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Why does my son keep hitting himself?

I've read into this all over, but I can only find, "from frustration" or autism. He always threw fits where he tried to throw himself on the floor and would end up hitting his head. He had to go to a babysitter for me to work months ago, and I don't know that the behavior started then, but it may have. He just randomly hits himself in the head, nothing else. The other day, we were blowing kisses back and forth and then he started smacking himself. It's been going on for a while. I feel like it's my fault because I may not be as attentive as he needs. And when I'd had him at 18 I didn't know what I was doing, was depressed about it and upset. I feel so ashamed to say it, but I would yell at him to "shut up" when he'd cry for no reason. I would then hold him and rock him back to sleep but I'd be upset, and he could probably sense that in that I wasn't cooing or singing, just rocking. Is this my fault? What could it be?

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Asked by Anonymous at 8:53 PM on Nov. 18, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

Answers (3)
  • I'd say frustration, if he is hitting with his hand, that may not be autism. But I would say that it could be his head hurts or is stuffed up. I have no idea really, just a thought. But take him to his docs. That's the easiest way to find out.

    Answer by Tes...Jacksmami at 9:00 PM on Nov. 18, 2009

  • The most common reason for a toddler to hit themselves in the head is just simply to get your attention. If you make a big deal out of it and show great concern for his well being when he hits his head, then the behavior will continue. Be sure to give him a lot of positive attention when he behaves well. Play with him; give plenty of hugs and encouragement. But when he hits his head, ignore him. When he stops hitting his head, immediately scoop him up and give more positive attention. The bottom line is you want to encourage the good behavior and give no attention at all to the head hitting. Even giving negative attention to the head hitting will encourage the behavior in order to seek your attention.

    Take a deep breath and relax. This is a phase.

    Answer by ThrivingMom at 9:08 PM on Nov. 18, 2009

  • Thriving mom: My mother seems to think it's because I don't give him enough attention. I play with him a lot in the mornings but later in the day I let him do his own thing. I did ignore the head hitting the other day during the blowing kisses, he stopped and resumed blowing kisses while shoveling green beans in his mouth. I was giving positive attention at the time when he did it. I hope it's just a phase, and that he wont do it in public. People will probably look at me like I am awful and must have done something to cause this behavior.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:17 PM on Nov. 18, 2009

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