It is not especially uncommon for a child to bang his head in the context of a temper tantrum, however, it is important to take head-banging seriously. Given the potential for injury, it is, of course, always advised to ask your pediatrician about your child’s head-banging. Head-banging may be “inadvertent,” like when your child protests by dropping to the floor or arching backward. Head-banging may be considered “minor” if it occurs without sufficient intensity to result in injury, but this, of course, can be a nerve-racking, subjective judgment call for any parent to make. Head-banging may occur repeatedly, on a hard or sharp surface, and/or with velocity that can result in injury. Head-banging also may occur without readily apparent provocation (e.g., as a soothing or self-stimulatory behavior).
There are obvious differences in the type, degree, and severity of head-banging observed. There is great variability with regard to a parent’s tolerance and preferences about behavior management strategies for head-banging. There are also some obvious issues (e.g., “inadvertent” or “minor” head-banging may be ignored, while potentially self-injurious head-banging must be proactively addressed in the name of health and safety). Again, given the potential for injury, it is always advised to speak to your pediatrician about your child’s head-banging. Here are some behavior management guidelines that may be useful: