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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?

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

I think your baby must be a child prodigy.

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...

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.

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.

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

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

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??

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.

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 16:36:19

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 16:33:20

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 16:29:36

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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 16:10:11

That is taking and roasting. Effing iPhone.

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

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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

It's not just unreasonable it's abusive!

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.

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.

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