What do you do when your child bites you?

It is often a cause for concern in parents when their child starts biting people. What should you do if your child starts biting you?

27  Answers

1 10

I am the mother of a 17 and 13 year old so my opinion is "Old School" the first time my youngest bite my oldest i told her "no " and made her tell her sister she was sorry for hurting her the next time she bite her i seen her lean over and bite her that was when I bite her back hard enough to pinch to cause pain but not to truley leave teeth marks and she never bite anyone again but I am sure like i said before this is not correct its probly concidered child abuse now adays

78 82

I don't consider that child abuse at all..... they learn very quickly that a bite is a bite, and it is sore for the other person, like it is sore for them. : ) The "old" days were good enough for me, I don't see how it is wrong for kids these days..... in fact, I think they need more discipline than they already get.....if any at all. xx

0 26

I'm the mother of two boys and my oldest who is almost 8 bite me in the stomach and broke skin I yelped out in pain, I immediately said no to him and put him on the floor! A few days later he bite me again this time I bit back of course not hard enough to leave marke but let him know it hurts!!! He never bit again!! My youngest only ever bit his older brother of course but hard enough that he left bite marks on his brothers fingers sane thing explained we don't bite made him say he was sorry and he did it again a little while later so I bit him too and neither of my boys ever did it again! Do on to others how you want done to you!! If they know it's going to hurt them they tend not to do it to others!!!

0 10

I have a 15 month old that bites CONSTANTLY! He bites his 5 year old brother and anybody that holds him. I've swatted his bottom before and that only makes him laugh. I've also put him in his crib which upsets him but hasn't seemed to make a lasting impact because he's still a biter. Is this too young of an age to bite him back?

5 29

Staci i am in the same boat with my 14 month old... am very interested to hear some advice from other mums re this issue

8 5

I agree with the old school method. I have three boys ages 4,6, and 8 and each one of them had to learn the hard way. I bit them right back and it was the only time they ever did it.

8 7

I bit both my kids back the first time they bit, hard enough to hurt and told them 'no, that hurts huh?!' seemed to do th trick;)

17 25

A 15 month old won't bite out of anger or frustration most of the time but rather in situations like if he's teething, hungry or just seeking more attention at this age time outs/bite back/putting him on his crib is counterproductive . If your 15 m/o baby is biting give him something he can bite on a carrot, a teething toy and say "here bite this (show him how) " he can't fully speak at 15 m/o so you give him the words and use sign language. He feels the need to bite so get him something he can bite on don't try to discipline him it will be rather damaging at this age .

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0 8

Bite back. I am so tired of listening to people criticize the "old school" way of parenting. Kids need discipline, period. I am only 31 and have 3 kids. I am VERY proud of the way they behave. A good old fashion "whoopin" does alot of good!

68 0

I truley believe you have to bit them back , Not hard enough to cause a big bruse but enough to let them know it hurts . Then you don't have to worry about them biteing .

78 82

Most children will try it at least once. The main thing is never to allow them to get away with it from the beginning. Punishment must always follow, no matter what method is used, there must always be a consequence.

99 48

You can also tell your child, "Your teeth are not your tools." Really. Please don't bite your child back. Think about it. I mean really. What are you going to say to drive your point home if you bite your child back:

"Honey....we don't bite. And to show you what I mean......I'm gonna bite you." Seriously? Most IDIOTIC thing I've ever heard! Or how about this one: "Honey, don't bite, because it's hurts."

"And it hurts SO MUCH.......that MAMA is gonna show you JUST HOW MUCH." Mama who loves you SO much that I am WILLING to prove it to you." Yes, honey....MAMA IS A CONTRADICTION TO EVERYTHING YOU BELIEVE."

Yeah. I would NEVER resort to biting a child as a POSITIVE approach to the same thing.

13 0

Carlie, it seems like such common sense doesn't it? teach a child not to bite by biting them, not to hit by hitting them...I am "old school" too...or maybe just old! as my children are all grown, and I am a grandparent now, but never would have bitten my own child! maybe you can quickly change behavior with violence, but your goal is not well behaved children, your real goal is (should be) well adjusted self sufficient adults.

0 0

You - commented on Sep 21, 2011
My son was about one to one and a half and I told him to bit himself so he bit his hand and the look was priceless! He only tried it a few times after that and I did the same thing and he just quit doing it. It's worth a try!

0 9

I really like this idea.. I will have to try it with my 3 yr old. Biteing back doesn't work. If it did he wouldn't bite at all because my oldest will bite him back if he bites him. And believe me the oldest bites hard, but so does Matt.. He has broken skin on the neighbors..

5 14

Make sure the child understands that their actions were wrong by first telling them that it is wrong and the consequences that go along with it should it happen again. If they do it again? Spank the child (I recommend three swats) and send them to sit in the corner for 10 minutes. Then they apologize (assuming that you've taught them how to apologize and ask for forgiveness), and are welcomed back with hugs. None of my seven kids ever bit me or anyone else for that matter.

5 16

I think you should give your child a talk about his or her actions and put him/her in time out. If that does not work then spank him/her plus a timeout moment and ask them to think about their actions. If that does not work bite them back and ask him/her do they like to get bit. I promise you they will say no. If that don't work then I don't know what will. I have two girls 4 and 5. I went through the "hitting me back stage". I promise you they wont hit me back again. They are very well mannered and polite. I get so many compliments on them!!!

178 0

My response was always a very firm "NO!" and an explanation, that biting is very dangerous, and can hurt other people very much, and is not something that's allowed in our house. I also point out that "mommy and daddy don't bite you" and that we expected the same. It took a month or so of him trying, but he got it. It was mostly happening during very heated tantrums, so avoiding that was key also. I never find biting back or hitting back to be an effective strategy at all, though my son had some sensory processing issues, so maybe it will work for other kids, I don't know.

6 5

I also have this problem with biting with my one year old when he doesn't get his way. I recently put him into his bed (once) for a few minutes after a stern "NO BITING". It stopped him for a few days, but I was afaid he would associate his bed with negative thoughts. So my friend suggested I put him into his high chair turn backward (tried it for the first time tonight). Hope this helps.

24 61

I have four kids, one does not have teeth yet, my baby girl has not yet tried to bite anyone other than her daddy, but he just slightly swatted her butt and that was the end of it. My oldest was bit back and it worked, my second child my dad smacked her right in the mouth where her teeth were hurting from teething, and she never did it again. Many different methods will work, but I can say I have seen people sit their kids in time out, and it not work because they sit there and just think about what they did and just go back and do it again, or that it was nothing to be sat down over it. I can not say biting, them back, smacking their mouth, or even spanking them are the right answer, but I know you have to find a way to scare them from doing it again. Depending on the age of the child you can not just say honey we do not bite others as it is not nice, they may not yet understand all of that.

99 48

Don't bite your child back. Otherwise, your child will think you are half-dog. And you aren't right? Right. :)

You wouldn't believe how many parents want to SHOW their child WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE BITTEN. Seriously? It's ridiculous and CRUEL. But think about it. Put yourself in "dog mode" for a minute. Why do dogs bite? Why do other animals bite?

And keep in mind please.....I'm not suggesting that your child is an animal. Trying to get you to think outside of the box is all. :)

Animals, and specifically dogs, bite things and other people....when they are hungry....bored.....SCARED.......TERRITORIAL......or TRAINED TO DO SO.

Dogs "NIP" at their owners when happy usually. Children bite for any/all of the SAME REASONS as dogs. Interesting isn't it?

Lions, tigers, bears (ooo weee-laughing), DOGS, or HUMANS.....regardless of the reason.....children have to be TAUGHT not to resort to biting as a form of expression. Your child is using "biting" to express himself/herself for whatever reason. You should IMMEDIATELY correct your child's behaviour and FIRST. Then you should OFFER an alternative way for your child to express his/her behaviour. Your child may also be copying another child. Regardless, your child's behaviour needs to be corrected NOW. Otherwise, you risk having it esculate into aggressive behaviour towards you and possibly other children. Remind those around you, to not LAUGH when your child bites. Some people think it's funny or cute when a child does this. I don't. I also think it's damaging to your child.

Good luck. Nip it in the bud.......the sooner the better. :P


I heard about putting Tabasco on their mouth, just after biting. Like a small drop. And make it connect that bites, are connected to this. Haven't done it. But im seriously tempted cause our baby is 8 months and its becoming a problem. He has 6 teeth already.

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63 0

when my daughter first started to test the waters with biting i told her no! that hurts or thats bad,and when that didnt work i tried over reacting...she just thought it was funny so one day when she was trying to bite me i put her arm in the way so she bit herself,she hasnt tried to bite sense

1 0

Bite that child back and HARD! It stopped my little one and she never did it again. It hurt me more than it hurt her, but she was biting the kids in her class. She bit me and I turned around and made a huge mouth and bit hard and FAST! She didn't expect it. She cried hard, but never repeated it again!

6 36

Bite back, not to hard but hard enough for it to hurt and them not to do it again. I only had to bite back twice before it stopped.

1 6

My youngest started biting really young, at about 8 or 9 months, because he was teething. Unfortunately, my yelps of pain only made him think I was playing. I started putting him down every time he bit me, but eventually, and sometimes immediately, he would do it again. He is now 15 months. I recently taught him how to give rasberries and he thinks it is the funniest thing ever, so instead of biting me he gives me rasberries.

20 21

We had this issue with my 17 month old daughter. She would bite anyone and anything-she still puts all kinds of crap in her mouth. After dealing with this for maybe four months I asked her ped. He said that it might be because she is still teething. He suggested that when she is in a biting mood quickly offer her a toy that she can bite on. I Found an item called a chewther from Tommy tippee that is a cross between a mouth guard and a pacifier. With giving her permission to chew on something more appropriate she has stopped chomping on us.

1 11

Biting back shows that it IS ok to bite... even YOU do it! You need to explain that biting hurts and that it makes you sad to be bitten. Take their hand and use it to stroke your face and say "we are gentle with other people, like this". Toddlers bite so I am not saying this will stop it all together but it is far better than eye for an eye!

1 19

Well, some people may not agree with this but my mom (may she rest in peace) bit any child that bit her back. She didn't bite hard, just enough to let them know what it felt like to be bitten. Needless to say, they wouldn't bite her again.

49 27

well it all depends on the age. if the child in around 1 or so its common. it most likely when they are having a tranrom. hey dont understand yet. my 1 year old with so times try to bit me she she is upset. my dr told me its cause she id frustrated about not being understood. to just tell her no and to move my arm or body part she trys to bite. with a older age i would use time out and remind the child to use there words. alos if you find your child that bits getting upset about something. go over to the child and help them try to use there words. they might not know how to do this and by showing them, you are teaching them how to use there words and control there anger.

10 20

Personally, I would swat them on the butt and then send them to their room. After recovering from the shock of it I would go in their room and talk to them about it. I would ask them why they did that and where they picked up that habit?

4 21

I just bite her back just like if she pinched me. I think she only did it twice in the last few years... they learn fast!

0 8

my first baby (a girl) bit me when she was about one and a half i bit her back and she never bit me again. my second baby (a boy) started biting around the age of one and i bit him back he is now 2 and is still biting i have tried everything to make him stop, he does it just to do it or when he gets angry he also bites his own hand sometimes nearly drawing blood so he knows it hurts and says oww mammy. i have even tried to ignore him when he latches on to me and not show it hurts just to c will he get bored of doing it but no. i could be just standing and he could grab my leg and sinks his teeth in he has even started tryin to bite his daddys baldy head!!

0 9

I have four children, one of mine liked to bite when she was little. She got me and her brother. Do NOT bite them back. You have to punish them, but it is not difficult to scare a child. You have to out think them. Be consistent and firm. You can't reason with little children, they don't have reasoning skills until they are school age. She only bit us a few times all together. Her behavior was short lived because I was consistent, and she got in trouble when she did it.

0 9

My daughter is almost 3 and is biting everytime she is mad.....i have bitten her back a few times and its not working.....she will tell me it hurts and i tell her there is no biting but she turns around and does it again.

78 82

Maybe try putting her in the "naughty corner" after you bite back.... for 5 minutes or so. Perhaps start with 3 minutes and then she must say sorry etc. She must never get away with it. Sometimes it does get worse for a while, they are testing your boundaries..... just bite a little harder each time until she cries!

0 7

Melissa, my daughter is 4, just turned, and she has the same problem, and until recently had it calmed down A LOT, BUT the biting happen out of anger, frustration and than got worse and would be just because ” she wanted to”. It started when she first got teeth but everybody made it a silly thing and would tell her not to do it, when she was 18 months did it become an aggression thing. We have tried so many things, bitting back (which I think is wetting because truing to teach a child not to bit than doing it yourself isn't right, it took me numerous times to really think about it) hot sauce (a very tiny dot on the tip of my finger and placed it on the tip of her tongue), time out, spankings, I've done it all and with everything I was very consistent with it. like I said, just recently did it begin to calm down. She I think is getting older and realizing on her own not to do it, and being rewarded in day care and at home when she had good days. I made a chart for every day of the week with lists of tiny things, no bitting, no talking back, listening and picking up her toys and eating her food, and with everything she did I would let her pick out a sticker and if she did good that whole week she got reward ed with a candy or a special toy. Try that. I hope it works.

0 9

Thank you girls i will try we have put her in Time out many times she is a very stubborn little girl.....yesterday she got bit at daycare so maybe that will help her see that it is not nice. Yo gabba gabba did a show on Dont bite your friends and we make her talk about how it is not nice to bite our friends but i guess in the heat of the moment she forgets. thanks again

0 41

Maybe (not criticizing, just saying) you haven't bit her hard enough. My son bit me once. I bit him back, and yes he was mad, but so was I! I definitely didn't draw blood, leave a mark, or anything crazy but it was enough to show him that his action was going to cause a reaction. The same thing with when he pulled my hair. I pulled his back and he looked at me like I was crazy! lol He has never pulled my hair again though.

0 9

Yea you may be right about me not doing hard enough one time i did leave a mark though...i did the same thing with the hair pulling so far she hasnt done that back yet.....ill have to try harder next time but hopefully there wont be a next time lol thanks

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0 16

Pop her/him in the mouth. Not closed fist but a light pop. If they do it again, do it a little harder.

78 82

Doubt that will help. We want to teach by example, not teach them to do something new that they hadn't yet thought of...... oh no!

0 11

There is nothing wrong with a little pop in the mouth. Its a form of discipline. Just like a little swat on the butt is ok.

0 0

This is the first time I've come to Circle of Moms for advice and I have to say I'm pretty disappointed at all the people who bite, "pop," swat and smack their children to teach them not to hurt others?

1 19

There has to be a way to teach children there are consequences for their actions. The ones who are saying bite back are not saying take a plug out of the child but that when they bite someone it hurts. When your child goes to daycare or school and he/she bites another child, most likely that other child will bite back, or, hit back. Wouldn't you rather have done something about it yourself?

5 21

Please remember that while you have an opinion, you are not that other child's parent. I would never tell anyone to bite or spank their child; whether I think it is good or not. I can only co trol me and raise MY children. Even more importantly, remember that some children are unique and need different methods of discipline. I am 32 and the proud mommy of 4 (ages 12, 8, 7, and 2). My oldest son has schizophrenia. as if the world isn't hard enough for him, I could not subject him to more pain by biting him back.

2 1

I completely agree with you Susanne, it is very hypercritical to bite your child when that is the very thing you don't want them to do, as parents you are meant to set an example, how is swatting, popping or biting setting a good example. I have 2 children, 2 and 4 years old and I do not agree with hitting/biting of any sort. If my children act up I explain what they are doing is wrong, explain the right way, sometimes they get time out and they have to say sorry. If you smack your children all you are going to do is scare them, shatter their world and even destroy the bond between you and your children. I was raised old school but I don't agree with it, I think it is the easy way out for parents who don't want to put in the time and raise their children respectfully. It is a proven fact that hitting children can cause mental illness, depression, mood swings and it could even impact on their deveolpment.....do you want to impact on your child's life negativey? Most parents chastise out of their own frustration. Please don't hit your children.

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