My 13mth old son Lewis will not stop banging his head when he does not get his own way or if you take something of him. He's been doing it since he was 7mths old on the carpet or sofa but now he's getting bigger he's banging his head on the door or table and even us if we are holding him he'll head butt us the head. Is this normal and what can i do to stop him doing it.


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I think at this age, the strategy is distraction. A game I played with my son when he was that age was 1-2-3 Dip, which goes, I pick him up and I say "1, 2, 3, Dip" and then I dip him gently. That might help transition the mood. Also, do you do baby signs? The sign for "all done" is something you can do when he starts to bang his head and you can also do it you know, any time it's appropriate. Sometimes they understand baby signs before they understand other concepts. It might take some work but it sounds like he's a smart boy who gets frustrated and he needs to replace the head banging with something else so he can show how he feels. I would make my goal to replace the head banging with an all done sign.

My son did not bang his head but he burst into tears if anyone/anything touched him unexpectedly. It was making me crazy and he was always upset. This was a strong behavior around the same age 13 months (he was learning to walk and fell/stumbled alot). I taught him to make a time out sign with his hands to show that he was "hurt" and that worked for us. If you can, try to not freak out or show intensity when he bangs his head and just start with a sign to show that behavior needs to transition to something else.

Hope that helps.


View replies by

Paula - posted on 02/06/2009




I have 2 headbutters!  My eldest little boy Joe used to do it if he couldn't get his own way & now the youngest has started doing the same.  The best thing is to just ignore or distract them.  They won't do it so that it really hurts, but if they do they won't the next time!  Once Joe got to the age where he could express himself more he stopped doing it!

Stephanie - posted on 02/05/2009




My 14 month old son does the same thing but he also does it in the middle of playing and laughs about it and does it when hes throwing a fit. I dont understand it but my mother tells me i did the same thing when i was his age and hel grow out of it. Im not sure if thats the way to look at it but my son thinks its hilarious.

User - posted on 02/04/2009




I do agree that the head banging ma be "normal" as an attention getter but for my little one the attention he needed was due to an ear infection. He would bang on the floor on our bodies or anything around and constantly to the point of crying b/c it hurt. I thought maybe it was a phase and let it go on while trying some of the distraction techniques but I called the pediatrician with a gut feeling that something was wrong and sure enough it was an ear infection / sinus infection. Within 3 days of antibiotics,no more head banging, only diarreah from the meds.

Angela - posted on 02/04/2009




My 14 month old son does the same too. Its great to see that I'm not alone. I was thinking it was an attention getter because we just brought home his little sister about the same time he started doing it.

[deleted account]

I'm glad to hear it. I know how much sharing stories with other moms helps me. Kids are a mystery.

Becky - posted on 02/02/2009




Hi Kerry the distraction game work's it's a God send. When he stats to bang his head we just pick him up and do 1-2-3 dip he loves it. Thankyou

Charlotte - posted on 02/02/2009




My daughter does the same!!! It is so relieving to hear that this is normal ish behaviour!! The advice is really helpful and I intend to try out the suggested techniques!! Thanks to you all .

Sarah - posted on 02/01/2009




apparently my uncle use to do the same and the doctor old my grandmother ignore it the worst that will happen is he'll knock himself out. i know itsounds cruel but apparently it works

Jenette - posted on 02/01/2009




My 13 month old son doesn't bang his head on the wall or floor but will sometimes head butt and arch his back when frustrated b/c you took away a "no no" item he wants. After a couple of really painful ones (for me and him too I'm sure) I put him down and in a deep, stern voice said "No!" loudly then turned my back to him and walked off. Since he's in mommy mode and wants me to hold him all the time this was a serious "punishment" to him and I've only had to repeat it one other time. He cried for a little bit then followed me into the next room and we made up with kisses and cuddles. Now he doesn't willfully head butt me anymore.

Donna - posted on 01/31/2009




Hi, I have 3 boys, 4, 2, and 1. My oldest, when he was that age would do that. My husband would freak out! I just would kind of brush it off so I wasn't showing him that it was affecting me. He stopped pretty quick when he realized it wasn't bothering me and it was hurting him. I think its just a stage they could go through, he should grow out of it. My one year old will head butt me sometimes. He will do it too hard sometimes and cry a little. I just turn it into a game and do it soflty or make it into a kissing game or noseys. He loves noseys (where we rub our noses together). I don't know why they do that but it has been pretty normal in our house. Hope this helps, good luck.

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