3 year old biting again after a year - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 05-29-2012, 05:17 PM - Thread Starter
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sorry if this was already addressed somewhere else on here; couldn't find anything.

Anyway, my DD has started biting again in the past 2 weeks. She hasn't bitten anyone in at least a year! The first time she bit me on the thumb. I was on the phone & she wanted attention. This happened again where I was busy & she wanted attention (she also likes to pull my hair really hard sometimes to get my attention). Then, today & 2 days before, she bit her 3 year old friend. I felt so badly.


Today I pulled her out of the water where they were swimming, made her take her swimsuit off & didn't allow her back in the water. I would've left the beach, but my friend has PPD & I didn't want to leave her alone w/a newborn & toddler. My friend told me she felt upset watching her daughter get bitten (I understand, her daughter used to bite mine a lot.) I eventually had to leave to go somewhere.


Has this happened to anyone else? There's been throwing of the toys, screaming, pouting, and other such shenanigans to express her frustration. I guess I thought once the biting "phase" was over, then that was it & didn't worry about a return. Thanks for any help. :)

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#2 of 5 Old 06-02-2012, 07:47 AM
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First, I would look for bigger triggers. Has there been any new changes, new sibling, new school, significant family members fighting, any teeth issues, etc?

Personally, I've blunted the biting phase by reacting swiftly and decisively. A strong, "NO!" "That is NOT acceptable!" and a very stern stare with a very angry face. "We DO NOT bite!!!" By this time the child was usually in tears at such a stern scolding. Then I comfort and tell them in a calm voice about how important it is not to bite that it hurts people and that I love them. From then on I was on permanent guard. With kids you can almost always see the bite coming. (They stare at their target, open their mouth and do a slow move into their biting target.) I would stop it with a sharp, "EH!" The child would stop at the sudden noise and I'd say in a calm voice, "Remember not to bite...." After a few weeks of being caught about to bite, the attempts stopped. My DD was about 18 months-2 at this stage. At about 2 1/2 - 3, my dd started acting like she was going to bite again. At first, I did the "Eh!" and she cried and she said she was only playing and it was during playing moments. I then realized she WAS just playing and could learn how to play at biting like we do to her. (Oh, these toes look delicious! I think I'm going to eat them up! Lots of laughs.)

So, just check that your daughter isn't trying to play and getting the intensity wrong.

Also, I wanted to add that "gentle parenting" is NOT "Being walked all over parenting." No one should ever be allowed to hurt any body else and that includes kids hurting mom. We DO NOT hurt each other in this family. Personally, I think hurting people is completely unacceptable and should be dealt with swiftly and sternly as described above.

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#3 of 5 Old 06-05-2012, 05:15 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks for your reply. there is tension at home, which I've wondered about being a factor. her father & i will be parting ways soon (as soon as i set something up for me & DD). it's not horrible all the time, but when things happen there's yelling & unpleasantness, which i feel badly about w/her around.


she's gotten better & hasn't bitten her friend the past couple of times they've been together; she only bit me a little the other night when she was tired. when i talk about not biting before we see her friend, she'll say that biting hurts & it makes her friend sad, so she's getting it.

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#4 of 5 Old 06-05-2012, 07:17 AM
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If you are splitting with her father, I have 2 suggestions.


One, is get the book "Two Homes" (I got it on amazon for my 3yo and it has helped IMMENSELY). It helps them see that having parents who live apart isn't a bad thing, and happens to other kids too - also really drives home the point that we love them all the time no matter where anyone is. It does NOT focus on where the child spends the most amount of time, doesn't even mention it, so its not biased towards one parent or the other at all - this is one reason I like it so much.


Two, make sure you talk to about what is happening (age appropriately of course!) and spend as much positive time with her as possible - one on one with each parent. The more positive interactions she has with both of you, the more secure she will feel and the better her behavior. It's really hard, I know, but it really helps when my ds has behavioral problems to sit down and snuggle on the couch with a book and read together, or play "angry birds" together, or play with his trains in the playroom and let him lead the story line, or even play guns together (we don't own toy guns, but sometimes pretend to be shooting at each other). I even have a few angry birds stuffed toys that we will throw at each other (they are small and soft and don't hurt no matter how hard you throw them - its great because he understands that the angry birds can be thrown in certain parts of the house, but not his other toys).

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#5 of 5 Old 06-05-2012, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm so lucky I got you as a responder since you're an experienced single mom. :) My life is going to become intense in a couple of months because I'm also starting grad school full time. The moving, starting school are all to propel us forward in a positive way; it's the actual transitioning that's challenging. Finding an apartment is the key b/c then I'll "officially" be a single parent and can qualify for more assistance & whatnot. I haven't said anything to DD yet, since I feel like I need a place first & to address things w/her father. I have carefully tiptoed around things w/him (you know, stating the obvious without being aggressive)  but feel a need to keep my cards to my chest until the right time.


In the meantime I'm enjoying DD as much as I can, which I'd be doing anyway since I'll be partially consumed by school.


Sorry for the unloading, but it feels good to get it down. I'll check into the book you recommended. :)

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