What to do with a biting 21 month old......

Aimee - posted on 02/11/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )




My son bites other children and me. Usually when he is really frustrated,angry,excited.... Tried everything. People keep telling me to "bite him back" ... Just can't do it... Any advice


Jennifer - posted on 02/24/2010




I know it sounds harsh but thats the only way I was saved. . .
My son was 18 months old, he started biting me. . .only me. . .lol It didn't matter what he bit me!!! my freind kept telling me bite him back, and I could never do it! So one day right after he bit me so bad I bled, I bit him. . .not even hard enough to make a mark, but I bit him and he creid, he looked miserable, but he didn't die, he didn't get a mark and he didn't bite me ever again! you don't have to chomp to make a point but I think the reason it works is because children don't know how bad biting hurts unless they feel it, they don't have any empathy for it, so if you bite them, they feel it.

[deleted account]

Biting back was the only thing that got my children through this phase. The ONLY thing. They had to realize that it hurts to get biten. Some children get it after one nip, some take several nips, but it works. As soon as they bite, bite back and talk to them about how it hurts and it's not nice etc. You don't have to bite hard, just firm enough for it to be unpleasant.


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Tracey - posted on 02/16/2010




I am also at a loss my 21 month old is in the biting stage again, i find every time she is cutting teeth she starts biting again. I feel guilty i did try biting back when she first started but it didn't make a difference (it worked straight up with my first daughter - after i bit her back she never bit again) i have tried time out on a number of occasions. I don't know i really don't know. Every child is different and my youngest is built to try me... every single day what worked with my first just doesn't cut it for her. she bit her sister last night before she went to bed and i noticed that one of her eye teeth was about to break the skin. I can only hope that it passes.

Stephanie - posted on 02/15/2010




Our daughter has had a problem with biting. We refuse to bite her back, under any circumstances. It seems it came mainly from being frustrated that she couldn't communicate what she wanted clearly, and she picked it up from being bitten at daycare. We isolate her (basically a baby time out), tell her biting is bad, it makes owees, etc. The last thing we want to do is show her that we participate in an activity that is bad! At daycare, they use the same methods, so she gets reinforcement of the "biting is bad" message all the time.

She also, as someone else mentioned, was getting bored so they jumped her ahead at daycare a few months early. She is with kids who communicate better, and the expectation is there that she use words to communicate. It's amazing what a bit of peer pressure will do! Good luck!

Nikki - posted on 02/15/2010




Honestly? Bite him back. Not hard to the point of him bleeding, no no. Just one little bite to show that it doesn't feel good to be bitten. It may sound horrible, but it honestly works. It worked when I bit my mom when I was 3 or so and it definitely worked when my 19 month old bit my hand. I haven't seen her bite anything but food now. (: Now getting her to not slap me is a tough one.

Stevie - posted on 02/13/2010




I was actually told by my doctor not to bite them back. it gives the child the impression I am bigger so I can bite you, and you dont want that. I have my children who are 19 months apart so if I was to do that my son would continue to bite his sister. I was told to fick them in the mouth.. it stings and doesnt give the same idea to them.. also talking to my son and showing him the bite mark he did helped because when he saw he had hurt his sister he felt bad.. i also noticed he only did it when she made him angry so I tried to get there in time before it came to the bite part. but honestly we cant be there all the time. so I would say the flicking in the mouth thing is the best try or talking to them.

Carolyn - posted on 02/12/2010




I tried the whole bite them back but he normally got me back within the hour. But as for the biting have a teething ring near by at all times. I used a binki string to attach it to them so it was near him at all times. For my son he was bored and we had to move him from the waddler room to the toddler room. Hopefully this helps :)

Elsie - posted on 02/12/2010




bite back thats how they learn it sounds bad but thats how my other children learnt i bit back not a hard bite but hard enuff so they understand it hurts

Cynthia - posted on 02/11/2010




sorry hun i have the same advice for you.. just bite him back and do it pretty hard. not enough to break skin or bruise but hard enough to leave an imprint. he will have no understanding of the fact that bites hurt people until he is bitten and then it is explained to him why we don't do that. i hated the idea as well but i came to realize that by not teaching him this early and directly I'm doing my son FAR more damage than a bite ever would.

also when he bites someone don't just make him say sorry make him say sorry, kiss the owie, get an ice pack for the person and if needed a band-aid so he understands that he hurt that person.

to keep him from getting to the biting level of frustration keep him active and entertained.

also when he does bite explain that its not okay to bite people and then show him things he CAN bite like a teething toy, a stuffed animal, blanket or pillow. this also works great for toddlers who hit or push.

by using all of these methods i cured my son of biting inside of a week.

i hope i have helped and I'm curious to how this plays out for you let me know if it works and or how he is doing.

best of luck,


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