would you bite your toddler back?

Sarah - posted on 06/15/2009 ( 32 moms have responded )

149

11

28

Some of my family members think it's a solution to bite your toddler back if he has a problem with biting people. I don't think it is a good discipline, but I wanted everyone's honest opinions on it. Also, what do you think about 'soap in the mouth' 'cayenne pepper on the tongue' 'spanking'...anything involving physical punishment?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Me - posted on 10/25/2011

1

0

0

honestly you can bet you I would. and I also think that the "only thing biting teaches them is to keep biting" stuff is just complete croc. it won't teach them to keep biting, it will teach them how much it really hurts and that it needs to stop. what's really teaching them to bite is not doing anything about it and instead trying to reason with them/distract them from it. you really think that's going to make them want to stop? it's simple cause and effect, even a baby could grasp it literally. and having heard many stories where people only had to bite back once and their child never did it again I have my sources. and I'm not trying to advocate abuse such as socking your child or anything but a bite back won't damage them. and I'm not against spanking either, some kids need a good spank.

[deleted account]

My 19-month-old has a serious biting problem that we are working on and actually making progress on. We've solved it at home but not at preschool or when we're out and about. But first, I did bite him back for the first time last week. We were in church and the child bit me three times in a row because he wasn't allowed to run around. I got mad and took him to the back of the church and the next time he bit me, I bit back. It did solve the solution temporarily but I don't feel it was my finest hour and I don't think there will be a repeat. I feel like I lost my patience with him when I did it.



Here's how my husband and I solved the problem at home. Every time he bit us, one of us said "uh-oh" and picked him up and put him in his crib. We said, "you can come out when you can be nice" and left him there for a few minutes. He cried the entire time. We picked him up, gave him a hug, and went on with whatever we were doing before he bit. He no longer bites at home, though he starts to but remembers in time.



For school, we are going to try the method my niece did with her daughter. She pinned a teething ring to her daughter's shirt and they told her to bite that instead, She didn't like the teething ring hanging there and gave up biting pretty quickly. I guess I'll modify that method for church and just have one handy to give him when he starts to bite. It's worth a try. I can't say whether it will work because I just found out about this but since my son knows biting is wrong, I suspect it will work.



As for soap or pepper, I'd suggest an alternative: vinegar (you'll probably want to water it down). I haven't done this myself but I have a friend who's daughter had a spitting problem. and they cleaned out the "spit monsters" out very thoroughly whenever she did it-I think they used a cotton ball but I'm not sure. I think it worked for them.



I hope this helps. I wouldn't resort to biting back or spanking. I agree that it just teaches them to hit/bite or that it's ok for you but not for them. Sadly, I've experimented a lot with these methods (the biter is my second kid) since I grew up "old school" with spanking and yes, my mom bit my brother to stop him, but I really have wound up choosing a logical approach rather than punishment. Hope this helps.

Michelle - posted on 07/11/2009

11

24

1

Sandra wrote: Absolutely not. Just like I wouldn't hit them back. Children are people too, and deserve the same respect. Biting them teaches them it's okay to bite. Hitting them should be illegal, since it's illegal for my husband to hit ME.

ITA!!! A child at this age usually has an underlying reason as to why they're biting. Frustration, anger, teething etc... They can't actually speak up & saying I'm getting angry now cause I can't do this or I don't like that. Pinky Mckay's teleseminar was great! The section on spanking *& other discipline that fell into line with the spanking route* was amazing. She states it's not that they're intentionally being naughty to spite you, it's because they're too immature in the brain (not fully wired up yet) to know what they want, do what they want & say what they want.

To hit a child in any way as a form of punishment for violent behavior (whether intended as violent or not) is hypocritical.

Nicole - posted on 07/08/2009

5

14

2

My oldest son was a major biter. I tried everything to get him to stop but he was very headstrong in continuing to bite. UNTIL the one day...

He was roughly 3 years old at the time. I was sitting at the table writing out checks for the bills and balancing the checkbook. He was sitting in the living room floor watching cartoons....so I thought. Before I knew it I had grabbed up the child who crawled under the table and bit me on the inner upper thigh and bit him back. I to this day feel bad for biting him but I do have to say it was the incident that stopped his biting habit.

I think children learn from different things. I would recommend trying everything possibly that is not physical punishment before you go use the 'old school' methods.

I wish you the best in figuring out a solution to your problem.

Leah - posted on 06/16/2009

3

0

1

I can't say that I have thougth this through philosophically, but about a month ago my son bit my finger when I was checking on a new tooth coming in...I know...not such a great idea mom....anyway he chomped down and wouldn't let go....I bit him quickly on the cheek (mostly out of desperation!) and voila he let go, shed a few tears and we moved on without any real future biting problems. I don't think biting back is the best solution to a major biting problem, but it could do the trick in a painful situation. For discipline we normally do time out with some finger flicking on the back of his hand when we really need him to stop doing something...such as putting his hand near an electrical socket, etc.

32 Comments

View replies by

Michelle - posted on 11/16/2011

76

11

4

ONG!! I dont agree with any of those! I used to spank till i had custody of my grandchildren. When my grandson hits his sister..i hit or spank him back and say dont hit...doesnt make sense to me. My granson is biting..i tell him dont bite...its not nice or it hurts,,,and take him out of the situation...of course it hasnt been working but ill keep it up and hopefully it will. Biting back is i think child abuse..as cayenne pepper or tongue spanking. Please find anothe!

Leea - posted on 11/13/2011

7

26

0

I have three kids and my oldest (only child at the time) was bitten by another of my home daycare children several times. Obviously, I wasn't able to bite him back and nothing I tried worked, so I finally had to disenroll him. Years later, my third child, for some reason, became a biter. I tried every other option I could think of, read of, etc., but none of them worked, so I finally resorted to biting her back. Once was all it took and I didn't bite her hard... I didn't leave any marks. I've had no further biting incidents in several months since.

April - posted on 11/03/2011

14

3

0

My son was not much of a biter, but if he did bite me I told him it hurt and I would bite him back (lightly) and asked if it hurt him. He would say, 'yes', and I would explain that when he bites someone it hurts them. I used it as training him to respect other peoples feelings, so he knew what the other person was going through when he was biting them. I would do the same thing if I saw him hit someone, or the dog. But I would explain to him and ask him how it feels when it happens to him. Then I would ask if he would do it again, I would hug him and tell him I love him. This way it was a teaching lesson between right and wrong, but also to know that he was still loved. Every parent has their own opinions on how they handle their kids, and I know not everyone will agree with how I've raised my children and I don't agree with how other parents raise their children. Besides each kid is different on how they process the difference between right and wrong.

Shana - posted on 10/31/2011

144

46

19

LOL my mother swears black n blue by bitiing a biter. Her theorey is that the biter has no idea how it feels til they are bitten. Bearing this in mind, when my brother was nearly 2 and I was nearly 4 she bit him after he was bitting at home then bit a friends breast when she picked him up. He and I remeber it very clearly and he never bit again.
I have used "time out" in bed as punishment which worked for me - I have found (especially with my 4th son) any physical punishment is used later on his brothers when they upset him...as Susan Witterick (1st post) has mentioned "do-as-i-say-not-as-i-do" is a big one for him and if I smack he feels he should smack too etc so if he bit, then i bit him hed probably just keep doing it :S

Vikki - posted on 10/29/2011

0

9

0

i dont wanna spank him and i know where you coming from when they laugh at the punishment you give them i just dont know what to do.

Hendyne - posted on 10/29/2011

11

17

1

My daughter is 36 months and she laughs when you bite her back. You spank her and she'll cry. Then right back biting again.

Vikki - posted on 10/28/2011

0

9

0

i have a 20 month old boy who bites hits and kicks but i would never bite him or anything back i think its very and what is it teaching him any way? that mummy or daddy bites so why cant I?

S. - posted on 08/11/2009

1,182

9

312

a tap on the hand or bum did'nt hurt me as a child it just tought me right from wrong,as 4 biting them back i'v never bite down "that would b a bit crule" but holding there arm putting my teeth on it and growling usually shocks them into thinking it hurt's.as for pepper and soap, i would'nt do it but i'd just threaten the lol.

in saying that i have 5 nephews and 2 daughters the biting methored worked on all of them apart from my youngest who just laughed at me so i just put he in a corner otherwise were just playing a game with her.

Carrie - posted on 08/04/2009

5

19

1

I think it all depends on the kid. My girl did the same thing to me when I was checking her tooth. I bit her back and told her that it hurts when you bit others just like it hurts you. We'll see how this holds up in the future. Good luck!

Christina - posted on 08/02/2009

16

37

1

Okay, I wouldn't BITE my kids back. What I do, is if they do something wrong with their mouths (i.e. bite, spit or tell me NO LOL) I will pop them in the mouth (not hard or anything, but it gets their attention)! If they do something wrong with their hands (i.e. hit or throw things etc.) then I will smack their hands.... Like I said before, I don't hurt them, but it gets their attention and they don't like it! My kids are the kids that you don't have to do that to a whole lot tho- They are pretty well behaved! I don't do the soap or anything in their mouths......

Sarah - posted on 07/30/2009

36

9

9

physical punishment is not the answer all that is teaching them is tit for tat

a biter does need to know who it feels so i suggest you ask him to bite him self to show him that it does hurt

biting them back or any other method of physical punishment just makes them think the behaviour is ok

Lindsey - posted on 07/29/2009

30

16

4

My 3 yr old went through a biting stage when he was just coming up to 2 and I never bit him back everyone told me too but I didn't agree it was the right thing to do. I tried time out, telling him off everything. I then spoke to a friend that said when he child had done it she had just told her child that was not very nice and stood him behind her and made a fuss of the child he'd bitten. I did that twice with my little boy and he didn't like it the 2nd time so he never did it again.

[deleted account]

Apsolutely Not! Your child watches everything you do and imitates your moves. When biting your child first they will now it hurt, but then they will wonder why you did that to them, then they will think its ok to do because you did it to them. You have to imitate what you want them to do. When biting you can tell them OUCH that hurts then put them down and show them that you don't like that. Do this each time and soon your baby will realize you don't like this behavior. Right now your toddler is learning cause and effect and they crave your attention. If you are putting them down and ignoring them for a minute or two after they bite they will learn real quick that its not what they want.

Bobbie - posted on 07/13/2009

1

6

0

i have seen my mom break my brother that way and i have done it to my own children. so yes i would

Candice - posted on 07/13/2009

1

0

0

Okay my son not a biter... But Miss Maggie whoa what a set of chompers! So as everyone knows its hard to get a child whose not quite one to sit in "time out" We bit her back (now not hard ) but just enough that she felt it and knew that it hirt! guess what stopped biting! I know it may seem childish to bite back but how are they going to know that it hurts. As far as hitting I feel there is nothing wrong with it a tap here or there to keep them from doing something to hurt themselves or when they hit others ( Iknow where is the sense in that, again they need to know it hurts others as well). I was raised that way and have no physological or physical scars as a result. As for the pepper Ian has the potty mouth! and I have used the old regular table pepper on his tongue. Soap has to many things to make your child sick! However, I ate my share of soap in my day and seem to be fine. Guess Ian takes after his mommy! Anyway, I love my kids and not all kids are the same. You just have to do the best you can and love them and they will turn out just fine. Good luck!

Cassie - posted on 07/07/2009

5

20

0

No I don't think doing something to your child that you don't want them to do is gonna solve anything. That said I think age plays a factor also. A 4 year old will probably get that a bite hurts and they shouldn't do it. A 2 year old probably not.

Melissa - posted on 07/06/2009

2

11

0

Absolutely not! How can you tell your child it's not okay to bite if you're biting him? It's about setting an example. As for punishment as a means to show your child good behavior I think that it's no more effective than never using such techniques.

I don't find that the "old-fashioned" punishment teaches a child anything. If anything a child should suffer natural consequences for actions - if they have a foul mouth, separate them from others to show that if they can't be pleasant then they'll spend time alone. If they're hitting and biting, the same thing. Punishment is often more for the peace of mind of the punisher, in my opinion. They feel they've "done something" about it so surely they'll see results.

Heidi - posted on 07/01/2009

25

24

0

When your family says " bite them back" they dont mean to hurt them. My mom (60 yrs) has had a daycare for 33 yrs. And yes for the record she is still at it with anywhere from 4-7 kids at once. This is something my mom has always said and did and it always worked. The only thing she did different is if the kids were old enough ( usually 4) she let them bite the kid back instead of her doing it. I can remember when I was young thinking " if I bite my sister, she gets to bite me back" and trust me you know that they would bite you harder that you did them. I can say that the 30 - 40 kids my mom has watched biting has never been a huge issue and mainly because of her BITING RULE!!!

I also have done this and it worked. I had a friend whose boy was a handful. She sent me upstairs to get him and when I was carring him down he was going to bite me. I sat him down and explained to him "if you bite me I WILL bite you back!" Well he did bite me and yes I did bite him back. After this he would act like he was going to bite me and when I asked him what was going to happen if he did, he knew and never did it again. Usually doing this once is all that is needed.
As far a soap... I have used this for swearing with my son and it really doesnt work.
Cayenne pepper....... No way, this could be dangerious!!!!!!

Jennifer - posted on 06/25/2009

12

19

1

I would not bite back, but I adopted my friend's approach to biting. I pop her mouth to not hurt her, but the sound scares her (I cup my hand so I don't actually hit her). This also works when she is screaming and won't stop. Hitting I think is a personal decision as long as you aren't doing it out of frustration.

Amy - posted on 06/20/2009

71

4

4

One of my daycare providers recommended pinching his ear when he bites- it worked for her little ones. My little guy likes to bite cloth and tries to bite my face, but I avoid the bite for the most part. When he gets me (like he did tonight) I say NO very firmly (which he thinks is funny) and if he does it again I repeat the NO put him away from me or walk away and ignore him for a while. He is super social, so being ignored drives him crazy- I have hope, but can't say if it works or not yet. I also grab his arms when he is hitting me and gently restrain him until he figures out that I'm not playing and starts to cry, all the while saying DON'T HIT MOMMY while frowning.

Reading that, it seems like I'm off on a new wave parenting course. I'm not, I promise- I believe there is a place and time for spankings, but I can't see how it will help if he doesn't understand why. So I try to communicate it in a way he can understand (I hope).

Susan - posted on 06/20/2009

187

41

56

Well my son is in daycare, and he has bitten, and has gotten bitten. So I can't see how it would work. By getting bitten by another child shouldn't that 'hurt' him and make him not want to do it (a la parent)? Well he still bits, and he still gets bitten, so I can't see how that works, personally.

Angela - posted on 06/17/2009

52

0

5

I think that this is funny. B/C a lot of people have told me that they bite their child back and the biting stopped, my mom bite me when I bit my baby sister. However, I have not yet done this with my children and they are still biting! (17 month twin girls) so I don't know.....maybe there is some since to it. It doesn't make any since because hitting and biting are automatic time outs, but mommy doesn't get a time out...so. Whatever works for you (meaning me too) works for you. I do think that this issue is so funny though. Just for the totally contradictory effort in the matter.

Sandra - posted on 06/17/2009

185

4

26

Absolutely not. Just like I wouldn't hit them back. Children are people too, and deserve the same respect. Biting them teaches them it's okay to bite. Hitting them should be illegal, since it's illegal for my husband to hit ME.

Peta Helena - posted on 06/17/2009

1

18

0

I don't honestly know!

I did some research and although now would like to answer No - it's not the answer, having said that a while ago my little one starting hitting and my instinctive reaction was to hit back... go figure.

I am trying the hand holding and saying NO. Trying to pre-empt when she will hit and distract her, and its working a whole lot better than me yelling, repeating NO NO etc

I will try post some info if you think it might be helpful!

Maya - posted on 06/16/2009

49

7

10

My family is the same way...but I think tah everybody does things their way. I personally would not bite my son. He did go through a biting stage...but he got a timeout everytime. It didn't last long. (Thank goodness!) I agree witht the first poster...if you bite or hit your child, how do you explain that hiting/biting isn't good?



My son is 17 months and we have been doing timeout since he was one...it does take longer to get the point across...but for me i do not believe in spanking.



I will admit that I have popped my sons hand once or twice...when he was reaching for something dangerous...but I quickly explained why he got popped.



I would not use cayenne pepper...but can't so no so quickly to the soap thingy...



Anyhow...hope I answered your question.



Have a good day.

Susan - posted on 06/16/2009

2

9

1

I think everyone has their own discipline methods so it's not for me to say someone else's method is "right" or "wrong". However, I wonder how it squares in a toddler's mind that HE mustn't bite but it's okay for Mum or Dad to bite them. Better to pretend you're really hurt and to cry, which is likely to get the message across that it wasn't a nice thing to do to you. Else it's "do as I say not as I do".

Pepper or soap? Sounds pretty abusive. As for spanking...not got to that stage with mine yet but I hope if I ever do have to resort to it, it would be to stop her in her tracks as she runs out in front of a car, rather than because I'm frustrated and angry.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms