My toddler (almost 2) has started a phase of hitting himself in the head when he is told no. He has also started to hit his baby ( a stuffed elephant) He has not slept through the night and has gone from wanting to be held constantly to not wanting to be touched at all. Why would this happen to my little boy?
I am really not sure, my babies have gone through phases at that age where they hit themselves and their favorite baby dolls out of anger. They also go through phases where they seem to want extreme amounts of affection or the opposite. I think there is a good chance that what you are experiencing is a normal element of toddlerhood. If you are concerned, you may want to consult your child's healthcare provider.
I have consulted with the healthcare provider, and since my son is a little abnormal (though I love him just the same). He has had a hard life for one so small. His father and I are currently battling over custody for him. Such a terrible thing to place a child through. Would never wish it upon anyone.
I'm so sorry to hear about your custody issues.
I think this could certainly have an effect on a little one (even though I'm sure you do your best to shield him from the emotional pain you must be feeling and the upheaval) and this could result in him changing his behaviour and not sleeping at night. Especially given the circumstances, I would take things very gently and slowly with him. Even if he does not want you to hold or cuddle him I would keep telling him how much I loved him; for example, through reading books about parents loving their children (the 'Guess How Much I Love You' books are lovely). I think, at this time, your little boy just needs extra time, attention and allowances to be made.
I wish you and him all the best.
Please post back whenever you feel you need more support.
Thanks for giving more information about the situation at home. I feel for you.
Your son is almost 2, so he's still at a wonderful age for cuddling. If he doesn't want to be cuddled now it's okay, but I think there may be some ways that you can get him to warm up to you quickly.
Do you have a bed where he can sleep with you? If he sleeps in his own bed now, you may find that he would really like to go to bed with Mama, and snuggle. He may need the extra closeness in just being in the same bed with you that will give him security, because right now, he's probably feeling like his little world is falling apart.
I love LJ's suggestion of reading books - that can be a time when he will naturally cuddle up to you on the floor or on the couch or in bed. The more you do things with him the better right now. When you go to the store, take him with you. Take him for walks to the park. If he's in day care, pick him up right away, as soon as you get off of work, and then be sure to talk to him, rather than just popping him in the car seat and ignoring the little guy in the back seat (so easy to do when you're tired and have had a long day at work).
We can give lots of ideas to help with this. Please post back with any questions or let us know how you're doing.
I try to take him with me where ever I go. I take him to the store, to the park, and any running around I may have to do. I try to incorporate his "special" needs every time I have him. I have babied him the most of the 3 children I currently have. That has been a downfall, because now he will virtually use his anger and aggression against me. He has gone back to hitting, pinching, and kicking. Any progression I try to make with him, when he is with me he seems to do very well and then will lose it all when he goes to his dad's and then comes back to me. It is very hard to try to incorporate everything with him again, on a daily basis. I just cry because nothing seems to work. It has become a point that when, he has to go to his dad's I am in tears and almost dread having him come back to me. I am not sure as to what I need to do. I've done the cuddling, the books, movies, and the loving time with him, but nothing seems to help. Please help!
It can be very hard to work so hard on positive parenting, and then to have it all "undone" when he goes to his dad's. I feel for you.
However, we do know that there is something about him that is not the best, as you said he is "special". I interpreted this as he has special needs.
I would highly recommend that you find a practitioner near you who can work on his nervous system. This could be a Chiropractor or an Osteopath who is trained in CranioSacral work, or an Acupuncturist.
If we can calm his nervous system this may help him to be able to better handle all the "unsettledness" that he is experiencing in his little life right now.
If you are consistent in your parenting with him, then he will quickly realize that he can't get away with hitting, throwing things, etc. when he is with you. It may take a day to get him back into the swing of things once he comes home from his dad's, but you can lovingly show him his boundaries.
The fact that you said he was hitting his head against the wall in your first post gives me a clue that his little nervous system is possibly overstressed. He could also have a structural imbalance in his body, like my son did. You can read about my son's story here, and how the Craniosacral therapy helped him.
Here's a video showing how one practitioner works with a 2 year old to adjust the membranes in the skull. Please note that my practitioner never used a "tool" she just used her hands to gently move the membranes, but my children were very relaxed and it wasn't a challenge to get them to stay still.
This video helps give you more information about how cranialsacral therapy can help infants and children.
Let us know if you need more ideas or help.