my son is now 21 months old and now starting with serious temper

Jenn - posted on 01/29/2010 ( 109 moms have responded )

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my 21 month old son is going through some new phase where when he doesnt get exactly what he wants when and how he wants it he bangs his head on the floor table etc anything he can and he drops himself to the ground kicking and screams like shreiking squeals when hes mad. am I the only one?

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Ely - posted on 02/10/2010

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No, you are not the only one. That was/is my 21 mo old son too. He has held back now with the head banging but he is now into hitting everyone and everything during his tantrums. My ped said kids are a lot more resilient than you think they are. Sometimes they need to experience the pain and will realize not to do it anymore. He also gets extremely mad when he’s frustrated with a toy or if I get mad at him. I’ve been told this is just a phase and although everything we do doesn’t seem like it’s working, it is. We’re training him that this is not acceptable behavior so ignoring him is the best approach. I follow the rule of thumb,
1. Prevent with all the obvious stuff- well fed, has been rested, etc...
2. Set expectations and giving warnings; like we’re eating in 2 min- no he doesn’t understand time but he knows dinner is soon. This also has worked amazingly when we are in the store. I tell him before getting out of the car, that he has 2 choices, either push the cart or Mommy will put him in the cart. I didn’t think this would work but it does and be consistent and MUST follow through. Only takes 2-3 times and now he gets it.
3. Get on his eye level and guide him to communicate; my son knows sign language and this has helped tremendously but I encourage him to speak as well. Still working on this too.
4. If I’m clueless on why he is upset, I make sure he’s in a safe area and leave the room for 1 ½ min. He usually still cries or screaming but I ignore him once I’m back until he calms down than I distract w/ activity or toy.
I won’t lie, it’s still challenging and I’m told to hang in there and let this phase pass. There’s a reason why they call this the terrible twos.
Good luck and hang in there!

User - posted on 10/18/2014

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My 21 month old is head butting me a lot I'm getting. Busted lips eye brows. Spanking him I don't think it's working. To solve. This he almost broke my nose. Before I end up with a skull fracture. I need. Advice.

Sheila - posted on 03/08/2010

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MY 21 month has tantrums too he doesnt bang his head but bangs his hands on things and kicks and screams I just try to ignore him or make him sit on the floor till his calmed down and if he stands again I make him sit again till he knows who is the boss and that that is not acceptable!

Jennifer - posted on 03/06/2010

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so funny reading all this, my son started the head butting tantrums at about 6 months old, he did it on a hard floor once and hurt his head, since then he has only done it a couple of times, now he is aproaching the terrible twos, i have to deal with tantrums that involve punching slapping and biting and throwing things, most of the violence is directed at his almost 4 y/o sister. tantrums get ignored, always have, if they go too long i put him in his bed until he calms down, luckily he will lay there screaming and crying until he does calm down. violence he is also put to bed and told to stay until he can act like nice person. if he gets out and is not happy, he is put back if he dosn't come out well behaved. he has now got to the stage if he is upset or frusterated, he will most times climb into bed himself and cry until he is ready for a cuddle, then he gets out and finds me. if he has a tantrum in public, i either lay him on the floor until he gets up and/or pick him up and hold him and continue with what i am doing while he is kicking and screaming in my arms. i don't talk to him, i just make sure he can't kick anyone, once he seems calm enough i put him back down. to all the mums that think this stage is bad, just remember, terrible twos is a breeze compared to that monster called a 3 year year old

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Karen - posted on 03/08/2010

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Best thing is to try and ignore it but if he is really banging his head hard try playing a game that he likes or show a picture just take his mind off the reason his banging his head that what I do with my little girl she's 21 months old

Amber - posted on 03/08/2010

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No, you are not the only one. My 21 month old daughter does the same exact thing! She gets mad and lets her body fall to the floor, and then starts kicking and screaming. I am also afraid she is going to hurt herself cause she has already bumped her head a time or two when she throws her body to the floor. I'd try ignoring her but it seemed like the longer I'd ignore her the louder she'd get so I've started talking to her soon after she starts throwing a fit, instead of ignoring her, and that seems to calm her down.

Sherry - posted on 03/08/2010

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my little boy does exactly the same! its so scary as he hits hes head so hard i get worried one day he is going to knock himself out! and he wont stop if i ignore him as people have told me to do he just continues to hurt himself, so i know how you feel i think we just have to hope they grow out of it. and as for the screaming and squealing im sure my boy could shatter glass lol. good luck jenn x

Mary - posted on 03/07/2010

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sorry none of my children have done that just ignore him is what the experts say to do. the fill in dr at my sons office keeps telling me that but appartnetly she is not getting it when i say he does not do it. if your worried about him hurting his head they make a head thing for kids when they are learning to wolk so they dont hurt there head if they fall or if it normally in one room put down those foam flood mats they are really padded even thought it may not feel like it and they are so much easyer to clean you could talk to his dr about it and just watch how he acts after hitting his head if he all of a sodden wants a nap or walks funny go to the hospital or call his dr. thats a big sign for a head tramma.

Kristina - posted on 03/07/2010

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no..my son doesn't do that much yet, but he will scream and stomp his feet. if he is really mad he will crumble to the ground and stretch himself out and scream. If he is near me, he will slap my arm or something. When he does this, i usually ignore it or try to redirect. But when he slaps my arm, i smack his hand and tell him No, you don't hit mommy, in a firm voice. I try to explain to him why he can't have what he wants and again try to redirect. bubbles work wondering when i need to do this.

User - posted on 03/07/2010

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welcome to the terrible twos my 21 month old is at the same thing. if its any consolation my other three stopped when they eventually hurt themselves. it is only a short phase thankfully but just wait till you get one in the shops.

Steph - posted on 03/07/2010

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My daughter went through that same stage where she didnt know what she wanted, and she would ask for something then if i gave it her, she would get mad and throw a huge tantrum and want something else instead... luckily she is coming out of that stage now and she has settled down alot more and she has just turned 22month so for me it only lasted a few weeks, so hope is on the horrizon :D xx

Theresa - posted on 03/06/2010

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you are not alone! My son does the same thing...he has also started pouting and sitcking his hands in his diaper!

Heather - posted on 03/06/2010

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you are not alone my son does the same thing only he has now added throwing and screaming to it. gotta love the terrible 2's

[deleted account]

No you're not : ) My 21 month old daugher has started doing the tantrum thing. I usually ignore her because they say it's usually for attention and if they get the attention then they are likely to keep doing it. I just walk away from her saying I'm not talking to a naughty girl. Most times she will stop and just follow me and keep playing. The only thing that would concern me with your son is the head banging part. Maybe try and distract him with something without acknowledging the tantrum. I'm sure every child does it so don't feel like you're alone : ) It will pass I'm sure.

Kenny - posted on 03/06/2010

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Mine throws things and screams at you. He has also developed the nasty habit of throwing fists - he gave my husband abloody nose last weekend. You are not alone, but if anyone has some advice to curb the behavior, I am all ears.

[deleted account]

We went through that a few months ago, the whole head-banging thing. He would event try to head-butt us or his brother when he was mad. He also learned to test it first, get positioned just right and then bang his head on whatever it was. lol. Our ped told us to ignore it and it must have worked becuase he hasn't done it in a while.

Annette - posted on 03/06/2010

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No My Love.....you most certainly are not the only one. My 21 month old has been doing the same thing for a few months now, it is starting to slack off a little though. Funny, I don't remember my 4 year old being like that at all. Oh well, like they say, no two are the same. I try not to make too big of a deal when Brady throws a fit (unless he is gonna hurt himself) and it usually passes after a few minutes. then when he calms down a little, I make him laugh and he forgets all about it!! Good luck!

Liza - posted on 03/06/2010

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My son did the same exact thing at that age! It was so horrible, and I know exactly what you are going through. He was even worse in public places, where I felt completely helpless to his fits. I noticed that the only way to calm him was to hold him tight to me, in almost a straight jacket type of hold. It worked because he would eventually calm down, and it avoided any chances of him hurting himself.

He eventually grew out of it. He is now 8 years old. His temper is not as bad, but he still has his moments, but I think he is old enough now to understand circumstances.

Good luck I hope this was at least some help, I know I felt completely alone when I went through this with him. People used to look at us like we were crazy, but you have to be strong and get past other peoples nonsense.

Rizzawati - posted on 03/05/2010

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My girl had the tantrum too but she would not bang her head or throw herself on the floor. She will start screaming (i guess cos its a girl). I too start to ignore the tantrum. We must understand why they throw tantrum becos they try to communicate with us. So it will be frustrated if we don't get what they trying to tell us. So now if my girl whine or throw tantrum i will ask her to show me what she wants. That's really help it. If you were outside your home then you would have to have an alternative like eg. give them sweet or their favourite toys or let them occupied themselve cos like i say they don't understand if we tell them not to misbehave.

: )

Haley - posted on 03/05/2010

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Ugh! My son does the same thing! I just recently had a baby, and I thought it was in response to his new sister (and the fact that we moved at the same time), but apparently this is common behavior for children this age. I guess since he knows we will not ignore it and he will get a guaranteed response (even if it is negative attention) he continues to do it. I try and ignore most of it, but I can't let him hurt himself. I usually grab him and take him away from whatever he is banging his head on, get on his level and explain that he cannot hurt his head. I dont know if he gets it because he is still banging. If you get any good tips, I would love to hear them.

[deleted account]

at 21 most most children cannot express themselves, this is a way he expresses himself. i would move him to a bed or near a pillow if possible. then ignore the behavior. if you give him attention for this negative behavior it's still attention which kids want and need. so when he gets up move on to something else- redirect him so it doesnt happen right away.

Sheri - posted on 03/05/2010

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My 21 month old Daughter has been throwing tantrums since she was maybe 19 months and its mostly cause she doesnt get her way but she only screeches/whines and sits down and wont budge so I just ignore her unless we are out somewhere then I just pick her up and leave the place till she calms down. It only lasts maybe a minute or 2 and then she realizes that shes not getting anything from us when she does it.

Aimee - posted on 03/05/2010

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I really only notice trouble with tantrums when my 21 mo daughter is really tired. We have worked with her on giving her choices and reinforcing the results of those behaviors. I also encourage her to "help" with tasks that I don't mind her variety of helping on like putting away her laundry or throwing a piece of trash away. That seems to help quite a bit. I also will recognize her feelings of frustration/disappointment/etc. but I have a tendency to tell her I don't understand whine so she needs to use her words that she has to tell me what she wants.

Cynthia - posted on 03/05/2010

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i had this problem too with my oldest child (i hope my youngest doesn't start...). A psychologist & a child psychologist told me to ignore the action you don't want to encourage. So, from about 1 year & 4 months til age 2 & 4 months, my kid would bang his head on the floor to "get sympathy" to get his way. I ignored him & knew that one day he'd figure out that i didn't pay attention to those shenanigans. A whole year went by & nothing changed. So i thought i should do something different than what the pros said. I bought a book called "the nicest toddler on the block" (or something like that...). In general, i don't follow their line on parenting, but one thing i gleaned from it is that when your child is frustrated or agitated, the mom needs to get down on their level & recognize their frustration as if you were their equal. So... the second my child would throw himself down, i'd run to him and hold him & say to him, "NO! NO! I want the cookie (reflecting in his own tone of voice to whatever it was that he wanted... i repeat his words first). But James, (in my regular voice) if you eat a cookie your tummy can have an ouchie because it's too early in the morning... would you like a cracker?" Don't mention the headbanging. You can rub his head to show him that you noticed his pain in the head. It took about 2 weeks, but in the end my kid stopped. He used to "headbang" about 10 times a day. My husband & I were getting worried for his brain! In the end my kid was down to one time a day & then once a week. Now he doesn't do it anymore! Good luck with your kid!

Danielle - posted on 03/04/2010

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My son does the same thing. I can't help but laugh a little when he does it. I don't believe he will hurt himself. He's basically trying to manipulate you and knows when to stop hitting his head. There was one time that he was banging his head on my parents' ceramic floor and he actually hurt himself a little. I've noticed that since he rarely bangs his head but instead lays on his back and kicks his legs in the air. I think like some others have said that ignoring the tantrum is key. My son's tantrums last maybe a minute or less and we've never done anything special besides ignore him (or laugh, lol). They are just frustrated and don't have to the tools to express it "properly" yet.

Kathleen - posted on 03/04/2010

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Nope, not alone. While my oldest, now 19, never threw a temper tantrum, I remember my son (now 14) doing it twice. And I mean twice. He hit his head on the floor so hard he broke blood vessels in his forehead. I was so upset. So when he did it again, I spanked his diapered bottom. He never did it again. Now, having said that...I have a surprise menopause baby, now nearly 22 months and he has thrown temper tantrums every day this week. Nothing has worked with him, not ignoring it, time-out.
I hope things improve for the both of us! Good luck!

Katrina - posted on 03/04/2010

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Obviously this is a very common occurance among kids this age, mine has started to but he only cries, he does not bang his head. I think all of the advice about ignoring the behavior and redirecting (give him a toy or something he can play with) is good advice. You also might want to try to move him to a safe place where he won't hurt himself like his crib (if it is still padded with the bumpers). When I was this age and started throwing fits my mother layed down on the floor next to me and also started screaming, crying, and kicking. She said I stopped instantly and never did it again. It might be worth a try.

Kami - posted on 03/03/2010

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My son was doing the banging his head on stuff. HE broke himself of it though one day when I took his cup away since he was trying to dump it on th carpet and he banged his head on a metal sill plate for a dor and got a nice big welt. He hasn't done it since and it has been a month. I think just ignoring his tantrums is best becasue if you react he will just keep doing it to get attention and stay strong about not letting him get his way. If I thought Jonah may have hurt himself I would go check but not baby him and he didn't fuss as long when he didn't get a reaction but like I said eventually he may hit his head on teh wrong thing like J onah did and break himself of the bad habit. Good Luck.

Amy - posted on 03/03/2010

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You are definitely not alone! My son started doing the same thing about 1-2 months ago. I ignored it (unless he was in danger of hurting himself). Then I would move him to a safer place, try to distract him and if he started again I would ignore. I'm happy to say it seems to work. He finally seemed to realize it was really just hurting his own head and didn't get him what he wanted any way. He's usually pretty easygoing so when this phase started it was surprising. Does seem to be more of a boy thing too...most of my friends with girls haven't had the same issue but their girls are a little more verbal so that probably helps them say what they want.

Devon - posted on 03/02/2010

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It's a normal thing at this age. It will get better when they are able to find the words for what they want or how they are feeling. They have the desire to be independent and make there own decisions. Try giving him a couple choices for something else that way it will let him feel like he has some control; but in return will help redirect him from what you don't want him to have. My daughter did it when she was about 15 months but now she is speaking fluently so it is a little easier to reason with her; well most of the times anyways LOL. She is also very stubborn and very much has a mind of her own

Kristin - posted on 03/02/2010

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My twin boys did the same thing at that age. My daughter who is 21 months throws anything she can get her hands on when she is mad. Fortunately, I am able to somewhat reason with her. Good luck!

Kate - posted on 03/02/2010

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Hiya my daughter is 22 months,and when she cant get her own way she throws anything she can get her hands on,in temper.

Kirsti - posted on 03/02/2010

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No your definately not the only one that it is happening to. My son is 21 months and has been head butting anything and everything for the past few months, now when he does it, I tell him to carry on, but I also warn him that it will hurt when he does it, he then hits his head once, lifts it up and rubs it because as warned it did hurt. Now and again when I have told him to carry on, he looks at me then walks off and carries on regardless, I think he is slowly getting the message that its not worth all the hassle and upset of banging his head!

Kelly - posted on 02/28/2010

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no my little girl and two boys did it the only way i got them out of it was to ignore them but watch them to make shore there not doing it to hard to damege them selfs its pure frustration that they cant tell you properly whats up but they do grow out of it but if it carrys on go to docs as could be something else as my brother he had a learning diffacalty that made him do it as he was a little longer learning things so did it

Jana - posted on 02/28/2010

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No you are not. My little one will throw what is in her hand and fall to the floor on her back and cry. Not sure how to deal with it either. I just blame it on her dad for getting her anything she wants and the terrible two's hitting early.

Ashley - posted on 02/28/2010

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You are not alone at all. Mine is doing the same thing and I am just about at my wits end trying to deal with it. He has started saying, well, screaming "NO Mommie" I just sit him down on the couch with his "lovey" until he decides to chill out. At the store I just let him throw his fits. And he gets a serious attitude when he can't do something, and will scream and throw whatever he is working with... I just redirect him. I am hoping that he grows out of this.

Amy - posted on 02/28/2010

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LOL, NO def. Not. My daughter is throwing fits when she doesn't get exactly what she want. I was told it's the start of the "terrible two's" a process that they go through when they get frustrated because they cannot communicate clearly with us and also they are trying to become really independent and still can't figure out how to do it themselves. I was just told the it'll pass. I ignore her if she throws a fit, after she's done crying I get eye level with her and ask her whats wrong and why she's upset. Sometimes she's tired, so when she throws a fit I don't give her candy I ask if she wants sleep. Sometimes hanging out in her room by herself is a way for her to calm down.

Randi - posted on 02/28/2010

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My 16 mth old does this as well. It is best to just walk away and allow them to do this according to my pediatrician. It is away for them to get attention from you.

Anita - posted on 02/28/2010

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No your not my son did the head banging thing at 18months but has stoped that now at 21months he does that horrible shreake squeal and will lay him self on the ground, or if he get growled at he turns his head and closes his eyes and his eye lids sort of flutter really gets on my wick

April - posted on 02/27/2010

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My 22 month old son has also started banging his head recently when mad. Where ever he gets mad, kitchen tile floor, outdoor concrete, and if I'm lucky just the carpet. Started about two weeks ago, so you are not alone. Hope this phase ends soon!

Cindy - posted on 02/25/2010

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OMG!!! my daughter does that too i ignore her..i learn to shut her out but she'll keep going i too know what to do..lol..

Vanessa - posted on 02/25/2010

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My son did the same thing to the point of leaving bruises on his head. I used timeout in his pack-n-play, it worked! He still stomps his foot, but at least he is not hitting his head anymore. Everytime he throws a fit he has to go to timeout.

Elizabeth - posted on 02/24/2010

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you are deff. NOT the only one. My son does the same thing. I put him in time out. And since I started time out early he actually stays in there and he isn't even 2 yet. He cries because he is in the corner and when I tell him he can come out he stops crying and goes about his business. He doesn't even have to stay int he corner for a whole min. and it works for me.

Vanessa - posted on 02/24/2010

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my son is exactly the same, i still have his crib set up so he just goes in there for a time-out......and if we are out somehwere i just let him cry it out (hopefully everyone understands, he has just started his terrible twos a little early lol). we might live a sheltered life for that whole year hahaha......

Delaney - posted on 02/23/2010

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I'm afraid to put this in here, but my daughter doesn't even know how to throw a tantrum! haha. She lays herself gently on the floor, and cries a little. She some times will walk with her eyes closed trying to cry... but we just laugh at her. I have yet to have a problem with her (cross my fingers) but since 2 is just around the corner, I believe I could be in trouble.

Becky - posted on 02/23/2010

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WALK AWAY... they will stop trust me I have a 11 yr old and a 21 month old... they will stop pitching a fit when you are not trying to coddle them. Colton is sooo funny he will start doing it and then stop long enough to see if I am watching him or not. If he can't see me then he will sit up and go about playing like everything is fine and he wasn't just on the floor kicking and screaming. They are sooo cute at this age... REALLY I do love this age temper tantrums and all!

Melaina - posted on 02/23/2010

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I've done some more reading on this in the past few days, and this is sort of the most popular advice I've put together:

1. Ignore the tantrums;
2. If they totally melt down some experts suggest helping them to calm down (ie. cuddle them, teach them to take deep breaths, etc.), since at this age they haven't learned how to calm down on their own yet;
3. Help them to develop the independence they're seeking in safe and appropriate ways, even when it can be more frustrating and time consuming for us Mommies (ie. let them choose their own clothes, let them try to get dressed themselves, let them help with chores, let them chose between two or three options for snacks, etc.), so they will feel the need to fight for this independence less;
4. Try to distract them with another activity when you first see frustration building; and
5. Let them know that we understand their feelings. Say things like "i know you feel frustrated/mad/sad" etc.

They also all pointed out that when the tantrum turns into bad behaviour (like hitting, punching, etc.) to discipline just like you would if there was no tantrum, so they learn that that behaviour is never allowed, no matter how upset they may feel. They also all said that the worst thing to do is react back with equal frustration and anger, as that only scares the child and doesn't teach them how to deal with their feelings appropriately.

I hope that helps!

Lisa - posted on 02/23/2010

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i had the very same problem...i have spoke to my health visitor about this, and she says the best thing to do is ignore it. she told me that if he hurts himself he will learn not to do it again. and that hes doing it to get attention and that if i go to him and try ot stop he will learn that he can get attention from bad behaviour and thats a character trait that will be hard to unlearn..

it seems to be working so far as i have stuck my ground and ignored all such bad behaviours...

so far so good...stick your ground!!!

Rebecca - posted on 02/22/2010

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My 21 month old has been doing this for a while. He will fling himself back several times if he is sitting in his booster chair, or fall backwards on the hardwood if he is on the floor. He says oww after hitting his head, but it doesn't stop him from doing it the next time! I usually move him to a bed for some "alone time" (about 1 minute). This gives him time to calm down, then he will give kisses to show he is sorry.
And I've read that it takes a lot for a kid to give himself a concusion or seriously hurt himself, but I try to get to him before he throws himself back so I can lay him down more gently before I "walk away".

Amy - posted on 02/21/2010

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No No you are not the only one, I have a 21 month old daughter and she has always been so babied because she was born 7 wks early and had to stay in the NICU. Anyway she would get so mad when we started telling her no and trying to teach her she can't have evrything and she would bang her head on the floor or wall whatever was near her and I was really concerned she was going to hurt her self because she would hit her head so hard she would have goose eggs and huge bruises. So I took her in and talked to her Dr. about it and he told me that I would be surprised at how much force it would take to actually really do damage to her head, he said that a child at that age does not have the strength to do any damage, he said that it might hurt her for a little while but to let her keep doing it and that she would stop when she hit her head hard enough where it actually hurt her and he told us not to worry because she couldn't do any permanent damage. The hardest thing that he said was that I could not console her when she hurt herself because then she is getting in a way what she wants so I struggled with that for a while but I finally wanted it to stop and as soon as I stopped consoling her she stopped doing it with in 3 days. Hope this helps don't get me wrong I still have a litttle spit fire on my hands but at least now her head doesn't look like I abuse her:)

Tykeda - posted on 02/21/2010

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You are definitely not the only one!! My 21 month old son does the temper thing but he doesn't harm himself. He throws anything in his reach and swings at anything close to him. I read that that is how they react when they can't have something or when they are tired. So it says its okay to discipline them but that's all apart of entering the terrible two stage. My son really pushes it but after discipline or talking to him he normally stops.

Michelle - posted on 02/20/2010

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My son is 22 months and does the same things. He gets frustrated because he can't say everything he wants to say, and I think that if we don't do what he wants, he just assumes we aren't understanding him. He is slowly understanding when we tell him no, but it's not an easy thing for him to accept. I think that the temper tantrums are normal, but I know they are not easy to deal with.

Shannah - posted on 02/20/2010

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No, I was getting scared when my son started to do the same thing a couple weeks ago. When he gets upset he sometimes hits himself on his legs or his head. I figured it was because he has not learned to talk yet and the frustration of not being able to communicate was the reason. I am worried about this kind of reaction! do you think it is something to worry about? Does your son talk yet? I have been teaching mine sign language even; since he was real young and he seems to not be trying to do either-sign or verbal. (about 5-10 words only!)
Thanx for sharing1

Mia - posted on 02/19/2010

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They aren't able to talk and tell us what is wrong and why they are frustrated however they are able to understand what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Tantrums and yelling are not okay in life and my kids are taught that very early and as a result are well behaved when out and at home.

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