A.P. asks from Bangor, ME on September 29, 2009
2 Year Old Biting Consistently
What can I do to my daughter to get her to stop biting people? She will bite her brothers and everyone else that she comes in contact with. I just don't know what to do with her!!!
1 mom found this helpful
R.K. answers from Boston on September 30, 2009
How are her communication skills? Is she biting out of anger and frustration from not being understood or for another reason. The reason behind the biting would determine how I would go about handling it.
D.B. answers from Boston on September 30, 2009
I absolutely disagree with the posts about biting back! You are trying to teach her that it is NOT okay to bite when she is angry or frustrated, so your response to your own anger and frustration is to bite her?? It teaches her that big people can bite little people, but she can't? Kids at 2 do not have empathy for anyone else, they only know when they themselves get hurt. Imagine a classroom of 15 kids in preschool, and they are all biting each other, and the teacher has to sort out who started it and who was "just" doing it in response? It would be chaos!
If the message is "biting is not acceptable", then there has to be an immediate consequence for her. She must be removed immediately from the situation and put somewhere alone - her room, a time out chair, whatever. Then the kid who got bitten gets your attention. Do not make her apologize because she doesn't get that either - kids at this age aren't really sorry, and they actually wind up learning that they can do whatever they want as long as they say "sorry" afterwards. Don't apologize on her behalf either - just give the other kid all the attention, "I know that hurts, doesn't it?" or I sure don't like it when someone bites me" and so on. So, no matter where you are or how inconvenient it is, you leave where you are. If you are far from home, put her in the car seat and strap her in, but don't go anywhere. (If you have to drive 10 minutes to get her home, she may forget why she had to leave.) The boredom is the immediate payoff for her behavior. You can try taking her back in after 5 minutes, but if it happens again, she leaves again. If you are at home, she goes to her room with no toys or attention from you. She will learn quickly that biting means no toys and no fun and no attention. Use the same words over and over, whatever you choose. "No biting." "Biting is wrong" or "I don't like biting." It's the consistency that is essential.
I agree that it is helpful to find out why she is biting, if you can - boredom, anger, lack of verbal skills. But first you have to stop the behavior. If she loses a toy or the TV immediately, or loses the social connection in a play group, she'll learn.
Be firm and this will pass soon. Good luck.
C.T. answers from Barnstable on September 30, 2009
You have gotten quite a bit of advice and I'm going to share some that was given to me when my son was a biter. A preschool teacher suggested that I bite him. I refused. So she suggested I put his hand into his mouth when he bites so he will bite himself. They assured me that he wouldn't bite himself hard enough to do any damage because he'd realize quickly that biting hurts and would stop. So armed with that advice and assurances I gently moved his hand into his mouth the next time he tried gnawing off my leg. As it turned out, however, my son had a sensory intergration disorder (that we didn't know about) which altered the way he perceived sensations. He actually liked the feel of the bite and it took me years to get him to stop biting his own hand and wrist. All his shirts looked like a puppy had chewed up the sleeves. So listen and read the advice people give you and then carefully choose which advice you follow. Good luck.
K.E. answers from Boston on September 30, 2009
One of my sons hit and pushed for no reason around that age, and I also had no idea how to stop the behavior. I eventually learned (as another respondant mentioned) that hitting, pushing, and biting at this age is often a sign of frustration at not being able to communicate, and my son indeed did not really start talking until 2 1/2. When his speech finally came (in a bit of a verbal watefall), the pushing and hitting stopped, just like that. Previously, nothing -- time outs, stern words, explanations -- had done the trick. I never figured out how to stop the behavior, but it helped me to understand where it was probably coming from and to know that it wasn't likely to last too long.
Speech itself might or might not be the issue, of course, but there could still be something she's having trouble expressing.
L.C. answers from Saginaw on September 29, 2009
Lemon juice tastes good to most kids --they have under-developed sour taste buds and only taste the sweet.
The only way I know of to stop a biting child is to be on hand at all times to stop her getting physical that way. Biters tend to be pre-verbal kids who have a lot to say and only physical ways to say it. Staying really close to them whenever others are around makes it possible to grab the child's chin and hold her face away from other people's body parts... it also means she is closely enough supervised to avoid getting a label as a 'biter'.
It's a good idea to consider her, for a while until she learns to talk better, a 'mom's child' who is always where mom is, no matter what mom is doing. She is in no position to monitor herself and she is not safe to leave unattended with other children --who are also not equipped to monitor or prevent her behaviour.
T.P. answers from Boston on September 30, 2009
my kids used to do that to...then one day i bite them back and they never did it again.
L.B. answers from Boston on September 30, 2009
I agree - bite her back. Do it immediately after she has bitten someone else and say "See how it feels? It hurts" and make her apologize. Then make sure you give her hugs and love after so she's reassured you're not biting her for the same reason she's biting others.
I did this with my son and he stopped biting after that.
L.C. answers from Des Moines on September 29, 2009
If she bites in the same spot normaly i would put like lemon juice there or somthing else that tastes gross and let her bite that and see what she thinks
D.F. answers from Boston on September 30, 2009
Biting her back does NOT teach her that biting is ok. It teaches her that biting hurts. I bit my daughter back when she was little, she never bit anyone again.