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self-biting

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

DS tends to bite things when he gets frustrated.  The blocks won't stack right - he bites a block.  The towel won't fit all the way into the cup - he bites the towel.  Usually with a grimace and grunt, sometimes followed by crying.  When there isn't any object to be angry at he bites his own hand.  (These are situations like really wanting to get out of his car seat while we're driving or not being allowed to have the knife he was reaching for.)  He often leaves teeth marks, but never draws blood and doesn't act hurt afterwards.  Just one bite for a second or two and then he's done.  I firmly tell him "no bite" but often that seems to frustrate him more because I'm reprimanding him in the middle of an already frustrating situation.  This isn't the *only* way he responds to frustration, just sometimes.  Maybe once a day.

 

So my question is: how normal is this?  Should I be concerned?  Is there something I could/should do differently?  Or will it pass on its own?

post #2 of 4

It sounds like he needs some help expressing his frustration. Perhaps try some verbal empathy with him, like

 

"You want those blocks to stack, don't you? Those blocks make you mad. You are sooo mad. Mad. Mad. Mad."

 

Biting is usually misplaced expression. Try to help him practice speaking his frustration rather than biting it. I would back off of the "no bite" and just focus on what he is frustrated about and express a LOT of verbal empathy. My daughter started biting her fingers and toes because she is teething and I just talk about her teeth hurting and say for her to be gentle with her fingers and toes that it hurts ... then I sign hurt because she can't quite say it yet.

 

It does go away once it is replaced with a different mode of expression. In the meantime tell him what he CAN do like "be gentle" or giving him something safe to bite on or teaching words to use to vent frustration.

 

<3

post #3 of 4
My DD does exactly the same thing! I'm glad to know it's not completely abnormal, I've never seen it with any of my kids or other kids.
It does seem to be frustration with not being able to tell me something but it's also just when I tell her we can't do something, she just turns and bites something, unfortunately the something is sometimes me! I know now to hold her a distance away or turned so that she can't bite but it is frustrating!
I've been handing her something else like a teething ring to bite when she is biting her feet or hand or trying to bite me.
I've been telling her gentle and she will reach her hand out and pat it and then go right back to biting.
I hope there are other ideas here!
post #4 of 4

My DS does this when he gets really excited.  He's very oral sensory seeking so when his emotions get so big he can't handle then anymore, he bites to release the tension.  He needs a physical as well as verbal way to express his excitement.  I try to get him to stomp his feet, clap his hands, and scream yay!!!!!   For a frustrated toddler, saying "I'm mad, mad, mad" while stomping feet might work. 

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