Q&A: My 13-month-old throws temper tantrums and hits herself in the head and face. What can I do?
My daughter is 13 months old and has recently started to hit herself on the face or head with her hands. This is accompanied by crying and looking at either myself or my husband. I am worried about this, but do not know how to react to it. She will also throw herself back on the floor. Is it just a frustrated tantrum or should I be more concerned?
While every child is different and this is certainly a behavior you can and should discuss with your daughter’s pediatrician, I can tell you that it’s not uncommon to have a toddler start to throw temper tantrums that can include hitting, kicking, and/or throwing oneself on the floor. In the face of a “frustrated tantrum,” I like to remind parents that I actually consider it a toddler’s job to test parents’ limits. The fact that your daughter looks straight at you or your husband and starts crying (presumably because she’s upset she hasn’t gotten her way) suggests that she may well be watching to see what kind of response she’s going to get. Just as it’s her job to test you, it’s your job to set limits. If you’ve told her no, however, then the answer should remain no regardless of how loud she cries or how many tears she sheds. You should do your best to remain calm and consistent and just make sure you keep her out of harm’s way.