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how to stop biting?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

My 3yo is a biter.  She gets upset and she BITES.  She has gotten better, and its a rare thing now.  However, this phase that she was biting so much has led my 6yo (will be 7yo in May) and 4yo (5 in a couple weeks) to start biting.  These two, if they get into a disagreement with anyone at all, it ends with the other person crying because they got bit by the 6yo or 4yo.  I have done everything I can think of short of busting butts for this action, and I do NOT want to go to that place of responding with physical punishment for anything (I was abused as a kid and am very prone to falling back into giving out the punishments I got as a kid, so I am VERY careful about discipline and do everything in my power to not continue the cycle of abuse, not always successful though).  I asked my mother about it since she was absent for my childhood (deadbeat parent, although she and I get along now that I'm an adult and live almost 1800 miles apart) and her response was that every time one of my kids bites someone, I should bite them back hard enough that they can feel it but not hard enough to break skin.  Yeah, that feels BEYOND wrong to me so I'm refusing to do it.  My father's answer to it is to just beat their butts until they stop (there's a reason he's not been a part of our lives at all since April).


Yeah, so how do I handle the 4yo and 6yo biting in an EFFECTIVE manner that isn't going to just be a continuation of the cycle that I'm working so hard to break?  I don't want them to think that its ok to ever hit or bite as a direct response to undersired behavior if its not a dangerous situation.

post #2 of 3
Subbing this thread, since my 2-year-old is also a biter and seems to be biting and pinching more as he gets older and I don't know how to get him to stop hurting us! Reminding him to be gentle only works sometimes. I've resorted to stopping playtime immediately with an explanation why, or gently restraining his hands when he gets out of control. Is there a better way?

My (abusive) mother's solution was also to bite or hit back as hard as she could to "teach them a lesson about who's boss". eyesroll.gif



post #3 of 3

My son is a (mostly!!) reformed biter. We employed several strategies and none of them included biting him back. thumb.gif


1. When it was other children we were the epitome of helicopter parents. We hovered over that child. We also got very good at sensing when the biting was about to happen.


2. Once we got better at sensing when the biting was about to happen, we started to recognize his triggers for biting-frustration, lack of communication skills, kids jostling him, and kids crowding him. There is always a reason for his biting. Our daycare was also very proactive and non punitive. They too really worked with our son to help him channel his frustrations differently.


3. Once we realized there was a reason for his biting, it became easier to help him practice better ways of expressing his frustrations. We modeled practical solutions at home when he tried to bite us (i.e. use your words, teeth are for chewing not for biting, and other gentle reminders)


4. We did do some time ins when he simply got overloaded and wasn't able to hear us right then.


5. And finally age helped us. Once he could more easily express himself, the biting began to diminish as he could protest whatever unfair treatment was happening loudly. When he realized that people would listen and help him navigate his frustration at the situation, the biting literally vanished almost overnight.

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