head banging??

Cori - posted on 11/27/2009 ( 42 moms have responded )

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my son has been starting to do this head banging thing.. my husband laughs at him and it was funny when it was only on the couch or on his pillow, now he has started to do it on his crib slats and on the walls of the house.... he isnt hurting himself but it bothers me because i am afraid he is going to hurt himself. i told husband to stop laughing and to ignore it but it doesnt seem to be helping... is he okay?? is this normal??

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Krista - posted on 11/29/2009

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Head banging is common. More so in boys. There are many reasons for it. One is comfort...another is for attention......pain relief. I wouldn't worry about it.
The only time to be worried is if you think your child might be affected by autism.

Joyce - posted on 11/29/2009

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You didn't mention the child's age. There are many reasons for this behavior at different development levels.. After charting when, where and any possible triggers, I would make a bee-line to my pediatrician. The reasons for this behavior could be as innocuous as the child being rhythmically driven (like babies who can't be comforted unless they can hear and feel our heart beating) to as serious as autism. It could be a form of self soothing. My husband banged his head on his pillow for a time after we were married. That was 30 years ago. He no longer does that, but, he does exhibit some OCD driven tendencies. I would first try to rule out any physical or mental reasons before I laughed it off or ignored it. By the same token, I would try not to become over worried because our children sense and respond to so much more than anything we may verbalize.

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Jessica - posted on 12/27/2009

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My daughter started hitting herself in the face last month with her fist and then with toys..its scared the hell out of me!! I almost started crying! She would then cry because it hurt, I was really confused. My mom said out of all 6 of her kids, I was the only one with this issue...I didnt hit myself, I would head bang everything when i was frustrated! Its perfectly normal,your son is just trying to express his feelings to you that he cant communicate.

Christine - posted on 12/05/2009

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Head banging, or any kind of aggressive behaviour toward self or others should be regarded as serious for 3 reasons. Firstly there may be an underlying medical problem which needs to be addressed. Secondly the child may be experiencing stress and is seeking to self-soothe by instinctively over-riding the distress with physical sensations from forceful or distraction actions. Thirdly it may be a simple conditioned response. All of these can and should be addressed by a qualified professional.

The consequences of not properly investigating and treating these types of behaviours are:

Medical issues remain hidden or ignored and the child doesn't get the intervention - the child goes through needless suffering.

A stressful home situation goes unaddressed, and the scene is set for development of psychological problems which become more severe as the child gets older.

Conditioned responses become more ingrained and more difficult to treat, and also begin to become generative, meaning that more situations trigger more violence and it becomes the "normal" way the child behaves.

Finally, one of the most important things we can do for our children in terms of their health and wellbeing, and their future happiness, is to be very aware of how we are helping them to interact with others. This process is called socialisation, and althought it could be seen as less important than those first 3 issues, it's vital if the child is to grow up healthy. A child who is violent or unpredictable with their physical responses will find it difficult to make friends, and will experience negative attitudes from adults in his/her world.

Children who are friendly, confident, adaptable and empathetic tend to do better at school and in life. Of course there is going to be the occasional ''biffo" when they're learning how to get on with others, but when biting, hitting, or head banging is repeated, that should be regarded fairly seriously.

All of this is why it's so important to stop this behaviour as soon as it's noticed, and to get professional help if it continues.

Kayla - posted on 12/05/2009

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I think it is just a boy thing. My 23 month old does the same thing. I have even gotten a black eye! I think they just do it because they like the feeling.

C. - posted on 12/04/2009

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My son is 17 months old and is ALWAYS banging his head on things and people. He's even chipped several of my teeth by knocking my jaw hard to one side. I always get bruises on my cheek bones too. He seems to be getting better at not doing it the more he realizes how bad he is hurting me. All I have to do (usually anyway) is tell him to No, he's hurting mommy and that he needs to be nice. He usually follows that by softly rubbing my cheek (he started doing that when we were teaching him to be nice to the doggie) and he'll give me big hugs and several big kisses.

Debora - posted on 12/02/2009

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Not a medical doctor, but this is not good, he could hit it very hard. Tell his paed about it. Your husband really should stop laughing, kids are silly at that age and it may feel good but there is some degree of danger there.

Nichole - posted on 12/01/2009

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Quoting Michelle :

some kids do it to battle frustration and other do it out of boredom and others do it because they like the sensation. Figure out when and why he is doing it. is it at the same time everyday is it only when he is mad and didnt get his way is it to get attention because he is bored. Once you figure out the why then you can do something to corect it.



This is very true. You must understand why the child is doing it to help the child stop. But you are also very right to not laugh at the matter because it is not something to laugh about. Most doctors will tell you children will not do it to hurt themselfs but  eventually one would thing that there might be damage after longterm exsposure. Let us know how it turns out.. plz n ty

Helena - posted on 12/01/2009

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Hi I dont tink tat is right if the laught at him wen he is doing it because he is locking for your love and you need to talk to your child the will do thinks if the now nobody well tell them to stop that

Sharleen - posted on 11/29/2009

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is there anything else he is doing or is it just the head banging? it is one thing you will be asked at the doc. and how long has he been doing this for? it could be just becouse your husband used to laugh and if that is the case he will stop if it is for attention if he gets none then he will move on to samthing different, but if there is more to it then the head thing then it could be a problem. but if it worries you talk to your doc.

Cori - posted on 11/29/2009

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my son is the most out going kid and is always trying to make people laugh.. he does this head banging and then looks at my husband and i and laughs.. we think its for attention/because he thinks its funny but it still drives me crazy.. i just want to try and stop this behavior before he actually hurts himself..

Carrie - posted on 11/29/2009

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Question???? Is he doing it to get your attention? or is it more of a haha funny thing to him? or is he throwing a fit when he does it? The things you should worry about is if it's all the time.. and if he is hurting his head... and also I have seen this in kids who have autism... so keep a eye on it... if it continues.... ask the pediatrician about it. Good Luck.

Sara - posted on 11/29/2009

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My 19month old little boy does it when I put him in his highchair or when he cant get his own way, think it is just frustration of being in his chair and cant get out and also when he wants to do something he cant - im sure he will grown out of it whens hes about 18yrs old!!

Susan - posted on 11/29/2009

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my daughter who is 36yrs old use to do the same thing. my doctor back thn said it's because th baby is frausted..I then kept a jounral of th many times she bangd her head.)so tht when u see th dr he can check th baby out..don'rt blame urself..! from mom of experince,,,,,.

Isabelle - posted on 11/29/2009

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I think you and your husband should watch "parenthood" with Steve Martin. It might give you some perspective.
I would buy a cute helmet though

Gabriele - posted on 11/29/2009

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and a p.s. There is a definite difference between 'head banging' and 'having a fit/tantrum'. Both should be checked out because of underlying issues. Good luck.

Gabriele - posted on 11/29/2009

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When my twins sons were small, they beat their heads on their cribs. We took them to several pediatricians but there never was a clear diagnosis. Eventually they outgrew it and stopped on their own. They've grown up to be Police Officers with no "brain damage". We laugh about it now but it was frustrating then.

Lil - posted on 11/29/2009

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I dont think its Normal for a baby to do that as Some one has suggested He may have a head ache so take notes on what he has eaten or drunk just befor he starts
. If its just to get his own wayJust let him get on with it if you take no notice he will realize that he is Not getting any attention
But i would definatly see your doc about it if you dont feel that your doc is too worried about it then ask to see somone higher up he can cause himself far more injuries by a\llowing this to go on
Lil

Margaret - posted on 11/29/2009

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It may just be a stage that your child is going through, but I would still seriously consider talking to your GP or Paediatrician about it as it may be a sign of other things.
As others have said, head banging can be a sign of autism or other nuerological disorders and as a parent I would rather be safe than sorry and have a definative answer as to whether it is just a stage he is going through or not.

Kerryn - posted on 11/28/2009

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My son started doing this head banging thing before he could even crawl, it drove me crazy, I couldnt leave him in his cot once he was awake, the continual bang bang drove me crazy, to say nothing of the fear he would damage himself. We padded his cot, and took him out of bed before it would get worse. He would even do it in his sleep,like gentle rocking puts a child to sleep. He also pulled at his ears. After many trips to the doctor and him telling me it was normal, a specialist finally took me seriously and he had grommets put in his ears, the head banging stopped once these were removed and no more problem. Well, having said that, not with head banging anyway, he is now 36 and still has the leg shaking thing happening, repetitive syndrome was unheard of in those days but I would say thats what it is.

Ryann - posted on 11/28/2009

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my sister caity did that till she was like seven years old she would do it on the couch she would do it so much that the springs in the couch would pop out in the back. To this day her nickname is caityboom. She is now 21 and totally fine, I would say its just a weird thing some kids do.

Bobbi - posted on 11/28/2009

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Both of my daughters did that when they were younger too!! I had no clue what to do when my oldest did it, so I took her to the ped and she kept doing it in his office too! He said it was just a phase and actually quite a few kids do it and not to worry, just to try to tell her to stop and make sure she doesn't hurt herself....then a few years later after having my other daughter, she did it too! Wondering if my son (only 11 weeks old now) will do it to....should be okay though...just keep an eye on it...As to if it's normal...the ped seems to think so.

Emily - posted on 11/28/2009

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My youngest daughter Sophie used to bang her head on all kinds of things, the floor, the entertainment stand, the wall, anything. She would do it when she was angry. I was totally worried, but my boyfriends mom said he used to do it, and my best friend said her oldest daughter, now 12, did it. Both told me that one day they did it hard enough that they just quit. And low and behold, about a month later, she banged her head on the entertainment stand and knocked herself on her butt, and never banged her head again. I think if kids start to do it, you just kinda have to let them learn this lesson for themselves. Don't laugh, say no and thats all you can really do. Good luck.

[deleted account]

my son used to do the same thing he did it from about 17 an a half months to almost 19 months an he does not do it anymore, if he got told no or if he got sent to the cornor he would hit his head on the wall the floor, anything he could find an my boyfriend to laughed but his ped told me that was how he threw his fits an that boys throw fits worse then girls so i told my b/f to stop laughing an he has not done it now for 5 weeks. he will stop

Sabrena - posted on 11/28/2009

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Cori, my oldest daughter did the same thing I asked the doctor about it and he told me that it is okay for her to do it because when she does it and it hurts her she will stop. So just keep your eyes on him cause he will do it at one time or another and he will hurt his little head then you can tell him that it will hurt him when he does this.

Shawne - posted on 11/28/2009

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I would watch it for a while, and like the others have said, see if you can determine why he'sdoing it. If you can't and he doesn't stop or it becomes more frequent then I'd talk to his pediatrician-maybe it's just a phase. I'm not sure how old your son is but, like a couple of other moms mentioned, it *can* be a sign of autism. It could be a sign of sensory intergration disorder. Most likely, with autism or SID, you would notice other things as well. I only mention the autism and SID because my oldest has Asperger Syndrome (a form of autism) and my 3.5 yr old also bangs his head (on the couch, his pillow and his fave seems to be my arms and legs)-we are still in the "watch" him mode but because of other behaviors are starting to suspect that he will fall on the autism spectrum as well.

Best of luck to you!

[deleted account]

If your child's routine is different in any way, see a doctor. My son did it off and on. Some it was just to try it out, but others was for pain. He was teething and would smash his face into the couch. He got 6 teeth at one time. Others was because of ear infections. So follow your gut, ask the doctor any question you want! That's why we pay them!! And if you don't feel comfortable with that doctor, GET ANOTHER ONE!! It's your child and you should have someone helping you to all feel better.

Betty - posted on 11/28/2009

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Head banging is not normal. You should talk with your doctor. Head baning can indicate a few things that others have already posted. In my case it is a mental health issue. I have an adopted child and she has RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder). So the first thing I would do is talk to your doctor.

Margaret - posted on 11/28/2009

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A lot of kids who have autism do head banging. I am not suggesting that your son does have autism. I am just letting you know what I know.

[deleted account]

my 18month old son does it too iwas worried that it wasnt normal but i asked other mother and they said yes its normal he will grow out of it

Melissa - posted on 11/28/2009

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my 18mos old started doing when we told him no. or took something away that he shouldnt have. when he first started he would bang so hard on the floor and wall that he would hurt himself. he finally realized it hurts, so now he puts his head down slower. or just hides his face.just keep an eye on him and when he does it. he is just trying to say something.

Alicia - posted on 11/27/2009

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My best friend's 2 year old son was doing the same thing for months and she didn't seem to get any real answers from her regular family practice doc, so she went to a pediatrician who found out that he had an inner ear problem, nothing serious, just his ear canals were very small, so he needed to flush them to remove a heavy wax buildup deep in his ears. My friend always cleaned her son's ears, but due to the small size of the canals, it built up in a spot where she could not reach it. I'm not sure it is something to ignore, but you know your child and his routine, do when that routine shifts, you notice. If you posted here, chances are you are concerned, so go with your instincts. God Bless.

Elizabeth - posted on 11/27/2009

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My son use to do the same thing when he was a baby, he'll get mad and bang his head on the wall or floor. I was always worried bout.He soon got over it, now he is in school he is starting to happen again. Same thing hiting his head on the wall and bed post sometimes uses his fist and hits him self. He gets frustrated easly when he cant get something right. I tell him to stop and ask him why he does it all i get is a I dont now. I took him to the Dr and all they wanted was to give him pills. I was like no! I jus help my son work threw what ever is bothering him.

Myra - posted on 11/27/2009

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It is normal. You are right though to tell your husband not to laugh, though. My daughter's pediatrician said that his sone did it so much he was afraid his son would hit his head until he made himself retarded (his word, not mine). My daughter started doing that around 5 or 6 months old, and she's right at 18mo now. It seems to have peaked because in the last month, it has slowed down. Try your best to keep your son occupied (boredom can trigger the head banging to start), and keep firm in your discipline routine. Just know that there are different reasons babies bang their heads, but generally, it is to show their dominance over something or to release energy because of boredom. Therefore, ignoring it won't make it stop...but laughing won't help, either. Try looking at the situation to determine why he's doing it...in the crib, it's most likely a display of dominance over you or the need to nap. If it's on the couch, it is likely because of boredom. If it appears to be from boredom, the best fix is to find something to do. If it's dominance, many times finding am activity to do can help, too. Trying to punish is essentially useless in any event...

Lynda - posted on 11/27/2009

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some elderly people would say to ignore it and they will stop. sometimes it works , but sometimes it don't.my oldest daughter would pitch fits get on floor and scream and kick , so daddy said leave her, but make sure you can see her but she can't see you. don't let her hurt herself. so one day we were in the dr. office. she started, so i got my older boys that where 10. 9 years old she was 1 year old, we went to the next room there was a clear glass we could see and hear everyone could hear her , but it wasn't that crowded , maybe 2 more people. anyway, she finally realized we wasn't there she got up and came where we were and has not done it since. but my granddaughter is a different story , she can pitch a fit and it doesn't bother her at all, then she gets her way. with her mom , but not her dad. i can't understand or fix it , she is one of a kind please let me know if anyone knows of a solution? we need help !!!!!!!

Sally - posted on 11/27/2009

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My nephew did this when he was quite young and it turned out it was because he had headaches triggered by an allergy to orange juice.

Kylie - posted on 11/27/2009

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i agree with Michelle, keep an eye on it and u should find ur answers. Another thing u should do is keep a record of wen he does do this and any marks he has caused himself, just in case, if he does hurt himself seriously that it need med help, u safeguard urself from bein labeled, i no it sounds bad but its better to be safe than sorry. Also talk to ur doc bout this, then they have documented that this is happening and u have seen help.

Sharolett - posted on 11/27/2009

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I agree with Michelle I have a 18 month old son who likes to bang his head on everyone. He laughs everytime he does it. I think he just likes the way it feels!

Michelle - posted on 11/27/2009

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some kids do it to battle frustration and other do it out of boredom and others do it because they like the sensation. Figure out when and why he is doing it. is it at the same time everyday is it only when he is mad and didnt get his way is it to get attention because he is bored. Once you figure out the why then you can do something to corect it.

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