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Discussion Starter #1
How's that for a post title? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
DD2 is 20 months, and when she is really frustrated, will bang her head on the nearest hard surface. She'll do it on the floor, the wall, the door of the fridge, anything nearby. She'll even whack her head backwards on the floor from a seated position, hurling herself back as hard as she can.<br><br>
The cause of this behavior can be something we could have avoided (her ending up with something she can't have, like a deflated balloon, that I have to take away) or something we really can't avoid, like Daddy going to work. The "bad thing" happens and WHAM! she starts banging her head.<br><br>
It's not a show, either. She really bangs her head hard. Her forehead often has big blue bruises on it. The back of her head probably does too, but she's got enough hair that I haven't noticed. If she isn't crying before she bangs, she is wailing after the bang because it HURTS. I don't blame her! ouch!<br><br>
So, when will she learn that banging her head isn't going to help, and is going to hurt? I try to pick her up and move her somewhere safe before she can hurt herself, but it's not always possible. How old will she be before she figures this out? Poor kid!
 

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You know, I think the age is different for different cultures. Have you ever read "The Continuum Concept" by Jean Liedloff? She spent 2 1/2 years among Stone-Age Indians in South America, and found their approach to toddler safety is similar to that of non-human mammals; she comments about how baby puppies can play right next to the fire without being burned.<br><br>
Yequana Indians let their toddlers run around with hot firebrands, in and out of grass huts that would go up in blazes if the firebrands touched the straw. They let the babies handle sharp machetes, and play right next to deep pits filled with water. Yet the accident rate is much lower there than in our culture, where we expect our children to behave in suicidal ways.<br><br>
That said, I still can't bring myself to take such a hands-off approach with my own children ... and I don't know how many of their accidents have been caused by my subconscious expectation that they'll injure themselves. Since Liedloff says children WILL injure themselves if they sense that expectation in their parents -- and I can't totally purge myself of the expectation -- I feel a corresponding responsibility to protect them from hurting themselves to fulfill the expectation, if that makes sense.<br><br>
When my toddler went through a head-banging phase, I also worried and tried to prevent her from hurting herself. In her case, though, she actually enjoyed banging her head and didn't do it out of frustration.
 

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My 16 month old son does the same thing. They get so frustrated sometimes! He hit his hand several times on something while I was changing his diapers....he's cutting 2 molars and wasn't feeling well. He gives me a certain look before he does things like that though and honestly I think does them sometimes so he can have more of a reason to freak out and need me to fuss over him. I acknowledged his tantrum today but not him hitting his hand, I just took it as a part of the whole and didn't freak out and he ended up quitting.<br>
He also does the head banging, but I figure he'll probably hurt himself a little bit but he'll learn from it. I usually just say something like "Ow, that hurt, didn't it?" but I don't freak out and he quits. They do learn and they really do know more than what we give them credit for sometimes, LOL.
 

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my first child id this and I was shocked we made it through toddlerhood without a brain injury. she would snap her hed down hard on stone and tile and cement floors. her forehead was constantly swollen and lumped. eventually we decided this was not something she was going ot end on her own. we started snatching her up and holding her firmly until she calmed down. fortunately she was my oldest and my calandar was pretty clear becuase this would sometiems take a very long time. doing this consistantly stoppd the behavior quickly.
 

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i just finished reading the emotional life of toddlers and it had an example of this. the mom just moved the toddler into his crib (you could use the bed) and told him he could bang his head there and come out when he was ready. after a few weeks, he stopped.<br><br>
how verbal is she? if you can give words to her emotions (you're upset. you're frustrated. you're sad daddy left. etc.) eventually she will say what she feels and even you just saying what she's feeling is enough to stop it.<br><br>
then give a big hug and move on.
 

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If my child was visibly injuring herself with the head banging, swollen and bruised, I would look into cranial sacral therapy. Maybe pressure gets stuck in the head for certain kids and that's why they do it?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, everyone. I do try to keep her from injuring herself when I can -- but we live in a house with all hardwood, tile, or laminate floor, so all I can do is pick her up. When I do that, she mostly struggles so hard in my arms that I have to almost straightjacket her with my grip. While I do this, I usually whisper in her ear "calm down, I don't want you to hurt yourself, please be gentle with your head" -- that kind of thing. In this process, I have had her whack me so hard in the chest, chin, cheek, or nose with her head that she leaves bruises on me!<br><br>
I have taken her to craniosacral therapy twice now -- once with two therapists working on her at the same time -- and have noticed absolutely no difference or change in her. In fact, I stopped taking her because it was so expensive for so little change. If someone can give me more info on craniosacral work, I'd be interested. As is, it seems like I paid hundreds of dollars for someone to touch her gently while saying "ahh, there it is. there you go" while she sat in my lap.<br><br>
I like the idea of giving her words for her feelings -- it's something I do all the time with my four year old, and forgot that I could start that with little DD2 now too. She does talk now, some, and it's the right time to help her with that. Thanks again, everyone!
 

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When my toddlers have gotten into any behaviors that seem to hurt, I've always said to them , "Gentle with you, lovie". That seemed to hlep and none of my children did it much. It seems to be an experimental stage and all of my kids responded to 'gentle with you" words and some loving hugs.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mammal_mama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7943246"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">You know, I think the age is different for different cultures. Have you ever read "The Continuum Concept" by Jean Liedloff? She spent 2 1/2 years among Stone-Age Indians in South America, and found their approach to toddler safety is similar to that of non-human mammals; she comments about how baby puppies can play right next to the fire without being burned.<br></div>
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I haven't read the book, but this freaks me out because it is natural selection. My dd would be dead. She has special needs, very little impluse control and other issues. Dangerous behaviors can be a sign that something is very wrong. Just saying, "We Americans worry too much, relax." ignores that some children do have special needs.<br><br>
To the OP, I can only offer a hug. My dd has several dangerous behaviors that we are having a hard time managing. Her's are more impulsive and less repetitive.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>pumpkingirl71</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7987853"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I haven't read the book, but this freaks me out because it is natural selection. My dd would be dead. She has special needs, very little impluse control and other issues. Dangerous behaviors can be a sign that something is very wrong. Just saying, "We Americans worry too much, relax." ignores that some children do have special needs.</div>
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What an excellent point!<br><br>
While I think we have a lot to learn from non-human mammals, I still believe there's a difference in being human. Each life is a life of value, to be nurtured, protected, and loved -- not allowed to die out through "natural selection."
 

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Regarding the OP, my ds banged his head. He isn't developmentally challenged or anything. He just did this when he got mad or frustrated. I can't say exactly when he stopped, but it was around 8, I think. It got less and less the older he got. I just tried telling him how we didn't hurt anyone even ourselves. I am so grateful that it finally stopped. I remember not getting much help here when I asked about it years ago- so I don't think it is a really common behavior, but not abnormal either according to my pedi. I hope your dd stops sooner!
 
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