my son is 20 months and likes to bite. we tried biting him back it doesnt help. what can i do?

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Myra - posted on 02/20/2010

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My daughter is also 20mo old and does the biting thing some. It seems to be more of a playful thing or sign of affection with her. Sometimes though, it is definitely because she's mad. What's worked with her is seeing her as she's going into it, and putting her own hand to her mouth (not in it, I don't put anything in her mouth...takes too long to get all the things out she puts in there!). That way, if she follows through and still bites, she bites herself and can feel that it really hurts to do it. For the most part, that has taken care of her biting hard enough that it hurts. Every now and then, she still sneaks a good one in, but they are few and far between. She got me on the shoulder close to 2 weeks ago, and I still have a bruise from it. But, I don't think she's gotten a bite in that wasn't an affection type (which she does different, those are almost like she mis-shaped her mouth, and instead of giving a kiss, ended up biting) since that one 2 weeks ago.

Marcia - posted on 02/20/2010

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My son is 30 months and he started biting at around 16 months our doctor told us to distract him or ignore him. And within 2 weeks of distracting him he stopped biting. It seemed that evertime we hit him or told him no he did it with more gusto. So distracting him is a good way to get him to stop and also without the hitting or biting from you the parent. Our doctor said that by biting him back you are just reinforcing the bad habit by showing that when they want something or get mad you can bite.

Sherry - posted on 02/19/2010

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personally I'd make him bite a bar of soap if he likes to bite that much... should break him of the habit... at least that's what they used to do

Lisa - posted on 02/19/2010

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My daughter just turned 20 mths she was biting around 16 mths and had a mouth full of teeth. She mostly would bite her 3 yr old brother. Though she knew some sign language. She wasn't able to communicate what she wanted so she would bite. Come to find out she was doing this when she wasn't getting what she wanted from brother.
I used time outs with a but swat with a stern voice that hurts and asked did she want to get hurt. Let brother bite her next time.. She's not biting anymore... Most important find what is triggering him, then what ever way you choose just stay consistant.

Amanda - posted on 02/18/2010

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yeah, it's hard always trying to figure out what to do. And what works just great for one child, doesn't work at all with the next. But, perserverance always pays off.(Eventually) Be consistant. Don't let them get away with bad behavior. Correct it. A swat with a firm voice does work. But, never stoop to the level of a baby, by doing what you don't want them to do. It seems like teaching revenge. You did this, so I'm going to do it back to you. That's just my thoughts. It worked so well with my first three, but my two year old is stubborn. But, I want to teach him and correct him, discipline him, but not hurt him. Sure a swat can hurt a little, but I think it teaches him, I'm the mom. You have to do what I say. Where biting back says, I can play this game better than you. I can be as nasty as your being. Hope this is helpful. I definately don't have all the answers. Hope it works for you.

Amanda - posted on 02/18/2010

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Shocking to me that anyone would bite their children. We are the adults. I think the suggestions about showing alot of emotion is a good idea. Maybe even a swat on the hand or bottom.

Jessica - posted on 02/18/2010

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Sorry, I didn't mean to imply you're a bad mom. I had just never heard of such a thing and was shocked than people would bite their children! And oh man... if my MIL bit my son that would be the last day she ever saw him! I hope you can find something that works... who knows, a year from now my son might be doing the same thing and I'll be pulling my hair out trying to find a way to get him to stop.

Jennifer - posted on 02/18/2010

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you make me sound ike a horrible mom! no i havent bit him my mother in law did i wasnt there he stopped for a little bit but now he does it all the time

Jessica - posted on 02/16/2010

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Really? People bite their children?? How is this supposed to help? The only message that's going to send is that biting is acceptable behavior, since mommy and daddy do it! Your kid isn't even two for crying out loud.

I will admit I'm not there yet (my son is 8 months old) but I have heard many places that biting can be a phase that toddlers go through. I am sure there are other things you can do to help. I also like PP's suggestion of asking your doctor for advice.

Kymberly - posted on 02/16/2010

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Personally, I have 4 kids, and so far my 3 oldest have gone through a "biting" phase. I would never bite back, but that is just me. That to me is teaching the wrong thing. I mean, when your child hits you, do you hit back???? When they are young there is not a lot that you can do. You can try showing a lot of emotion to it, and tell them how it felt, and that you don't bite, but not every child is going to understand this at a young age. As your child gets a little older, they will start to understand these kinds of things, and will understand what no bite means. You have to be very stern and commanding when you say it, so that they know you mean it. Just hang in there, it does go away with age. Also if nothing is working, talk to your doctor about other things you could do!

Jess - posted on 02/16/2010

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hi jennifer my name is jess. my oldest was a biter all so and ima teacher from a infant/toddler program o f11 years. what i did for my son was give him something else to bite and i touht him to drink out of a straw (its has the same motion as biting) i also had him brush his teeth a lot during the day, but you also must keep in mind that biting is VERY normal for a toddler.they dot ll ways have the words for what they want so they are going to try other ways. just keep on giving him other things to biteand tell him no biting in a stearn voice, if he bites you put him down right away and say the same thing. just stay consisant and remeber that it will end.

Arlene - posted on 02/16/2010

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My son was a biter as well (not a daily thing and only to me and my husband, never to another child so we were lucky that way). He started pretty early too, before he was 18 months. I tried the "no biting" and the biting back, time out, ignoring it, anything I could think of. Nothing really worked to stop him, except as he got older and could understand that it hurt us and also understand discipline he finally started doing it less until he didn't do it anymore. I did buy a book about biting and what teeth are for and he still likes to read it now. I think if you can find out what triggers the biting and try to stop it before it happens (our son would bite mostly when teething or when frustrated) and just deal with it the same way each time it happens it will eventually stop. Lukas is now 3 and it has definitely been months since he has tried to bite us. I hope you find something that works or that it really is just a phase that ends quickly...good luck!!

Bethany - posted on 02/16/2010

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im not quite sure. we have tried the biting back thing with my 3 1/2 yr old and it doesnt seem to work with him. he has let some horrible bruises on my 6 yr old step son and it is very difficult to explain to his mother. if u find out how to stop ur son plz let me kno.

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When your baby bites you try to show a huge reaction showing pain and distress. Lots of facial reaction and noise. More than likely it will startle and possibly frighten him/her. But it will illustrate to him an animated reaction to his action. A 20 month old may repeat "no" or " no bite" but it doesnt really understand. Its like when we tell our two year olds not to draw on the wall. Then as they are walking towards the wall repeating our words"no writing on the wall" they draw on the wall ( usually with a marker) Good luck. Laurine

Jaymie-Lee - posted on 02/16/2010

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Bite him harder lol as mean as that sounds my daughter did this and i would bite her back but she wouldnt stop, so then my husband bit her she never bit again or when she would go to bite someone I'd ask her if she would like daddy to bite her and she would stop.

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