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  • How do you handle biting?

    My 14 month old bites me often and I'm wondering how to effectively but gently handle this.

    I know she bites me when she's frustrated, so I try to minimize the situations where I know that behavior gets triggered. But I can't always avoid those situations.

    When she does bite I tell her that it hurts mama, but I think she's too young to understand what that means right now.

    Any suggestions?

  • #2
    We have a children's board book called Teeth are Not for Biting. It's been a really great book (also Hands are Not for Hitting...) because it has advice for parent's on how to handle biting, and it has pictures and situations in it that explain to small children why biting hurts, and offers them alternatives.

    I think the best thing you can do is to determine what is causing the biting (stress, frustration, sore teeth, need for attention). Then keep responding the way you already are by explaining that biting hurts. Then try to empathize with her frustration and offer her another way to deal with her frustration.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by JennifaBest View Post
      We have a children's board book called Teeth are Not for Biting. It's been a really great book (also Hands are Not for Hitting...) because it has advice for parent's on how to handle biting, and it has pictures and situations in it that explain to small children why biting hurts, and offers them alternatives.
      I've thought about getting those books but I thought she was still a little too young for them. I guess it can't hurt to have them around though.

      Thanks for the reply!

      Comment


      • #4
        Biting

        My 16 month old son loves biting and pinching. Sometimes when he is frustrated or sometimes just because!!! I have tried to just say "No biting" calmly and then tell him "gentle love" or something similar and hug him. He seems to think it is funny half the time so I try to have a really calm non-funny demeanor when I say it. I have had people tell me to bite or pinch him back!!!! REALLY nice! Unbelievably I think people actually do this to their babies! Anyhow I only have had variable success but I think over time they will get it!

        Annabelle

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        • #5
          You'd be surprised how much they understand before they can verbalize. I second the book idea!

          Also, how about safe biting alternatives? You could say, "wow, what a strong bite you have, how about we bite (insert safe object here) instead!". Make it something funny maybe like Sophie the giraffe- natural rubber that squeaks. My Nathan (21 months) and I bite on toys together and pass them to each other- I do this game during heavy teething.

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          • #6
            Biting hurts

            Hey,

            We have all dealt with biting either from our own children or protecting our children from other biters. Fortuneately my children never made a habit of biting. I did notice that during teeting, they liked to bite my clothes. They especially liked to bite my shoulder area. I think it's because if they grabbed enough clothing in their mouths they would get my elastic bra strap - extra pull for the biting experience!

            Anyway, I few times they would bite me in the process. Each time this happened, I would put them down and say ouch. Sometimes even if it didn't hurt, I would pretend to cry. I would take one or two of their fingers and gently push them on their teeth. Then I would say, "See those teeth are growing and they are very sharp. You need to be careful so you don't hurt Mommy." Then I would hug them and give them an alternative item to bite on. I would reitterate that we don't bite people.

            Also, I avoided letting them bite on stuffed animals because I didn't want them to get confused and try to bite our dogs!

            Remember, if you try this, don't push their fingers into their teeth too hard. You don't want it to hurt them, you just want them to associate their teeth with sharp objects. I think the big issue is that they don't realize that their teeth are hurting you.

            Hope this helps.

            Jen

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            • #7
              Biting

              Children/Toddlers have no impulse control and it may be a while before the biting stops.

              A few ideas:

              A. When she doesn't bite you while your holding her lavish her with positive words like you are being gentle with mommy. - I love your soft touch. - give a kiss hug etc.. - repeat every time she doesn't bite you or is being gentle etc...

              B. When she does bite you put her down and don't give her any attention (verbal, eye contact etc.) and count to ten or so (stay next to her or a few feet away). If she's biting for attention and you give her a verbal reaction (any reaction is attention good or bad) she'll do it again for another reaction from you.

              C. Based on your posting is sounds like your saying she does this when she's frustrated and can't communicate. Try teaching her simple sign language like: help, milk, juice, water, cracker, eat, banana, apple, more, etc....
              You have to use the signs right before you do something like show the sign for cracker before giving her one. It will take time but be persistant. We tried that with our son and it worked miracles. It may work for you. Signing also helps them speak a little earlier as it exercises the part of the brain that's used to communicate verbally.
              http://www.signingtime.com/index.php?cPath=41
              http://www.aslpro.com/cgi-bin/aslpro/aslpro.cgi

              Best of luck and happy mothering! - it will get better!
              Last edited by ssemino2000; 04-01-2008, 10:10 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ssemino2000 View Post
                Children/Toddlers have no impulse control and it may be a while before the biting stops.

                A few ideas:

                A. When she doesn't bite you while your holding her lavish her with positive words like you are being gentle with mommy. - I love your soft touch. - give a kiss hug etc.. - repeat every time she doesn't bite you or is being gentle etc...

                B. When she does bite you put her down and don't give her any attention (verbal, eye contact etc.) and count to ten or so (stay next to her or a few feet away). If she's biting for attention and you give her a verbal reaction (any reaction is attention good or bad) she'll do it again for another reaction from you.

                C. Based on your posting is sounds like your saying she does this when she's frustrated and can't communicate. Try teaching her simple sign language like: help, milk, juice, water, cracker, eat, banana, apple, more, etc....
                You have to use the signs right before you do something like show the sign for cracker before giving her one. It will take time but be persistant. We tried that with our son and it worked miracles. It may work for you. Signing also helps them speak a little earlier as it exercises the part of the brain that's used to communicate verbally.
                http://www.signingtime.com/index.php?cPath=41
                http://www.aslpro.com/cgi-bin/aslpro/aslpro.cgi

                Best of luck and happy mothering! - it will get better!

                Thanks for the suggestions.

                I've noticed over the last day or so that she is really starting to test the boundaries in all areas too. So she does get a little frustrated when I have to set/enforce limits.

                We already use signs, but she only does a few of them right now (milk, for nursing, and lights). I'm not as consistent with all of them as I should be because we mostly use them at meal/nursing time and sometimes I forget. But she already has about 10 words that I can understand; coincidentally one of them is cracker that's her favorite food right now.

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                • #9
                  Don't have an exact answer for you since my DD has only bit a few times and those times seemed to be an exploration for her....I do have a story on the subject though...

                  A couple of months ago, my daughter found a granola bar next to my rocking chair in my room (I keep a granola bar on hand for those late night, "I'm STARVING" modes that sometimes occur during a nursing session of my 12wk old) Anyway...she wanted it and I told her that we needed to leave this granola bar upstairs because she already had one open downstairs that we needed to finish first and then asked her to put it back on the dresser top. She said no, so I tried again and she was refusing so I went to take it from her gently and as I did so, she rushed to shove it in her mouth to try and take a bite of it, wrapper and all. My hand/fingers were already on it and she bit down and got my fingers along w/ the granola bar and it hurt! I couldn't have controlled the "ouch" that came out of my mouth if I wanted to, and I said gently but firmly immediately, that we don't bite people because biting hurts. She looked at me and then stuck two fingers in her mouth and bit down as hard as she could. Then started to cry so hard because it hurt her. I felt really bad for her and cuddled with her of course. It was just one of those toddler moments where she had no real idea of the outcome and wanted to see what it was like...

                  She hasn't bitten me since (even in exploration like she had one or two times before).

                  I think that for some toddlers, they just need time to understand things and while even then, the impulse to do the behavior will still be there. The suggestion of finding appropriate things to bite and making a game of them during non-biting moments might help the situation when a real bite occurs because he'll remember the game and might transition to it for you..

                  *hugs*

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Heather View Post

                    Also, how about safe biting alternatives? You could say, "wow, what a strong bite you have, how about we bite (insert safe object here) instead!"
                    LOVE this advice!!! Chances are he's biting because he doesn't feel like he has the right words to express his feelings. Perhaps teach him a funny face or funny sound to make to symbolize the feeling that makes him bite. Not only will it help him express himself, it will also provide great comic distraction!

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                    • #11
                      Baby Signs help

                      I think you can deal with the biting at any age. Our son used to "bite" me when he was three months old because of "teething" (although it took another three months for his teeth to come in), and I would say "OW" where it startled him (not to where he cried but that he knew it wasn't a good thing to do to his Mommy) and ended the session. He is 19 months old now, and I think he has pretty good nursing etiquette. However, he is a jabber jaw, and he likes to talk to me and tell me things he sees around us when he nurses. Ow for me as I occasionally get side-swiped by his teeth while nursing. I tell him to please not talk while he nurses because it gives Mommy an "owie" while showing him the Baby Sign for pain. I think Baby Signs would be helpful at any age for biting/hitting/kicking, etc. as it helps to show empathy. When our son bites/hits/kicks/throws a hard toy, etc., we tell him that it hurts, he usually is made to sit in a brief timeout (1 minute/ year of age), we explain it to him again with words and Baby Signs that the action he did hurts and makes that person sad, and then he is now conditioned to get up, give the hurt person a hug, kiss, and says/signs that he is sorry. I just realized the other day though how much empathy can really be taken in at such a young age when he and I were reading Humpty Dumpty. At the end of the story, he signs "pain" making a sad face and kisses the book to help him feel better. Children are precious!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        my daughter started doing that around the same age. I was told not to react to it but to gently put her down, or remove her from the breast (when she bit them) and then try again. Seperately, I also increased my attention towards her doing some of her favorite things especially after she had a stressful day. It worked. She has only bitten me once more since that age, she's now 18 months.

                        Good luck! You've been getting some great suggestions!

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