Biting Two Year Olds?

Updated on October 15, 2013
M.B. asks from Seattle, WA
4 answers

I was just reading a question about getting old, and got to thinking. I was 22 when my son was born. He's 10 today. I was almost 26 when my daughter was born. She's 6 1/2. Neither one of them really went through a phase where they bit when they were two. Yes, they had their frustrations and tantrums, but they only bit a handful of times.

I know it's common for 2 year olds to bite. I worked in a daycare facility for a while when my son was 2.

I think what my friends are going through is excessive though. She's 24, he's 26. They have 4 kids between them. A 6 year old (hers), a 5 year old that comes for visitation (his) and a 3 year old and 2 year old together. I first met them when the 3 year old was just turning 2. That child would bite multiple times a day and bite HARD. I'm talking bad enough to break skin, cause bleeding, and bruising.

Well, that one is over the biting phase, for the most part now. But, the littlest one, that just turned two, is starting in on the biting over everything phase now. I'm almost afraid to take my family over there anymore. Their child bites and all they do is yell at the child not to do that anymore, it's not nice. Then the child bites again 5 minutes later.

Most of the bites my children have recieved from over there have been on the back, ribs, and shoulder blades. In one night my daughter was bitten 3 times and my son 4 times.

Is this excessive biting normal or not?

ETA: I mention the age of the other parents because I feel they are overwhelemd by thier kids, and spend too much time playing video games (PS3) instead of watching their kids.

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answers from San Francisco on

If my kids were being bitten excessively by a toddler they'd stay away from the toddler, much like they would stay away from a nasty dog.
But I don't understand why you don't just get up and leave, I mean seriously, three or four times? I wouldn't subject my kids to that, at all.
ETA: I don't get what age (of parents) has to do with anything. What exactly do you mean?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Um... yes, that is excessive. I think they need to be far more diligent. Two is not too young or old for a child to be given a 'safe space' to play if the parent cannot shadow the child.

See, it sounds to me like this:
Things get busy,
Mom and dad are distracted,
Kiddo wants attention
Kiddo gets attention, albeit negative.

When I worked with an older toddler group, for 2.5 years, we did have some kids who bit. When those children were becoming 'repeat offenders', we had a teacher shadow that kid, sit close to them, able to watch them and move quickly when we saw them go for the bite (it's usually quick but obvious) and interrupt it, then offer them a teething toy. "No biting so-and-so, you can bite on this".When I was a nanny, if I couldn't be close to a child who was biting, they often went into the pack and play or a high chair or other containment device. "You may not bite" or "you need to sit here now". Calm, firm, ignore them while I helped the hurt child. "No bite, you sit here now."

If I were in your shoes, I'd take a break on getting the kids together. If your friend asks, just tell her the truth-- Charlie bit my kids several times when we last visited and they aren't ready to go back.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

your kids are 6 and 10. if they are being bitten hard and repeatedly, they can withdraw from the biter. it's a natural consequence and a defacto time out for the biter. Might help to curb the biting towards your kids, should you decide to continue to visit.

our black lab would simply walk away and make herself inaccesible if DS got a little heavy handed in his affection. she wasn't going to put up with his nonsense.

If the dog can give that message. your children certainly can and ought to.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

ps- not sure that parental age, number of children or the age gap has anything to do with this. some kids are biters, most get over it in time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

Well, when I looked at the title I couldn't help thinking, "Is she asking about a two-year-old biting others or whether it's OK to bite the two-year-old back?"

Some toddlers can be difficult, all right. But I don't think being bitten adds anything to the joy of a friendly visit. I would get up, collect my kids, and cheerfully go home as soon as it happened. (I could be cheerful about it because it would set a better example for my kids and because I could be thankful it's not my child doing the biting.)

I wouldn't yell at the mama, because she's probably embarrassed and worried enough. But I wouldn't allow my children, or myself, to put up with it even for friendship's sake.

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