Biting - Woodbridge,VA

Updated on March 17, 2008
J.H. asks from Woodbridge, VA
7 answers

I watch a little guy, age 17 months, who loves to bite. I am positive he is teething because i see the swollen gums and he is right on schedule for teething. This is a problem because he bites everything, even other kids. I try to not let him out of my sight since my absence is most often when he makes his attacks on the other unsuspecting children. I have witnessed him biting in retaliation as well as just to bite. I need ideas to positively stop the biting.

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So What Happened?

I really appreciate all the suggestions. We are making progress in a positive direction. I had no idea about the chewy tubes but that is a fantastic invention since it is the back teeth he needs comfort for. Thank you, thank you all for your help.


More Answers



answers from Washington DC on

Keep giving the little guy good things to do to keep him active and busy, plus let him have the frozen chew-type teething rings!



answers from Norfolk on

hi J.
my son was also a child that bite other kids. I would bite him back myself and that did help, it was hard but necessary. JM



answers from Washington DC on

Ask your child's doctor to suggest another child with a biting problem as a playmate. They'll bite each other... but probably not for long.



answers from Richmond on

Hi J.,
Biting can be a big problem if it is allowed to continue. But what to do? I know this might seem obvious, but you can buy small flexable teethers that you can freeze for him to bite on. The numbing effect on his sore gums will give him something to focus on other than biting. Teething bisquits are messy but wonderful for this.

Encourage him to stop biting by rewarding him when he isn't biting with a treat, a favorite toy or musical toy. When he bites, take the toy away, and tell him no. Give him the frozen teether, or a teething biscuit. Now you have got him thinking about what he needs to do in order to get that special toy back, without depriving him of something to do about the biting compusion. Babies are pretty smart, remember they are capable of understanding this basic request of no. Be gentle and patient, and persistant. You must be as persistant as he is! You must be loving and gentle in your request. Do not grab anything away from him, just respond in Love when you say no. Smile at him, and give him the teether or biscuit when be begins to bite. When he stops biting, (and he will stop), trade the favorite toy or musical toy for the teether. Keep doing this consistantly, and he should stop his biting compulsion in about three or four days.
Good Luck!


answers from Washington DC on

Hi J.!

17 months is a challenging age...they have all the emotons an feelings...yet so few of the words! It is good prparation for the teenage years...or the todler hood of adult hood!

I would take a several 'pronged' approach. First I would get some special container (perhaps that he could decorate) for him that would include things that he CAN bite...teething items, damp cold wash cloth etc. I would also be prepared to give him cut up apple chunks etc, all the while explaing that "biting people hurts" and "here are some things you CAN bite".

In terms of biting in retaliation, if over toys, I would make sure to have duplicate toys on hand (if there are a few toddlers in the group). Developmentally, they really can not 'play together'...but rather parallel play. If he wants another child's truck for example...reach for the duplicate...make it 'vrooommm'...and he will no doubt want THAT truck!! Of will the other kids...but they will be diverted from the biting!!

For 'hitting', I would often scoop kids on my lap...tell them 'hitting hurts...touch nicely' while gently stroking their face. Then would follow up with words to help them express their feelings...

Hope that helps!!




answers from Richmond on

Hi J.,

If the little guy is getting the back teeth in, I found that some teethers just don't work for that. I had my daughter's speech therapist recommend a chewy tube: They are $12 for two of them and my kids absolutely love them. They are in the shape of a "T" so that the tube can be put in the child's mouth to be chewed on by those back teeth. Hope this helps. Good luck.



answers from Norfolk on

at 17 months a child needs to know what is and isn't appropriate to bite on. My son did the biting people thing and it lasted all of one week. When he would bite a person, I would bite him back. Not too hard, but hard enough he learned it hurts. Then I would give him a teething ring or something else appropriate to teeth on. Kids learn easily at this age and the best way to teach them is to show them the action and consequence. saying no is not a consequence. Pain is. My husband is always on me because I am a tough disciplinarian, but my MIL thinks my methods are good. At his age he can not comprehend why biting is bad, just that you are saying no. But if you show him why it is bad, he will get it. It has to be an immediate thing, though. You can't bite him 2 hours after he bit the babysitter. Whoever he bites needs to bite him back, with the exception of his siblings, because it will become a game. A little of tough love goes a long way

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