Biting

Carley - posted on 12/30/2008 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I have a friend who has a 18 month old daughter. For the past 6 months her daughter has been biting other children, it tends to be my little boy and another little boy who's mothers in our circle of friends. My friend has tried many thing to try and stop her from biting but nothing works. My friend thought it might have been teething but she is starting to doubt this more now time has gone on. And suggestions would be gladly recieved.

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Jane - posted on 12/31/2008

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Wonder if you can help me as my daugher has bitten me on several occasions. Her father and I split up in June this year and on the first 3 weekends after she had been away (my ex has her every other weekend) within an hour of her returning home she bite me - on one case nearly drawing blood! I thought this was over with but was talking to visitors in the house a couple of days ago, mentioned her behaviour to them, she obviously heard even though I thought I was talking quietly and guess what she bit me again! What can I do??

Meghan - posted on 12/30/2008

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It's important to determine the "trigger" to her biting. I've found (working with a class of 18m olds in day care) that there tends to be four types of biters 1.) teething biter: bites only when teething very rare incidences of biting. Give this child a teether or pain meds frequently to give them an alternative 2.) jealous biter: this seems to be the most common reason for biting in this age group. When the child is jealous of another over an adult or toy they bite the "offender". Give this child a lot of reassurance and encourage the use of thier words "no" "mama" "please" as more effective ways of getting what they want. 3.) attention biter: the other seemlying most common cause of biting when a child is not shown attention by adults they deem important, they bite. Talk very little when discouraging this behavior. Place this child, with a book or puzzle in a quiet space then walk away. If he/she follows you, continue to replace him/her until you decide it's time to talk to them with waht they did wrong and what they should have done instead. Also when he/she shows a positive behavior lavish them with attention. 4.) enjoyment: the (thankfully!) least common cause of biting, when a child gets enjoyment out of another child's reaction to biting them. The only thing to be done seems to be consistantly separating him/her from other children and explaining how they made the other child sad, have them say sorry, give hugs or use "nice hands"



Once the trigger is determined then dealing with the trigger is often more successful than only dealing with the negative behavior. And tell her not to worry, this too shall pass and it's not as uncommon as we may be led to belive. :)

Juanitta - posted on 12/30/2008

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my two year old when teething kept biting everything even us. i usually gave him a teething ring or wet rag or ice chips to sooth the pain and oragel can be used

usually they dont no how to handle new teeth coming in and bite whatever they get their hands on or in this case their mouth. sometimes when my son though gets mad he used to bite and have to tell them i no your mad but you dont bite then ask are the teeth hurting and he'll give a sign that yeah or no. he use to also bite for attention when he didnt think he got enough but i assured him yes i see you honey dont bite and whatever he had like a ball i'd tell him yes lets go play ball and he'd be happy and not bite. it took time but he broke out of hte habbit.

Maggie - posted on 12/30/2008

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Biting is often a reaction to emotion that the child cannot fully understand and cannot channel in a positive manner. Stopping the behaviour first and foremost to ensure no one gets hurt is most important but equally important is being empathetic to the biter and helping them to learn. At 3 or 4 years old a different approach would be necessary but at 18 months, the child is trying to communicate in the only way she thinks she can. Tell her "I can see you are really ___ (angry, frustrated, upset etc) but it's not okay to bite your friends. If you need to bite something, you can bite this (and give the child a rubbery toy or teether or necklace.)" Also valuable is to teach the other children to read the signals of a biter so that when that child moves closely with their face, the child can move away. While biting is not enjoyable for anyone involved, it can be a short lived phase if the child is given the right direction.

Sandra - posted on 12/30/2008

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Lots of reinforcement that biting is NOT ok. You will have to watch her very closely when she is with other children. If you see that she is about to bite. Tell her no firmly and remove her from the other kids immediately. You will want to get her away from the fun and don't make a huge deal out of it. The less attention she gets for biting the better. If you make a big deal she may think the fuss is fun. good luck.

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