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2 year old hitting his head on purpose
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2 year old hitting his head on purpose

I have been watching my 2.5 year old cousin since he was a month old. I generally have him 12 hours a day six days a week and some night he spends here.  

I work from home and don't have any children of my own so I am hoping some of you who have more experience will be able to guide me a bit here.

Starting at approx. one year of age he began to throw himself backwards from a sitting position and hit his head over and over on the floor.  I spoke with his parents and they said they thought he was simply not feeling well and that it would pass.
It hasn't.  In fact, now that he is able to walk he pitches himself down even harder the moment he thinks you might make him do somthing he doesn't want to.  
I can simply look at him and sometimes he does this.  

We give him short time outs and he will sit there and wait till you tell him he can get down after these events. He is very smart and well mannered and a joy to have around other than these fits he has.  

He spends the weekends with his grandparents and each side of the family takes every other weekend.  

I think, and have spoken with his parents, that he is missing them.  He now cries and screams when they come to take him from for the evening.  I think he is lacking in his bond to his parents and it is causing him to stress and be unhappy.

Does anyone have any other thoughts on how to work with this situation?  I love him to bits and don't want to see him upset like this if there is something that can be done.  

His parents are pregnant and will be having a second child in a few months.

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Avatar_n_tn
Oh my goodness. I am not trying to be insensitive or rude, but if you have the child 12 hours a day and overnight sometimes as well, and grandparents have him on the weekend, does he ever see his parents. I have no children of my own. I have no specific advice, but I would have to assume that the problem does lie with the child not seeing his parents. Has anyone had a talk with them? And if they do only rarely see their son, how will this situation improve once the new child is born. I would be very concerned. Have you talked to the child's doctor. I am assuming if you have the child as much as you do, you would be the one taking him to the doctor. Hope things get better. I feel so sorry for the little guy!
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Avatar_n_tn
thanks for your reply.  He is generally only with his parents during the nighttime sleeping hours.  So he very rarely gets to spend quality time with them.  I called them both and had them meet at my house to discuss this on their day off.  They said they simply have to work that amount of hours if they are going to pay their bills.   I then called the grandparents and they offered to let them move in so they wouldn't not have to worry about the house payment. They could sell their house and be able to cut back on work.  I realize moving in with someone is tough but I sure wish they would have given that some thought.  

I don't even know what to say in regards to the new baby. I am just beyond words. They are happy about it and said they had been trying to get pregnant because they wanted a girl badly.

I did mention the head hitting to his doctor.  His doctor is not too concerned and said that the baby always looks well cared for and appears to be very happy.  Said to simply make sure he doesn't hurt himself and that he will probably grow out of it.  He said not to give him a lot of attention during these fits as that would encourage the behaviour. He also said that this is a normal age to start having these issues.

I think I am letting this get huge in my mind due to my emotions about the whole situation.   I just can't get over the fact that they have this perfect little gift and don't seem to have the time or inclination to appreciate him.



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141601_tn?1264732309
i think the paretns need to be more involved in his life. as far as the head butting goes my son started doing it as soon as he could crawl and the dr said it was his way os soothing himself i don't know how hitting your head is soothing but i just went with what they said my son is now 3 and still does it and sometimes to the point where he makes himself bleed he does it because he is frustrated and that is the only way he can let all of it out. he was receiving behavioral therapy to help him cope with things and it was helping but when he turned 3 they couldn't see him anymore so we have to go to someone else. i think that since he stopped the therapy the head butting has gotten worse
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Avatar_n_tn
I have to agree. The parents need to be more involved in his life. i think his problem is normal. It's called a tantrum. My nephew did the same thing. When he got mad that the first thig he would do. I thought many times he was going to knock himself out, but he didn't. My girls used to do it too. They never  head butted anything, but they would throw themselves on the floor and kick and scream. I would ignore them and walk off or continue what I was doing. They would eventually give up and stop. Kids do it for attention. To get their way. You have to let him know it's not acceptible. He is doing it for a reason though. It might be where his parents do him the way they do. For kids - any attention is good attention. Mine would do it to try to get their way. With a toy or something like that. If i ignored them they stopped and eventually they quit. If it would get bad enough or they wouldn't quit. I never said a word. I just picked them up and put them in a chair. Gave them the "look" and walk away. If they got out of the chair, I'd tap their legs and put them back. Never saying a word. I did not let them see it bothered me. Good luck. I also want to say you must be a wonderful person to take on all this responsibility. There need's to be more people in the world like you.
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127529_tn?1331844380
My son did exactly the same thing for a while, he has hydrocephalus and I thought it might be related to that, but it wasn't. I kept a diary of the times he did it and in his case it was purely a behavioural issue. He did it when he was angry, didn't want to do something or was just fed up. It was his way of saying "Hey I don't like this situation and this is how I will show you!" Your obvious concern shows how much you care for this little boy and if the doc's say he is happy and healthy you are obviously doing a great job with him. It is a shame he can't spend more time with his parents and may well be affecting him but at the end of the day it's how they have chosen to do things. Many kids are raised by nannnies and rarely see there parents  (e.g. babies of famous people, royalty etc)and have to learn to deal with it. With James when he began this kind of behaviour (particularly throwing himself backwards from a sitting position) we would sit quietly with him maybe sing song to calm him down and tell him we didn't want him to hurt himself. Later he found his own way of dealing with his feelings and if things became too much he would lie down and rock for a while (kind of taking some time out of the situation for himself) which was better than hurting himself. Again we would give him a minute or two and then try and enagage him with a quiet story or song, this behaviour has pretty much stopped now. I hope you can find a way for this little boy to deal with his frustrations in a way that won't hurt him. Best wishes.
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13167_tn?1327197724
Raindrops on Roses - you are a gift to this little boy.  God bless you for being there to mother him when his parents aren't there at all for him.

He sounds like  a "headbanger".     In cribs,  they often rock back and forth and bang their heads on the crib walls.    Somehow banging their heads reduces frustration.

I hope all turns out well for this little guy,  and I pray you continue to care for him and be in his life.  I really,  really don't get parents who generate offspring and then farm them out full time to other people to raise.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am having a similar problem with my 3 year old son. At one point he was throwing himself backwards like you explained. But then it took only once for him to throw himself back and hit his head on the border of the wall. I had to take him in for 5 stitches. When i told the doctor that i was not abusing my son and then explained what he had done... he said that my son was acting very normal. In fact, a lot of children tend to throw tantrums the same way. It is something they have to grow out of. However, I also believe there is more to it than that. I think it is a stress thing with the kid. I am in the middle of a really nasty devorce and when he doesnt get to see his father as much as he needs to, or if he see's that something is not right between me and his daddy is hurting me or making me "sad" he acts out until everything is okay again. The think is, from what i was told by a daycare provider is that kids my know how to express some feelings, but there a lot of times they dont know how to explain that they are frustrated, angry, or hurting, so to get the attention they feel they need they do things out of lack of being able to communicate the way older people do. I know that when my son is acting out i have to hold him and try to talk to him. I know he doesnt understand what I am saying a lot of the time, but sometimes just me sitting there with him, giving him attention helps.
Sure in your situation it may not be the same because you are not his mommy or daddy. and i agree that they should be more involved with thier child! But maybe if you give him a confort zone when he is with you he might slow down on the head banging.
Like i was saying before, it took one time for my son to crack his head open and he had never thrown himself backwards like that again. but his new thing, now, is banging his forhead on the floor. one time he did it so hard he got a big bruise and my daycare told me i have to take care of the problem. But we both agreed recently to deel with the situation with love, talking, and consistency where we deel with it the same at both of our houses. That seems to be helping but i am looking for more information about what i can do about it.
I didnt want to tell you what to do, i just wanted to share my experiences with you. I am still learning about the situation myelsf, i just hope something that i said may help you with the situation.
I know that he is not your child, but i know that you love him and want to do whats best otherwise you would not be asking questions.
so i will be praying for you and hope that the situation gets better.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm assuming that the childcare situation has been what it is since he was born...children are simple creatures. It's not lack of parenting, it's a lack of communcation what's frustrating him. He cannot communicate any other way. If you try to ignore him, you have to be consistent. Try it for four days straight...when he hits his head, act as if nothing happened and walk away. He's a child, who understands how to get your attention. Consistensy is key. It sounds to me like you have more of the problem with the parents than he. He doesn't care! He's too young to realize what is happening. I'm sure it will be fine when they have their second child. And while I really hate to say this, people who don't have children and haven't experienced this behavior, should not be responding to this post.
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Avatar_f_tn
i have a 7 year old nephew i live with who has divorced parents. his dad has a g/f hes been with for 7 years and my nephew now calls her mom as well as his real mom. and his dad and his g/f have a 3 yr old hes annpyed with but has bonded with very well. his mother has a new husband and they have a new baby. and over the summer time he was changed to a differnt school. and latley we all have been noticing he has been hitting his head against things. whatever surface it dosnt matter. he does it at school and out home and im guessing his other mothers house. hes hyper but i think he might be bored but ther are plently of gaming systems here he loves to play and a sister he loves to play with. its frusterating and he shells up and shuts down when u ask him. i say again FRUSTRATING i love him and want to help him. we have tried his whole life to make him feel normal. sorry and thank you
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Avatar_m_tn
I have a 3 year old son and he has been hitting his head when told to do something he doesn't want or when he gets frustrated. I have noticed him banging his head against the wall and the floor since he was as small as 7-8 months and progressed into the hitting his head. I always read on the net that i am just suppose to ignore it and it will go away, or it's something that he will grow out of it, but it has not gone away for all this time. I am getting a bit concerned, but I too am going through a separation with my husband, about 1 year ago we have separated and while we were living together it was not very peaceful, there was a lot of stress. So as I read all the other people's comments, your situation and mine seems that when a child does not have a stable home where mom and dad are in a peaceful, loving and agreeable relationship the child suffers and he is not able to express himself. He probably feels all that we feel and more, especially the mom's feeling and emotions as we are closer to them.
So, what i have noticed that helps which was harder for me to do at the beginning of my separation, but it's getting easier now, is to stay stable in my feelings and emotions, which is not easy to do when you go through a though time with your ex-husband. Also your child will need more attention than the average child, cause he has only one parent now. The child's security is in the bond of the parents. This is not some thing i read in some book, but what I have seen and learn as I go through this. When my son goes to see his father every friday he asks me to go with him, but i tell him I am busy and might go some other time. For holidays and birthdays we try to get together and be there for him, i have noticed in those time he does really well and he is at his best. I am learning as I go. One more thing that really really helped me is to trust in God and give Him all my hurts and pain and rejection and all the hurt feelings that come with separation and divorce.
I am torn on the inside that I can not give my son a fam. but I am learning to stay peaceful, positive, calm, stable for him. He feeds on my feelings and emotions so much, it's so amazing that he will be able to sense if I am upset or peaceful and i have seen that affects him a lot.
I would venture to say that yes stress is the root cause of this behavior and the answer for it, is the opposite of stress- PEACE and LOVE.
I hope what I have shared helps you, my prayers are with you!
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Avatar_f_tn
O dont think it is mormal because i knew someone who would bang his head against concrete and hit himself in the head very hard when he gets angry and frustrated...... That is not normal for an 18 yr old
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