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Is it Unreasonable to bite your kids back?

(256 Posts)
AnneNonimous Mon 14-Jan-13 16:10:24

When they bite you? Or more to the point a baby?

DS is almost ten months and has discovered biting people. He has almost 5 teeth so it's painful, and he favours the boobs or face but will pretty much go for anywhere. It REALLY does hurt. A couple of times it's hurt so much I've screamed out and scared him so he's cried, but it hasn't stopped him. I've also given him teething rings or something else to chew on, told him 'no' in a firm voice everytime but to no avail - he won't stop.

Anyone I mention it to tell me to bite him back - not hard but so he understands what biting is. I can't quite bring myself to do it but I have to admit I've been close when he's really hurt me! Is it what you would do/ have done? I can't quite believe a 10 month old could learn a lesson that way I just don't know?

usualsuspect Mon 14-Jan-13 16:11:55

No, you shouldn't bite a 10 month old baby back.

I wouldn't bite a 10 month old baby in any circumstances.

And I've never understood how copying the behaviour you don't like is supposed to reach them not to do it.

PriscillaLydiaSellon Mon 14-Jan-13 16:14:15

You are being grossly misadvised. I can't believe anyone would seriously suggest that. Biting a child will merely teach them that it's okay to bite. I suggest you put him down as soon as he bites, say: 'we don't bite: it hurts', and give him no further attention. If you are firm, calm and consistent, he will get the message.

Seabird72 Mon 14-Jan-13 16:14:34

I know lots of people who have bitten their children back but I wouldn't do it myself! My dd3 had a problem with biting but only family members - then one day she bit a friend's child - he was actually a big biter himself and he would bite anyone - after she bit him he never bit another child again :-) and I was very lucky in that my dd didn't bite again (perhaps because I was so upset that she had bitten another child) I wouldn't advise you to bite back - you're likely to get a lot of abuse for suggesting it - even though it is quite common (as in happens alot) for some parents to do it.

whattodoo Mon 14-Jan-13 16:14:42

Absolutely not!
Like you, I can't believe a 10mo would 'learn the lesson'.

AnneNonimous Mon 14-Jan-13 16:14:42

I don't feel comfortable biting him - it feels like such an aggressive thing. Does anyone know what will make him stop?!

FarelyKnuts Mon 14-Jan-13 16:14:57

No. You don't bite a baby. What kind of shite friends would advise that???
On a practical note. Try your very hardest not to react. At 10 months old he won't understand you biting him.
Move him away from you if he bites. Say no in a very bored voice. Repeat.

McNewPants2013 Mon 14-Jan-13 16:15:07

unnessersary imo.

he is biting as he is in pain, and normally for comfort most breastfeeding mum feed the baby. So he is using you as a comforter.

hope it passes soon

CaptainVonTrapp Mon 14-Jan-13 16:15:23

Yes it is always unreasonable to bite a baby (even if they started it hmm)

Just as it is unreasonable to hit a child for hitting...

Say no, firmly. Put him down. It's just a phase he'll stop soon.

snowybrrr Mon 14-Jan-13 16:15:46

I wouldn't bite anyone under any circumstances.

Insane idea. DD was a biter, I was told to do this, I chose not to. She doesn't now, at 2.

FreudianLisp Mon 14-Jan-13 16:16:54

No way. It's cruel. He won't understand that you're doing the same thing that he's doing. No ten-month-old has sufficient empathy to think "Ooh that hurts: perhaps I'd better refrain from doing it to others."

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Mon 14-Jan-13 16:17:03

There is no way that a 10mo old baby could exert as much pressure with teeth as an adult. Grow up. If I saw or heard of anyone doing this I would be horrified! Next time they bite you, say 'ow' really loudly at high pitch (babies do not like high voices) turn them away from you and place them on the floor and Ignore.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 14-Jan-13 16:17:05

Of course it's unreasonable to bite a 10 month old baby hmm

Who are these imbeciles that are telling you that abusing a baby is acceptable?

FuriousRox Mon 14-Jan-13 16:18:19

Yes it is totally unreasonable.

Don't know how to cure it though. My dd used to bite me when she was about six months. After a particularly hard bite I cried, and she never did it again, but that might have been a fluke.

AnneNonimous Mon 14-Jan-13 16:18:47

I don't think he's in pain he always bites when he gets excited, and I hope I haven't come across like I want to bite him! It seems to be really common advice, not just from friends or family but just general people I meet and discuss it with!

perceptionreality Mon 14-Jan-13 16:19:37

What?? hmm Do people really advise this?

There is no way anyone should ever bite their child back however old or young they are. A 10 month old couldn't possibly know that biting is wrong yet.

You are the adult - it's your job to set an example of good behaviour, not behave like a child yourself.

KumquatMae Mon 14-Jan-13 16:19:47

Biting a BABY?! Super advice there. My 12month old bites occasionally, with bloody sharp teeth! I try my hardest not to react by yelping with pain, I just say "no, that hurts" and move him away. When he gives me cuddles and kisses or gently strokes my face I give him lots of praise.

AnneNonimous Mon 14-Jan-13 16:20:11


There's no need to be so rude, why would I lie that it hurts? Because I really want to bite my child?

Moominsarehippos Mon 14-Jan-13 16:21:08

Two wrongs don't make a right. Hurting him will only confuse and upset him. he doesn't really know that biting hurts you but you do know that biting will hurt him.

I would just pop him down in his cot with a firm 'No' for a few minutes, so that he realises that if he bites, he will have to sit alone.

My MIL is desperate for me to bite DD2 as she did it with DBIL. I will never bite any of my children ever but find a non committal mmmmmh and head tilt usually get me out of the conversation without an argument. I find a loudish NO and being put down if she is on my knee seems 'punishment' enough.

perceptionreality Mon 14-Jan-13 16:22:44

I agree that putting the child down is the best thing to do.

AnneNonimous Mon 14-Jan-13 16:25:08

sneaky so other people do get this advice, I haven't entered some parallel universe where only I am told to do this!

I wouldn't bite him, I just wondered if people do because it seems such common advice. I'm wondering if its a generational thing.

Confusing post from me above, but perhaps I should try a firm NO with ny MIL too grin

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Mon 14-Jan-13 16:25:29

How was I rude? hmm

AnneNonimous Mon 14-Jan-13 16:26:55

Telling me to 'grow up' was rude.

BabsAndTheRu Mon 14-Jan-13 16:30:18


Pretty harsh there, no need for that. 10month old babies really bit hard, I had to go to the docs after DS1 nearly bit my nipple off, blood everywhere. It's really an old wives tale to bite back, loads of folk used to tell me that as well. I did what one of the other posts said, put baby down and said firmly no,no,no and then ignored them. It's a phase they all go through and will grow out of.

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Mon 14-Jan-13 16:31:19

Ffs, stop projecting your feelings onto what I wrote. All I meant was that their is no way DS would cause as much pain as you would, even if you were mindful of how you did it. I do think you need to grow up and get a grip now though, why come on here and ask for advice on such a delicate subject if you are going to get so touchy. Here's hoping you never get flamed. Good grief woman.

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Mon 14-Jan-13 16:32:10


Hulababy Mon 14-Jan-13 16:32:22

10 months old is a baby. They have no concept of right or wrong, being naughty - and equally no concept of cause and effect - therefore biting back will have absolutely no affect on his ability to know that him biting someone will hurt them.

Biting a baby is not teaching him a lesson. It is cruel plain and simple.

TheApprentice Mon 14-Jan-13 16:32:56

My ds1 started biting occasionally at about 1 and continued till 2 and a half (didnt happen that often!). I also got advised to bite back from some people but there was no way I was doing that. What I did as soon as he was old enough to start to understand was to say "No" and remove him from the situation (whilst apologising profusely to whoever he had bitten......), and then as he got older I would leave wherever we were - so toddler group, gym class etc which he absolutely hated and I would make sure he knew why we were leaving.

He usually bit through frustration or even excitement and love (!) but he still had to know it wasnt acceptable. He grew out of it and is not at all an aggressive child now, aged 6!

McNewPants2013 Mon 14-Jan-13 16:33:29

nolittlebuddahs everyone pain threshold is diffrent.

why is this turning into a bun fight, the OP is asking for advice not putting down

AcornToOak Mon 14-Jan-13 16:34:01

It would be serious cause for concern if it was found that an adult was biting a child for any reason,

I have heard this advice before but would not follow it in a million years,

I would also have to seriously consider my friendships with people that did this to their dc,

It is abuse to bite a child.

allthegoodnamesweretaken Mon 14-Jan-13 16:34:50

When DD went through this phase we looked upset and said 'ouch that hurt me, poor mummy. You didn't want to hurt mummy did you? Let's make mummy feel better' then encouraged her to stroke, hug or kiss to make the person feel better. Worked like a charm. Important not to get angry, but put emphasis on them being a kind child and that they couldn't possibly have intended to hurt.

Teach them to feel empathy, not fear.

AnneNonimous Mon 14-Jan-13 16:35:42

NoLittleBuddahs there are certain ways of getting your points across without coming across as rude. Telling somebody to 'grow up' is rude. I am not particularly sensitive and I've had my share of flamings - doesn't mean I will accept rude comments.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Mon 14-Jan-13 16:35:50

I would never bite a child much less a 10 month old. That advice has been around since time immortal but it doesn't make it good advice.

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Mon 14-Jan-13 16:37:44

It isn't, I just resent being called rude when I wasn't. Simple mechanics says an adult will exert more pressure that I child due to more developed muscles and greater number of teeth, so DS would experience more pain than OP. IMHO parents just need accept this as a phase, maybe OP should wear more layers, that's what I did. I wasn't putting her down, just commenting on the petulance of her response btw.

AnneNonimous Mon 14-Jan-13 16:38:04

I can't quite believe all the advice had me doubting my instincts! Glad it's not just me. Will be trying immediately putting him down/in his cot while I tend to my poor bruised body

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Mon 14-Jan-13 16:39:53

Anne You are determined to take issue with me for some reason, and fwiw I think you are being quite rude, to ask for advice and then get pissy when you don't like the reply. You do seem v sensitive to me

AnneNonimous Mon 14-Jan-13 16:42:37

I have gratefully accepted advice from everyone else on this thread who managed to give it without being rude smile

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Mon 14-Jan-13 16:43:50


NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Mon 14-Jan-13 16:45:31


perceptionreality Mon 14-Jan-13 16:46:26

People tend to be more abrasive in their replies on AIBU - if you're sensitive then avoid! Maybe in parenting would have been better?

CatchTheFox Mon 14-Jan-13 16:47:44

I would say 'no' and then give them something they CAN bite instead.

by the way, ignoring children when they do something you don't want them to is also an ineffective (and dare i say..childish?) way of trying to control their behaviour.

OwlCatMouse Mon 14-Jan-13 16:52:02

Yes, there can also be childish goady responses in AIBU. Reckon they're best ignored.

Greensleeves Mon 14-Jan-13 16:52:10

I'm glad you have followed your instincts and NOT bitten your baby OP

Even if you did it, it would not "teach" him anything, he is too little. He has no idea that he is hurting you.

and when he is bigger there will be better ways of teaching him

Just say "no" in a firm voice. If he does it again say "no" again, put him down and move away from him for a few seconds. If he bites while feeding, say "no" firmly and break the latch, then let him get back on again

worked for ds2 (and ds1 is a different kettle of fish)

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Mon 14-Jan-13 16:55:09

Owl if that was directed at me, I'll think you'll find Op's comment to me was goading if you read my explanation of my first post, I did not mean to be rude.

Have heard the 'bite him back' advice and know at least 2 people of my mums generation who did it and said it worked. I never did it myself but I know how the OP feels. When lots of people are presenting something as an 'obvious' solution you do sometimes start to question yourself.

And as someone who was bitten several times by a 9 month old I can assure you it DID hurt and wasn't being done by a child in pain - just one who had found a new game. I did the putting down, sharp tone of voice thing and it stopped but took a few bites before we got there.

Best of luck OP. It's a very annoying stage.

BabsAndTheRu Mon 14-Jan-13 16:57:55

I could never get my first two to stop biting when feeding, tried the breaking the latch technique but never worked. Hoping it will work with DD when the time comes. Don't want another trip to the docs. Hope some of the advice today helps and just ignore someone that's obviously having a bad day. You know who you are!!

Greensleeves Mon 14-Jan-13 17:01:05

Of course you meant to be rude Buddha, how can "grow up" not be rude?

OP has been given bad advice, she hasn't followed it because she felt it was wrong, she has come to MN to ask other parents what they think about it. What has she done wrong? confused

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Mon 14-Jan-13 17:03:46

My son was doing this not so long ago and honestly all I could do was to look him in the eye and tell him firmly "NO! stop it! that hurts!" and distract him. He got the message eventually . Not saying it works on all children/babies but what else is there to do? WOuld never, ever bite anyone back. That logic is totally fucked up to me. confused

perceptionreality Mon 14-Jan-13 17:04:26

'by the way, ignoring children when they do something you don't want them to is also an ineffective (and dare i say..childish?) way of trying to control their behaviour.'

But there is ignoring, and then there is not giving attention to something you'd prefer your child not to do and therefore reinforcing it. For example, I've always found that walking away from a tantrum results in shorter tantrums and less frequent tantrums. Trying to engage with the tantrum usually makes it worse ime.

Of course, when a child is older it's not an appropriate thing to do but for a younger child with not much language, using a behavioural approach can be very effective imo...

BurnThisDiscoDown Mon 14-Jan-13 17:05:08

My DS (17 months) has just been through a phase of this - he likes biting on material and caught me by mistake, I yelped and then he thought it was a brilliant new game! I tell him no then put him down (and try not to squeal!), he's got bored of it now (I think!). I think they like the reaction, DS gets a bit smacky when he's overexcited too, but I take his hand and stroke my face with it and he calms down. I've had loads of people advise me to hit/bite back though, and some of them are my age or younger so not necessarily a generational thing. I never have, of course.

BabsAndTheRu Mon 14-Jan-13 17:07:00

Perceptionreality, totally agree.

HecatePropolos Mon 14-Jan-13 17:08:04

I think the only thing to do is as people have advised. hold his arms to his sides, look him in the eye and say a firm "No." and put him away from you.

Repeat a million times until he gets the message grin At that age, he won't even link him biting you to you biting him. All he'll know is mummy hurt him. He won't understand why. 10 months is too young to understand cause and effect.

I have never understood why people advise bite them back.

child bites me
no. biting is wrong. you must not bite. in order to make you understand that biting is wrong, I will... erm... bite you. [boggle]


and <thwack> no hitting.

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Mon 14-Jan-13 17:11:05

Greensleeves, I think that I have a better idea of what my intentions were than you do/ can. I said I thought the advice was wrong and explained why. I don't see why you are attacking me tbh other than the fact I refuse to pander to op's when I think it is wrong to do so I am sick of the bitchiness on here atm

PastaDee Mon 14-Jan-13 17:13:00

My DD went through a biting phase at the same age. I actually think she was learning to give me a kiss but didn't quite understand how to do it.

It does hurt (she drew blood once) and people told me to bite her back too. I just said 'no, I don't think so' and ended the conversation.

DD grew out of it pretty quickly, never bit anyone but DH or I (was terrified she'd bite another baby) and learnt to give kisses properly. I was teaching her 'gentle' at the time in relation to the cat so just extended this to 'no, that hurts mummy, be gentle'.

I like the advice an OP gave about teaching her to stroke you better etc.

BabsAndTheRu Mon 14-Jan-13 17:15:06

Watch out for phase starting up again, usually because another child has bitten them. Nursery informed me once of DS1 biting a wee boy, I was really worried as he was well past this phase but when changing him that night for the bath two big bite marks in his back from other wee boy.

Greensleeves Mon 14-Jan-13 17:17:35

Buddhas, you told OP to grow up. It was uncalled-for and rude. Just be sensible and accept it <shrug>

I am sick of people being attacked for asking for advice, personally. Save your righteous ire for people who have actually done something wrong.

Flobbadobs Mon 14-Jan-13 17:18:38

Baby bites can really bloody hurt! Try saying 'no' or 'no thank you' firmly and put him away from you for a minute. DD seems to have just come through this stage, fortunately a short one but I was given the same advice and never followed it.

PickledInAPearTree Mon 14-Jan-13 17:20:45

My ds was a biter and a LOT of people told me to bite him back.

I was amazed at the number!

I didn't if course. I just got him a little Hannibal lecter style mask.

BabsAndTheRu Mon 14-Jan-13 17:21:03

Couldn't agree more GREENSLEEVES

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Mon 14-Jan-13 17:27:42

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

All sproggs go through a shark phase. I, too, got told to bite the little buggers back. I didn't, I plonked them on the floor and said 'No' while giving the hairy eyeball. It is a phase, and most of them grow out of it really quite quickly unless you're DS1 who munched anyone who came within snaffling distance until he was 3

BabsAndTheRu Mon 14-Jan-13 17:30:23

Nice language nolittlebuddahs. The rudeness just keeps on coming. Enough said, behave yourself.

exoticfruits Mon 14-Jan-13 17:31:58

Common sense says that if you are telling your DC not to do something then you don't do it yourself!

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Mon 14-Jan-13 17:32:02

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

CatchTheFox Mon 14-Jan-13 17:33:05

i hear you perceptionreality and i agree that there is a difference between ignoring and not giving attention to unwanted behaviour. i feel that 10 months is too young for the 'look the other way' approach though. distraction and redirection is definitely more the order of the day.

BabsAndTheRu Mon 14-Jan-13 17:33:17

That's enough!!

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Mon 14-Jan-13 17:34:18

The only rudeness was in my explanation of how you and others have made me feel. It's not good enough to say enough said. Stop the bitchiness.

buildingmycorestrength Mon 14-Jan-13 17:34:38

My friend did it and Social Services got involved.

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Mon 14-Jan-13 17:35:27

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 17:39:06

OP your child is still tiny and probably teething too.

However, once older and still biting then yes, I'd give a little nip back straight after being bitten and explain that biting hurts.

I'm old school and it worked for me.

Viviennemary Mon 14-Jan-13 17:40:34

This was the advice for decades. Mine were not biters though DD did once bite DH and he let out such an almighty scream as he was so shocked. She never did it again. grin

CatchTheFox Mon 14-Jan-13 17:42:41

nobody can MAKE you feel like shit littlebuddhas. but if you are feeling bad, perhaps a little introspection is the order of the day.

also, if someone on a thread bites you, perhaps it's best to ignore them?

ToyCarsHurtMyFeet Mon 14-Jan-13 17:45:28

Definitely not for a 10 month old baby, it would be inappropriate.

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Mon 14-Jan-13 17:47:46

I disagree Fox, I have explained myself over and over again. I'm getting sick of it and people need to know. I gave advice, explained myself when OP accused me of rudeness, yet still she and others have attacked me repeatedly. Is my advice any less valid because I don't follow the herd? Discussion is the point of AIBU, or so I thought. I am sick of being made out to be an ogre.

AnneNonimous Mon 14-Jan-13 17:51:17

Oh goodness.

Sorry Buddahs but I'm pissing myself at the irony

'Grow up OP!'

'I'm sick of the bitchiness on here!'

'How dare someone tell me to behave I'm not a child!'

mummyonvalium Mon 14-Jan-13 17:51:57

I remember DS1 going through this phase in a really major way, and loads of people suggested this strategy.

Oh dear it was not good. I remember he bit me so hard and I got so angry and I shouted at him "do you want me to bite you now?", he was screaming his head off as I pulled his sock off. As I went to do it I pulled back and asked myself at what stage it becomes abusive to him. I didn't do it and just put him down on the floor and left him for us both to calm down. He calmed down and did not do it again.

When DS2 came along I used that same strategy. Completely disengage and no more playing until he stopped. As a result his biting phase lasted about a week.

PickledInAPearTree Mon 14-Jan-13 17:52:17


Op said she didn't feel comfortable biting him too aggressive in subsequent post.

Then you steam in with grow up.

You started it!

It's quite common advice to be given. She didn't say she was going to follow it.

polkadotsrock Mon 14-Jan-13 17:53:24

I am utterly at the end of my tether with ds biting me, and will admit to seriously considering this option. He is 14 months and only bites me (so far) always bloody me, at least twice a day. I just don't get it and no amount of 'no', putting him down, actual crying in pain etc seems to help. Sending me batty tbh - just so you know you're not alone OP

AnneNonimous Mon 14-Jan-13 17:53:31

And fwiw, everyone else gave the same opinion as you just not in a rude way. I didn't think you were rude because you thought biting a child isn't on, I thought you were rude because you told me to 'grow up' which is rude however you want to look at it.

Arthurfowlersallotment Mon 14-Jan-13 17:53:56

Fucking hell, you have to ask?

No biting!

Greensleeves Mon 14-Jan-13 17:56:48

You are having a temper tantrum because you were pulled up on a rude and nasty comment you made. If you had any sense, you would apologise properly and wind your neck in.

OP did nothing wrong, she posted for reassurance that she was doing the right thing - which she was! And the only person who felt the need to be rude to her was you. And it does matter. Parents need to be able to come on and ask for advice without being abused by people like you.

Grow up? Projection, much hmm

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 17:56:50

Some people can dish it out but can't take it back huh grin

Telling someone to grow up is rather rude really isn't it.

goldiehorn Mon 14-Jan-13 17:58:01

Nolittlebuddhas crikey wind your neck in would you! Can you really not see the hypocrisy of what you are writing?

OP I think that you know that it is unreasonable to bite a child to teach them a lesson, especially a 10 month who wouldnt have a clue why you were doing it. Case closed! smile

goldiehorn Mon 14-Jan-13 17:59:20

x posts with Greensleeves re: winding your neck in!

PickledInAPearTree Mon 14-Jan-13 18:00:34

You just have to act consistently. No and move him away.

It shitty having a biter but it will pass!

Hulababy Mon 14-Jan-13 18:00:37

Telling someone to "grow up" only has one message really doesn't it - and yes, it's rude and not very helpful at all.

But anyway - OP had already said in the first post that she didn't feel biting back was the right thing to do. And yes - older generations did seem to thing biting back was the answer; luckily parents nowadays seem to realise there are far more effective ways of going about it.

PickledInAPearTree Mon 14-Jan-13 18:03:10

Hula I was AMAZED at the people telling me to do it.

Old young, lovely neighbours, teachers, a social worker.

Greensleeves Mon 14-Jan-13 18:04:55

I saw a teacher do it when I was at primary school. When all the children were lined up after playtime, she calmly called this boy out to the front and sank her teeth into his arm!

thank goodness things change! Imagine if that happened now shock

OwlCatMouse Mon 14-Jan-13 18:07:56

I thought the holidays were over? wink

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 18:08:22

A little nip back and stating that biting hurts is a very logical thing to do.

No-one's talking about taking chunks out of anyone here well at least im not anyway


MrsDeVere Mon 14-Jan-13 18:12:49

DC5 was my first biter. It bloody hurts!
The pain and shock can make you want to do unseasonable things to your precious babe.

It really is best to react as little as possible. 'No, not nice' and turn away briefly to reinforce your displeasure.

It is like slapping, spitting and hitting. Hard to ignore but the more you react, the longer it will go on for.

BlissfullyIgnorant Mon 14-Jan-13 18:14:38

I did it. Can't remember what age my DC was but I cried when I fessed up to HV. She patted my hand kindly and told me that it's often the only way. Sadly, it worked.

MrsDeVere Mon 14-Jan-13 18:16:16

The biting back advice was very common even when my eldest two were little.
It happened all the time when I was a kid.

snowybrrr Mon 14-Jan-13 18:17:38

Biting or 'nipping' a child is abusive.End of story.

perceptionreality Mon 14-Jan-13 18:17:53

Oh yes, I totally agree about redirection CatchTheFox.

perceptionreality Mon 14-Jan-13 18:18:24

HVs are telling people to do it? shock

Greensleeves Mon 14-Jan-13 18:19:51

There are some really shit HVs out there though

It certainly isn't mainstream or recommended by anyone who knows what they are talking about

I can't think of anything more cowardly and pathetic than biting a baby.

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 18:23:47

Oh pack it up, of course nipping a child back and explaining that when they do that it hurts isn't abusive.

bedmonster Mon 14-Jan-13 18:25:16

Why would some posters not yelp with pain? It bloody hurts when you're bitten. My nephews was a biter and sil never let on she was in pain. At 3 he bit me. I bloody well screamed in pain and told him it was unacceptable.
Sil had always maintained he had never bitten anyone else and dvd didn't react as she didn't want to alarm him. FFS.

On the other hand, someone else I know did bite their ds when he bit him. He never bit anyone else again.

perceptionreality Mon 14-Jan-13 18:26:30

I disagree - I think biting or nipping a child is abusive.

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 18:28:00

abusive is a pretty loaded word perception and really gets used far too much which takes away the real meaning of it i find.

thebody Mon 14-Jan-13 18:28:27

I don't know why so many posters are horrified at the advice? I was told to do this too with my kids but didn't.

It's very very commen to be told this by older relatives op.

What I would do with your baby as he's so young is to immediately say 'no' put him in his cot and leave him for a short while, no attention.

Older toddler say over 2 half personally I would be more worried and be a lot more fierce. It might even be the very very few times I would smack. Not beat before flaming just one sharp smack.

I think it was common advice some years back, I definately remember friends doing it to their children, DD was never a biter so I never had to tackle it. DS now four has taken a few chunks out of me in the past, it bloody hurts, I think I was just very firm with a no. I do remember him making the end of DHs nose bleed after he sunk his teeth in it, happy days <nostalgic sigh>

Hulababy Mon 14-Jan-13 18:30:27

"A little nip back and stating that biting hurts is a very logical thing to do. "

I disagree. It is totally illogical to me, especially when all research shows that a 10 month old baby has no concept of cause and effect, and would therefore be incapable of realising that mummy is biting here to "teach her a lesson."

perceptionreality Mon 14-Jan-13 18:30:51

I think it's true that years ago what was seen as acceptable discipline was very different to today. There was a perpetuated idea that the ends justifies the means. ie, if you stop a child doing something then it doesn't matter how you reached that end. Not something I agree with at all tbh.

snowybrrr Mon 14-Jan-13 18:31:31

'I disagree - I think biting or nipping a child is abusive'
..and illegal

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 18:32:37

It reminds me of the rhyme about the boy who cried wolf.

perceptionreality Mon 14-Jan-13 18:34:20

'abusive is a pretty loaded word perception and really gets used far too much which takes away the real meaning of it i find.'

Well, that's what I think. I think biting or nipping anyone, whether a child or an adult is totally indefensible and wrong. If you are trying to hurt your child to teach them a lesson, then yes I do think that is abusive. Nothing 'loaded' about it.

I was told to do it with ds1 who is 18 now. I didn't, however he did stop biting after his friend decided he'd had enough and bit him back all over his back

sherbetpips Mon 14-Jan-13 18:36:15

Baby no way. Three year old well......

PickledInAPearTree Mon 14-Jan-13 18:37:08

It was only last year I was getting advised to do it.

LOADS of people too.

I was bitten by my mum when I was a kid. Quite a bit older than 10 months though. I cannot remember biting my sister but I can damn well still remember my mum biting me.
I don't agree with hurting a child to get your point across. My mum tells me I should smack ds and also jog his arm when he's got his finger up his nose so it hurts him and stuff like that hmm she doesn't really understand where I'm coming from when I say I don't want to do it.

splashymcsplash Mon 14-Jan-13 18:39:00

Absolutely nuts advice.

If a healthcare profession saw bite marks on your baby there would be serious repercussions. It is abusive.

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 18:39:05

I disagree with you perception. For me it's not about "teaching a lesson" it's about showing a child that it hurts to bite and one way of doing that is to show them by the same action they have just performed. To use the word "abuse" is rather OTT in my opinion.

MooMooSkit Mon 14-Jan-13 18:39:23

No it's not right though that advice is still given out. My Mum bit me back once when I was little as advised as I was a biter, I never bit again but I still wouldn't advise it now! Not sure why you were told to grow up though, babies and toddlers can have a strong old bite sometimes and can be very painful! It's a shame some people can't just give advice without turning rude.

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 18:40:45

What's this about bite marks? no one said about taking things to extremes here. nutters grin

Ds3 bit me for the first time the other day, he's 21 months. I couldn't stop myself yelping it bloody hurt. Dont know who was more shocked, me or him!

Greensleeves Mon 14-Jan-13 18:41:25

Of course it's abusive. It's a physical assault on a small child with the intention of causing pain

people who do this know it's despicable and they don't care.

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Mon 14-Jan-13 18:41:34

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

CatchTheFox Mon 14-Jan-13 18:41:50

but can't you just TELL them that it hurts to bite?

perceptionreality Mon 14-Jan-13 18:43:56

But if you apply that logic to other scenarios then it still makes no sense.

You broke my X, I'll break your toys
You had a massive tantrum, I'll have one - show you what it sounds like

I think that what is more confusing for a child than anything else is their parent doing something that they are specifically being told not to do.

So it then becomes a case of 'don't do as I do, do as I say'

perceptionreality Mon 14-Jan-13 18:46:35

Buddha, please stop - please?

MrsReiver Mon 14-Jan-13 18:47:08

You had a massive tantrum, I'll have one - show you what it sounds like

Yeah, I've done that one. End of my tether, really bad day, felt like kicking off too so I did. End result was DS stopped screaming and stood staring at me with his wee mouth hanging open looking at me with a WTF face on.

The biting advice - well that was doing the rounds when DS was little nearly 9 years ago, can't believe people are still trotting it out.

Greensleeves Mon 14-Jan-13 18:47:39

Buddha nothing you can say is going to make other posters responsible for your rudeness. You were nasty, you got pulled up on it. Get past it.

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 18:47:41

Of course you could CatchTheFox but doing it the other way is also valid and having it called "abusive" is rather OTT. Depends on the age and understanding of the child really. Actions do sometimes speak louder than words.

I am talking about a tiny little nip here then an explanation. All of a sudden we have "what if a health visitor saw teeth marks on the child".

Extremes huh

CarlingBlackMabel Mon 14-Jan-13 18:48:07

10m olds have no 'theory of the mind'. They cannot understand that you feel pain just because THEY feel pain under the same circumstances. It is developmentally impossible for them.

I suppose they might learn to stop doing it via aversion therapy, a bit like that man in America who advocated whipping babies with bits of plastic tube to stop them crawling places you had said 'no' to - or for doing ANYTHING you said no to.

But personally I consider it cruel to hurt babies as a way to control their behaviour, when they have no understanding that what they do is wrong.

Writehand Mon 14-Jan-13 18:49:40

I bit my baby & it was a total success. I didn't bite properly, I just firmly, slowly and very carefully closed my teeth over his little nose (that was where he was biting me). He got eyes like saucers, and he never did it again.

You obviously have to do it with extreme care and control, but it works. It's just to illustrate the mechanism: once the baby gets the idea that biting must hurt he stops. You don't actually hurt him, obviously.

perceptionreality Mon 14-Jan-13 18:49:43

Maybe the tantrum one wasn't the best example? grin

I think we've all had the 'right that's it, I have had it!!' moments .

polkadotsrock Mon 14-Jan-13 18:49:52

nolittlebuddha without being rude perhaps you should just leave this thread. You obviously have nothing more to add to your previous points so there is little point in waiting around when you are only likely to become more offended. Save yourself the hassle.

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 18:50:26

Oh by the way i wasn't talking about nipping a "baby" back. I'm talking about 18 months onwards here (just to clarify).

Greensleeves Mon 14-Jan-13 18:50:41

Hear Hear Mabel. The most chilling thing about that sort of "training" is that it works. For all the wrong reasons.

Bullying "works" too, if your goal is to get the other child's dinner money off them. hmm

ComposHat Mon 14-Jan-13 18:51:06

My ex aunty did that to me as a baby - bit me proper hard too.

It didn't stop me biting though, although I did grow out of it in my own time.

Greensleeves Mon 14-Jan-13 18:52:21

" I just firmly, slowly and very carefully closed my teeth over his little nose (that was where he was biting me). He got eyes like saucers, and he never did it again."

Wow. sad

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 18:52:56

here we go "chilling" oh for god sake, get a grip grin

perceptionreality Mon 14-Jan-13 18:54:47

Even if there was evidence to show that negative reinforcement in the form of hurting people does work, ie reduce a behaviour, that doesn't mean it's an acceptable thing to do or justify it. And in the long run there are far better, less confusing ways to go about it.

CatchTheFox Mon 14-Jan-13 18:56:53

I agree ClippedPhoenix that the word 'abusive' is a bit much for the scenario you describe.

But perception has hit the nail on the head - the only way you can influence someone's behaviour is by modelling the behaviour you want to see. Actions do indeed speak louder than words - if you don't want your kids to bite, you shouldn't ever bite them.

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 18:57:58

The use of very emotive words on these sorts of threads are just so out of proportion a unnecessary and they always have the effect of making things go poof. Is that why they are used with such seeming abandon?

Greensleeves Mon 14-Jan-13 19:00:58

I find somebody biting a small child chilling, personally. I doubt the thread will go pouf because I have posted that, particularly as I have no intention of being goaded.

But you carry on trying to make light of biting small children. It's good that people get to see what that kind of argument looks like.

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 19:01:30

Catch, there is a scenario where a child doesn't understand that they are indeed hurting and showing them it hurts with a little nip does no damage at all, it does stop them due to them then understanding an action.

CarlingBlackMabel Mon 14-Jan-13 19:02:08

So people who use 'emotive language' are responsible for the swearing of others? Describing an act as abuse and explaining why makes somene DESERVE to be sworn at?

Can we remember this next tyime a woman on a relationship thread is being called a cunt by a shouting swearing partner? She probably used the worng kind of language to ask him not to do something. And shouting and swearing is never the responsibility of the person doing it, only the person who was alledgedly annoying.

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 19:03:40


A nip chilling?

Making light?

Perspective is a good thing grin

snowybrrr Mon 14-Jan-13 19:04:15

I wonder if you would take a chunk out of your dog, if he bit someone?

Greensleeves Mon 14-Jan-13 19:07:05

Calling it a "nip" doesn't make biting any more acceptable than calling a smack a "tap" does.

The deriding and grin faces aren't strengthening your argument at all, neither is the belittling of other people's feelings. The fact is, you're the one claiming that it's a good idea to hurt a small child. Nothing you can say about me is going to be as vile as that tbh, so laugh away at my choice of language.

perceptionreality Mon 14-Jan-13 19:11:52

I do agree with Greensleeves. People are saying 'you don't actually hurt them' - well what are you doing then?

Writehand's post above made me very uneasy.

OliviaPeacein2013Mumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 14-Jan-13 19:14:16
ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 19:15:13

Of course you would agree with greensleeves as you have the same perception of things. I agree with writehand's rather more down to earth thinking.

Agreeing to disagree is also good.

RooneyMara Mon 14-Jan-13 19:16:13

I used to have 'friends' who thought this was a good idea too. I told them I didn't agree. It's a cultural myth. ie some sectors of society tend to go by it.

It's bollocks.

Incidentally they were on a register of some sort with social services - she told me they had had a visit one night after leaving their 1yo strapped into his buggy, because he refused to sleep in a bed, and didn't hear him screaming while apparently the neighbours did. What were they supposed to do? hmm

We didn't stay friends for very long...they moved away...such a bloody relief.

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 19:17:31

There again you are talking extremes Rooney.

Writehand Mon 14-Jan-13 19:17:53

I'm not "claiming that it's a good idea to hurt a small child". My baby and I were blissfully bonded, and I didn't hurt him. What I did was illustrate - in the only way you can to a pre-verbal child - that potentially it might not be a cuddly nice thing for him to be doing. The message was "If I close my teeth over your flesh it's not cool, is it?"

His eyes went like saucers as a new and amazing discovery rocketed across his conscious. "Wow! I didn't realise that!" was roughly what he seemed to be thinking. There was no distress. Just a sudden realisation. And I'd argue that my interpretation is right because as soon as the penny dropped he stopped doing it. I know someone else who did the same, with the same result.

Seems some posters here have missed the nuances of life and its interactions. It's great to be empathetic, not so great to lose all sense of proportion,

CatchTheFox Mon 14-Jan-13 19:18:20

ClippedPhoenix, i get where you are coming from but I disagree with the method.

A young baby would not make the quite complex leap
of reasoning behind your actions. They are simply too young to empathise in that way.

An older child is old enough to understand, in words, that biting people hurts and will not be tolerated.

Greensleeves Mon 14-Jan-13 19:18:21

God RooneyMara sad

RooneyMara Mon 14-Jan-13 19:18:38

What d'you mean clippedphoenix?

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 19:19:37

have you read the rest Rooney?

RooneyMara Mon 14-Jan-13 19:19:55

btw I have only read the OP - not up to date with any arguing that might be going on or who is on what team as it were.

just saying my experience of this. Lots of people do seem to believe it works.

RooneyMara Mon 14-Jan-13 19:20:13


WeeWeeWeeAllTheWayHome Mon 14-Jan-13 19:21:49


once the baby gets the idea that biting must hurt he stops. You don't actually hurt him, obviously.

This seems contradictory to me. Either you are hurting him, and that's how he knows to stop or you aren't, in which case he wouldn't get the idea that it hurts and wouldn't therefore stop.

Greensleeves Mon 14-Jan-13 19:22:42

I can't see the wonderful magical moment of dawning consciousness you describe I'm afraid Writehand. What I see is a mother biting her child's face. It's totally unnecessary and I find it even weirder that a parent can do it calmly.

You don't need to cause a child pain (even mild pain hmm) to teach him right from wrong. All he learns from this is that you are bigger than him and can therefore "win". Not a valuable lesson for a baby.

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 19:23:40

its the action of using teeth that give the wake up call not the actual biting.

Greensleeves Mon 14-Jan-13 19:25:12

I hope OP is still reading this. This thread illustrates beautifully what a very bad idea it is to bite your child.

perceptionreality Mon 14-Jan-13 19:25:59

Well I feel that if something would be unacceptable to do to another adult, then it's also acceptable to do it to a child.

perceptionreality Mon 14-Jan-13 19:27:10

'All he learns from this is that you are bigger than him and can therefore "win". Not a valuable lesson for a baby.'


ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 19:27:17

Oh get off your soap boxes, really.

sherazade Mon 14-Jan-13 19:29:10

wtf? biting common advice? what kind of people do you mix with?

My dd bit my nipple during feeds at that age. I just wailed said no in a firm voice and stopped the feed.

I don't know how you'd make a baby realise that biting is unpleasant, by biting them back without hurting them. I find this totally unconvincing.

Greensleeves Mon 14-Jan-13 19:32:00

It's unconvincing because it's rubbish. Either it's OK to hurt a small child, or it isn't. Hurting them "a little bit, to teach them a lesson" is still wrong.

Writehand Mon 14-Jan-13 19:34:37

Having looked back at this thread, one of the things that's interesting is that many posters don't seem to register that in that pre-verbal stage, when you and your baby are together pretty much all the time physically, like dancers but for hours on end, there's a whole lot of complex body language going on. The baby does stuff, you do stuff, and regardless of theories about understanding, there's a physical dialogue going on that's far more complex than some seem to appreciate.

As I said, I did not hurt my baby in any way whatsoever. I just closed my teeth on the very surface of his skin. I made sure he saw teeth, not a closed mouth. There was no mark, not even saliva. But by doing that he was able to perceive - in as simple a way as a cat with a kitten - that his little teeth, unchecked, would be unpleasant for me. And he very definitely understood. It wasn't a punishment, and it wasn't intended as a punishment. It was information, and that's how he reacted. If I'd upset/abused/hurt him he'd have presumably cried, been distressed, whatever. He wasn't.

His whole face was amazed and fascinated. Eyes like saucers. That doesn't described a baby who's upset, but one who's amazed. It was something he had discovered about life, and about reciprocity. Babies take on a lot more than some people think.

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 19:37:06

Id advise you to chill a bit greensleeves and put things into perspective rather than use very ill advised emotive words.

FergusSingsTheBlues Mon 14-Jan-13 19:39:29

Flame me, if you must, but I DID bite my son back v lightly when he was about 18 months old and def NOT teething. Just enough to give him a shock. He never did it again. He dispdnt cry either, just looked at me in dismay. You cannot reason with a child that young and his nursery had threatened to suspend him, so we couldnt just put up it.

I cured his hairpulling fetish the same way at the same age.

Greensleeves Mon 14-Jan-13 19:41:21

Thank you for your advice ClippedPhoenix.

Writehand, I read the interaction you describe in your post rather differently from you. I doubt very much that your baby had a sudden light-bulb moment because you bit him. It sounds more like you projecting a narrative onto him which had nothing to do with his actual experience. Either you hurt him, in which case all he learned was that you can hurt him, or you didn't hurt him, in which case he learned nothing whatsoever and was just curious about the weird teeth-baring expression you were wearing. Hopefully it was the latter.

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 19:44:32

At last another voice of reason Fergus.

Did you have a perpetual biter greensleeves?

I did just like Fergus had.

sherazade Mon 14-Jan-13 19:45:44

I disagree, Fergus , I think You can reason with an 18 month old.

Writehand Mon 14-Jan-13 19:46:10

Greensleeves, as you can clearly read minds and even re-live people's personal experiences for them, I am amazed you waste your time here.

Get a column in the Sun or Hello!, why don't you? Then millions can share in your weird inner certainty and supernatural abilities.

I used to bite when I was small. One day my dad bit me back. Never did it again. And I don't hate my dad.

Greensleeves Mon 14-Jan-13 19:48:38

My ds1 has Aspergers and did go through phases of biting me very hard, although he was older. We did "cure" it using various strategies. I could not more have bitten him back than I could have hit him or pulled his hair. I really couldn't. Not even when I had purple bite marks up my arms, and he drew blood too.

DS2 is NT and did the biting when breastfeeding thing, and it bloody hurts. Especially with mastitis, I really used to see stars. I did the firm "no" and breaking the latch, and putting him down for a bit if it was persistent. It did work, just not in one glorious rush-of-consciousness - it took a bit of paience and consistency.

Greensleeves Mon 14-Jan-13 19:50:18

Writehand, I would say that it is you demonstrating the Mystic Meg superpowers in your post. Since you were able to watch your child's brain development in real time while biting his face hmm

Clawdy Mon 14-Jan-13 19:54:07

Years ago I was helping at a playgroup and we noticed a little boy had a bitemark on his upper arm. When the playgroup supervisor asked his mum about it she said she had done it to show him biting could hurt. I know the supervisor informed the health visitor. Have to say,I can still remember that little arm...

ClippedPhoenix Mon 14-Jan-13 19:58:29

yes but clawdy that was totally out of order, I personally am not talking about a bite back but a nip, it's very very different. It does work.

Writehand Mon 14-Jan-13 20:03:20

We'll have to agree to disagree, Greensleeves. Deciding exactly what other people have or haven't experienced or seen is seldom sensible and never courteous.

Read the post from Clawdy if you feel you must get a nice self-righteous strop on. There you have a mother who actually bit their child and left marks. Getting shirty with me for doing neither is a bit sledgehammer/nut, surely?

BornToFolk Mon 14-Jan-13 20:07:48

What I did was illustrate - in the only way you can to a pre-verbal child - that potentially it might not be a cuddly nice thing for him to be doing.

Of course it's not the only way of demonstrating that! You can say "No", you can put them down, you can do any number of things that does not include hurting (even a little bit) a tiny child.
DS was not a biter but he did go through a hitting phase when he was about a year old. The most effective thing was to hold his hand to stop him hitting, say "No" firmly and if he persisted, put him down and walk away. THAT gave him a clear message that if he hit, he did not get cuddles or play. There was no need to hit him back!

baskingseals Mon 14-Jan-13 20:10:51

mil did this to baby ds.

it is one of the many reasons i find it hard to be civil to her.

polkadotsrock Mon 14-Jan-13 20:18:56

borntofolk any advice for me? Tried all mentioned things but ds still biting. Only me, at least twice daily. He's 14 months and no amount of putting him down, saying no, no cuddles is working. I'm at a loss do any other strategies would be good

AltinkumATEalltheTurkey Mon 14-Jan-13 20:19:03

OP, no unless you want to be up for criminal charges for intent assult on a minor.

To bite a child does not come under physical chastisement, however does come under assult on a minor.

However ignoring the legality side of it, anybody who does this to anyone, never mind a baby, needs a brain transplant!!!

BornToFolk Mon 14-Jan-13 20:22:50

Keep doing it, Polkadotsrock. It's not going to work straight away.

sparklingsky Mon 14-Jan-13 20:26:28

I can apply my neurodevelopmental knowledge here or my experience as a mum of three - all of whom have bitten me by 18 months..

It flipping hurts, and can be exasperating to not know how best to respond to stop the behaviour becoming a habit - especially when you add other adults expectations and other children into the mix.

Who hasn't had the thought cross their mind - if I do (X) to them they'll understand... The thing is, applying adult perspectives to an infant or toddler experience of the world is completely different.

Toddlers can't empathize
Toddlers can't understand adult intent in the way the OP describes
Older babies can make the connection between the feel of something on their skin and pleasure or pain. They can't do this for someone else. They may well change facial expression when experiencing something new - especially a new sensation.

There are various examples here of some form of simulated biting. A baby or toddler that has never known their parent/carer hurt them may be confused and/or shocked. If they have experienced hurt before, they may feel fear, and associate this with eg baring of teeth, or exposing of flesh. But it's the initial stress response that the child attends to and what the adult was doing when they felt fear or pain. It may not be an association with teeth. It depends on the developmental age of the child.

FergusSingsTheBlues Mon 14-Jan-13 20:30:36

I couldnt get through to him. So I sorted it. I never smack him but i am strict. He eats with knife snd fork properly, tidies his toys every night, cleans up any spillages that he makes and ive even caught him cleaning the toilet with a loo brush after he emptied his potty into it....He is very well behaved and more importantly, v happy confident kid. It doesnt do them any harm to know who calls the shots, im not sure why we are so scared of discplining our children.

Writehand Mon 14-Jan-13 20:30:39

As I always say, there are countless ways of bringing up kids well, and for every happy family you'll find someone pointing out how appalling whatever they're doing is. There's something about parenting that makes everyone a judge. I do it myself, though I'd say I do it less than I've been done to. Some people make an entire lifestyle out of disapproval. smile

Willowisp Mon 14-Jan-13 20:31:08

Apparently I used to bite my mum's nipple whilst breastfeeding. She said one day I looked her right in the eye & clamped my teeth down. She yelled & gave me a slap, I cried but never did it again. She bf me until I was a year, so likely I was around 10 mths.

I'm ok & she wasn't a slapper/smacker, she just didn't want her boob bitten. This was in the 60's.

sparklingsky Mon 14-Jan-13 20:32:46

So your child will associate any of pain, fear, stress, panic when experiencing discomfort from you. They may then associate this with an element of your behaviour when they felt distressed. So more problems can occur when you do something that has nothing to do with biting.

The question is, do you want your child to learn in this way? And even when there is a likelihood of them associating you with fear, pain, stress?

sparklingsky Mon 14-Jan-13 20:33:23

So your child will associate any of pain, fear, stress, panic when experiencing discomfort from you. They may then associate this with an element of your behaviour when they felt distressed. So more problems can occur when you do something that has nothing to do with biting.

The question is, do you want your child to learn in this way? And even when there is a likelihood of them associating you with fear, pain, stress?

perceptionreality Mon 14-Jan-13 21:31:00

I think we would all agree that biting another adult would be wrong.

So why is it ok to bite a child?

You can mock all you want and tell me to get off my soap box. I still don't see any plausible explanation for this and nobody seems to have one. Writehand, you obviously feel that you were teaching your son about how the sensation felt. How do you know he wasn't scared or confused?

perceptionreality Mon 14-Jan-13 21:34:29

And I really don't think that old chestnut 'it never did me any harm' stands up to scrutiny.

polkadotsrock Mon 14-Jan-13 22:23:49

I've been at it for months I can assure you, I never believed it would work overnight. Buggery, looks like I'm stuck then.

PickledInAPearTree Mon 14-Jan-13 22:26:17

It's crap having a biter. I had a few bad months now its sporadic. Ds would attack other kids like a little shark. So embarrassing!

It's awful, ds1 was terrible for it. I remember picking him up from playgroup just after he'd started there so he was 22-23 months old and he'd just bitten someone.

He was saying sorry and this other child's mum was shouting at him.

sparklingsky Tue 15-Jan-13 08:01:06

Polka - if you've tried everything consistently and you are still not getting any change on behaviour at all, it sounds like he might be getting some sort of sensory feedback from biting. I'd be thinking it might be time to discuss things with a health visitor or paediatrian.

Mimishimi Tue 15-Jan-13 08:06:17

I did it with my 20 month old DD who went through a particularly bad biting phase for a couple of months. She would laugh like a maniac after doing it and she knew that it hurt people. She never did it again after that. I do think a ten month old would be too young to understand though. For them, that phase is very short and it's more of a sensory one than a genuine intention to hurt.

roguepixie Tue 15-Jan-13 08:10:50

My DS did the biting on the boob thing when he was about 9/10 months old too. He had teeth and they were sharp, really sharp. I said a firm 'no' and broke the latch. He did it two or three times and then never again. Whether the breakig the latch and saying 'no' had anything to do with it is debatable but that's my tale.

Do not bite him. He will not learn anything from it at 10mo.

GirlOutNumbered Tue 15-Jan-13 08:19:54

Interesting thread. I would never bite my children and luckily as of today I have never thought about it.

I think though you have to remember that MILs etc will have been given advice like this and although we may not agree with it now, we have to accept it probably did us no harm.

My mum was a smacker (apparently, I don't remember) as I was very naughty. Now I am older all I know is that I love my Mum very very mum and I think she is wonderful. I'm still quite naughty though grin

GirlOutNumbered Tue 15-Jan-13 08:20:40

*very very much!

valiumredhead Tue 15-Jan-13 08:34:52

Ds was a biter grin

I would put him down the second he did it and walk away. He soon got the message.

The biting back thing used to be common advice.

thoughtsbecomethings Tue 15-Jan-13 09:27:15

please don't bite back it is classed as child abuse, i know a mother who was arrested and child put on at risk register for biting her son, as he was biting her and baby brother.

valiumredhead Tue 15-Jan-13 09:27:57

I am sure there were lots of other issues as well thoughts

COCKadoodledooo Tue 15-Jan-13 10:19:55

Ds2 was a biter. Ds1 had done it once or twice, but that was it. With ds1 saying "No!" (firmly but not shouting), plonking him down on the floor and not giving him any attention worked pretty quickly. I'd figured the same would work with ds2 but sadly no.

He seemed to delight in it, little sod. Anyway it got to the point when I could see it coming. It was frustration rather than maliciousness mostly (ds1 was a much earlier talker so had other ways to express himself). I tried everything to stop ds2 but nothing seemed to have an effect, he seemed to simply not care that it hurt. Would never have considered biting him back though.

One day I saw him lunge (it was almost exclusively me he went for) so I took hold of his arm and put it in front of his face, so he bit himself. The look on his face! He didn't bite for a good few days after that, and the next time it happened I did it again. That was it, no more.

Should probably say that on those occasions when I git him to bite himself I didn't pull him around, wasn't angry/shouty with him, just very matter of fact about it.

FergusSingsTheBlues Tue 15-Jan-13 11:26:08

thoughts, I think we need to remember that most parents adore their kids and wouldnt dream of inflicting hurt on them, classing a nip back with the teeth as child abuse is ridiculous. For us it worked. Im sensible enough to trust my own behaviour and perhaps we should stop judging eachother and accept that.

Its also a bit patronising adopting the old "bless em, they didnt know any better" attitude towards our own parents. i suspect that most of us raised the the seventues were smacked as needed and are we all raging damaged psychos? Nope. But I suspect that we are looking at a timebomb of bad behaviour when our kids reach teenage years as entitled brats who have never been admonished effectively or disciplined because parents let thrnsekves become undermined by peer pressure.

polkadotsrock Tue 15-Jan-13 11:28:26

sparkling if that was the case would it be exclusive to me? would he not be doing it more often and to others?

BornToFolk Tue 15-Jan-13 11:33:50

i suspect that most of us raised the the seventues were smacked as needed and are we all raging damaged psychos? Nope.

Actually, I think that if you believe that biting your child as a form of disclipline is acceptable then you HAVE been damaged by your upbringing.

I was smacked, and threatened with smacking and it's not something that I would ever, ever inflict on my DS. There are loads of ways to discipline a child without hitting them.

snowybrrr Tue 15-Jan-13 11:43:44

I think biting a child is one of the classic symptoms of abuse
I think you have to pretty evil to think it's ok

valiumredhead Tue 15-Jan-13 11:45:58

Yes I agree randomly biting a child is a shit thing to do but this thread is not what that is about.

FergusSingsTheBlues Tue 15-Jan-13 11:50:33

born Im not talking about regular earboxing, threats, hitting and slapping FFS, i was smacked about three or four times in my entire childhood. I expect we all were.
So, Ill thank you for not making comments about my oh-so-damaging upbringing!!!

The hysteria is incredible, whatever happened to commonsense?

BornToFolk Tue 15-Jan-13 11:55:00

It's not hysterical to think that inflicting pain as a form of discipline is not acceptable.

valiumredhead Tue 15-Jan-13 12:02:55

Actually, I think that if you believe that biting your child as a form of disclipline is acceptable then you HAVE been damaged by your upbringing

It really wasn't that long ago that biting your child back was recommended - standard advice from just about anyone.

snowybrrr Tue 15-Jan-13 12:14:03

really? I have never heard of anyone biting their child IRL

AlienReflux Tue 15-Jan-13 12:26:41

I'm gobsmacked that people bite their kids!! Have heard if it obviously,but honestly never thought people still did it!??

as for saying but it works so would a belt,slipper or cattle prod, doesn't make it justifiable.

TheCunnyFuntIsAGrittersWife Tue 15-Jan-13 12:37:40

My nephew is a hair puller, he's about 17 months. If my DD (19 months) has a toy and he wants it, he'll pull her hair. MIL said the other week that she (MIL, not DD) did it back to him infront of his mother and she wasn't impressed. Not fecking surprised really!

CecilyP Tue 15-Jan-13 12:47:31

It really wasn't that long ago that biting your child back was recommended - standard advice from just about anyone.

Was it? I'm nearly 60 and I have never heard of this before. I can't believe anyone would think it OK to bite a baby - even if he did it first. I have just re-read OP's post and her DS is 10 months old!

valiumredhead Tue 15-Jan-13 12:49:45

I'm really surprised yo haven't heard it before. It really was 'the norm' - smacking used to be 'normal too. I'm not saying either is right.

AmberLeaf Tue 15-Jan-13 12:51:47

My eldest is 16 years old.

He was a biter [though never bit me funnily enough]

I was advised by loads of people including two health visitors to bite him back when he bit, so he would 'know what it feels like' he was around 12-18 months, wasn't teething and tended to do it when he got excited around other children. This was around 1997-1998.

I didn't bite him because I just couldn't.

valiumredhead Tue 15-Jan-13 12:51:49
AmberLeaf Tue 15-Jan-13 12:53:24

To add, I know people that did bite their toddlers back and TBH it did stop them doing it again.

But still not something Id feel comfortable doing to my child.

valiumredhead Tue 15-Jan-13 12:56:54

I do too amber but not something I would do grin

CecilyP Tue 15-Jan-13 13:03:26

I know smacking was the norm, but deliberately biting a baby does not strike me as normal behaviour at all. Number 5 on your list, valium, does say 'don't bite your baby', so they must have heard of it, but they are doing the opposite of recommending it.

AmberLeaf Tue 15-Jan-13 13:04:34

Think I was scarred by news coverage of a case when I was about 10 of a toddler murdered by her father, she was bitten all over.

Tyra henry her name was.

I know that is far removed from what is being discussed here, but it horrified me at the time!

Jojobump1986 Tue 15-Jan-13 13:07:51

My DS is 14 mo & is going through a phase of biting like a puppy would while playing. I mentioned it to my brother recently & he suggested biting back because it worked for his cat! hmm The cat is apparently now on it's best behaviour around him but still bites my SIL. I've gently suggested that this probably isn't an acceptable form of discipline for a cat or a baby & can't help wondering how long it took him to get all of the cat hair out of his mouth. Yuck. Who would even consider biting a cat?! Just the thought of all that fur would be enough to put me off, let alone the cruelty issues! confused

valiumredhead Tue 15-Jan-13 13:09:23

celiy yes I know they are saying don't do it, I am using it as an illustration as to how it used to be the norm and now is not.

Yfronts Tue 15-Jan-13 13:10:07

Everytime he does it, put him down and walk off. this will solve the issue within a matter of days.

valiumredhead Tue 15-Jan-13 13:11:45

Y I agree, thats what I did with my ds.

AnneNonimous Tue 15-Jan-13 13:12:01

amber I know exactly what you mean, when I hear of child abuse cases of children covered in bite marks it gives me chills. Biting seems so deliberate and aggressive.

Of course I seriously doubt that anyone was suggesting I take chunks out of DS, but biting is still biting.

Writehand Tue 15-Jan-13 13:48:22

Some of the people on this thread have over-reacted to the point of absurdity. Sure, cruel and murderous parents leave bite marks on abused and dead babies. But that's not what we're talking about. We're just talking about different approaches. People raise their kids successfully in an enormous number of different ways and far too many people fail to respect the breadth of what's ok and what works. Doing things differently doesn't mean doing them wrong.

I've described a single unusual incident with one of my much loved and lovely kids and now people are suggesting that I might not have noticed that it upset him. Well! Doh! There's me with all my senses working, him in my arms and, as I have patiently explained, he was amazed by his discovery. An early flash of empathy? Who can tell. But to suggest that he might have been upset or even traumatised and that I simply didn't notice is just bloody rude and silly. Suppose I should count myself lucky I've not been accused of not caring. Not yet, anyway.

If a baby is scared, upset... That sort of intense reaction does tend to make itself felt, you know. And he wasn't. He was amazed, briefly, then he was back to his cheerful default setting.

A friend from another culture says she's noticed how many English mothers have a real problem with being judgemental and rigid about child rearing. She says the sheer number of prissy helicopter mums with fixed & detailed ideas on how children & parents should interact totally amazes her. Where she comes from people tend to assume that, if the kids are ok, every family is entitled to be different whereas England, she says "is the sock-matching capital of the world." Her take reminds me that there's a better way. Some of the ideas on these boards strike me as ludicrous, and there are baby gurus that chill my blood, but if it works for them & their kids, let 'em get on with it.

AmberLeaf Tue 15-Jan-13 14:20:14


I wasn't going to say anything, but you do realise that your babies eyes were as wide as saucers because he was trying to see what was happening at the end of his nose?

Not because he was having a moment of realisation.

put your finger on the tip of your nose and try and look at it.

Thats what your baby did.

Greensleeves Tue 15-Jan-13 14:23:19

Oh look, someone else with psychic powers Writehand

Your baby was too young to be having the "flash of empathy". Biting his nose achieved nothing.

NC78 Tue 15-Jan-13 14:26:38

It's not just unreasonable it's abusive!

Writehand Tue 15-Jan-13 14:36:49

Greensleeves, you write "Biting his nose achieved nothing."

But it did. That's why I posted about the experience in the first place. It worked. He stopped biting me or anyone else. It worked. And it worked without him being remotely distressed. Think even I might have noticed.

I'm not recommending my strategy to others -- my view is that all families have their own ways of dealing with things and that there's a huge range of what works. What we do here is share stuff, some of which may be helpful, other stuff we discard. You discard my ideas on this subject. That's cool.

snowybrrr Tue 15-Jan-13 14:40:28

As well as being completely wrong, I think people need to be aware that if a child mentions being bitten by a parent, that would inevitably set off cp procedures, and do bear in mind a baby or toddlers flesh is very delicate and takes very litlle to mark it.Any nip hard enough to have any deterrent effect at all, would likely leave a mark.

snowybrrr Tue 15-Jan-13 14:42:49

Whitehand -it either hurt him and he associated cause and effect, or it didn't hurt and would therefore be no can't have it both ways!

Greensleeves Tue 15-Jan-13 14:42:54

"all families have their own ways of dealing with things"

Yes, absolutely. But there have to be some basic boundaries in a civilised society. Biting children is wrong, as is hitting them, pulling their hair etc. Physically hurting people generally is wrong, and especially so when you are much bigger than they are.

It's cowardly, lazy parenting.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Tue 15-Jan-13 14:57:25

I think people are getting very carried away on this thread, its ridiculous!

OP at the end of the day its your decision. If you haven't done it already then I think you know how you feel about it.

There is always going to be arguments between the people who do and the people who don't, in any topic of debate.

Personally, I wouldn't have done it, but I didn't have a biter so it was never really something I had to consider. On the two occasions I was accidentally bitten whilst breast feeding, I removed DD from my breast immediately and only returned her after about 5mins. I feel that she learnt from that. I think if you do a similar thing with your son, he will learn. There is no need for any vocalisation, just simply put him down somewhere safe as soon as he does it and ignore him for a short time. You have to do it every time though.

polkadotsrock Tue 15-Jan-13 16:09:18

I think white is talking a bit of an unfair toasting here and there are some people who are becoming offensive and rude. Every child is different and there are very few things that will work for them all- if whites child was amazed and stopped then so be it- why must she be lying just because you don't believe it? I'm struggling to stop ds, 14 months, from biting me (as mentioned previously) and would hate to think that I would be a cowardly and lazy parent if I decided to do something like white did after MONTHS of walking away, putting him down etc. I think horses for courses unless it is truly harmful

polkadotsrock Tue 15-Jan-13 16:10:11

That is taking and roasting. Effing iPhone.

Greensleeves Tue 15-Jan-13 16:15:05

Well, hate it by all means polka, but if you resort to biting your baby then you will be doing something completely indefensible. It's not just a matter of opinion, like giving dummies or using cloth nappies or whatever. Hurting a child is in a totally different league.

And it is important that this sort of behaviour is challenged forcibly on MN and elsewhere - for new parents and those seeking advice, our posts are counteracting the ones from people like you who are downplaying and normalising totally inappropriate "parenting" practices.

polkadotsrock Tue 15-Jan-13 16:25:08

Point is green white didn't hurt him. That's what I'm talking about

polkadotsrock Tue 15-Jan-13 16:27:02

You are being totally off. I have posted many times on this thread for advice on how to stop him so don't accuse me of downplaying. I clearly state that harming them is wrong. You seem to be swiping freely at people who have done nothing wrong.

Greensleeves Tue 15-Jan-13 16:28:13

That isn't plausible though, as several other posters have pointed out. Either she hurt him to teach him not to do it (which wouldn't have worked anyway) or she didn't hurt him, i which case he still learned nothing and the exercise was just a bit weird, and a waste of time.

New parents coming on MN to ask for advice, and reading a post about biting your child's nose giving rise to a wonderful moment of empathic clarity? Thank god there are plenty of us to challenge nonsense like this.

Greensleeves Tue 15-Jan-13 16:29:36

No, I'm not "swiping at" anybody. If you think you see a personal attack, report it to MN and they will delete it. Otherwise - tough.

polkadotsrock Tue 15-Jan-13 16:33:20

I'm not petty enough to do that but I stand by the belief that you have been unfair and have taken only what you wanted to see in mine and some others posts. I just don't see the need. You can make a point without having to point fingers

Greensleeves Tue 15-Jan-13 16:36:19

And I stand by my belief that biting small children is wrong, despicable and not in anyway constructive.

I defended OP, who had come on to discuss the advice she had been given and had done nothing wrong. Of course I responded differently when posters came on saying that they had bitten their children and it had been a positive thing to do.

You and I are at odds because you decided to join the "you're being too harsh, it's every parent's choice" brigade. Not because you asked for advice about your biting toddler.

polkadotsrock Tue 15-Jan-13 16:41:17

I didn't join a 'brigade' I just didn't think it was necessary to take over a thread to have an argument just between a couple of people.
As an aside then, do you have any advice? I can't remember if you have/had a biter. (and am over 'conflict' for today)

Greensleeves Tue 15-Jan-13 16:46:23

I don't know how much use my advice would be!

My older child has AS and bit me to ribbons, but he was a bit older and it was part of meltdowns in which he really wasn't in control of himself. We went on autism courses and tried different approaches and we did get it under control, but that's not really the same thing

my ds2 did the persistent biting during breastfeeding. I found that saying "no" firmly and breaking the latch did get through eventually, but it didn't happen overnight and I did find it very painful and stressful. When he was a little bit older I also did "no" and break the latch, then the next time he did it put him down and move away. He did stop doing it. But I can't say for sure (and I don't think anyone else can either) whether my strategies worked, or whether he simply grew out of it or lost interest in doing it.

CecilyP Tue 15-Jan-13 16:50:46

Point is, green, white didn't hurt him. That's what I'm talking about

But that is why white's posts don't ring true. Either it hurt and white's incredibly advanced baby realised that his own biting must have hurt his/her mum and because he is so empathetic, realised he must never bite again, or it didn't hurt, in which case, what??

polkadotsrock Tue 15-Jan-13 16:53:16

Aw well, different situations indeed but 'twas worth a try!

Writehand Tue 15-Jan-13 17:13:37

I guess it's a lot easier to condemn people when you're inventing what they're supposed to have said, but I am getting tired of being attacked by posters who haven't bothered to read my posts.

It's easy to check what someone's posted throughout a topic: just select that your browser shows all the messages and then look for the relevant username using your Find facility. You'll then be able to check what I said -- skipping from one to the other -- an aspect with which most of my critics haven't troubled to clutter their brains.

To re-state: I did not hurt my baby. I did not leave a mark. The baby did not cry. He was not distressed. However he did stop biting. Permanently.

Clearly none of you've ever done any amateur dramatics. I pantomimed a bite - lots of teeth showing - but not leaving saliva, let alone hurting him in any way. Why would I hurt or scare him? I adored him, like most mums adore their babies. His reaction was amazement, not fear or distress, and from that moment on he stopped biting.

Babies learn in lots of ways we don't yet fully understand, and body language is one. And, while I am in no way suggesting that this is a technique everyone should adopt, it worked for us.

I have now seen half a dozen or so posts insisting that either it must have hurt or that it didn't work. Seeing that the only reason I contributed to the discussion was that it did work, I'm a bit disdainful of all this lazy knee-jerk condemnation. It's silly manufacturing all this indignation over such meagre grounds. Some of you really do seem in urgent need of a life.

CecilyP Tue 15-Jan-13 17:22:58

Oh, I see. So you didn't actually bite him - you just pretended to bite him but, because he saw your teeth - lots of them - he realised that his actual biting was something he must no longer do. Clever baby! However, I now don't see how he could have empathised with you, as he did not experience what you experienced when he bit you.

sparklingsky Tue 15-Jan-13 20:07:14

Sometimes babies/ toddlers just stop biting. They gave something a go once or twice and that's it. A bite, simulated or otherwise may not have anything to do with it.

Just another point of interest - scared or stressed little ones don't necessarily demonstrate this as adults would expect. There are studies where small children have elevated cortisol (stress hormone) but adults don't judge them as stressed....
Lots of parents like the old adage 'what you pay attention to you get more of'. But if biting is happening lots without cessation, I'd want someone with a professional view to give some advice...

snowybrrr Tue 15-Jan-13 21:38:20

I think your baby must be a child prodigy.

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