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18 mo old and hitting himself

418 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Plummeting
my ds has taken to hitting his head with his hands to show he is angry. whether it be angry at a toy for not doing something "the right way" or angry because i told him no. have asked several people about this and have gotten ideas as to why and a few things as to what to do. redirect, name what hes feeling, tell him its ok that hes doing a good job (if its toy/ability related). mostly been told that the hitting is a way to vent frusterations and show the emotion which makes sense.

he also seems to be at a very angry/want it now stage. he wants lunch/dinner now as soon as he signs. wants to go outside no matter what, is frusterated at playing by himself and then mad when i am not able to understand what he wants me to do. it feels as tho my happy go lucky smiley toddler has gone out the window!

i have been trying to give him the words and signs for anger and other things that he would want during the day (certain snacks, juice, water, whatever) but then deosn't seem to want to use certain signs.

i am frusterated.
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Head hitting is pretty disturbing...but I'd have to say normal. Sorry. At 1 1/2yo they know alot. They know what they want, why they want it and when. But they just can't tell you.

It's also pretty normal to want something right this second. They really don't understand waiting yet. He thought of lunch right now, what's the problem with you having it ready right now? That's probably what he's thinking. He doesn't realize that you have to finish what you're doing and prepare it.

IME, the best way to deal with this is to just tell them "I know you're angry/frustrated and that you really want to play outside right now. I wish I could let you, but I really need to finish cooking (or whatever) first" and be ready to offer lots of hugs. My baby loves to play outside, but I can't always let him at a moment's notice. And when I can't he gets upset. Usually after a good cry, talk and cuddle I stick him on my back and he'll wait a bit more happily.
My oldest did that at the same age and he was the example of good gentle discipline. It was just a natural frustration reaction for him. It bothered me at first, but we didn't hit him, and he didn't hit other kids so it wasn't a learned response so I figured that it must provide some relief for him in some way. When I get really frustrated I have the urge to bite things and have bitten towels in the past because it relieves the stress, and I figured that it's the same thing for him -- a physical outlet -- and helps him relieve his stress. It was the worst during his toddler years, but still at age 7 he will occasionally do it if he is really frustrated or angry. I stopped worrying about it long ago.
thanks for letting me know that other kids do this also. i have heard of kids hitting someone else, biting or something like that because of anger but not really self inflicted. i would rather him do it to himself that another child, not that i like him hitting himself..but you know what i mean.
Yes, all the things you described are totally normal behavior for his age. My DD went through the same phase of hitting herself, but it only lasted about a month, two at the most. It is disturbing to watch though. LOL!
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