When My Daughter Is Upset She Bangs Her Head on the Floor, Table, Etc. HELP!

Updated on November 14, 2008
A.G. asks from Valencia, CA
8 answers

I am hoping that all of you wonderful mothers out there have some advice for this problem. My 21 month old daughter is generally a very happy, good natured child. I would say that 95% of the time, she is happy and smiling or laughing. However, when she is upset, she bangs her head on whatever hard surface is near. She will bang her forehead on our tiled floor, on her high chair, on her crib, on MY head, she has even hit her head on the concrete outside when she was mad. My husband and I thought that once she realized that it hurt, she would stop, but it seems to be getting worse. There is nowhere safe that I can put her when she is having a tantrum because she will find a way to hit her head. I have been trying anything and everything, redirection, positive reinforcement when she stops, holding her tightly, etc. Her new thing is walking to the wall and banging her head there. I just don't know what to do anymore. I have an appointment coming up with her pediatrician and plan to bring this up with him as well. HELP! HELP! HELP!
Thank you for all of your help! :)

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thank you to everyone for your kind responses to my question. I am doing my best to wait it out. I keep thinking that at some point she will want to stop hurting herself, but she hits her head so hard, I think that she is going to have a permanent bruise on her forehead. Thank God for bangs! :) Our house does not have carpet, but tile downstairs and hardwood upstairs. I am really hoping that this phase is over soon.
Again, thank you for taking the time to respond with such reassuring words and great suggestions. I am planning on buying that bike helmet for her ASAP.
Have a great day!

Featured Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

Is she otherwise 100% develomentally "normal"? I not I'd find a DAN doctor like Dr. Thomas Lin in Irvine. She may be reacting to foods that aggravate her or to the shots she recently rcvd.

More Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

My son is now 2 years old and did this too!! Don't worry it does go away with a lot of consistency and explaination.

It's awesome that you're trying to work with your little girl to get to stop. What I had to do with my son was grab him, and hold him while he was in the midst of his tantrum and repeat over and over again, 'please don't hit your head, Mommy loves you and I know you're mad/frustrated but, if you don't talk to Mommy I can't help you'. Oddly enough he went from furniture to hitting himself with his hands, and I had to do the same thing.

Toddlers are learning to express themselves and their actions are a direct reflection of their ability or inability to express themselves the way they want to. If you can spot the trigger of this behavior before it occurs than you can nip the response in the bud...for my son it was a feeling of frustration because he was hungry or he couldn't get something to work the way he wanted it too (toy car, blocks...things like that). So, once I saw what was setting him off I could get there before the hitting started, and if it did begin cut off the action of hitting before it got to bad.

If it isn't safe to hold your little girl, for you or your husband, than carry her to a tantrum area. My friends little boy used to have vicious tantrums and she made a soft area for him with pillows and blankets on the floor in her living room. She would talk to him, and explain that it was okay to be feeling angry, frustrated or sad and that she was always there for him, but needed him to relax and use his words so she could help him. His were awful, and scary compared to my son's. But, after just a few weeks of explaining the hitting stopped, and he has done it for a least three weeks.

I hope you are able to help your little one through this, and make it an experience that everyone can learn from. Don't worry, everything will be fine.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My son used to do this too. I think because the first time he did it I freaked out, and he realized that it got him attention. I think your daughter might have figured out the same thing. I began to ignore it, and it soon went away. When he had a tantrum I put him in the middle of the carpeted floor and walked away. He had less chance of hurting himself, and even when he did bang his head, he never did it hard
Good luck



answers from Honolulu on

My daughter used to do this too. Our pediatrician said not to worry too much, that a child won't actually hurt themselves. And if they do accidentally hurt themselves - it will only happen once because they will be more "careful" next time! It's just a phase and should pass. Just try to not have to much of a strong reaction towards it and she will eventually get over it I would think (it didn't last long at all with my daughter - MAYBE a month, if that)



answers from Los Angeles on

My oldest son did that. My friend suggested picking her up when he had the tantrum and putting him in the tub and turning the shower on. I never needed to try that. I just walked away and ignored him and he would stop pretty quickly. It is always hard to understand what is going on inside the little ones head. I hope the pediatrician has some type of plan.



answers from Los Angeles on

If I were you I'd put a bicycle helmet on her and let her go to town. Just catch her as she's beginning the tantrum, put it on, make sure she can't unlock it (most of the time those things are designed to be hard to remove) and see if she keeps it up - she'll probably realize that it doesn't concern you so much and stop after a while, when she has to wear that silly thing on her head to have a tantrum.



answers from Los Angeles on

My 22 month old son did the same thing! He started at about 1 year and FINALLY stopped at 19 months! I just tried to grab him and keep him from hurting himself. The more attention and alarm I showed, the more it seemed to fuel him. Our pediatrician said to walk away, hard as it was. I did up to a point. If there was cement or tile obviously I would stop him. But he gave himself a couple of goose eggs before he got the point. Good luck, I know how hard it is to see them hurt themselves.



answers from Los Angeles on

hi A.... my soon to be mother in law told me that my boyfriend use to do this very same thing when we was little. and when she took him to the doctors to ask about this. the doctor told her not to worry that it was only a phase and that he would eventually grow out of it. and that his doctor said that he knew exactly how hard to hit himself before it would really hurt him.

good luck :]

Next question: Head Banging During Temper Tantrums?