8 year old ds banging head on soft surfaces when angry

(3 Posts)
coveredinsnot Mon 22-Feb-16 20:18:58

My son 'bangs' his head on soft things like cushions, beds, the sofa etc when he is upset and angry. It doesn't do any visible damage but he really goes for it. Like he's moshing. I'm guessing he finds this to be soothing in some way, and it's also a clear way of him communicating his feelings (he will stop to check we're watching or sometimes move into our view, I don't think he does it without an audience).

Two things really - one is, is it dangerous in any way?

And secondly, once he's got started, how should we deal with it? Currently we ask/tell him firmly to stop. (I know really we need to avoid this happening in the first place which we usually do, but sometimes when he's over tired and angry, it's too late).

Also, it would be good to know if this kind of behaviour is anything to be worried about...?

Thanks.

coveredinsnot Sat 27-Feb-16 21:12:31

Anyone...?

SnozzberryWibble Sat 05-Mar-16 14:15:41

My baby did this a lot and I've heard its fairly common, more so in boys. I don't know where I'm remembering this figure from but I think about 20% of boys do it! Sometimes mine even did it for fun, even when he wasn't angry!

He's 21 months now and doesn't do it anywhere near as much, unless he's having a real tantrum. I think it's kind of a soothing/relieving thing for them as they can't verbally express themselves or deal with their own emotions so this is a physical way of letting it out.

It's also kind of an attention thing so our approach was to ignore it as long as the surface isn't too hard. There is a book called Toddler Taming which recommends this approach. They may seem stupid but they do tend to stop at a certain point when it gets too painful so the behaviour is fairly self limiting.

If he seems really determined to headbutt something, sometimes I provide a big soft cushion for him to whack his head into as that's a safe outlet! Likewise if my child wants to release anger by punching something I'm more than happy for them to punch a pillow as this directs the anger in a harmless way.

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