theres been no tantrums. have you spoke to ur Health visitor???? x

Tynette - posted on 03/10/2010

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I think all babies go through that stage. I have 5 kids. My youngest is 19 months also. He throws himself on the floor all the time. Alot of time he goes face 1st. Sometimes I'm scared he'll hurt himself. But my other kids did it too. That just their way of letting out their frustrations or showin out. What else can they do...They can't complain.

Leslie - posted on 03/10/2010

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Hi! I have twin daughters, 19 months. One of my girls will throw a tantrum also throwing her head back to tthe floor. I read (somewhere cant remember where) to take them to "time out" My daughter gets frustrated and has started going to her time out space all by herself. She will just sit there for about 1 min or so and cry. The throwing of the head has slowly started to go away. She usually will always walk out with a smile on her face. It has to be frustrating be a toddler, maybe they need some venting space. Time out has really worked for me not just with tantrums, but in general with all discipline. I do believe this is a stage all children go through, but this has really helped her sister and I deal with tantrums. :) Good Luck!

Jennifer - posted on 03/10/2010

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The same with my 18mos old. I thought my son if the only one who's doing that.

Laura - posted on 03/10/2010

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Wow, tantrums are a hard one! One thing we have found helpful (not with the hitting of the head but with the tantrum part) is getting down on her level and saying something like " I know that you really want to climb the stairs right now but first I need to change sisters diaper. I know that makes you sad but if you sit here and play with this toy , when I am done changing sissy's diaper I will take you up the stairs....Just one small thing that helps our daughter! I have learned a lot from this thread!

Shenae - posted on 03/10/2010

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I'm in the same boat as you, Rebecca. My 18 month old daughter does that as well. She moves so fast, sometimes we don't catch her. Fortunately she doesn't hurt herself. I don't know what to tell you to do about the situation. Maybe you should talk to your son's pediatrician. Maybe he/she can give you some advice. Hope this helps.

Ashley - posted on 03/10/2010

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Haha notice the age range!! from what i can see it is a faze ..... whether they are recieving enough attencion during the day or not my son is 19 months also and does the same! I try to have no intrest in bad behaivour but it is hard not to cuddle up when they do bang their heads :-) i agree with what you are doing try to be there to lower their heads i think that is about all you can do - good luck xx

Zoe - posted on 03/10/2010

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i hope you get this sorted, luckily my son is now out of that stage, we luckily caught him nearly every time but for some reason, hes now stopped it completely, hes just all over calmer, since hes been getting enough sleep night and day, maybe your sons tired too, i have no other suggestions, sorry,

Erica - posted on 03/10/2010

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Hey there.
My 18month old doesn't throw himself backward during a tantrum, he throws himself forward. He will even lay on the ground so he can hit his head on the floor until I pay attention to him.
I have been told that not to pay attention to him is the best unless he is going to hurt himself. I was also told to give him a pillow or an appropiate way to take his anger out. Assign one cushion or pillow that he can punch, hit his head on and throw if he wants.
Good luck
Erica

Anita - posted on 03/10/2010

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Oh yes my daughter still does the same thing. Initially she hits her head and after that I started to warn her in (a kind of languange that she understands) to make her understand that she will fell pain. So now when she thros a tantrum she rolls on the carpert or fall backwards slowly so not to hurt her head. Please do something quickly as it is not good for children to injure the back of the head.

Theresita - posted on 03/09/2010

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Oh yes girlfriend I have twins and the boy is the one that throws himself back when he doesn't get his way. What can we do is the question. I f i find out anything i'll send you a message. Wish us LUCK!!!! ttys Oh and they are 18mos old. I guess it runs in that categorie of age.

Danielle - posted on 03/09/2010

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My 19 month old did the same thing. He does not do it anymore,just yells now, which i am trying to break him of. I have stopped giving in to him for everything. My oldest did this too and i have noticed that a lot of it is due to them trying to get their way. If my son did not get his way, he would throw a temper throwing himself backwards on the floor and at times would hit me or dad and screaming and crying no. once he would hit his head i would check it but refused to pick him up. I started to give him a 1 min timeout and would tell him he can not do this because he is going to make a big boo boo. He has realized that he is not going to get his way all the time and that he is only hurting himself. Toddlers like to push buttons and see what they can get away with, and if allowed to get way with it they will continue to use it. My oldest did this until almost 5yrs old because i would baby him and pick him up telling him its ok and giving him what he wanted so he would stop crying. now behavior like this is unacceptable in my house because i have more children, and i now feel like i have learned something with my oldest. # 1 I don't believe giving him his way all the time is the right thing to do and # 2 i want him to not be in the habit of tantrums to get what he wants and then be one of those kids screaming and throwing themselves on the floor in a public place or restaurant because i wont buy a toy or something because i have no control of my child. We actually went out to dinner last week to a nice restaurant costing us about $70 to eat. The family next to us had a daughter about 4yrs old who literally screamed for almost an hour and throwing herself on the floor kicking all because they would not give her soda. I could not enjoy my food and thought to myself the parents should have done something rather than sit there and ignore her. I personally would have taken her out to the car to cool off. I could see if we went out for fast food then i would not complain, but this was a fancy restaurant.

Charlotte - posted on 03/09/2010

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Im having the same problem too my son has been doing it since he was 16months. He throws himself and hits his head against the floor. i cant seem to find the answer to stop it

Missy - posted on 03/07/2010

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my daughter does the same thing. i just try to distract her with something else before she hits the floor. she will sit then lay down, covers her face. then peeks through her fingers to see if u r paying attention. it is actually kind of funny to watch.

[deleted account]

Our 18m old does the same thing. We just keep it consistent. We walk away. The more attention the longer the tantrum. I know what you mean because you don't want your toddler to hurt themselves but I would say give it more time and be consistent. It will work!

Melanie - posted on 03/07/2010

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My daughter starts to throw a fit but stops when I listen to her. At their age they need to be heard and listened to, so when they throw fits - either they feel they are being ignored bc the parents are busy a lot & do not take out enough time in the day to read or play or have a tea party or do enough one on one; or if they are just really upset because they did not get to do what they had hoped for. You can try to give them choices before just saying no, and also tell them that you can see they are mad or sad or frustrated...sometimes just validating their feelings makes them stop their fit. If they are not neglected and you are giving them choices, you can give them a time out or let them know you will be right back as soon as they talk or behave with a nicer voice, and just go into the other room. A book I read suggested 1 minute of time out per year they are in age, and use a timer so they know it is done when the timer dings. All these tools I learned in reading, "The Happiest Toddler on the Block" It has been a really useful book in understanding toddlers and that they are not really terrible or problematic, tantrum kids, but that they are really excited about discovery (it is their biggest joy) and they get really upset when they are taken from their joy and their new found independence. I hope this is helpful and makes sense. The book will help you understand what I am trying to summarize here.

Ashleigh - posted on 03/07/2010

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My son does the same thing but it only took him a couple times falling on the tile to realize that it hurts. So now he actually looks to see where he is and then dives onto the carpeted area. The only time I check him right away is if he hits the furniture or tile and I hear a loud bump. Otherwise he should be ok, if there are immediate signs of head trauma (liquid coming out ears, blown pupil, disorientation, vomiting, those type of things) then the child needs to get medical attention. But kids are resiliant so they aren't likely to hurt their head very easily.

Sorry I'm not more help.

Jennifer - posted on 03/06/2010

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I'm having the same problem with my daughter!! She's 19 mo old, and she started doing it a couple months ago. I read somewhere that toddlers don't anticipate things, for example, you can tell your toddler that they need to wear a coat outside, and it's not until they're out doors that they realize that it's chilly and they need a coat. It's sorta a reaction thing I guess. I've been watching my daughter, and she's getting better about lowering herself to the ground in the middle of her temper tantrums instead of throwing herself back. My husband and I have gotten into the habit of reminding her that it's going to hurt if she just throws herself around and it seems to be helping. In the meantime, if it sounds like it was a nasty crack give them some Tylenol and tell them you're sorry that they hurt themselves and you still love them, but they have to figure it out, and you'll be there for them when they're done. Anther thing we do, and I know it's not always possible, is to remove them from the hard floor to the carpet when the first signs of the tantrum begin. Sometimes changing rooms is enough to distract her from whatever the problem is, and if it isn't, I figure throwing yourself onto padded carpet is going to hurt a lot less then wood floor or tile. You're doing the right thing by checking him over and then letting him figure it out. Sucks for us, but better for him in the long run. Think of it this way, if he learns to chill himself out now, you'll have a well adjusted child in the future! If you are really concerned, ask your pediatrician about what they think you should do, and if they think it's going to cause any harm to your child. It sounds like you are doing a good job dealing with it, and for me the hardest part is not showing any emotion or rushing over.when she does it. My nephew went through a similar stage, and he figured it out, there was no damage done to his brain, and is now a happy, smart, 5 yr old, so it does get better!! Good Luck!!

Dawn - posted on 03/06/2010

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Hi,I am having the same problem with my 18 1/2 mth old son..when he gets angry or is having a fit he will bang his head off the floor and then wanna be picked up..I dont have any suggestions for you as everything we have been trying has'nt worked either..But im hoping someone can give some ideas ..

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