May 12, 2009,
A.P. asks from Fruitland, ID on May 10, 2009
My 1 Year Old Son Hits His Head on the Floor. Anyone Else Had a Child Do This?
Help! My 17 month old son has developed a lot of personality now and is starting to have temper tantrums. Since he was old enough to crawl he would hit the front of his head on the floor. At first he didn't do it very hard, but as he has gotten older he has hit his head harder and harder. I have seen him do it out of frustration or because he was in pain (teething). Now he also does it when he is mad. My friends have told me he will grow out of it, but I am getting concerned. Has anyone had a child do this and dealt with it successfully? I have no idea what to do!! Thank you so much for your help.
J.L. answers from Provo on May 12, 2009
My 18 month old has done that, he used to do it more frequently, that and the wall. It was always when he was throwing a tantrum, but he seems to be growing out of it now. I really don't see it very often, and usually when he throws a tantrum, we put him somewhere quiet by himself, like his crib, or his room since how he climbs out of his crib. Then we go in and tell him, if he's done he can come out, that usually works. Anyways, I don't think it is a problem, not at that age. Hope that helps.
R.K. answers from Salt Lake City on May 11, 2009
This isn't uncommon. I wouldn't worry too much that he's doing it unless it's obsessive for long periods of time and often throughout a day. If you think this is the case then I'd talk to his care provider.
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C.H. answers from Boise on May 11, 2009
I don't mean to alarm, and this is NOT true of all. I just have two kids on the autism spectrum and know that my kids did this. I think all kids do this and most grow out of it and IT IS ALL NORMAL. But autistic kids to this A LOT. Much more often and for longer periods of time then kids on a normal developmental curve. Please do not think this means anything, almost all the the time this is NORMAL. I just want everyone to keeps a heads up. :) I am not even sure I should post this.
K.L. answers from Denver on May 11, 2009
My pediatrician (who has six kids of his own!) also said it's completely normal and they grow out of it. He went on to point out that he and his colleagues have never treated a child for a self-inflicted concussion. :) Best of luck, and congratulations on the new one on the way--having boys is so awesome!
D.D. answers from Denver on May 12, 2009
I'm sure lots of others have already responded, but I thought I'd respond anyway. My son did this from a slightly earlier age, about 13 months through about 16 months for all the same reasons as your son. It was mild at first, and then got more violent and urgent. At first we were completely shocked and scared! But, what worked for us, was to see the head banging coming, and to pick up our boy and hold him tight and tell him "ouch, stop, you'll hurt yourself" and gently calm him. It would sometimes take a while for him to calm down, but after about four or five times approaching his hysteria this way, he slowly stopped doing it. Since I have depression myself, I am always concerned if my son exhibits unusual actions. I spoke with my psychiatrist about this, and he said it is perfectly normal (although possibly injurous) and that our approach was a good one. He said that LOTS of children will act out frustration, anger, and even sadness this way. Just love you son, keep him from hurting himself when he is frustrated, and he will learn that he is safe, and his desires are being met. You will build his self-confidence every time you show him that his feeling count and that you acknowledge he is angry, frustrated, sad. Our boy ourgrew it pretty quick. Best of luck.
C.S. answers from Casper on May 11, 2009
Just ignore him when he does this! I know it sounds mean but all he is doing is getting your attention and we you give it to him you are rewarding bad behavior
D.P. answers from Salt Lake City on May 11, 2009
I don't haven't had personal experience with this but I had a cousin who would do the exact same thing. He would do it when he got frustrated or mad but couldn't cry. So he'd bang his head on the floor in order to help him cry. Anyway he is now 25 years old and going to Medical school. He grew out of it and never had any mental or physical problems. Except for a bruise every once in a while.
A.C. answers from Pocatello on May 11, 2009
My 1 year old daughter does this too. I asked my doctor about it and he said that it is very common and normal. He said that they beleive that it actually triggers a pleasure center in their brain!In any case, I have followed his suggestion which was to just put her in a safe place, like her crib, if she does it, and walk away. I feel like my daughter is doing it for attention, she does it when she isnt getting what she wants, so walking away seems like the best solution. I am told they should grow out of it.
J.M. answers from Provo on May 11, 2009
I have gone through this with two of my three boys. They do grow out of it. Also, when going through an episode, as hard as it is to ignore, that is the best thing you can do. When I ignored the fact they were banging their heads the tantrum would stop sooner. I would leave the room and act as if nothing was wrong, then wait for them to come to me for any emotional consolation they needed. I would never console them for a hurt head if it was hurt because of their banging, I would just tell them I was sorry to hear that their head hurt, but that was their fault. When my first son started doing this it was hard to follow through with ignoring him, but with our second it was easier because we knew it worked. Our second son grew out of the behavior much sooner than our first. Good luck, and don't worry too much.
K.J. answers from Denver on May 12, 2009
HI! I have heard that sometimes behavior related to hitting the head can have something to do with how the child was born (in one case a child said "I kept hitting my head on the baby door". If you suspect that there could be a correlation between this behavior and his birth, there are specialists (you can find them through a local doula group) psychologists who have a way of re-birthing- through a physical journey through a tunnel that can undo the patterning, also sometimes just talking about it can shift the behavior.