Many parents ask me questions regarding their child who has been biting other children or family members. I read an article discussing biting children and hope you enjoy the summary of some of the important points.
“We never bite people.”
Biting is an unacceptable aggressive behavior. Parents are concerned about the dangers of infection. If your child bites a friend’s child he or she runs the risk of rejection from the friend’s home or at least severe embarrassment. Even more significant is when your child bites at a child care facility because most parents want a biter removed from their child .
Very young children under one year are teething, but older toddlers will bite when they are angry or frustrated.
Some suggested solutions include these following ideas. Establish a rule like “We never bite people.” Biting hurts and even a toddler understands the consequences of acts unacceptable to their parents.
Interrupt biting with a sharp “NO.” Be sure to use a displeased voice and look directly into their eyes. Try to interrupt biting if you catch him or her in the act. Close supervision can be very important,
Do not laugh when your child bites, and never treat it like a game. Other family members including older children should follow your rules. Don’t let your child’s threats of biting influence your own behavior by giving into the biters demands. Once you recognize the biting is more than random behavior and attempt to modify their behavior should begin right away. Discuss your plans for dealing with the biting with the child-care giver. they need to understand how you manage the problem and will follow your desires.
Suggest an acceptable substitute behavior. Tell your child he or she should come to you if they want something or need help. If your young toddler tends to chew everything provide toys that are design for the punishment and will not harm them. It would be a good idea to carry this chewable toys like a teething ring around for a short while.
If your child bites other people, send him to a boring place for a time out period. If he attempts to bite you say “NO” or give him a firm squeeze. Put him down and walk away. Another method is to deprive him of a favorite toy for a day.
Never bite him back. Biting back will make him mad that you hurt him and convince him that it is Okay to bite if you are bigger. Also, it is not appropriate to use physical force like slapping, pinching a cheek, or washing out the mouth with soap. If your child is aggressive, avoid all physical punishment such as spanking. Also avoid love bites, since your child will not be able to distinguish them from painful biting.
Praise your child for not biting. The most important time to praise is when he is around children he has bitten or in a similar situation where you anticipate he may bite again. Give him a kind remainder about biting just before the high-risk event and praise him after the event for his good behavior.
I would be concerned if this behavior persists for more than four weeks. I would be concerned if he bites himself and hurts himself intentionally. It is important to notify the office if you believe he or she has several other behavior problems.
Last reviewed June 9,2015