Q. When my two-year-old gets really angry and has a tantrum, she will bump her head against the wall. This is really upsetting to us and we usually end up just giving in and letting her have her way because we don’t want her to hurt herself. I’m worried we’re setting a bad precedent.
When children become frustrated and their minds outrace their ability to concentrate they can often engage in ‘head-banging’ as the sensory input they get from the banging feels better than the sensory overload they are experiencing.
While it is important to stay close and ensure your child doesn’t hurt herself, try not to give the banging too much attention as your shocked or disapproving reaction might only make matters worse. At the same time, ensure you are giving your daughter lots of positive attention when the banging has stopped.
Try saying that you love when she uses her words to talk with Mummy and Daddy and explain how she feels. Try not to worry too much as ‘head-banging’ is usually a self-regulating behaviour, in other words, a toddler will more often than not pull back before they seriously hurt themselves.
Children who engage in ‘head-banging’ often have a deeper appreciation of music and rhythm. Develop your child’s interest in music by engaging her in marching, drumming and clapping and always ensure she gets lots of physical exercise throughout the day, which will help her control her energy levels.