Monday, July 30, 2012

The biting, not the fighting...

A few weeks ago, we blogged about sibling rivalry. Not to sound smug, but my kids do really get on well about 95% of the time. I do have a problem with my little one that I'm almost ashamed to admit, but the 5% that they do argue, I find he randomly resorts to biting. Fortunately, he has reserved this painful repsonse for his sister rather than other nursery children, but still, I find it frustrating and don't know how to deal with it. The other odd thing is he will go for weeks without biting and then have two days where I'll catch him a few times in his attempts to chomp! 

I've had a lot of advice (after the surprised and horrified looks), none of which seem to work. He can speak really well for his age of 2 years and 3 months so the whole "can't communicate his frustration" doesn't really fly any more either. I thought I could share some of the things that I have been told or read, and maybe some brave soul can admit they had a biter too and what worked for them!

1) Bite them back.  Popular amongst a previous generation and the French. Don't know if I could do it though...

2) Time out. Both for punishment and for a little cooling off period.

3) "Be very clear with her that biting is not acceptable because it causes pain. Calmly but firmly say, "Please don't bite. It hurts, and I don't want you to hurt anyone." Try not to overreact, though — it may actually encourage the behavior, since it gives your child the attention she craves." - from  I may have to try this as I probably do overeact a bit...

4) It's just a phase and they will outgrow it so don't stress too much!

So what about you? Do you have a biter? If so, we'd love to hear what has worked or what hasn't. Or just leave a quick comment to let us know that we're not alone. Or better yet, did you have a child that bit in the past and now you want to share your wisdom on how to eliminate this behavior? Do share! 


  1. Don't be ashamed! I have a biter too. As an infant he chewed through our furniture and more (...ouch) and now he has moved onto digits in particular. At 18 months he clearly knows that it is wrong but he can't seem to help himself. He does it when he is excited or a little tired at the end of the day but usually not maliciously. Actually, he usually does it with a little impish grin. When he bites me I tell him that he hurt me and make the sign for "hurt." He makes the sign for "sorry" and will pat my face gently and give me a kiss. Then he'll bite me again. I am counting on #4 - "it's just a phase" but I wouldn't mind if this one would pass quickly, please!

  2. Thanks for sharing, Alyce! It's so good to know that we're not the only ones with biters. The more I hear from moms who say they have or have had a child that bites, the more I am reassured that it is normal and that this stage will pass!

  3. I have a bitter and haven't found anything that works yet. Daycare actually even made me give the pacifier back to my 16 month old which I prefer he didn't have during the day. I didn't want to get kicked out of day care so gave in (they didn't threaten to kick us out but I feel like all eyes are on us at all times). I have no idea what to do to be honest. I've resorted to chew toys and crunchy foods (both recommended by day care). He doesn't bite at home, only day care and he's the youngest in his class. I think it's for attention since he gets one on one time from us but one of 7 during the day. I hope this phase is over soon!

  4. That's awesome Jamie! Thanks for admitting it. You'll be pleased to know that Finn know resorts to biting himself when he gets really frustrated. At least he knows its wrong to bite other people - FINALLY!