View Full Version : OT: Toddler banging head on purpose....why?!

06-08-2007, 01:05 PM
i know this is a knitting forum, but i feel i can get better feedback from fellow my fellow knitters here then i can on any other mommy forum out there. so i thought i'd ask...

owen (15 mos) has pneumonia. he feels miserable, and hasn't been sleeping because he wakes up with a high fever at night.
last night he woke up but didn't have a fever. the first time, i brought him to our bed, nursed him, and then he went back to his crib to sleep. (he won't sleep with us anymore. he gets too excited and worked up..even when he's sick). the next time he woke up (about 45 mins later), i went in and gave him some tylenol because he seemed a little warm, but just seemed more uncomfortable. i gave him his medicine, and tried to leave.
owen decided to flip himself over to his hands and knees, crawled to the edge of his crib and slammed his head several times into the side of the crib, flipped over, and cried like mad (because it hurt!). i rubbed his belly, and told him he was okay because i didn't know what to do...i didn't want to pick him up and reward that behavior. just assure him that he was okay. sure enough, he did it again. slammed his head, flipped over, cried like mad again.
why would he do that? was he trying to get me to pick him up? i know he's sick, but i was so taken aback by it, i didn't want to reinforce that behavior and have him hurt himself to get my attention. i rubbed his belly again, said night night, and left the room. he ended up falling asleep pretty fast after that, but i didn't. i couldn't sleep because i am really bothered by that. why would he feel the need to do something like that? and at only 15 mos?
i'm so confused...part of me feels horrible for not picking him up. the other part of me is terrified that he thinks the only time i do pick him up is when he's hurt. or he's gurenteed snuggles if he hurts himself like that.....

what do you think?:??

06-08-2007, 01:21 PM
maybe his head was hurting and he thought it would help ... i know i read somewhere ( parenting magizine or website??) that somekids dont get out enough engergy during the day and will sometimes bang there heads against walls or cribs as a way to release some energy. i know my dd will sometimes stand up in bed and tap/bang her head agaist the wall, but never so hard it makes her cry! :( she actually laughs and thinks its funny.

i think you did the right thing by not picking him up and reinforcing the behaviour! my dd has a bad habit of standing in the kitchen with me and screaming if i don't pick her up. its hard cause i know she'll stop if i do. but then its a vicious cycle. she's almost 14 months old now.

Jan in CA
06-08-2007, 01:29 PM
Disclaimer: I'm not a child psychologist or physician

If hurting himself to get attention isn't normal I wouldn't read too much into this. He could have a headache and/or just feel miserable and not know how to tell you. Maybe just rocking him a bit after you go in (before head banging) to make sure he's okay and let him know you'll take care of him before putting him back into bed would help. He should be feeling better soon and this will all go away. Poor baby.


06-08-2007, 01:33 PM
If he hasn't done it before my bet is on headache and he is grasping at anything to make it go away. Kind of like Vincent Van Gogh when he cut off his ear to get rid of an ear infection.
Hope the little guy feels better soon.

06-08-2007, 01:34 PM
both my boys went through head banging stages .... it went away.... I wouldn't worry too much at this point.

06-08-2007, 01:36 PM
This must be awful to go through. I hope your little boy gets better soon.

misha rf
06-08-2007, 01:46 PM
My parents told us my sister used to bang her head on her crib every night at bedtime until her crib rolled across the floor and hit the other wall. They used to call her "rockin' rollin' Jeanne." There wasn't any permanent damage (although I like to tease her that obviously there was :mrgreen:).

That said, I hope your little guy feels better soon. :hug:

06-08-2007, 02:14 PM
If he's already sick, I would get his ears checked. My friend's son did this everytime he got an ear infection. When he would lay down, his ears would clog up and get very painful. He would bang his head against the wall...I'm assuming to try to make the hurting stop.

06-08-2007, 02:34 PM
Aww, poor little baby. If this is new behavior I'd say it's to do with him being so sick. I'd probably give him some baby tylenol or ibuprofen to make him more comfortable. The Ibuprofen can help reduce any inflammation as well. As others have said, it could be a headache, or ear infection. Pneumonia is horrible. My husband had it a couple years ago, I've never seen him so sick.

06-08-2007, 02:36 PM
thank you all so much for the feedback and the well wishes. :muah:
i did some more reading online, and it seems that kids do that at this age because they can't express how they're feeling. i have a feeling it was a headache too, because the tylenol helped him sleep a lot more after that point.
dr checked his ears on wednesday afternoon when we found out he had pneumonia, and said they were perfect, so i don't know that it's an ear infection...he's on antibiotics, so i guess it would help that if he did.

i think he just felt crummy and didn't know what to do when i came in and was trying to leave without picking him up. i need to remember that even though i'm super tired and have a bit of a cold myself, he feels miserable and needs some extra lovin. so tonight, if he wakes up 2 times, he'll get snuggles 2 times. :hug: hopefully he won't feel the need to bang his noggin anymore, and i won't have to worry about reinforcing that behavior.

he's already feeling better from wednesday. i think we cought it early, so he wasn't horrible just yet. he's been playing with his buddy Bob (our big orange cat), building with his blocks, and helping mommy do laundry (he's incharge of the dryer sheet). he's napping longer then usual, but that's good in my book. sleep helps more then anything else! (plus, mommy can get more knitting done! :roflhard: )

if he's up to it, we're gonna go to hobby lobby to get some more yarn for the baby afghan i'm working on. maybe i'll see if there is some nice snuggly yarn for an owen blanket while we're there! :thumbsup:

06-08-2007, 04:37 PM
both my boys went through head banging stages .... it went away.... I wouldn't worry too much at this point.

My son has too >_<