How to stop a 3 yr old from biting?

Carol - posted on 05/26/2012 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I have the same question, except my son only bites his little sister. It can be about anything, she may take a toy, she might just be in his way anything and he will bite her. We've done the biting back, spanking, standing in the corner, pushing his head down (this was when he bit us), talkign to him, its gotten to the point where he will do it constantly to her through out the day and the only way to get him to stop is to smack his mouth and tell him no that it hurts her. He has bitten her so hard before he pulled her skin off her back leaving her with scabbed over bite marks, hes left her with bruses from biting, and has even tore holes into her long sleeves shirts when he's bitten her. She used to bite back, but he's turn around and punch her mostly in the back or stomach or hits her in the face. Most of the time its un provoked on her part and when she does 'provoke it' such as taking one or two cars to play with he gets mad and goes after her, and she runs to me or dad to rotect her. I'm getting very sick of this as he is 3 yrs old now and bites intentionally, not when she has done something to him a majority of the time. Then when she bites back,( yesterday she bit him because he climbed into the chair she was sitting in, and he had kicked her in the face) he starts to cry, how can I stop him from constantly biting her? Its getting extreamly annoying, and hes been doing this for over a year and a half.

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Nikki - posted on 05/26/2012

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Honestly it doesn't matter how closely you watch a child, if they are going to bite they can do it while you are sitting right next to them. You need to identify the major triggers and try to avoid these situations. How old is his sister? How is his language? Biting at this age is usually a sign of poor language and problem solving skills. They cannot communicate so they bite to get their needs met. Discuss and role model appropriate language and problem solving strategies, empower him to use his words in conflict situations.

Katherine - posted on 05/26/2012

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I too think it would be a good idea to watch him constantly and take your daughter with you. Usually this phase should have worn off. What is happening before he bites? Is she making him angry? Taking away a toy? If so he needs to learn how to share. And maybe THAT should be your focus.

If she is hitting (which my 3 year old does to her 6 year old sister) maybe that is setting him off.....in that case you need to focus on HER behavior. Either way it's not just a "phase" something is triggering this. What concerns me is that he is breaking skin. Ok sorry just read that sometimes she provokes it.

I would take him, remove him, sit him in a chair and not say a word. Don't say stop, no, or any other negative words. The less you say, the less reaction he'll have. Same with when he bites remove him, don't say anything place him in a chair(same one preferably) and make him sit there until you've tended to your daughter.

That's about all I can think of. Also maybe spend some one on one time with him? Maybe he feels left out? How old is his sister?

Dove - posted on 05/26/2012

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Stop leaving him where he has access to bite her. Do your best to intervene before a bite occurs. Stop spanking him, biting him, and pushing his head down. If smacking his face was working the biting would be over or at least decreased... instead of being constant and you posting here about it. If you can't prevent a bite, put him in time out or his room when a bite occurs. If you react instantly and consistently he should get tired of being isolated.

Personally speaking, if my 3 year old were displaying that much violence I'd be speaking to the pediatrician, but I don't know. I guess some 3 year olds are pretty violent creatures?

Dove - posted on 05/26/2012

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I didn't assume that you always/only spank him. No where did I say that is ALL you do. I was simply responding off of what you posted and if it WORKED... why the heck would you even be posting this?

I also never assumed your daughter was a baby and it IS possible to keep them separated and/or supervised. Hard as hell, maybe, depending on your circumstances and house set up, but not impossible. I simply suggest finding a way to separate them... or don't leave them unsupervised even if that means you have to keep one of them with you and the other in another room while you do whatever you need to do.

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Dove - posted on 05/26/2012

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You said that the biting was constant and that's what I was referring to as being constant. Either way, it doesn't matter. Good luck.

Carol - posted on 05/26/2012

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Sorry about that, this just sound like you just assumed I did that all the time, "If smacking his face was working the biting would be over or at least decreased... instead of being constant and you posting here about it." and I wasn't sure if i posted my daughter was 2 or not. I live in a two story house, there is no way to keep them seperated for the fact if one is up stairs, and quiet, they are doing something they arent supposed to be. When my husband is home he will watch them for me when im doing things they dont need to be near, like cooking.However, he can be gone for a few hours, to a few weeks with his work.

Carol - posted on 05/26/2012

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Dove, we've put him in his room alone and in time out. We have seperated them, but dividing up toys, giving her half and him half and he will still go after her by taking the toys then hitting her. We have tried everything you listed, and as I stated it has come down to smaking him in the mouth, which was when he bit her on her back and broke skin. A majority of these other things I have listed are suggestions from other moms here on this very site to others looking for the same help. I have already taken him to the pedi. and they stated it was a phase and he would get over it. Thank you for assuming that i consistantly hit and spank my child, unlike my parents and my husbands, we try many diffrent methods when disciplining our children and spanking is a last resort, which my MIL, who runs a day care and has rasied many kids from baby hood to adult hood suggested to us as a way to respond to this matter since nothing else was working and my sister suggested smaking him in the mouth, as that worked for her SILS whose toddlers would bite and hurt their older siblings. When he does bite her, or hits her he is placed in time out for 3 minutes, if he cannot stay in time out for that long and constantly turns around, it starts over, if after ten minutes he still can't stand there he is sent to bed, he has no toys to play with in his room which would defeat the purpose of the punishment. If he actually manages to stand there for the 3 minutes, he is allowed out, the first show of him going to hit her, looks like hes going to hit her, he is sat down and not allowed to play or go near her for 30 minutes. My daughter is 2 years old, as I failed to state that so i cannot just 'seperate them' as she is not a tiny baby.My son does not have issues with other children younger or older than him and actually shares his toys with them.

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