Why is My Child Banging Their Head Against the Wall?

Why is my child banging their head against the wall? This behavior can be due to several reasons, learn what they are and help your baby.
Why is My Child Banging Their Head Against the Wall?

Last update: 29 April, 2022

If you’re a new mother or father, you’re sure to be interested in each and every one of your baby’s behaviors. Now, as your child grows, it acquires behaviors that may distress you. Perhaps one of the many things you ask yourself is: Why is my child banging their head against the wall? In this post, you’ll learn the possible reasons why children hurt themselves.

Why is my child banging their head against the wall?

This behavior is common in children under 2 years of age, as they become frustrated by not knowing how to express themselves. The result is that they end up beating themselves up. In general, this behavior is seen more in boys, as it generally takes them a little longer to learn to speak.

A mother carrying a toddler who's having a temper tantrum.

However, when they’re older than 2 years of age, they learn to express their anger in another way. In addition, it’s easier for them to express their feelings because they already know how to speak. So, if your child at that age continues to engage in self-injurious behavior, you should be concerned.

Is it just rebellious behavior or some disorder?

The fact that this behavior is frequent doesn’t mean that it’s normal. So, if your child injures themself a lot in different circumstances and places, you need to take them to a professional. Only then will you know if they do it out of rebellion or because of a disorder. Before, you must observe at what moments they begin to hurt themself.

Out of manipulation

If their tantrums are about wanting to get away with something, you’ll notice. If that’s the case, they’ll start hitting themself after a punishment or perhaps to get you to grant them what they want. Also when they feel that you don’t fully understand him, which causes anger and frustration.

Due to a neurological disorder

This occurs when your child exhibits aggressive behaviors against themself for no apparent reason. If, in addition, they continue crying without stopping, despite the measures that you’ve considered you need to take. So, if your child isn’t self-harming because you’ve punished them, this requires further study.

It could be due to organic and neurological malformations. As in the case of autism, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and intellectual disability.

For psychological reasons

Some diseases of psychological origin can trigger these self-injurious behaviors; for example, stress, loneliness, fear, or even childhood depression , which is becoming more and more common.

Out of a need for attention

You need to be attentive in order to cover all the needs of your baby. Among them is providing affection. With so many things to do, you may neglect this aspect. However, your child will demand your attention and will likely do so by hitting their head.

What can I do if my child is banging their head against the wall?

The answer to this question depends on the reason why they hit themself. If this behavior is due to some disorder or disease, the most logical thing is to take your child to the doctor. The specialist will determine if it’s necessary to administer drug treatment. In addition, if necessary, they’ll direct you to attend therapy. It’s best to consult with a psychologist, neurologist, and if necessary, with a child psychiatrist.

At the same time, there are two fundamental recommendations that can be followed just when the child begins to hit their head, which are the following:

  • Prevent the child from being injured: It’s essential that you use restraint techniques such as those mentioned below. The idea is to avoid the appearance of a possible injury and other complications.
  • Don’t ignore the situation: Although the child may try to manipulate you through this behavior, under no circumstances should you ignore it. Injuries are very common, so try to divert their attention through other stimuli.

Containment technique for tantrums

In the event that it’s to vent their frustration, a hug would be very helpful. It doesn’t mean that they’ll stop crying to get what they want, but they will likely calm down.

A watercolor image of a mother comforting a crying toddler.

When you hug your little one, substances such as oxytocin are released into them. This hormone is known as that of affection or love. So, a strong bond between parents and children is created. In addition, it provides you with security and a sense of shelter.

However, hugs are more than important when children exhibit self-injurious behaviors, as both serotonin and dopamine are released in their brains. These substances provide calm, fullness, harmony, and well-being.

The best thing about giving a hug is that by doing so, you also receive the same benefits. To be most effective, you need to hug your child tightly and for a long time. This is known as a containment technique, which works to calm your little one’s tantrums.

In short, it’s good to ask yourself why your child is banging their head against the wall. Although this behavior is common, it’s not good for you. Observe and analyze the reasons why they do it so that you can give them the help they require at all times.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Almendro Padilla, C. (2009). “Técnicas de relajación”, FMC Formación Médica Continuada En Atención Primaria, 16 (1): 36.
  • de Jesús Ramos, A., Dols, A. N., & Arranz, A. R. (2019). Serotonina: un neurotransmisor que impacta nuestras emociones. RD-ICUAP, 5(13). http://rd.buap.mx/ojs-dm/index.php/rdicuap/article/view/358
  • Coll, C.; Miras, M.; Onrubia, J., & Solé, I. (1998). Psicología de la educación. Barcelona: Edhasa.
  • Solé, I. (2002). Cuadernos de educación: orientación educativa e intervención psicopedagógica. Barcelona: Horsori.
  •  (2002). Cuadernos de educación: orientación educativa e intervención psicopedagógica. Barcelona: Horsori.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.