Baby Hitting Himself - Why?
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
We are concerned about our 10 month old boy who recently started hitting himself on his head. It seems he does this when he gets excited. Our son would hit the right side of his head with his right hand and sometimes both sides with both hands. And it seems he is doing this more often now.
We've read many forums where other parents are experiencing the same thing. However, I have not seen in these forums that explain this behavior and if it is normal.
Should we be concerned?
Is this a normal behavior?
What is the cause or explanation of this behavior?
Your advice is greatly appreciated.
Baby Help Line:
Baby Hitting Himself - Normal Or Not?
You're completely right that this is a common behavior, especially at around 1 year old
Babies hit themselves, bite themselves, bang their heads against the wall or floor etc. It looks awful, but is usually their way of coping with frustration and anger
. Often, the baby does the same (hit or bite) their parents too when angry with them or even just for fun and to see the reaction.
And as you mention, they can also do this out of excitement
; another strong feeling.
You don't have to worry. It is normal and it passes.
Since your boy in now 10 months old
, he is starting to understand words, and you can say "no" and gently stop him from hitting himself. You can also show him with his hand how to "pat gently" or something like that.
BUT don't make a lot of fuss about it - if your reactions are strong, or if he gets a lot of attention for this behavior, you might end up reinforcing it. So unless he seems to be hurting himself, try ignoring the behavior and focus on distracting him instead.
I've noticed for example that talking even to quite young babies (at around 1-1.5 years) in a very engaged way, confirming their feeling without judging can really make them calmer. At least some times.
But above all - don't worry! Your boy is learning how to deal with his emotions, and that takes time. (A whole life time, really... ;-) ) Just make sure he doesn't hurt himself or someone else. And don't yell at him.
Hope this helps!
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