About a month ago, our constant concern was Dindin hitting her head with her hand. I got really concerned because each hit sounded really painful. She would hit her head because of various reasons:
1. When I say no to what she wants
2. When she is angry at something
3. When an adult says “Hi” to her excitedly
4. When you tell her that she should not do something
And various other reasons. But these were the main 4. Add to that were the people around me wondering what is going on with my child and it got me really worried. This happened when she was around 13 months old.
These were the things I did:
1. I kept saying “No” every time she hit her head. The more I said no, the whacking increased.
2. I tried talking her out of it. One time I talked to her and she slept on me!!!
3. I scolded her. That means my voice was raised up. She would just cry and throw a fit and nothing happened.
4. I removed her hand when she started hitting herself.
Nothing happened. The situation continued for almost 3 weeks already. I changed my approach every 3 days. Then somehow, I was led to present it to God. I asked God for wisdom and guidance on how to deal with the situation and how to pray about it. I was led to research about the matter on the internet. It was there that I learned that toddlers hitting their heads is a common thing and which is precisely why there are many stories about it on the internet.
I read so many interesting stories. While a toddler hitting her head with her hand or hitting the head on a surface may be a sign of a psychological, mental or emotional disorder, a lot of normal and gifted toddlers do express their frustrations through this. They are young and they are are not able to fully express their feelings and thus, the hittings. And the remedy is: IGNORE IT.
After I have read about this, I shared it to my husband and put it into practice. Then we told our families about it. After 3 days of intentionally ignoring her behavior, I have noticed a change. We spend most of the day together and I have observed that the hittings drastically diminished. After a week, she could go on a day with only a few whacks. It has been 2 weeks now and although there are still times that I see her hitting her head, it is no longer an everyday occurrence.
Additionally, I see the effort in her to be more friendly to people. I always tell her to smile and say Hi because many people love her and want to be friends with her and I can see that she is trying her best.
You see, Dindin does not smile immediately when cooed or cajoled. Her smiles are purposeful. She is not shy but rather moody and temperamental. She enjoys the company of children and is very friendly toward them. But somehow, her demeanor changes when she is dealing with teenagers and adults. I am not sure why, but she seems wary and aloof. She is very sweet, loving, and very much a smiling baby when her Papa and I are with her, but once we get out of our bedroom, her countenance would change, like she has a different personality. It is as if her sweet and caring nature is limited to the two most important people to her now–her parents.
But somehow, through the days, as I continue to pray and talk to her about it, she has improved. I will write more about this and how Dindin is dealing with this.