T.L. asks from Cuba, MO on August 02, 2012
2 y.o. And Biting
When I went to pick up my LO from the sitter he had a full set of teeth marks on his arm. I understand some kids bite while others do not, but I am confused by the story.
Sitter said he was sitting on the counter playing the sink water and when it was time to get down he got mad. He hasn't learned how to show anger yet outside of trying to hit or bit you. We do put him in time out for this as it is not acceptable. However when he couldn't bite the sitter or helper he in turn bit his own arm.
Is this normal? How do I help stop the biting?
B.C. answers from Dallas on August 02, 2012
My daughter was covered in bitemarks at that age. She bit her arms mostly. She is almost 5 and still does it sometimes (not being mad, just thinks it's funny). Kids do weird things. Lol. She also liked to lick people.
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J.M. answers from Chattanooga on August 02, 2012
So they are saying that he couldn't get down from the counter, got mad, and bit himself because there was no one else around to bite?
I do know several children who have bitten themselves out of anger... but they don't generally do it for very long. Hey, it hurts!
The thing that has me wondering though... WHY was he left in a situation where he was stuck in a high place, and unable to get himself down? IF he is sitting on a counter, playing in a sink, the sitter should have been RIGHT THERE supervising him... so he wouldn't have gotten frustrated enough to bite himself. WHY was nobody supervising a 2 year old sitting up that high?!?! What if he had tried to climb down himself, and fallen? Or, since he was playing in the water, he could have easily slipped and fallen... I'm all for giving toddlers some independent play time, but it needs to be in a safe environment...
THAT is what I would have an issue with right at the moment!
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J.C. answers from St. Louis on August 02, 2012
My son was a biter. I have seen children bite themselves. He never bit himself, but he would beat his head against a wall out of anger/frustration and would leave knots/bruises on his own head. It was horrible. He started biting at 9 months with only two teeth and continued you for 2+years. I tried sooooo many things. I even consulted with the pediatrician, Children's Hospital Nurse's hotline, Hannibal Regional Center for Special needs, WIC division of the health dept., nothing worked!! The bet advice I got was he has to learn to use his words. Obviously, this is not an easy solution, but once he was able to learn to talk out his frustrations, the biting did start to cease, then it is working on controlling the ease of frustration. If he was in an "overwhelming" setting the biting increased and tolerance level to frustrations decreased. Some kids are easier to break of biting, but mine was not. It was horrible, people are not kind to biters or their parents.
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B.C. answers from Kansas City on August 03, 2012
My 2 year old is doing the same thing...biting himself. He went from biting one of my daycare kids to only biting himself. I just told him that we don't bite and to say he's sorry to others. He took his frustration out on this daycare kid because this kid was very mean to my son. But once my son was old enough to fight back he chose biting. I wish he wouldn't bite himself either but it's better than biting others. My son also went through a pinching stage before he started biting. He occasionally hits as well, but I think this is all normal behaviors of a toddler. As long as I am correcting his behavior and making him apologize I think it's a phase he will out grow once his verbal skills develop more.
N.L. answers from Kansas City on August 03, 2012
I own a daycare. I have witnessed children who bite themselves. But, if you see consistent injuries ALWAYS use your gut.
R.R. answers from Los Angeles on August 02, 2012
Yes, it's normal for a child to bite themselves in anger when no one else is available. You handle it the same as if he bit someone else, "We do not bite!" and isolate in time out in another room, you truly want him to know this is not acceptable.
Teach and encourage him to use his words rather than lash out in anger and frustration. At two they usually have the vocabulary but just don't know how to use it. Say something like, "You must be really angry/frustrated/mad that you had to stop, but you need to do such and such now." Use yourself as a modeling example, too, when you're angry or frustrated say so, "I am so mad! I wanted to do such and such and can't. Oh, well, I'll do it tomorrow." And smile to show your're OK with that.
My guess, though, is that if he bit himself hard enough to leave teeth marks, that it won't be an ongoing problem, it had to hurt!
J.G. answers from Chicago on August 02, 2012
My daughter bit herself when she couldn't bite someone else. She still bites herself, she's 4.4. She also licks herself.
It is normal for some kids. I wish I had suggestions, but my daughter still bites her little brother from time to time. I did get her a necklace to bite...one of those biting necklaces or bracelets will work with your kid? We've spent a lot of time talking about other ways to express anger and frustration, but so much of it is an immediate instinctive response, and they have such poor self-control when they are little.
You could also try immediate isolation when he bites. I did this with my son, when he bite me when he was 18 months. He never did that again.