Anyone Have a Biter?

Updated on March 17, 2007
T.L. asks from Mackinaw, IL
15 answers

Last weekend, my son, who just turned 2, bit my arm...HARD. He bit me through a jacket and still broke the skin and left a large bruise. At the time, he was a little overdue for a nap, was overstimulated, and had started freaking out because he thought his dad was coming with us and he wasn't. He was in the middle of a tantrum, and he was impossible to discipline right then because he was so out of control. He was on the ground screaming, kicking, arching his back, etc. (in my opinion, I should have disciplined him right there, but I was unable to get his attention, so my main goal was to get him back to the car). I picked him up, and held onto him tightly, and that's when he sunk his teeth in—he was trying desperately to get away from me and I'm not even sure if he knew what he was doing.

I am not trying to make excuses for him, but it was an isolated incident. He is normally a very happy and well-behaved boy. The only times he starts acting up is when he is tired, hungry, or sick.

My question is: is this normal? Before I had kids, I always though parents who couldn't control their kids were bad parents. Now it's happening to me! I am also worried he's going to start doing this to other people. At daycare, he is always very good, and his daycare provider tells me he pretty much keeps to himself around the kids anyway. But it still worries me. One one hand, I think he is still rebelling against my husband and I (I used to stay home with him all day) and wouldn't bite anyone but us, but on the other hand, anything is possible.

Did any of you have biters? If so, did your children only do it to you, or were their targets anyone and everyone?


What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Well, we have not had any more biting incidents, but we have also been making an attempt to keep him on a better schedule, and not getting behind on eating or sleeping. Thanks, everyone, for your advice! If we ever have the problem again, I'll employ some of your techniques!

Featured Answers



answers from Joplin on

Hi T.,
If it has only happened once. You may not have a problem. But just incase it does develope into one. Let me tell you how first my mother, and then myself both delt with this one, and it works. Often the first time! Simply bite him back!! You don't have to bite hard. Don't break the skin or leave a mark. The shock that mom would bite them is usually enough. It sounds worse than it really is. Hopefully it was a one time thing. Good luck!.....M.B.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Kansas City on

Hi T.,

I want to tell you about my youngest who WAS a biter. She was probably 15 months to 2 yrs old at that time. She is 9 now. I was so upset, I couldn't understand why she was bitting. I at that time had Parents as Teachers that came out to my house to visit and check to see how the kids were progressing in motor skills etc... One day this teacher came by and I was very upset. I explained to her that my daughter was bitting; and really bitting hard. She told me to use Listerine. She said every time the child bites, put a drop of Listerine in her mouth. I guess because it kind of stings. So, I tried that... and wouldn't you know it, She liked it. I was at my wits end.. the daycare was upset because of other children... Obviously! I finally talked to my Mom about it. She told me that I too, was a biter; and that the only way she could get me to stop was with Hot Sauce. She told me, if she bites you, rub hot sauce on your hand and encourage her to bite you again. Then it will sting her mouth and she will then relate the two things together. I thought OMG no way... but really it was the same as using Listerine.. except it was hot sauce. Well, two or three times with that... and VIOLA! She never bit again.
Just wanted to share my bitting story with you! It is kind of a power/struggle phase i think. I really think mine was worse case scerenio.

Take Care,



answers from Kansas City on

My oldest daughter is the only one I've had this problem with(well so far, have a six month old son, we'll see how he does). She started off only biting me. Then one day she bit my mother. The worst was I went to pick her up from daycare and got told she bit a child there, really hard too. I could see the marks when I got there hours later. So I would definitely watch it. It was only something she did to me for awhile but it eventually became more people. I would do time out. Get on to her and say NO!!! Finally I started just flicking her lightly but enough for her to be like Whoa! in the mouth. Then putting her down and say she needed to go to time out. She'd throw a fit wanting me to pick her up and I wouldn't for quite awhile saying not until you learn not to bite. Unfortunately I can't recall all that went on for her to do that anymore. It's been 4 or 5 years ago.



answers from St. Joseph on

First of all, I had to chuckle at the sentence "Before I had kids, I always though parents who couldn't control their kids were bad parents.". I used to think that too! LOL Then I had two very ACTIVE boys!

My (then) three year old bit me once. This may sound bad, but I thumped him one time on the cheek right after he did it (you know the flick with thumb and middle finger), then put him straight into time out...and he never did it again. He was so shocked when I thumped him because I had never done that before. I'm not condoning any sort of physical punishment, because I really favor time outs, but I think the shock factor is what really did it for him...good luck!



answers from Kansas City on

Hi T.,
well I will first say its nothing to do with you as parents. Every child goes threw it at some point but I will say it will keep on going if when he does it you don't tell him "NO" AND explain that it hurts and its not nice.
I think personally at 2 yrs old they know now what will hurt and doesn't. And if you were holding him than he was trying to get away so hes gonna try everthing he can.
I will say this though I watch a little girl(shes 19 months) and she has never bitten anyone here but she has her mother at home for whatever reason. I would say keep a close eye on him when he comes up to you and then discipline in whatever form you see fit. hope this helps W. mom of 4



answers from St. Joseph on

My son (almost 21 mos) does that once in a while. He's normally very well behaved and very laid back, but when he gets in a fit (a perfectly normal thing for a two year old) he sometimes latches on with teeth or grabs hair. He went through a stage where he thought it was funny to bite us when he was playing, but that sort of thing is a feeling out thing. They come to realize, when I bite myself it hurts, when I bite other people it doesn't. Its a part of the realization that they're seperate from parents. Most kids bite at some point. Many parents I know refer to it as "the biting stage". It may be one time, and just in the midst of a tantrum. Or he may try it again. With my son we put him in time out a few times and he stopped doing it. Most the time, either good or bad, they only bite their parents. Again, part of that realization that their parents are a different individual from themselves.



answers from St. Louis on

I have a 13month old son going on 14 months end of the month. He was a breastfed baby and he has bitten me not hard but just enough to freak me out. He comes up to me and bites my leg or hand or arm, and I am the only one he bites. Not sure if it has something to do with being breastfed or he thinks he is playing when he does it, ya know being a mom you do those raspberries on their tummies, I am just thinking maybe he is trying to do that and bites instead. I tell him NO in a stern voice and say that hurts mommy but he does it from time to time.

I have a friend who his son was a biter and he eventually stopped he is now 3, I think its a phase they go thru when they get there teeth in, just testing them out I guess. Just explain to him at that point when he does it that it hurts mommy dont bite. He could be doing things just to get yours and daddys attention. Dont think for a second that your a bad mother kids handle things differently.

Good Luck




answers from Wichita on

hey T., i know what you are going through. my oldest son would always bite his little brother. we couldnt get him to quit. we did everything from putting a dab of sauce in his mouth to disciplining him. nothing worked. he finally got over it and now my youngest is getting back at him for all the mean things his brother did. he never bit me or anyone else just his brother. i think it was jealousy, but who knows. anyway, i hope this helps. good luck, R.



answers from Lawton on

T., I think they all go thru that biting stage. I think it is a form of frustraation. My daughter goes to a home day care at my sisters and she has bitten 2 different kids both of which are her age. She has bitten me twice and almost broke the skin but it did leave a huge bruise both timew she bit me. I finally bit her back and she realized how bad it hurts and she stopped biting. I'm not telling you to bite your son, I'm just telling you what worked for me because time out sure didn't work. I always try time out first but sometimes that doesn't work. Good Luck



answers from Kansas City on

I wouldn't call my son a biter, but he has bitten his cousin and me. When he bit his cousin, it was a Christmas time and my parents had 5 of their 6 children home and 11 grandchildren in their smaller home. My son was one of the youngest at the time and the bigger kids would take his toys. At first he would just act like he didn't care and then he got tired of it. He didn't know how to defend himself when they would push him and take his toys, so finally one day he pushed one of the kids back (my husband was know men...when my son pushed his cousin back he told him good job for sticking up for himself). He was confused because he wasn't used to being around so many kids and having his toys just ripped out of his hand. Then on Christmas day, I am not sure exactly what happened because I didn't see it (my sister-in-law did) but James bit his cousin on the arm and it left a nasty mark. Since I wasn't there, I don't know for sure, but he is normally a very well behaved boy, so I think that she must have taken something from him and he was defending himself. Since then, we have taught him that biting is NOT OKAY! He has only bitten me once since and that was because he had something in his mouth and didn't want me to take it out...when I put my finger in his mouth (which is almost asking to be bitten) he bit down like a pit bull and didn't let go. My finger was sore for 2 or 3 days. I think all you gotta do is try to discipline them asap so they don't forget what they are being disciplined for. Sometimes it is a little harder like you said, but I think they turn out fine as long as you are trying to do your best.

Good Luck!



answers from Oklahoma City on

I hate to say this but the biteing just gets worse I have a three year old that I just broke of the biteing and she started out just doing it to me and she would be time out and then it got to where she would bite her younger brother and then I had a nother baby and she was two at the time and she bit her and that is when I had it and I had to break down and ask for help my slf nand my own mother told me that it took one of my best friends when I was at that age when I was age and was biteing to bite me to break me of me aand it what it took for my my three year old it took her uncle showing her pictures online of what bites can look like and that put a fear in her and she has not bit since



answers from Lawton on

My son is about 2 1/2 and he bites. you I'm not trying to make excuses BUT...he only does it when his daddy and I wrestle around with him. So somewhere down the line he thought that biting was a part of playing. Don't know why or how he learned that but he is learning not to now.



answers from Tulsa on

Okay using the techniques and guidelines in The Explosive Child by Ross Greene you caused this explosion so you just have to endure it.

That's the truth. You should not try to reason with a child that is hungry, tired or feeling mistreated, you should endure it.

That is not to say that you can't discipline him for the biting but only if it's in the context that he is getting revenge. (see this site for all the reasons children misbehave: I'd say this incident he was just acting with primordial instincts.

Do what you can to establish a routine then expect meltdowns if you don't follow the schedule precisely.

the book I recommended is more for older kids that act like 2 year olds but it's just as effective on a 2 year old cause I used it on mine at the same time I was using it on my 5 year old.



answers from Oklahoma City on

It sounds like this is exactly what you said-An isolated incident. I would like to know how you responded at the point that he bit you!! Also, remember, a human instinct is fight or flight and obviously since your son was overwrought and couldn't run-he fought-primitively! if he had bit you for NO REASON, you might have a reason to think he MIGHT become a BITER-but he had a definite reason from his point of view, so I would just count it up to experience and not take it to mean he will become a biter.



answers from Kansas City on

My daughter also started to take a biting turn around the same age. I think every child tries it at least for a while. We just have to show them that it doesn't get rewarded, and instead gets punished, and they will stop doing it.

My daughter mostly did it at preschool. She was not happy to be there (because I also had previously been staying home), and she wouldn't interact with any of the other kids. Eventually some of the other kids would start to try to interact with her, and she would bite them...

Good news, she did eventually outgrow it. Just have to show consistency. When you do this, you don't get what you want, you get what you don't want instead...

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions