Developmental Milestones and When It’s Time To Call The Doctor

Dear Brenda,

I have a three and a half year old boy. Since I can remember he bangs his head when he is awake or asleep. He doesn’t feel any pain, or so it seems. He doesn’t get angry when he does it. He is a very sweet child, but he has his way of doing things. He is very, very neat and precise for his age. He started mingling with other children in his class about 6 months ago. Both of my children are in half day in school.

Most of the times it doesn’t seem as if he understands me. If he hurts his sister, sometimes for no reason, and I talk to him firmly he just nods and continues to hurt her.

I’ve tried everything, talking, shouting, naughty corner, but nothing works. He’s going to ‘big’ school in a year and a half and I’m concerned that the teachers won’t understand him.

At the parent meeting his teacher told me that he is very advanced for his age, but he has strange ways, e.g.; when he’s playing with blocks, (and he wants to play alone) he first sorts all the colors together, then all the shapes. If anyone interferes he gets very upset.

If things go his way, he is very sociable.

Do I need to worry?

Dear Worrying Mom,

Watching our babies grow is what parents do. We want to know that their language, thinking, social and emotional skills are where they should be. What if they’re not? What if we notice something about our precious one that’s atypical? Well, what if. As a parent you need to follow through on your concerns. Here are some of the things that caught my attention.

Head banging. Our babies are used to a rocking motion while in the womb and will rock their bodies or bang their heads to soothe themselves. This behavior can occur when they are over or under stimulated, and it usually stops by four years old.

“Most of the times it doesn’t seem as if he understands me.” This caught my attention too. As did this, “If he hurts his sister, sometimes for no reason, and I talk to him firmly he just nods and continues to hurt her.” It makes me wonder if he is able to read the social and non verbal cues, for example, that crying might indicate that his sister is in pain, or if he can tell from Mommy’s face whether she is happy or sad. These are developmental milestones.

It would probably be best to bring the concerns you’ve written about here to the attention of your pediatrician. Your pediatrician will be able to rule out medical reasons for his behavior and then might be able to get to the bottom of some of these concerns. If there are any problems, it is better to start therapies earlier, as they would be more effective.

You’re a great mom. Be well.

– Brenda