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Dr. Kaushik
Dr. Kaushik, Psychiatrist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4535
Experience:  MD Psychiatry
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My son is 15 years old and still bangs his head before going

Customer Question

My son is 15 years old and still bangs his head before going to sleep.Sometimes it can be short intervals or take an hour or more and through the night in spurts. His sleep is sometimes deprived and looking for answers on what I can do to help him in other ways to lessen the head banging so he can get the required sleep he needs. Any suggestions?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Kaushik replied 8 years ago.

Hi there,


Since when he is having this problem?


Has he become irritable, violent , disrespectful to elders , aggressive, violent , snaps at people.


Does he have ideas of self importance such as , that he is someone who has some special powers or someone who is a very important personality whom everyone should obey.


Has he become inattentive, difficulty in maintaining focus in doing things, lagging behind in school

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Started from about 6 months old. Disrespectful at times, snaps at people. Frustrated easily. Likes things to be structured and calm. School is a challenge for him lately... doesnt like the fact that he is failing math but chooses to do nothing to change it. He is what I call a perfectionist in some ways. Has trouble accepting people for who and what they are if they dont have his same ideas. Always wants to do well at what ever he does and when he doesnt he starts to shut down and rather not deal with the problem.
Expert:  Dr. Kaushik replied 8 years ago.

Did you mean that it has been 6 months that he has been suffering from This?


As you said that he is having trouble in getting to sleep, but tell me that how many hors in a day he has been sleeping and is fresh after he gets up from whatever little sleep he gets and also whether he has started getting up in the night and doing bizzarre things and making noises , waking other people as well.



Customer: replied 8 years ago.
At the age of 6 months he would bang his head in the crib while on his hands and knees. His bedtime is 9pm and usually wakes at about 6am-630am. Does get up in the night sometimes but usually for water or quick snack about 2 times aweek. You hear him banging his head throughout the night here and there. He lays on his stomach and lifts his head up and down quickly between his hands and on his pillow. Once in a while about every two months he wakes me and says he cant sleep.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
At school he starts to power out at about 11am and his teachers say he seems tired alot. Even on weekends at some point in the day he lays down and has a nap but bangs his head first. Once he is awake in the morning he cant go back to sleep even if he needs to. Hard to judge just how much restful sleep he actually gets as it varies from night to night.
Expert:  Dr. Kaushik replied 8 years ago.

have you enquired whether it is the headache that makes him do such actions?


How were his developmental milestones that is the time of social smile, sitting erect,walking were these on time or delayed?


is he somewhat mentally slow than adolesvents of his age?


does he throw temper tantrums and has become disobedient?

Kindly answer the above mentioned questions..

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
He has no headache. Always tells me when he does. Headaches dont happen very often. His developmental milestones were all on time. Catches on to most things quickly first time around. As with math for an example he has always been a B student and never studied. This year is a different matter because he doesnt like or grasps what they are teaching. He has been evaluated as above average intelligence in the high range. Sometimes when many issues come up in a short period of time he will get mad and go to his room and raise his voice. He will tell me no when I tell him to do something or not to do something. I dont accept that at all. I will try to talk to him about it and give him consequences for his action if he does not comply and send him to his room untill he is calmed down and ready to deal with the situation at hand. Its interesting how after an episode so to speak he is great for quite a while.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Does disrespect his sisters, grandmother, teachers and adults if they tease him or ask him to do something he doesnt want to do. If others dont treat him with respect he will walk away and refuse to do what is asked or even talk to them. Kind of wondering how a simple question posed in the beginning has come this far? Why the heck is he still doing this at night after all these years. And what do we need to do to eleviate this?
Expert:  Dr. Kaushik replied 8 years ago.

Hi there,


From what i could gather from this conversation , is that , your son is definitely not having developmental problem, as he has been above average student all along, by your own admission.


Neither, it is What we call is Conduct Disorder , halllmark of which is disobediance , undermining authority of elders, aggression and disrespect towards seniors and others, as , what traits you have mentioned about him are quite normal for a 15 year old boy, boys of his age usually behave in this way , as they are experiencing new things about themselves and it is a transition period from childhood to adulthood and one thing they hate most is when they are treated as kids by their parents.


On the other hand , parents misunderstand their rebellious attitude as something wrong in their behaviour and try too hard to correct them.


At this time you just need to give him , his space, start treating him as an adult, but not pardoning anything that is wrong.


As for the head banging trait , i would say that it is A Self Soothing act often developed by children , when still very young , and are similar to the acts of thumb sucking, obsession for a toy or a blanket, and is used by your son to get destressed and helps him to go to sleep and over the period of time , it has become a habit.


The second probable diagnosis can be an Attention Seeking behaviour.

Nonetheless , in both these conditions you are required to talk to your son in a calm and friendly way , talk reason with him, ask him to give up his habit, also give him some concessions and ofcourse the space a boy of his age would demand.


I hope everything will get alright.

For any further assistance , please feel free to contact .



Please press the accept button if you feel satisfied with my answer and kindly leave a positive feedback, if possible.

Dr. Kaushik and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thankyou for your answers and reinforcing pretty much what I had come to beleive personally. In the research I have done on my own on this issue through the internet it is pretty much the same as your answer...............except now we will work towards him giving up the habit with your suggestions. Thankyou for the idea. It never occured to me to do that!
Expert:  Dr. Kaushik replied 8 years ago.

You are most welcome .

I hope things work out really well for your son and you.

Wish your son good health.




Please if you could leave a Positive Feedback , that will be warmly appreciated