August 19, 2008,
V.S. asks from Cedar Park, TX on August 14, 2008
1 Year Old Biting
Help! My sweet one year old son has started biting. I don't think it's an aggressive act (i.e. he doesn't clamp down and turn red). If he bites me or my husband it tends to follow a kiss. Not sure how to make him stop without providing negative reinforcement. Any suggestions!?!? (that don't include me biting him back - b/c I just could NOT do that!)
A.W. answers from Austin on August 15, 2008
Hi there V.,
I watch a little boy that went through a biting phase. He would bite if he was playing really hard and got really over excited while playing with my DD and his older brother. He would go up to one of them to hug; but would end up biting one of them. He would also bite if he was trying to kiss. I really had to stay on top on this littly boy because his bites were really hard and often broke skin and drew blood. Anyhow, when he would get really excited I'd step in RIGHT before he went to do his hug/bite, get down to eye level, and just say "no bite. hug like this", and I'd show him. This usually was enough to get him to stop for a second or two and not bite. Now for the kissing. I quickly learned that when he was smacking his lips in the kissing noise it was because he was going to bite. I chose to think he was always just wanting to kiss one of the kids, so I'd set in before he got to the child and said, "kiss like this" and would make the kissing sounds. The few times he did bite someone I would say, "ouch. no bite. Jack is crying" and made him help me wash the bitten area and then had him help me give the other child attention and extra love. He wouldn't bite again that day; but boy did I get some dirty looks. LOL It took about a month of redirection and intervention; but he did stop biting.
I hope this helps
J.O. answers from Austin on August 15, 2008
Everything you read and are told by the professionals is **NOT** to bite back. My oldest (now a 14 year old, HS Freshmen honor student, athlete, musician and all around "good kid") bit and we tried **EVERYTHING** from reasoning/sympathy to ignoring the behavior to having her bite on a lemon as "punishment". Nothing worked.
... that is until I bit her back. Not hard, but it got her attention. She bit me after a "kiss", and I just gave her a little "nip".
And then when she entered pre-school at the tender age of 2 1/2, she was bitten by a little boy. That became the prime opportunity for us to have "The Talk" about how much she was hurt by being bit and how she was hurting others (including me!) when **she** bit.
... and she turned out alright... (...at least so far...)
Sorry, but we tried everything else...
M.R. answers from Austin on August 15, 2008
I've heard of giving them a hairy arm to bite...usually that will deter anyone...getting a mouth full of hair..
K.A. answers from Austin on August 16, 2008
I would like to start off by saying that before you start deciding how to procede, you need to figure out why he is biting. Toddlers bite for three reasons,
#1 He's teething: If this is whats going on then he is only biting because he is in pain. Check out his mouth see if he is geting his one year molars in, He could just need some orajel.
#2 Cause and Effect: Many toddlers start biting not to be mean but because it gets a big reaction. If you think about it alot of what a toddler does at this age is cause and effect. "if I bang on this it makes a loud noise, If I drop this it bounces, If I scratch this it makes a mark, If I bite mommy she screames" If you think that this is what he is doing, tell him in a firm voice "NO, Biting" and quickly redirect him to something that he IS allowed to do. You can also keep a teething ring near by. "no bitting mommy, You can bite this!"
#3 Non Verbal Frustration: I doubt at One year old that this is it, but as Toddlers get older, they get frustrated because they have more and more complex emotions but don't have the verbal skills to express it, So they get angry and bite. The thing to do for this is help them express what it is they are trying to get across and show them a better way to resolve it. "Don't Bite,Jonny. Do you want the toy? Billy's not done playing yet but when he's done maybe he'll share. Can you ask him to share?" Like I said, this is for older Toddlers. More than likely its one of the first two. Good Luck, and no, you don't need to bite your child back.
M.M. answers from Austin on August 19, 2008
If you think he is being aggressive or it gets worse, then make up a little quirt bottle of 2/3 vinager and 1/3 water. When he bites very calmly tell him that biting pp makes his mouth dirty and this will clean it and give him a squirt. Unlike hot stuff it does not hurt at all it just sucks and may deter him with out a "punishment". Hope it's nothing!