Biting my daughter back

Jacquelyn - posted on 07/03/2013 ( 17 moms have responded )




So my daughter just turned two a couple days ago and I'm already feeling the "terrible twos" woes. Over the past couple weeks, she has resorted to biting people- HARD. When she doesn't get her way, she bites, when she's tired, she bites, she even bites as a "game" and thinks it's funny.

I've tried everything (taking away toys, time outs, revoking privileges etc) and am open to hearing more from moms. My husband and his 15 year old daughter on the other hand, have threatened to start biting her back. He swears his daughter did the same thing when she was younger and he and his first wife cured her of it by biting her back. Now as a teenager, his daughter stands behind the method too. I haven't caught them in the act, but I think they're biting my little one back! How can I stop them from doing this? Or, do you think it's effective and I should give it a shot? I'm open to all honest feedback!


Shaela - posted on 07/11/2013




I think adults tend to underestimate children. They know when you tell them it hurts it prob does but they don't realize how how. With all three of mine I bite back after a few times of getting bit. I tell them no firmly, and that it hurts. But I eventually bit back. They say ouch and I tell them it hurts me too. I also tell them if they bit me again I will bite them back. One tested me but she always does test more than the others. They understand more than we give them credit for. Just because they might not be able to talk doesn't make mean they don't comprehend. I also have plenty of friends who have done the same. And it works. Show them how their choices effect others and how it feels them you start teaching them to respect others bodies, and they learn empathy. It's not easy to do, but discipline is not easy. Discipline is a necessary part of growing up. Don't worry your child won't even remember it. Good luck!

Helen - posted on 07/21/2013




This is such a difficult one. My little one bit when he was about 18 months, and like you I tried everything - time out, ignoring, 'NO' and my husband backed me up each and every time. I was lucky in some respects - he only ever bit me.
It got to the point that I threatened to bit him back, and then carried out the threat. I was in bits after doing it and cried for ages, but for us it worked - he only ever tried it again once, and I threatened to bite him back again, and it never happened again!

Biting back is one of the more divisive issues amongst parents. I did it because it was the only way I could get through to him that biting hurts the bitten, and that it is unacceptable, but other people wouldn't bite back. It is down to individual choice.

As for your husband and step daughter - they have no right to go behind your back. You and your husband need to talk about it and decide how to continue dealing with this issue, and his daughter shouldn't even think about biting her half brother!

Danielle - posted on 07/15/2013




Toddlers bite because they can't express their feelings. So give her the words to express them. When she can't have a toy and bites tell her "Use your words. Say I want that toy." My sister likes to pick on my daughter a lot by poking her or something and she gets all mad and goes to bite and I tell her "Don't bite, tell her I don't like that" and she will stop trying to bite and tell her.

Alicia - posted on 07/04/2013




Personally, I cannot see how treating violence with more violence could solve anything. A two year old is too young to have empathy, so instead of trying to make her see how biting feels to others, just make it CLEAR that biting others will have consequences to HER. Is your husband her father, too? If so, he should have just as much say in her upbringing, but if not, YOU must stand up for what you deem as appropriate punishment for your daughter, and make it CLEAR that nothing else flies.

Amy - posted on 07/03/2013




Well if they have done it and she's still biting then it obviously didn't cure her. If they can't be trusted to not bite your daughter then you shouldn't leave her unattended with them.


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Erin - posted on 08/05/2013




I have an almost 2 year old who started biting at 18 months. I tried everything you did. My biggest problem was that I run family childcare from my home and she was biting the other kids! When I was little, I was a biter too and my mom bit me to show me that it hurt (not hard enough to break skin, obviosly) and she swore I never bit again. So I bit my daughter and followed it up with the Yo Gabba Gabba episode about biting. She has never bitten again. As long as you don't do it out of anger or payback, but use it as a teachong moment, I agree it is okay to teach your daughter that biting hurts.

Julie - posted on 08/04/2013




Every child is different. I think other methods should be tried first, but in the end I gave in and showed both of mine what they were doing to other people. Both of my children felt what a soft bite felt like and never did it again. If you end up following through with it don't do it with aggression. It's More like a learning experience because sometimes they just like the big reaction it gets and they are too young to comprehend a verbal explanation of why it is so bad.

User - posted on 07/30/2013




ok wait that kid is his to not just hers he has the right to do it to did you know that if your kid bites someone you can go to jail and be made to pay for er visits and testing and could be fined money and she asked for advice to what to do
a mommy of two

User - posted on 07/30/2013




hey that might sound bad but it orked for every kid i have done this with andit worked for me . my two brothers their kids and friends now i wouldnt make her bleed but show her it hurts after a few time she'll get the point

Shirley - posted on 07/24/2013




never bite back they wont learn anything go see a health person to get more info.

Keri - posted on 07/14/2013




My boys were both biters. For both of them, when a light slap and "no" didn't work, and after warning them what would come next, I marched them to the bathroom and squirted soap in their mouth. It worked quickly for both of them as they did not like the taste of soap. I didn't leave the soap in long, but they disliked it enough that they didn't want it again.

Kelly - posted on 07/08/2013




When my two older ones were around that age, with my son, I bit him back only once and only hard enough to have him realize it hurts. But never to leave marks or bruises. With my daughter however, it went on. Even if I bit her back. She's always been feisty, even after she was born. I put her in time out and then hile she was in time oit, as soon as she came out , she would bite. So I started lightly biting her back, just as I did with my son. When I stopped biting her back, which was maybe all of 5 times (when I realized it was actually making it worse), I would lightly tap her mouth. Then that even made it worse. The only way I got her to stop was to tell her no very firm, And then have her sit in time out. And then one day I figured, hmm maybe if I can trick her into biting herself then she would stop.. well as I went to do that, I had ended up causing her to bite her own tongue. After that, she pretty much stopped, with the exception of maybe one or two times twice a Month. And then it just stopped. Every child is different. Listen to what your heart tells you.

Teresa - posted on 07/07/2013




First of all, I doubt the 15 year old remembers being bitten Back. Regardless, the reason they bite is because they don't know how to express their displeasure otherwise. Ddiscipine her as you normally do everytime she does it and tell her that it is not nice, right, good, whatever she responds to. Then help her to learn how to express her displeasure in a healthy way.She will eventually get the message. Biting her back teaches retaliation on a level you don't want her to go. My 9 year old was a biter and got kicked out of 2 daycares for it. We found out when he got into school that he has a sort of expressive aphasia where he knows what he wants to say but his brain can''t get it out. explains the biting. He is in speech therapy even now for it (not the biting he stopped that).

Brooke - posted on 07/07/2013




It worked with both my boys. Only had to do it once for the first one, it wasn't working for my second until my husband did it (he has sharp eye teeth). Once he did it, the kid never bit again! And yes, they were both that young and still got the whole "it hurts you? Well, it hurts me too!"

Jennifer - posted on 07/03/2013




I think it's really inappropriate for anyone to be biting your daughter behind your back!!! I would let them know this is unacceptable behavior and that you will start biting THEM if you find out they're biting your daughter.

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