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Is Head Banging Normal?

Medically reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD

When my toddler is sick or upset, he often finds something to bang his head against. Is this a normal behavior?

Head banging can be upsetting for parents to see. But in most cases, occasional head banging is a form of self-stimulation, self-comfort, or a way to release frustration. It's not a sign of another problem.

You can help by dealing with whatever is causing the emotional upset and protecting your child from injury as much as possible. Try not to make a big deal about the head banging or scold him for this behavior.

While head banging is common and usually nothing to worry about, in some kids it can be part of a developmental problem. A child who is head banging often, particularly if there's a question of developmental delay or abnormal social interactions, should be seen by a doctor.

Medically reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: July 2018