My daughter hits herself when she thows temper tantrums, HELP!

Kayla - posted on 03/03/2011 ( 10 moms have responded )




My daughter is 18 months old and will not stop hitting herself in the head or banging her head on the floor when she gets angry. We have stopped spanking her, which was very rare to begin with, thinking maybe she interupts spanking as a wrong discipline. If she is somewhere she is able to hurt herself we simply pick her up and sit her somewhere else, tell her in a calm voice it isnt nice to do this or that, and explain the correct action. Most of the time we ignore the temper tantrums in hopes she'll get over it quicker. But we have to hold her arms or she'll hit herself or slap her legs. Any ideas Mom's?


Alexis - posted on 03/15/2011




My son will bang his head on the wall when we put him in time out. Its not every time just when he is really over the top upset. He will do it 2-3 times a little harder each time and then realize that it hurts and stops. Im not really sure what to do to stop it, other than let them realize that it hurts and keep them from really hurting themselves. I think its normal behavior when you are frustrated, think about it, have you ever been so mad you wanted to hit something? They are just now learning and experiencing their emotions and trying to figure them out. I don't think hitting her own legs will cause any damage, but if the pain of hitting herself doesn't stop her then I think what you are doing by holding her and calming her is a good idea.

Joy - posted on 03/15/2011




I haven't had that happen with my daughter, but my nephew did that. My sister told me her doctor told her that some young children do it because they can't grasp painful feelings so they inflict physical pain on themselves so they have something tangible to explain why they are angry, sad, frustrated, etc. When they get older and can express & understand what's upsetting them they tend to grow out of the phase.

Aileen - posted on 03/04/2011




If you leave her in a safe place where she can't hurt herself (she can't seriously injure herself simply by slapping her head or legs) - soft surface, not near a wall - would it end quickly? It could be that she is doing this because she doesn't know what else to do (expressing her emotions is a skill that won't come for a while!) but just needs to let it out. As long as she is banging her head on a soft surface or only using her own hands she can't really get hurt and should stop quickly. By holding her arms, you are giving her attention, unintentionally reinforcing the behavior. Maybe you could put her in her crib, or in a pile of pillows on the floor, staying close enough to be sure she is safe, but not interacting. When she is calm again, talk to her about how she was feeling. "I saw you were very angry. " Labeling feelings is just as important as labeling objects.

Danielle - posted on 03/07/2011




My Daughter hits her head off of things when she throws a fit we have never spanked her. when she does it i pick her up take her to her room and i put her in her crib. i tell her we don't hurt ourselves and then i leave the room. only for a a few seconds then when i go back she is usually done i ask her if she is finished then i ask her if she wants out and i explain that when we hit our head off things then we get a time out.. they have been slowly going down and i noticed that she tends to do it more when she is super tired so i make sure that she gets at least one nap a day.

Miranda - posted on 03/16/2011




My daughter used to bite her fingers when she got upset but it eventually passed. I would make sure she isn't hurting herself. If she is slapping her legs she will eventually realize that it hurts and stop. I would continue to ignore the behavior and continue doing what you are doing. The technique with ignoring is don't let them know you are ignoring. Just go on doing your thing like nothing is happening and make sure others don't give in to her tantrums because they will continue. Once she is done having her tantrum. Wait about 15-20 minutes and catch her playing and being good and give her LOTS of praise and maybe a reward for behaving.


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Tanya - posted on 03/16/2011




my son did the same for a while.i asked the doctor about it and she said it is normal. i read it is normal until age 3. now my son has switched from hurting himself to hitting others (like me) or objects that are near him (like the table,couch, etc) after I warn him that hitting me will earn him a time out.

Tori - posted on 03/16/2011




Mine will headbutt the table or objects around her. if she isnt around something hard she will bite herself. We sit her in the chair or in our laps depending where we are and tell her no no and when she calms down she listens to what we say and is fine. She usually gives us hugs. We call her a sour patch because first she is sour and will hit scream and headbutt everything then turn around and give us hugs. We don't give her alot of attention that she is looking for during a temper tantrum and she finishes them very quickly

Diane - posted on 03/14/2011




It's actually normal, one of my kids did this too and my nephew did it enough that they asked the doctor about it and he said that he'd eventually grow out of it and he did, they're both completely normal kids and they're both very smart. You just need to treat it like any other tantrum behavior, when she's done talk to her about how it hurts her when she does that and wouldn't she like it better if she didn't do it, eventually she'll realize that it's not worth it and she'll give it up.

Amanda - posted on 03/14/2011




Some helpful responsese below from others. I hope you're having better luck by now...but if not, try redirecting her behavior. What brings on the temper tantrums? If you want your daughter to do something of your choosing, always give her a choice that you want. Example, you want her to wear a certain outfit...pick 2 outfits that you like and let her choose which one she wants to wear. This way, she thinks she choosing it. You can do this with almost anything! Toys, books, etc...always give her two choices. At this age, they are becoming very independent and want to do things their way. ~ Moving in another direction, if she is still hitting herself...give her a pillow...a special one just for this occassion...and tell her when's she's angry that she can hit this pillow....and that's her only choice! Or let her choose the pillow to hit...most likely, just by interupting her're taking the focus in another direction. I'm not an expert, just some things that have worked for me in the past. Good luck!

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