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My two-year-old is constantly banging his head on things when he gets upset. I don't get it. Why is he doing this and how do I stop it?

My 18-month-old daughter will occasionally bang her head. I notice it most often when she is put into her crib at night when it's time for her to go to sleep. Our pediatrician said it was a way for her to comfort herself and to just keep an eye on the situation. He said as long as she does not harm herself, just to let her do it. However, it did get worse and we found out that she was having chronic ear infections which affect her more when laying down. She ended up getting ear tubes put inside her ears and after a couple of months, the head banging stopped. Be sure to have your son's ears checked. - Sonja Patterson in Minneapolis, MN

FROM JODIE:

This is more common than most parents realize. The reasons can vary and even though we can't understand it and think our children are hurting themselves, it is oftentimes a way for them to vent frustration. Other times it's used to comfort themselves during a stressful time. For some reason it's more prominent in boys and can peak between the ages of eighteen to twenty-four months. Sometimes, head banding can be associated with autism and/or other problems in developmental areas. The first thing to do is to talk to his pediatrician and get a professional opinion about it and some ideas about what to do and what may be causing it. In your case, it may just be associated with trying to express himself, especially at his age where it is difficult to tell you exactly what he is upset about. He could be doing it for attention as well. Unfortunately, if too much attention is given during this time, it may encourage him to continue. The best thing to do is to divert his focus towards something else. Try to center in on what has made him upset and eliminate the culprit. It could be many things that trigger the head banging response, so keep a list. Be sure that he is getting enough individualized, positive attention on a daily basis. Sometimes we get so busy with other things that kids take a back seat until they start showing odd behavior or sudden outbursts. If he enjoys music, play it when the head banging starts and encourage him to sing along with you. As with many challenges in the lives of kids, this will hopefully pass soon. And, once again, patience is a true virtue.

CAN YOU HELP?

My mom passed away when I was nine. The three people who helped raise me were my grandmother, an aunt and an older sister. These are my moms. I am now twenty-two and have a job and would like to get them special Mother's Day gifts that I can actually pay for myself for the first time. All of us enjoy the outdoors but I don't know what to buy. Any ideas would be great.

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This sounds like vaccine-injury.

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