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Biting toddler - what to do?

(8 Posts)
lowrib Fri 22-May-09 02:06:39

I saw a good friend today, and she's very concerned about her nearly 2yo biting.

He's started biting quite a lot recently. He's bitten her, her friends and their children, sometimes so hard it's left a mark. Sometimes it'll be in play, but it's also particularly when he wants something from another child (and he's found it works!) or sometimes purely in aggression it seems.

She's at a loss to know what to do. She's tried using time out, and also really laying down the law, but last time she shouted at him he actually laughed at her!

She's getting advice from people like 'bite him back' shock which she says she'd never be able to bring herself to do. Others have said she should give him a slap on his bum, but she's never done this before, so why start now?

She's had a lot of upset recently, she is going through an acrimonious split with her DS's dad, and it's hard not to notice the atmosphere. She wonders is the biting might be as a result of the hostile atmosphere they've had to endure recently (but have now left thankfully), or if it's just a stage which some kids go through anyway (as some RL people have suggested to her).

She asked me what I'd do. My DS is way too young for this kind of stuff (no teeth yet for a start!) so I said what I'd do is ask mnet.

If any of you have any experience of this we'd be very grateful for any advice,

TIA smile

whomovedmychocolate Fri 22-May-09 04:37:27

Yes it's probably the split but that doesn't solve her problem.

Each and every time he bites she needs to remove him from the situation with a firm 'no' but no further comment. Put him in his room or somewhere else for two minutes. Don't rise to it. If he bites another child make a huge fuss about the bitee but not about him. Pay him no attention at all for this behaviour but DO praise him for playing nicely.

Learning ball games can help with the sharing - I pass the ball to you, you pass it to me etc.

lowrib Fri 22-May-09 11:21:42

Thanks whomovedmychocolate

She's been trying time out but says it doesn't seem to be working. ISWYM about the attention thing - no attention perhaps working better than negative attention?

Because of the split they are out a lot at the moment, having to sort a lot of things out, and also spending time with other children in the play park, so it's not always possible to put him in a different room so she's been using the buggy as the "time out" place.

Does anyone else have any experience of biting? What's it all about? What worked for you?

lowrib Fri 22-May-09 14:03:15


taren Sun 31-May-09 13:47:06

hi lowrib i went through a similar time with my 2 yr old .at nursery i was being called in and told he had bitten several children (he was only going 2 hrs a day twice a week) i hated going to pick him up they said it was because they had been taken cars of him and he was too young to communicate but i was devastated didnt know what to do people just said hed grow out of it i read every book on it they all said the same i would look at him tell him it hurts people and say "no biting it hurts"i was scared to let him go to parties and watched him like a hawk when he did .sometimes he would do it out of frustation other times excitment i was at my wits end then at some point it stopped. i think he began to understand eventually with me repeating it or he just got older .last week i picked him up from nuraery and was told he had been bitten it was such a relief to know it wasnt him doing the biting .

taren Sun 31-May-09 13:51:25

hi lowrib me again tell friend not to listen to peole saying bite him back thats teaching him its ok to do it and know slapping either . try and be patient and tell him every time its wrong and time out but not for too long 2 mins .i joined forums about it and was shocked about what people were saying good luck.

Ohforfoxsake Sun 31-May-09 13:58:46

My oldest DS was a biter - it is horrible and very upsetting. DS was 2 and a bit, I already had DS2 and DD1 was on her way - so we were going through big changes too.

I went to our behaviour specialist at our GP surgery. She gave me some great advice which really helped:

spend 10 minutes a day with DS doing his thing. Focus entirely on him, and let him lead. I thought this was going to be impossible but I found the time every morning before DS2 woke up. (Playing 'tracks and trains' at 6am isn't my idea of a good time, but needs must smile)

Keep a diary of incidents. Draw up columns: where we were/what led to it/what happened/what happened as a result/what action I took/how DS was. This really helped me keep it in perspective and made me see it wasn't all the time (although it felt like it was). It stopped me getting upset and feeling useless.

Things changed almost immediately IIRC.

I really feel for your friend, wish her good luck. smile

elvislives Sun 31-May-09 14:59:09

My DD started biting at around 1-1 1/2 and has only just stopped (now 26 mo).

With her it was because she couldn't speak. So when at nursery another child took something off her she bit them. She bit me for fun I think- because she could.

Now she can speak she has a defence mechanism and no longer needs to bite. None of my others bit but all of them spoke well before 18 mo.

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