Need some advice on my 22 month old son throwing tantrums and the best thing too do with him when he

Eleanor - posted on 02/08/2010 ( 182 moms have responded )

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He throwing them when he doesn't get what he wants, but he's banging his head on the floor, I'm scared he hurts himself.

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Tiffany - posted on 02/08/2010

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It's a phase that they go through. It's just a way of trying to get what they want. Don't over react because it will make it worse. Just pick him up and tell him firmly to stop. Then put him in his cot or playpen if he continues so he doesn't hurt himself. Like a timeout. Tell him that he will be picked up only when he stops. Once he is done, talk to him calmly and tell him that throwing a tantrum is not the way to get things.

Another way is to distract him and give him something else to do/play with.

Never give in when he is throwing his tantrum. Otherwise, he will think it works and continue doing it.

In a public place, just pick him up and tell him if he doesn't stop, you are just going to bring him home. If he continues, follow through and leave the store. After a few times, he'll learn that throwing a tantrum is not going to get him that toy/candy.

Kirsty - posted on 02/08/2010

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my daughter is the same age, although it seems harsh when she throws a tantrum she is ignored, which she then covers her face n trys peeping at us to see if we are watching her when she realises were not she stops, but like th recent comment every child is different

Dara - posted on 02/08/2010

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Hi. I think that one of the most important things you can do is remember that your son is a tiny person with limited reasoning and language abilities. I also have a 22 month old...and what I hate is that sometimes I'll wanna just "give up" on her when one of the other kids will "translate" for me and they tell me what she's been TRYING TO TELL ME...and then I feel SO BAD 'cause once I understand her...she settles down...And, one time, it was just because we were heading out the door and she wanted "parker" and I had NO IDEA what she was saying so I was getting impatient and just getting her ready to go and she just had A FIT and finally one of the other kids said, "She wants her sparkly shoes!!!"...and when I said to this panicked mess on my floor, "Do you want your sparkly shoes?" she stopped screaming, whimpered, "Yeaaahh..." and that was ALL she wanted! But...she couldn't tell me!

Spanking him, as some have suggested, can stop the "outbursts" BUT...the outbursts...tantrums...are a symptom of something "in his heart"...a frustration he has that's too big for him to handle or just something "simple" (like sparkly shoes) that he's SO FRUSTRATED 'cause he can't tell you...and don't "we" sometimes even feel like we wanna "bang our heads against the wall" when our husbands or bosses aren't HEARING US? Yor little guy...he has no words for what's eating at him sometimes. If you stop the tantrums (with spanking) you CAN effectively control his symptoms...but his heart will not change and may possibly you may just get him to stop trying to communicate to you...and me personally I don't want to ever do that 'cause I fear what happens when they're frustrated and 16...

It IS HARD to stop and TRY to reason with someone that small and with SUCH a limited vocab...and I find myself wanting to bang my own head on the floor sometimes...BUT...when you really really pay attention to them...often you CAN help them find what they're trying to express and help them work with it. The little ones are "just like us"...they wanna be heard...understood...it's just a hard job to break that "language" barrier...

Renee - posted on 02/08/2010

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my advice is to pick him up right away, make him stand up and calmly tell him that if he does not stop he will be spanked. (if you dont spank then put in his room or away from where you are at). if he continues, put him in his room or another room and shut the door. let him finish his fit and only open the door when he is finished. it will take a while because he is doing this to get a reaction out of you. you will have to stay strong and hold to it, but after a few times of being put by himself, he will stop. hope that helps

Christiane - posted on 02/08/2010

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let him go and ignore them best u can. dont give in, be strong mine have all done it and nothing un towards has happened, well not yet

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Kath - posted on 02/13/2010

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Ignoring the bad behaviour is the best policy - its hard because you are stresed and frustrated and wanting to be in control and protect him. Try not to react, give in or acknowledge the tantrum at all, no matter where he throws one. Praise any little good thing he does, especially co operative, positive things he does as much as you can. If the tantrum is in public , don't let embarrassment make you try to stop the tantrum, stick with the routine. See if you can watch him to find out what triggers a tantrum so you can divert the behaviour before it hits - I got mine to be a helper - finding things on the list by pretending I couldn't find them, staying well away from the lolly aisle and praising as much as possible.

Terri - posted on 02/13/2010

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I am guessing that you don't spank him. All it took was once or twice when my girls did something totally wrong and they never did it again. And I didn't SPANK hard or anything like that. I let them know I was very mad and gave them a whack on the rear, two if necessary.......one was in diapers, about 23 mos, and the other was a bit older, like 3 or 4 or 5, when I first had to do that...and their shocked expressions said it all....they were like, what the heck...what's up with that. It teaches them right from wrong. My sweet and serene daughter today used to throw herself against the bedroom door when I told her she had to stay in her room for being naughty. She was about 4 or 5. My other daughter was about 4 and they told me she bit someone at daycare....welll, I thought, not my little girl............Then one day I'm making dinner and she comes up to me and hugs my leg...like always and I was in shorts because it was summer and she bit my inner thigh! My reaction astounded even me. I hauled off and whacked her across the face.....it was instinct....and I felt so incredibly bad about it.....but you know, she never bit anyone ever again. And I remember her looking at me and that expression was.....wow...won't be doing that again.....she did cry a little but I then explained what happend and how biting can really hurt someone...not only pain but in reaction. Once you see how wonderfully your child develops, you'll understand.



I used to babysit for a kid that would rock in his crib. He would be on all fours...his knees and hands and go back and forth and back and forth....then out of the clear blue sky he would slam his head into the crib over and over again. This was at night because he didn't want to go to bed. The first time that happened his mom said not to worry, he does it all the time......yikes. I was 12 years old and didn't think that was right. But she spoke with their pediatrician who said he'll get over it (and that he is doing it to himself so it's not like someone was beating him over the head). And he did. He's a remarkable young man today...in business.



I am not telling you to go out and beat your kids. I would never have dreamed to do that. My parents raised 9 of us and to this day we all know that whatever spankings we got....we deserved. And it is just when we were young and learning like that......NOW is the time they are learning.....their minds are like little tape recorders.....if you let them get away with these bad things....they will do them in the future.....no doubt about it.



My parents did not spank us as we grew older....there were plenty of ways we got the punishment we deserved at older ages.....no desert, no trick or treat, no movies, grounded, no dances, no car, you name it....but they were strict in discipline and we all knew that they loved us very much. I know of people who hate their parents and blame everything on them because they never disciplined them when they were young and learning. They are sorry sights.....I sure don't like to be around them.



Just my opinion....

Angel - posted on 02/13/2010

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Ignore it- the bigger deal you make the more effective it makes his fit throwing. Do not let it interrupt what your doing. I would deposit his tiny tukas on his bed and let him alone.

Susan - posted on 02/13/2010

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My son was banging his head when he was only nine mos old. At first, i was scared bec. i thought something was wrong with his behaviour. For some reason , I tried putting a bath towel around his head and kind of encouraged him more to do it by saying"o.k. bang your head bang your head" and he hated that. He was trying to take out the towel on his head, but i was giving him a bit of a hard time to take it out. Since then, everytime he was going to do it, i would just show the towel to him and he stopped.

Jodi - posted on 02/13/2010

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Try getting a copy of Parenting with Love & Logic for Toddlers by Jim Fay. This book gave me some really easy great tools to use for situations that could send you over the top . I recommend it to everyone! Your son's temper tantrums will stop in one week....if not sooner! Good Luck.

Susan - posted on 02/13/2010

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My second child was banging his head when he was upset at nine mos old. I used to put thick towel around his head and he hated that. So every time he did that , I would get the big bath towel ,put aorund his head and would say"O.K. bang your head, bang your head" and i would kind of encouraged him more to do that by touching his head. He hated that so much that was why he stopped doing that. That was the only solution that worked for me.

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How long did you try for?? I guess that is the key! Persistance persistance persistance. If he ha gotten away with he behaviour forone week it will be easier to break or change than if he's been doingit for 6 months. You need to re-establish the boundariues and the roles within the family. You are in charge. They don't like that. They react, you cave or they get your attention = they win. Alternatively you stand firm, they try a little harder, you stay firm = they give up and conform (but will try something else until they know you're not fluctuating)!! It s hard but it is very winable!! If you give in now and let them win for your own sanity you'll lose in the end!!

BTW: I know it's hard. Anotehr help is to name their emotions when it is suitable, After the have calmed - "I can see you were upset and angry at me for saying no, would you like to talkto me about it? I love you and want to understand how you feel." Always end on a cuddle and declaration of love. You can also use I statements "I feel upset when you yell like that, Mummy loves you very much, and I don't want you to be sad, but if you eat that chocolate now (for examle) you'll ruin your appetite for dinner and maye get a tummy ache. I don't want that for you. Maybe you can have a chocolate after you eat all your dinner tonight or at snack time tomorrow - hat do you think? Do you think you can try harder not to yell t Mummy next time you are upset? I love you - thank you for talking with me - I feel much better now".

It's just a sample but let me know how you think it might work! Side note I have a friend who' toddler would hold his breath until he had a fit. It was purely attention seeking. Praise the good behaviour,encourage it and ignore the bad. Just walk awa. Be strong -it is hard because e love our kids and don't want them to fee sad or hurt. But we are the grown up, we are the grown ups, we are the grown ups!!!

Holly - posted on 02/13/2010

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I would love to know the answer of this as well, but I'm here for you. I totally understand! My 18 month old does the same thing. He gets down on the floor rolling around then he falls back and bangs his head off the floor, he's even bit me:S..I have no idea why he does this. I tried the ignore him technique and see if that would help but no, I tried time out in a corner nothing works. I can tell him no and take him away from something ten times and ten times he'll go back and flip out again...

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Hi Eleanor! I am a mother of 6 and he little one (now aged of 5) was doing the same! It is terrible but the only things that work is leaving the room and be normal. I know it's hard but the infant do that to ask attention and soon he or she will see that dosn't have any effect he will stop, believe me!

Joanne - posted on 02/13/2010

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I also have a son 22 months and sometimes has the temperment of a raging bull and when he does there is NO talking to him. I think also at that age it is the parent banging therir head off the floor because they are still quite young to understand when you are trying to explain to them what they are doing is bold and they need to behave. Also if he is banging his head its not like you can just ignore him until he stops in case he seriously hurts himself. As he is still quite young if he does this I would try to divert his attention to something else and pick him up and cuddle him to try and calm him down and perhaps take him outside to see something until he has calmed down. He is still young. If it continues well into an age where he understands exactly what he is doing and why then you will need to be firmer in your actions but until then I would try a softer approach as after all he is still a baby really. If he has a bad temper like my son, its nature and will prob be hard to deal with until he is a little older and can understand you properly.

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eralyn - i agree - throwing cold water is oly going to antagonise the situationand let the child know you are not open to their point of view.

Geralyn - posted on 02/12/2010

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Some moms have great advice about "planned ignoring" the attention-seeking behaviors and then rewarding positive behaviors. It works if done consistently and calmly. Also I totally agree with some of the moms who recommend communication with their children. Its okay to be frustrated about something, and at 22 months, Eleanor, he is just starting to learn how to regulate his emotions. You want to shape how he expresses his frustration in healthy ways.



Regarding my opinion on throwing water in a little one's face, dumping him in a tub of cold water or forcing him into a cold shower, really???? Perhaps some old family traditions are best left ... in the past.... I just have this image of the mom being frustrated about something and trying to communicate her frustration to her husband but can't, and her husband's response is to throw her in cold water. How effective would that be? It may break the "tantrum," but it does nothing for the relationship building.

Rebecca - posted on 02/12/2010

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It's quiet normal, lol. Each of my 5 children went through similar fazes, some would bang their head on the tile, and others would flop around & scream, etc. The BEST advise is to ignore the negative behavior. When he starts to throw a tantrum, tell him you don't listen to boys who are screaming, and WALK AWAY. Out of the room if possible. With no audience (you), he will start understanding that his antics are not producing the results he wanted. But, when he is calm then do listen to him & praise him for using his words and for being calm! Praise good behaviors, ignore the tantrums. Trust me, while he might put a bruise on his head, he won't be doing any brain damage, and if you give the head banging ANY attention, that will just spur him on. Holding him down or trying to reason with him when he's in a tantrum state will not get you anywhere. It will get better when you reward his good behaviors & ignore the negative!!

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He knows that is your limit - they are relly clever kids!!! Hey knows you react when tis happens so what does he do - he bangs his head. My adice - let him!! He'll only do it onceor twice and actually hurt hiself before herealises you didn't react and try something new. He wants yor attention more than the thing!! Trust me! Say it once - walk away - even if it is just to wipe dishes or fold laundry - he needs to know you are in charge and there is a right and wrong way to deal with things he doesn't like. Whatever you do - don't give in to stop it!!!! If you pick him up and start to comfort him - he has just taken control of you and he s in charge of the situation and you are at his beck and call. IGNORE it - it will go away. Remember to encorage him when he doesn't do it and listens to you and remember to encourage him to talk with you his concerns rather than tantrum!! If he gets your attention doing the right thing he'll do it more!

Holly - posted on 02/12/2010

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Eleanor,



One thing I have noticed is that kids go through these "bad" phases. It happens about every three months or so until they turn 3. It can be very difficult for mommys because you feel like you might just go crazy but it lasts about a few weeks and then you get your baby back. When this happens, walk away and put him in his room, for your sake! This too shall pass....I promise.

Mamaw - posted on 02/12/2010

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if you believe in time out, then put him in time out and if he continues banging his head get him a helmet and put him time out 1 minute for every year of age they are. i watch SUPER NANNY and she is great......

Geetha - posted on 02/12/2010

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Generally, I had seen that if i Distracted her with something which the child liked she would be quite and stop throwing tantrums. The other option i used was to actually ignore her and do something which interests her without actually making her participate in that. Then she would come and join in and forget what she was crying for.

Mamaw - posted on 02/12/2010

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if you believe in time out, then put him in time out and if he continues banging his head get him a helmet and put him time out 1 minute for ebery year of age they are. i watch SUPER NANNY and she is great......

Alia - posted on 02/12/2010

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Thats how they express their feelings at that age. They often have complex feelings but lack the vocabulary and verbal/social skills to express themselves. Very frustrating for them as well as you! In my experience negative attention accomplishes little. I allow my girl to throw the tantrum until she is finished. After all, they need to express themselves, but they WILL eventually learn that there are other ways to do it. Its kind of a way of respecting the age and emotional needs without reacting strongly and teaching them that they can get attention from it. If you respond with anger and passion, he could learn to engage you that way. Treat it like no biggie, and he will too after a while. As for the head, is he bruising? If he is bruising you might need to restrain him - but I would ask a pediatrician about that one... biggest thing for you is patience. This will pass.

Elizabeth - posted on 02/12/2010

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my son hated to be ignored so I tried ignoring him, worked for a while but the thing that broke him was when I stretched out in the floor beside him and pitched a tantrum. He stopped immediately, I stoped, he started again so did I. He stopped period.

Jeanie - posted on 02/12/2010

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I don't THINK it will hurt him. I'm 63 and my son, who is now happy and healthy and also a dad at 41, used to bang his head HARD against the end of his crib at 9 months. Everything I've read indicates its a young one's way of releasing anger. My husband was very jealous of this child although they are now good friends. Families have a way of coming together if you let them. Keep loving your son and letting him know he is safe. That's the only answer this grandma can give you. Hugs and love to you.

Duckie - posted on 02/12/2010

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The best thing that you can do is put him on his bed let him have his fit but dont give him any atention for it. tell him to let you know when he is done then just sit there like it dont bother you at all. but never give in. it will take some time and alott of cool on your part but it works.

Duckie - posted on 02/12/2010

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The best thing that you can do is put him on his bed let him have his fit but dont give him any atention for it. tell him to let you know when he is done then just sit there like it dont bother you at all. but never give in. it will take some time and alott of cool on your part but it works.

Sidney - posted on 02/12/2010

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I have a friend who had a child who banged her head and they just put a bike helmet on her. This kept her from getting hurt till she out grew the banging. She was not throwing a tantrum but it seems to me that this would work for tantrums too. The less attention you give to a child throwing the tantrum the less reward they feel and will eventually stop throwing tantrums. It can be tough at the beginning but if you stay consistent it will pay off with few exceptions. Obviously if your child is mentally ill or emotionally disabled I would consult with my pediatrician or child psychiatrist.

Rebecca - posted on 02/12/2010

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Both my two have done the same thing My eldest 3 1/2 seems to have grown out of it but my 21 month old still does sometimes. I had the same conerns. If they threw a tantrum in my arms I would put them on the floor preferably on the carpet or mat and say they were just being silly and Mummy can't talk to silly boys/girls and when banging their head I would say in a calm voice, "You will hurt yourself doing that." When they realise they have hurt themself say, "I told you you would hurt yourself, that's what happens when you be silly." Other than that I would try to ignore the behaviour as much as possible so as not to encourage it. It seemed to work, my little girl doesn't do it very often if at all now and neither does my little boy.



Good luck

Lori - posted on 02/12/2010

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my little guy used to throw temper tantrums and bang his head on the wall. i used to ask him to stop and talk to him in a very calm voice. if that doesn't help, i figured he would stop because it would hurt after awhile. hope that helps:)

Becky - posted on 02/12/2010

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If he's only 22 months, I might hold him in my lap, head away from my body until he calms down. Cross his arms in front of him, grab each of his wrists with your opposite hand, just tight enough so he can't get loose. If legs are kicking, sit on floor and wrap your legs around him. This "hold" keeps him from hitting, kicking and biting you also. Only do this until he wears down and calms down agrees to stop throwing a fit by banging his head. If he's not hurting himself, ignore him!!! Don't give in and let him have what he wants!!

Myra - posted on 02/12/2010

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in a calm state (which can be hard if he does this often:) )tell him that is not how to get something... If he continues I would put him in his crib or room and close the door till he stops and calms. He will quickly understand that tantrums do not work on you and he will stop.

Marie - posted on 02/12/2010

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place a pillow under his head when he tries to bang his head of the floor he know this is effecting you thats why he is doing this i have sat the child on the naughty chair as a time out and told the child i am annoyed . its upsetting and fustrating i know but the sooner rather than later

Jessica - posted on 02/12/2010

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my niece nephew and god daughter do the same thing just ignore them or put them in time out they will realize that when noone is paying attention to them they will stop

Stacey - posted on 02/12/2010

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My daughter does the same thing. It is completely normal. I usually tell her that we do not want to be screamed and yelled at and listen to crying so if she wants to cry I put her in her crib for a couple of minutes. Then I go get her and ask her if she is ready to be with people and stop yelling. She usually stops until the next tantrum whenever that may occur.

Georgia - posted on 02/12/2010

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honestly, my son used to do the same thing. They know they can get attention that way. I had to just suck it up and let him do it...ignore the tantrum...once he realized he won't get attention for it then he won't do it anymore.

Loretta - posted on 02/12/2010

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My oldest son (now 11) did the same thing when he was a toddler. He would hit his head on the floor and the wall. Sometimes it sounded like he hit it hard enough to crack his skull. It was absolutley awful! There were times I spanked him for it (when he kept bangging his head after I told him to stop) and there were times I ignored him (when I felt he wasn't really hurting himself). Sad to say, but you will have to wait it out. I recall it really only happening a few months, but it felt like a LOT longer going through it. You know your child better than anyone, you will make it through it!

Richele - posted on 02/12/2010

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best thing to do, leave the room and ignore him! Kids will do anything for attention whether its positive or negative attention.

Diana - posted on 02/12/2010

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My oldest son used to throw things and when he almost hit his 18 month old brother in the head with a metal Tonka truck, I knew it was time for action. He was put to bed with a swat on the seat, and I left the room. If he continued to throw things, he was again swated and put to bed. Eventually, when he lost his temper, he would put him self to bed, kick and scream, but not hurt himself or others. It was a way to let out his anger without harm.... He grew up great, and I haven't seen a temper tantrum since he was small.

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Let him throw the tantrum. Any attention to his actions is called negative reinforcement. No matter what kind of attention kids seek, positive or negative, it is the result they are looking for. It might not be your intention to reinforce it negatively, but if you respond to the tantrums, he knows for the future, that you will "pay attention" to him as he makes lots of noise. This type of negative attention will make it way more difficult for you in the future, as he will have learned that you pay attention or he gets what he wants while acting inappropriately. Ignore him until the fit is done. Then, after he is calm, explain to him the reasoning you chose to do or give what you did. The opposite of that is when he does something good, reward him with positive attention. It will be VERY difficult to do so in the short term, but in the long run, he will learn what works and what doesn't when seeking attention or seeking a specific item. Hope this helps.

Louise - posted on 02/12/2010

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Put him somewhere safe where he can't hurt himself (on a soft rug) not on a bed case he falls off, then just walk away. Reward him with a lovely cuddle, only when he stops as he is doing it for attention. If he does it when out - just turn away and try to ignore it, only look at him once he stops. See if this works, it may take a few turns before the message gets through!

Lorie - posted on 02/12/2010

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I agree with Tiffany. Be firm and tell him "We don't act this way" and then put him in the playpen so he won't hurt himself. The key is being consistent and don't lose your temper. You must redirect him and eventually he will get tired of fighting you and will give up. Kids test us to see where their boundaries are. It seems strange, but this is true.

Michelle - posted on 02/12/2010

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My son is now 8 years old but at that age he was also throwing fits. The doc told me to walk away and let him throw his fits just ignore he will stop. It is very hard to stay strong. Each child is different and this doesn't work over night so just remember the next fit you have to do the same thing. Good luck!!! It did not get worse for me.

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Ignore his tantrums, walk out of the room but above all else, stay calm. He will feed off your emotions. If he starts banging his head, put him in bed. He may be tired?? Good luck!

Heather - posted on 02/12/2010

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We had this issue w/ my daughter. The only thing that has ever worked with her is to put her in a safe place and walk away until she could work through it on her own. It was mainly frustration because she couldn't communicate, but she's 6 now and still must work it out on her own. GL! Just know u r not alone.

Carly - posted on 02/12/2010

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EXACTLY..Children seek all the attention that they possibly can from their parents...You don't give them the satisfaction it will eventually stop...The game won't be fun to him anymore

Samantha - posted on 02/12/2010

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and that is why he does it.walk away and tell him if this is how you are going to be then i will not sit with you let me know when your done.when your not there to watch he will stop.goodluck

Carly - posted on 02/12/2010

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They also have really hard heads my boy hits his up to 5 times a day being his silly self....

Laura - posted on 02/12/2010

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i know it's scary like he could really hurt his head , my son was the same age when he started that, my pediatrician told me that he will stop when it hurts him enough. and sure enough he did it (head banging) outside on the concrete padio , scraped up his forhead and nose and has never done it again i hope all goes well :)

Carly - posted on 02/12/2010

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Mine does the same thing...when it comes to banging his head he'll learn...mine is they hurt it but they realize that it hurts....I walk away and let him have his tantrum they stop and realize that they are not getting their way and they move on to the next....the less you pay attention to the tantrums the more they are gonna stop using it cuz its not getting under your skin like he thought it was going to.....The more attention you give your child during the behavior the more they are going to use it against you....Its a very early trick up their sleeve....they know how to manipulate....I am an ECE Graduate...Early Childhood Education...Plz listen to my advice and tell me how it went...carlyfournier@hotmail.com

Gayle - posted on 02/12/2010

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oneof little brothers used to bang his head on everything. i don't want to scare you, but he kept doing it until he was probably 7 or 8 and has always had problems. in middle school they diagnosed him with Asphergers(sp?) syndrome. it could be that he just figured out that it's the best way to get yor attention, but also kids that bang their heads usally have other problems. when my 2 1/2 yr old throws fits i try to act like she isn't or look her eye to eye if she will and just tell her i'm sorry, but no, and give her a reason. whatever you do, just try to be consistant.

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