Head banging

(4 ratings)
Boy with bandage round his head

1. Repeatedly banging their head on a hard surface

It's really frightening when a child bangs their head over and over again but it's fairly common.

Why do they do it?
'This sort of behaviour is usually because they're angry or frustrated and they want your attention,' says Sue. 'They don't have the language to tell you exactly what's wrong.'

What can you do?
'Try to understand what the child is going through. There are a lot of changes happening for them. They're learning new words, new behaviour and they're just starting out in the world,' says Sue.

'Children take their cues from you, they're very good at picking up vibes, so the calmer you are, the calmer they'll be.'

Obviously, stop them from banging their head or harming themselves. Stay calm and find out what's making them so upset. 'Are they too hot, hungry or overtired? Don't let them go too far with this sort of behaviour, you have to remain confident and in control,' says Sue.

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Boy with bandage round his headGirl holding her breath
Head banging
Holding their breath

Boy putting on make-upGirl sitting by the road on her own
Boys pretending to be girls
Imaginary friends

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Unfortunately, my then two youngest children went through a stage of head banging. My three elder daughters never did this and at first I was so shocked by what they were doing to themselves that I didnt know quite how to deal with it. I decided to look at what might be affecting them. Their dad, my ex was disrespecting me to them and we had as a family suffered domestic abuse from him. He constantly hurled abuse at me, banging on my door, telephone calls the lot and on a daily basis. This was all in front of our two children. I realised that they were becoming confused about what their father was saying and how he was behaving towards me to them. So I decided that because they were too young to understand what was happening, when the head banging started I just scooped them up on my knee, hugged their arms and legs to stop them hitting out and soothed them by telling them that everything was ok and that I loved them. After a while it really worked and they stopped having head banging tantrums. I had reassured them of my love for them and eased their frustration from what they were being told and the reality of the situation. I hope that this can help others in a similar situation because it isnt always because they arent able to verbally communicate or express themselves as all my children have been early talkers. Put it this way, even health workers saw this behaviour and were shocked and perplexed as they all said it wasn't down to lack of communication on my childrens behalf and they commended me on how I dealt with it.

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