My 21 month old twins bite each other constantly and leave awful bruises on each other. I always gently scold the offender, saying firmly " NO! That hurts!" but it keeps happening anyway. They KNOW better because they immediately look guilty! My mom suggested putting them in time-out but I don't do time-outs until my kids are two. I highly doubt a time-out will phase them I mean... really? They won't CARE at their age. I don't know what to do!!
It was usually my DS biting, so I would tell him VERY sternly "NO BITE!" which sometimes upset him and sometimes he didn't care about. Then I'd scoop him up, take him to another room and say "TIME OUT for BITING" and leave him there. Then I'd go play with his sisters. He did not like it because he was left out of the fun and attention. I'd lavish the one who got bit with hugs and kisses and cuddles and make sure I was loud enough that he could hear.
I think time out can reinforce the natural consequence of biting, which is "if you bite people, they won't want to play with you." By removing him from the fun area, he learned that biting makes him miss out, so he cried to be left out. After about 90 seconds, I'd go in an ask "What did you do?" He usually said "Bite!" so I had him come back with me to the person who he'd bit, and we'd examine the bite and point how how his sister was crying and sad and hurt. Then I'd encourage the two to hug, which they usually did, but I left it up to them as a suggestion. That tended to repair the relationship a lot and helped them feel 'together' again, and they usually both stopped crying after a good hug.
The other side of it is WHY it is happening. Do you see a pattern, like one takes the other's toy and the other bites them? Biting often happens because they can't express themselves in other ways. So I also taught DS to say "No!" and "Stop!" (with the hand sign) so he wouldn't need to bite to get the message across. The combo of teaching words instead and having big consequences really helped, and DS stopped biting after a few months.
Yes, they usually do it to express their anger or frustration but sometimes they just do it for no apparent reason. I try to intervene BEFORE the fighting starts when I see them start to fuss over a toy or whatever.
I don't know...maybe I'm a big push-over but I could NEVER isolate one baby. Even my 4 year old doesn't get put in a seperate room.
Surprisingly, they don't bite other people. Well, maybe my 4 year old once in a great while or they *try* to bite us every so often but they are slow about it LOL I don't understand why when one of them is in the process of being bitten, they just stand there and LET the other one bite them!! It literally happens like this: biter leans slooooooowly in, makes contact, and then sloooooooowly bites down. And the poor bitee just stands there looking like " AHH! Don't" but never moves away
I'm not the type who usually isolates a baby, but I guess it depends on how serious of an impression you want to make. And as I said, I'm talking about 90 seconds, while you tend to the other one and make sure they're ok. Hurting other people is a big deal to me, and usual tactics like redirection or talking it out were not working.
Also, I only suggested it because you want to wait 3 months before considering a time out because it won't work yet, and I'm saying that for mine, it did work. If you are willing to consider it when they turn two, why not try it now to see if they do care? Sorry, I'm feeling a little defensive that you brought up time outs, I posted that they worked for us, and then you replied "I would NEVER isolate a baby" which comes off as really judgmental to me.
No, I'm not judging.... sorry if I came off like that. I do make a big deal when it happens, giving the hurt baby lots of hugs and kisses while repeatedly telling the biter "No biting! You hurt your brother!"
I mentioned time-outs because my mom asked me if I do them. But she also would smack my ODS' hand when he was a year old..ohhhh it made me so angry. She thinks I don't discipline my kids the "right" way. I am just saying that for ME, personally, the most isolation I could do is the hallway. Not totally in another room, but not right here in the common area where we all are. I am known to be a little TOO attached and I have a fear of somehow making my kids think I don't love them or something... that is why I say I can't put them in time-out in another room.
One of the best pieces of parenting advice I've ever gotten is that kids crave boundaries. Knowing that there are firm limits of what they can do makes them feel safe. Enforcing those is therefore a way to show love. Boundaries are like holding out your arms in a huge, loving circle around your children, giving them plenty of room to explore and be independent, but letting them know there are limits they can't go past. Might be a perspective that helps you when those fears come up.
(And I don't mean any of that in a authoritarian way, but the big boundaries having to do with safety and well-being.)
My son went through this for months, biting his 20 month younger brother. I was able to observe that he would do it when he was angry or frustrated, and I was often able to intervene to stop him (but not always). He still left awful bruises on him for a while. I never found a great solution (besides, like I said, trying to keep an eye out and intervene when I knew it was going to happen). He seemed to outgrow it on his own, but I'm guessing that it was pretty regular for 6-8 months.
Hang in there! They will get past this!
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