Thursday, September 6, 2012

Help! This really bites....

Ahhh!  It's Thursday!  I don't know what it is about long weekends that throws off my schedule, but I walked around all day fluctuating between a knowledge of the proper weekday and a belief that it was Wednesday.  Add to that the confusion and excitement and fatigue of the first week of school, and I completely forgot to post!

I'm actually here looking for help today - I have a problem.  My almost two year old son has developed a nasty habit of biting.  He's the first of my three to have this issue, and I don't know how to deal with it.  Up until today, it has only been myself or his older brother and sister that have been victimized by his sharp incisors, and only occasionally.  Today, he bit another person's child.  Apparently it left marks.

What do I do?  Any good parenting advice?  I've heard the adage to bite them back when they bite you, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Can any body share some useful tips?


  1. I don't think biting back is a good thing either :). I don't know. My two-year-old likes to bite. He thinks it's funny, but he doesn't do it to hurt people.

    Good luck. I'll have to follow this to see if anyone has a great answer I could use.

  2. My visting teacher had a daughter that would bite. Nothing worked including biting her back. One time she bit a little girl on the back and left some very serious marks and bruising. My visiting teacher in a moment of complete desperation put cayenne pepper in her daughters mouth. She never bit anyone again. If that is an option you choose to follow I would suggest cayenne and not hot peppers or hot sauce. Cayenne will be hot but it won't damage the tissue of the mouth and tongue.

    My daughter used to bite me. I put cayenne in her mouth and the next time she bit me I threatened to do it again so she stomped to the kitchen and opened her mouth. So yeah, it could go either way. She was 3 at the time. She has pretty much grown out of it. She only bites me when she is extremely distraught and feels she has no way to express her anger and frustration, which happens rarely.

  3. I think with many kids acting out (whether biting or something else) it is a desire for attention. If I think that’s the case with my kids, my method is usually to give them the exact opposite. If you catch him biting, simply say “no biting” in a firm tone and then put him in a time-out. Since he’s still pretty little, maybe try using a high chair (or some other restraint he can’t get out of). Then have him apologize to whomever he bit. The less communication about it, the better. If they bite and Mom is having a cow over it, then they’ll know they can cause a fuss and it just makes it worse.

    If you think it’s an anger issue (which is also quite possible because he’s so young he might just be frustrated that he can’t express how he feels) take some time when it’s not a tense situation (not right after he’s bitten someone) to talk to him about words he can use to tell how he feels instead of biting, or maybe teach him another non-harmful physical action he can do to replace the biting when he’s feeling anxious (like balling up his fists and saying “grr” or something). If he bites again, remind him of the words/actions you practiced with him and have him say/do them.

    Even very young children can understand- no matter what the cause, make sure he understands that biting hurts- maybe have him bite himself to understand what it feels like!

    Good luck!

  4. Every one of our kids bit at some point in their toddlerhood and every one got time-outs for it (1 minute for every year of their age). We explained that if they couldn't be nice to others, they wouldn't be around others.

    They never tried it in public, but if they had, one of us would have taken the child back to the car, put him or her back in the car seat, and then we would have sat with the child for a couple of minutes. If they tried it a second time, we would go home and the child wouldn't get to go out next time.

    If the biting problem is bad, I wouldn't take the child anyplace with other children for an outing or two. Make it clear it's because they're biting others and that means they don't get to be around others.

    One very importing thing, though.

    If it's a matter of trying to get your attention, look for times when you can give him what he wants without tying it to biting. For example, play with him during times when he's behaving well. Make sure you catch him doing good things and praise him for it. Find out what makes him feel loved (The Five Love Languages of Children helped me) and give him that. When he's not biting, of course.

    Just my thoughts. Hope things improve (they did for my kids).



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