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What do you do when your child throws a tantrum and tries to hurt them self?

My son is showing signs of the "terrible two's." He is testing his boundaries at every turn. Whenever he is overly tired and we tell him "No," he will cry and try to bang his head on the wall, floor, chair, sofa (whatever is close). My pediatrician says this behavior is normal and is a phase he will grow out of. But in the meantime, how do I deal with this and keep him from hurting himself? Not to mention, it is incredibly frustrating.

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Asked by ModMoma at 5:01 PM on Jun. 26, 2008 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (5)
  • My 24 mo. old used to do the same thing, and if she is tired enough she will still do it now. What I would do b/c at the time I didn't want her to go to sleep (too early), is give her something at the time to calm them down and distract. You cannot really try to explain to an overly-tired toddler why they shouldn't be acting that way, but if I get out her sippy cups for her to stack, or a few forks and spoons then she will play with them and distract herself. Also, sometimes they are just so tired that they enjoy laying with you. This is the only time I can get my 24 mo. old to lay on my lap is when she is too tired. I put on some cartoons and just enjoy the moment of holding her b/c it doesn't happen often, and soon will be gone.

    Answer by lynenedubbels at 5:58 PM on Jun. 26, 2008

  • Our 2 year old pulled this "technique" in front of the pediatrician. He corrected me several times for putting my hand under him so he would not hurt himself. The pediatrician wanted me to completely ignore these fits. He said that my little guy would not hurt himself intentionally, if he did would be the last time. I am still not really comfortable with ignoring him during the tantrums..because I am worried, but I know he is doing it for control and attention. I Have picked him up and moved him during a tantrum and said If ya want to throw yourself down do it here so that ya don't hurt yourself. He snapped out of it quick. My response...shocked him a bit. Tough love is tough on moms.

    Answer by MommasCooCoo at 7:03 PM on Jun. 26, 2008

  • My nephew use to to that on my mom's ceramic floor. He had a bruise in the shape of a cross on his forehead! Like Mommas said, they aren't going to hurt them selves intentionally. They just get so frustrated, and angry, they don't know what to do with themselves.

    Answer by barrettboys at 9:23 PM on Jun. 26, 2008

  • I actually just asked my pediatrician about this. It is like a switch flipped in my son when he turned 2. I am scared he is going to hurt himself when he flips out. The Dr. told me the same thing mommascoocoo said. It IS hard to be tough sometimes.

    Answer by RachelOUAF at 10:50 PM on Jun. 26, 2008

  • It's a phase... remember that. My son used to bang his head on the floor. He would hurt himself a little, then look at me and cry harder b/c his head hurt. I'd just tell him calmly, "Don't do that, it hurts." Eventually he stopped doing that. Now he lays there and kicks his feet instead. If he's about to bang his head on the kitchen tile floor, pick him up and move him to a rug or something so that he can finish his tantrum somewhere a little more safe.

    Answer by crazysocks830 at 12:19 AM on Jun. 27, 2008

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