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How can I stop my son from head butting stuff?

My son is three years old and I can not keep him from head butting stuff which can range from anywhere from the door to the floor and even the cat and pretty much anything else that he is close to at the time. He does it when he is sad upset happy anytime during the day or night. The doctor says that it is just a stage he is in but i'm still worried he is going to hurt himself. I have tried to talk to him, put my hand in the way to stop him, pop him on the butt but nothing is working. Has anyone else had to deal with this?

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Asked by haley128 at 3:58 PM on Jan. 16, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (9)
  • Hmm I guess it's a boy thing. I'd just let him do it. If he hurts himself bad enough he'll stop. He may be doing it to get a reaction out of you. You could always buy him a helmet too lol.

    Answer by nicolemstacy at 4:06 PM on Jan. 16, 2010

  • Could this have anything to do with you "popping" him all the time.

    Children who are hit and punished can start having abnormal behaviors. Stop hitting him. Go to a child psychologist and learn some parenting skills and ways of repairing the damage to your kids.

    For now they make soft helmets for kids that fall a lot because of developmental delays or whatever. You can get one of these to help protect his head.

    Please stop hitting your children and all the other children you hit and call it popping.

    Answer by Gailll at 4:09 PM on Jan. 16, 2010

  • my 2 yr old boy does this as well.. i mostly ignore it..unless he is really going to hurt himself, like with the shopping carts at stores lol. But i usually just do the minimum of interferring..putting my hand in his way, and then help him calm down.

    I agree that its a stage..he hasn't developed a large enough vocabulary to express his angry so he does this...i just ignore and redirect, punishing won't help because my son does it out of angry/frustration.

    Though my mother tells me that my brother did this as maybe its a family thing lol

    Answer by tntmom1027 at 4:14 PM on Jan. 16, 2010

  • Gailll i appricate you concern but I do not hit my son!! There is a big diffrence between hitting someone. I don't grab him by the arm or yell at him or slap him at all and i don't leave red marks on him i have gently tapped him on the butt i also never said that i do it all the time so please do not just make the assumption that i do i take great pain to anyone saying that i would hit him.

    Answer by haley128 at 4:38 PM on Jan. 16, 2010

  • Tapping on the butt is hitting. Popping is hitting. It doesn't matter what you call it. You grab the child's arm. You don't have to yell. You don't have to leave marks or cause damage.

    You don't recognize what you are doing and what affect it may be having on your children. You are hitting them and then you are telling them you aren't hitting them. That has to be confusing.

    If you are only popping or tapping then it shouldn't be hard to stop. Any negative physical touch, you have to admit it is that, is not good for a child. They can act out in strange ways and resent you. The resentment could be really bad if you are hitting (popping, tapping) them and telling them you aren't hitting them.

    I am not trying to be mean to you, I am concerned.

    Answer by Gailll at 6:16 PM on Jan. 16, 2010

  • Psychiatrist? Eventually he will hurt himself, there has to be a reason why he does this. I teach children with autism, and a couple of them do it from the beginning till the end of the school day. We're at it all day trying to make sure they don't hurt themselves. Not to say your child has problems, but I deal with it in my class.

    Answer by ambr2006 at 8:28 PM on Jan. 16, 2010

  • Head butting could be a result from a child trying to act out his/her emotional problem. Normally autism children act out by butting their heads.Children don't persist in any behavior that doesn't bring the result they want. He gets a response that he wants, however crazy it might be to any adult. Head butting cement can't be very pleasant so he must have gotten a response from you. Express displeasure forcefully - no spanking - when he does this and be sure that it doesn't get him what he is seeking. Otherwise ignore him. This can come from a child who doesn't know any limits and is testing them or a child who has so much supervision at this age that he has no chance to explore his world and with the head butting he is expressing his frustration with excessive control.


    Answer by ambr2006 at 8:35 PM on Jan. 16, 2010

  • Haley128,

    If you have a good relationship with your child's healthcare provider and trust him/her, then I would follow that lead and only worry about it if they start to do so. Ignore it as much as you can, giving neither negative nor positive feedback. He might be doing it for attention or he could be bored. Have you tried calmly diverting him with another activity when possible. Lastly, ignore the person who jumped down your throat at the 'pop on the butt' comment. Anyone with any common sense could tell by context what you meant. Perhaps she should read the new study about spanking as discipline. And, to preempt any possible forthcoming speculation, I have never laid a hand on my children in anger/frustration or for purposes of punishment.

    Answer by mamallama71 at 6:44 PM on Jan. 17, 2010

  • Thank you to every one that replied I just had his check up done yesterday and the doctor still says that its fine that he does it. He growth and skills are right where it should be and that his speech is higher then usual for a child his age. she said that since it is not attached to any one thing that he does it to do. so i guess that it is for attention. thanks again for the replies!

    Answer by haley128 at 12:28 PM on Jan. 19, 2010

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