Questions in the Parenting Forum are being answered by doctors from MindWorks. Topics include: Behavioral Issues - Discipline, Emotional Development, Family Issues, Recreation, School Issues, Social Development
head banging in very little children is not uncommon, but not exactly something you want to encourage. First off, check with your pediatrician to make sure your son does not have an ear infection or fluid in his middle ear. Aside from ear infections, children can headbang for several reasons. One is that they get sensory stimulation from it, and if your son craves more sensation in order to feel good, then he has found a satisfying way to get it (the adult version of sensation seeking might be chewing your lip, or riding a motorcycle).
Children may headbang when they are frustrated or overwhelmed. Believe it or not, for some children it is very soothing. They bang to get the release of endoprhins (our bodies natural chemicals that make us feel good) that are released when we feel pain (the adult version of this behavior might be eating very spicy food). The banging actually leads to calm and pleasant feelings, and thus can it be hard to convince the child to stop. Basically in a young child who is developing normally, you just want to monitor it to try to keep it from becoming a habit.
For a child this young who is not doing himself damage, try to catch him before he does it an focus his attention on something else. You can also try to fill in the need for some extra stimulation by swinging him around, tickling him, bouncing, or any other safe and exciting activity. Teach him to ask for these alternatives by either word or sign.
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