One twin biting the other - help!

Cathleen - posted on 02/20/2011 ( 23 moms have responded )

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I have 18 month old twin girls and one has started biting the other. At first she was only biting me, but now she has moved on to biting her sister as well. I tell her no and separate them, but I don't know what else to do. This is such a scary behavior.

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Justine - posted on 02/25/2011

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Oh another thing - focus all attention on the injured child, lots of fuss and love, before dealing with the aggressor so they learn that this is not an effective way to get mum's attention! Good luck - they DO grow out of it ... easy to note in retrospect, but almost everything turns out to be just a phase!

Justine - posted on 02/25/2011

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Scary, but more common than you'd think. Mine have not only been through phases of biting each other, but also at this age started pulling each other's hair out - literally clumps of hair in their little fists, and would happen when we were out in the pushchair so was really hard to deal with! We've done the 'naughty step' thing to discipline / seperate them, make the biter apologise etc. We have also tried more controversial methods when it has felt as though the biting / hair pulling is out of control - like serious teeth marks - I did loads of research on this and ended up: (a) smacking the one who bites. Not beating them of anything, but just a short sharp smack to shock them more than anything else; (b) tiny amount of chilli powder in the mouth of the biter (again, not like forcing them to drink a bottle of hot sauce or anything, just for the shock value to make them stop and think) and (c) for the hair pulling, at my wits end I followed advice from a friend - I pulled their hair back - it felt horrible to me, but they literally never, ever did it again!!! I know some people will disagree with this, but seriously, we're not child abusers, just strict, firm parents who feel that sometimes children need to be properly brought into line and in ways that do not leave any long lasting emotional or physical damage to the child.

Cara - posted on 02/27/2011

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I have 3 year-old B/G twins and the boy bit, both his twin sister and older brother. The biting stopped around 2.5 years-old when he developed better language skills. Like all phases, this too shall pass. Good luck!

Kelley - posted on 02/25/2011

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my twin girls are now 3 1/2 and they def went through a biting phase.. One would bite more than the other and leave some awful marks. Ive always been told to sort of let twins fight things out on their own. they have now outgrown this behavior for the most part, if it ever happens now its purely out of frustration. It is not easy for twins children at this age are not used to having a constant lil person who needs as much as them and they let it show intheir actions. do time out and explain how it hurts the other one and the phase will pass.. but be prepared they will only move onto another form of fighting,. my girls love each other and when they get along it is terrific and when they dont its awful. ive had many tell me that twins will always fight even from twins themselves. our job is to make sure they dont need hospital visits because of it. otherwise let them work through on their own and it will pass

Tracey - posted on 02/25/2011

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My girls went through this stage as well. I can't even remember how many pictures show one or the other with bite marks. We found that usually it had a lot to do with them needing a break from each other or the situtation. They did eventually grow out of it, although at eleven now they still need some time away from each other occassionally. I can say we did not see this behavior extend to other children or adults at all. We still reprimanded for biting each other and gave consequences but they never ever bit someone else outside of each other (and mom once and awhile).

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Anthea - posted on 06/07/2012

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OH my goodness !!! I have 27 month old B\G twins and I am beside myself tonight !! They fight on a daily basis. Infact I don't EVER see them enjoy playtime without fighting over something. Tonight my daughter bit her brother on his cheek, she left 2 bruises, 1 ontop and 1 by her bottom teeth. After trying time out, NO and the biting back, on a daily basis, my first instinct tonight was to show her how those teeth hurt by smacking softly (but enough to scare her) on her mouth. I feel so guilty but at the same time i don't know how to help them enjoy eachother rather than compete over toys and everything else ! This scares me because I sometimes feel like a total failure :(

Anthea - posted on 06/07/2012

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OH my goodness !!! I have 27 month old B\G twins and I am beside myself tonight !! They fight on a daily basis. Infact I don't EVER see them enjoy playtime without fighting over something. Tonight my daughter bit her brother on his cheek, she left 2 bruises, 1 ontop and 1 by her bottom teeth. After trying time out, NO and the biting back, on a daily basis, my first instinct tonight was to show her how those teeth hurt by smacking softly (but enough to scare her) on her mouth. I feel so guilty but at the same time i don't know how to help them enjoy eachother rather than compete over toys and everything else ! This scares me because I sometimes feel like a total failure :(

Glynda - posted on 06/25/2011

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I TAUGHT HIM TO BITE BACK CAUSE THAT really hurts and for them too learn they need to feel what the other child feels when he or she the will no how it feels and they will adventually stop at times

Maggie - posted on 03/07/2011

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i have twin boys and when mine was that age my youngest started to bite his big brother i tried lots of things that didnt work the only thing i found that did work but sounds n seems very cruel was to bite my youngest son back every time he bite his brother or any other child it did work as my bite was more painfull than his! sorry if this sounds cruel but it was the only thing that worked for me!
maggie

AMBER - posted on 02/27/2011

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Wow .. I am so glad I found this site! My 2yr old twin girls are lil monsters sometimes it seems. One bites the other pulls hair, while I try all the "calm" approached.. and then finally some days I just let them hash it out. I do the "no hit" ! and the time out. They skip to the time out chair.. then throw a bigger fit once in it. sigh.. It is AT LEAST a relief to know Im not the only one experiencing this AND that it will pass someday! Sigh...

Alana - posted on 02/27/2011

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Yes the behavior is scary but it is very common. It's hard with twins as well bc they have the other one to bite when mad. This will pass and probably has to do with the fact that they can't expresse their anger yet.

Amy - posted on 02/25/2011

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I can completely empathize, I have B/G twins 13 months old and there is not a day that goes by without one or the other biting... I notice it isn't for no reason, usually one has a toy the other wants and won't give up.

Diane - posted on 02/25/2011

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My boys bite eachother too, they leave terrible marks on eachother and they bruise. We give them time outs and tell them it is not okay and if they persist we sometimes give them a little flick on the mouth and they don't like that. One thiong I have noticed is that it comes and goes in phases, for a while it was real bad with D biting R and then he stopped for about 2 weeks then R was biting D and then it started to settle down then they were both biting eachother and now it's settling down again, I think (hope) that they will grow out of it real soon if we keep with the time outs and telling them no. As frustrating as it is they are unlikely to actually maime eachother, I think the real key though is trying to keep them from doing it to other people's kids. Good luck!

Alta - posted on 02/25/2011

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Lol, my boys are pulling each other by the collar. That really scared me too, but I visited a few local daycares and they all do it. That's horrible. I keep encouraging positive interaction between the 2. It works most times... don't give up

Justine - posted on 02/25/2011

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PPS I don't know how people manage to 'ignore' it??? I mean we're talking 2mm indentation bite marks with serious bruising the next day...?

Amanda - posted on 02/25/2011

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Mine went through that at the same age. My ped. said "Oh yeah, twins are notorious biters. Ignore it. They'll outgrow it. Just don't bite them. I've had parents do that and encourages the behavoir."

Biting them, or any other aversive never occurred to me. I ignored it. They outgrew it around 22 months.

Susan - posted on 02/24/2011

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tobasco sauce worked wonders on my nephew - one drop was all it took on the tip of his tongue. he never bit again he is now 27 and doesnt remember it at all - lol

[deleted account]

Oh, I certainly didn't LET them bite themselves..... ;)

Thankfully they are 9 now though and they survived.

Kim - posted on 02/22/2011

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lol I didn't try that method... it was just what I read. I just kept saying no and encouraging more appropriate ways of showing physical communication by kissing instead of biting and it worked. I work with adults with special needs and some of them bite themselves. So letting my kids bite themselves wasn't an option!

[deleted account]

Kim.... that might work for some kids, but read my post. ;) My girls were already doing it to themselves. They were weird. lol!

Kim - posted on 02/22/2011

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I went through that already. My 14 month old did that for a little while. I told their father to stop pretending to bite and reinforced kissing instead of biting. After about a month they have stopped biting. Just be firm and keep saying no. I have read that you are supposed to put their own arm in front of their mouth so they end up biting themselves, but I really don't see how that solves the problem. Just keep letting them know that it isn't ok and I hope they stop. Good luck!

Morgan - posted on 02/22/2011

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I have 3 year old twin boys and they went through a biting phase too. I stopped it by determining the cause of the biting. It's almost always for 1 of 3 reasons, either curiosity, attention, or frustration. Figure out the cause and you can stop it. If it's curiosity they're probably just wondering what will happen and trying to get a reaction out of the other one, a very firm 'No biting' and a few minutes in timeout would be the first step. If it's frustration, such as the other one has a toy they want and they can't express through words what they want, a child might bite to show they need something. This solution still require a firm 'no bite' but try working on teaching the words they need to know so they don't get angry in the first place. Saying something like 'No bite, Ouch! Ask mommy for help'. The last reason would be for attention. As hard as it is, try not to draw too much attention to the biting. Sometimes when kids get a reaction, they continue to do it for the attention. If you think this is the reason, than try to ignore it for the most part unless they're getting hurt. It may take some trial and error, but when you figure out what's causing the behavior it's easier to fix. Hope this helps! :)

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All I can say is good luck!

Not very helpful, but it's honestly all I have. My girls did the same thing as toddlers. The first thing I did was to teach them to tell each other 'no'. This stopped some of the biting and gave me a warning to intervene. It definitely wasn't foolproof though. They spent quite a few months w/ bite marks up and down their arms from biting each other.... and even biting themselves. The good news is that they DO outgrow this behavior.

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