Gransnet forums

Grandparenting

grandson hits his head

(23 Posts)
love0c Tue 04-Jun-19 19:01:01

Our 2 year old grandson hits himself on the head when upset or angry. He also does it if he is told off. He sometimes hits his mum an dad on the head. He has hit my husband on the head and my husband told him not to do that, quietly. My grandson then hit himself on the head. Our own children did not do that and none of my friends children did it either. I would be interested in knowing others views and experience of this habit. Our grandson is very bright and loves playing and running around. He is also very affectionate to us, will come up and kiss us without us asking him to.

Mariaaxelson Tue 04-Jun-19 19:26:08

Hello! Yes my son did that. Until you posted this I did not know of any child who reacted this way when upset or angry. Health visitor could not help . He is 38 now and a balanced young man. He was about the same age as your grandson when I realised that if he was upset he would run to a certain spot on the drive, kneel, hit his head on the stone then cry. I think it lasted about 6 months. Never understood why. In fact I remember one time we were in the back garden I did not let him have the camera I was using and he run all the way to the front to his favourite spot for hitting his head so he could cry. If he was upset when away from home he would just hit his head against mine then he cried. It all went away. Just don’t make a fuss of it was the advice from HV. She was right. It went away.

Gonegirl Tue 04-Jun-19 19:29:58

Oh! Poor little love! He must feel extremely frustrated. sad

He needs a lot of cuddling.

love0c Tue 04-Jun-19 19:30:26

Thanks for that. Our grandson attends the creche at the school where our DIL is a teacher. The creche spoke to our DIl about it and said they would be actively discouraging it?! This has been going on for nearly a year now, on and off.

Gonegirl Tue 04-Jun-19 19:30:37

Which he obviously gets she adds hastily

Gonegirl Tue 04-Jun-19 19:31:19

I think you need to discourage it, but gently.

love0c Tue 04-Jun-19 19:45:24

I did look on the internet about this habit. It said it tends to be children who are stressed. We are not close to our DIL and find it very difficult to talk to our son now about anything important. As a result we would not dare talk about whether he is feeling stressed or not. We live a long way from our son and DIL so tend to see them every 5/6 weeks or so. Our grandson absolutely loves to see us and never lets my husband leave his side when we are visiting. It does upset and worry us but are afraid to do or say anything.

Namsnanny Tue 04-Jun-19 20:05:11

Love0c...I can picture him running to keep up with your husband (his gd) as you spoke. Bless him!!
My brother used to hold his breath until he passed out if he was upset, he also grew out of it.
His parents have never mentioned this at all?

MiniMoon Tue 04-Jun-19 21:21:41

My son was a breath holder too. He grew out of it by the time hevwas about two/three. My grandson 3 was a head banger. His daddy was in the Navy and away for long periods. I don't know if this had any bearing on the head banging. He never did much damage except for bruising. He's six now, and has ADHD, but grew out of the head banging before his third birthday. He is a very bright boy, with a quick scientific brain.

SalsaQueen Tue 04-Jun-19 21:27:31

My eldest son used to get on his hands and knees and bang his head on the floor (it was concrete under the carpet) until he was 6yrs old. He's now nearly 38, and 6ft 2, muscular, with no problems smile

My other son (now 35, 5ft 11, very healthy) used to hold his breath until he lost consciousness.

In both cases, the doctor and Health Visitor told me to ignore it as attention-seeking behaviour.

Iam64 Tue 04-Jun-19 21:34:35

One of our grandsons banged his head and had mega meltdowns, threw things for several months just after he was two. He's now almost 5, loves school and is a happy, well balanced little boy who manages his emotions well (well, as well as any other 5 year old boy)
I expect its that 3 year old thing, where children feel they have no control over what happens in their lives, even though their parents feel the toddler is controlling every aspect of their own lives.
Try not to worry, little boys can be very physical in my experience

BradfordLass72 Tue 04-Jun-19 21:54:25

I've seen this many times, both as a kindergarten teacher and as a Mum.

It's frustration and an inability to express what they are feeling. Some of the children in kindy, especially those who cried a lot when Mum left them, would later hit themselves if they did something they perceived to be 'wrong': accidentally dropping their toast on the floor, for instance.

These were not children who were hit for misdemeanours at home.
I know this because I knew many of the Mums and my own son did it; he was very hard on himself for things we just weren't bothered about.

It seemed to me that they didn't have the ability to articulate their frustrations and that made them angry with themselves.

Lots of love and attention (which is what all small children need and deserve), plus learning how to get rid of tension in other ways, can help.

lemongrove Tue 04-Jun-19 22:43:09

Yes, what BradfordLass says.Unfortunately my DGS with autism and ADHD still does it even though a teenager.
It’s distressing for the child and the parents.

annodomini Tue 04-Jun-19 22:44:06

DGD1 was a head-banger, but outgrew it and is now a perfectly normal 27-year-old.

Starlady Wed 05-Jun-19 07:37:22

My DD was a headbanger around age 2. That's the "negative stage" and very frustrating for some little ones, I think. I'm no psychologist, but I imagine it's b/c they are just becoming aware they can assert themselves, but also just becoming aware that there are limits they have to accept.

Anyway, all I ever did when DD banged her little head was to gently tell her "no," pick her up and cuddle her, and try to divert her attention from whatever was upsetting her. She grew up to be a happy, healthy, intelligent individual, with a great job and lovely family. I'm sure GS will be ok, too.

It's just as well that you don't try to talk to DS and DIL about this problem. I'm sure they are aware of it. How do they handle it?

If you're seeing them every 5/6 weeks, that's only a little less than once a month, so several times a year. That's good, IMO, since you live at a distance, and I get that you don't want to ruin that. It was so much wiser to bring this issue to us than to them!

love0c Wed 05-Jun-19 08:30:03

Thank you all for your input. We hope this habit will lessen as his speech improves. We teach him a few new words on each visit and he always remembers them the next time we visit! I myself do feel it is frustration because he can not say what he wants or feels. My own two boys were able to speak fairly fluently by the age of two so do wonder if this is the reason?

Franbern Wed 05-Jun-19 13:27:15

Another one here whose son was a head (in his case forehead) banger as a small toddler. Used to crawl over to firehearth to get a really hard surface and almost constantly had a bruise on his forehead. This from about a year old. Gradually got less. His baby sister was born when he was just eleven months, so not sure if this had anything to do with this. He did frustrated quite easily, particularly if the adults around did not understand what he was trying to say,
He is 50 years old this year, in a very good job, and a good marriage - so no effect long-term.
Try not to worry too much

flaxwoven Fri 07-Jun-19 10:11:07

My eldest grandson had tantrums when he was 2 years old and used to try and hit his head against anything, chairs, tables, walls, and we realised it was because he was unable to voice what he was feeling. When his rage subsided he used to come up and have a good cuddle. He used to stand up in his cot and bang his head down on the sides resulting in bruises on his forehead. So I advised my daughter to buy some cheap pillows and tape them all round the cot, which she did. He is now 5 and at school and a delightful child. The tantrums were just a phase.

love0c Fri 07-Jun-19 18:37:00

Our grandson hits his head with his hand. When he hit my husband, my husband said 'no don't hit grandpa' . Our grandson then hit his own head, so my husband said don't hit -- either and he just looked and stopped. As I have said I think he is frustrated as he can not/does not speak in sentences, just a word. He is very active and we don't think he gets much encouragement to speak. He doesn't get enough exercise really. We have suggested going out after tea as he runs around the room after tea. They also still use a baby bath to bath him. When at our house we use the proper bath and he is quite anxious which is something he never was. Our son is very active himself, into every sport and good at them all. We find it hard to understand why he doesn't think his son would like to be more active. Our dil tends to be on her phone all the time, whether inside or out. He idea of fun is a glass of wine in her hand or going out for a drink. No fun for a two year old really.

Iam64 Fri 07-Jun-19 18:52:58

loveOc, I'd try hard not to be cold, critical and judgemental of your son and daughter in law. It's so easy to criticise others. Being young parents is one of the hardest things we do, apart from being the parents of teenagers whilst working full time and looking after elderly parents that is.

I'm beginning to feel children today have too much stimulation, rather than too little. There is wall to wall tv , they go to nursery, they see their grandparents and extended families regularly. At age 3 - 5 my life was at home with mummy. We watched Listen with Mother for half an hour, sitting quietly on the sofa. We played in the garden or wandered wider on our streets feeling quite safe. We weren't exposed to so much pollution, to fast food (adverts for fast food), we walked places, everything just took much longer and was at a slower pace.
To coin a current phrase, modern life "is what it is". Our job, I believe, is to love our grandchildren to distraction and to do our best not to undermine their parents, in fact to support them rather than judge them.

love0c Sat 08-Jun-19 08:31:29

Yes I understand what you mean by modern life. My own two children enjoyed simpler things. Loved playing out and playing pretend. The tv was rarely on. Guess I am feeling worn out with everything at the moment. DIL parents have always been jealous of us (our son told us that) he said her parents are jealous of their other daughters parents as well. They are very rude of the other daughters husband. He is a lovely man and has a very good job and they are a very happy family. If it were my daughter I would be really pleased. I am starting to think jealousy is a the root. DIL is always hinting for money to buy a particular thing and then when we give it they suddendly change their mind about what they wamnted and use the money for something else. Reckon I need to stop worrying (hard to do when you love them) and accept 'it is what it is'. I think it is only natural to want your children to have it better and easier than you did.

JustStoppingBy Mon 24-Jun-19 20:29:09

My son is nearly 2 and he does this. He's the sweetest little boy, loves giving hugs and kisses, giggles when he cuddles, sweet to all his grandparents, friends, etc. But when he's especially frustrated he will bang his head on the wall, or even us. He will hit as well.

Kids at this age are extremely emotional, experiencing very high ups and very low downs. And they have no means of effectively communicating how they feel. Some children bite, some pull hair, some scream and throw tantrums, mine bangs his head (usually the first one is good bang, and then just light taps after he realizes it hurts, silly boy). I wouldn't worry about it at all.

We calmly tell him not to, then try to distract and reinforce positive behavior. We've been through many stages, hair pulling, biting, hitting, and he has grown out of all of them. I just try to empathize as if I wanted another cookie, I would simply get one. But he has parents, guardians, etc. who essentially dictate everything he does. I would be quite frustrated myself.

love0c Mon 24-Jun-19 21:22:46

JustStoppinBy Thank you for your post. Helpful, kind and showing empathy! Please carry on posting to all of us as you feel able. I notice some poor people actually say they are not going o post anymore due to the upsetting and mean comments! Nobody comes on this site unless they need help.