Biting?? What’s this all about? Part 4

For parents dealing with biting toddlers or those who have had their children bitten, this guest post by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz offers support and solutions!  Consider the reasons behind Biting  and then follow up with part 2 and learn about the toddler’s feelings behind being a Biter or a Bite-e! And if you’re looking for strategies on how to handle biting scenarios as a parent, check out the third installment! Below is the final post covering this topic which explores what does and doesn’t work when you’re faced with a biting baby or with other hurtful behavoirs!

 

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this guest post from educator and Babsy B founder, Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz, Ms.Ed., You can look forward to a monthly feature post about A-Z parenting topics from Babsy B! Babs is a parent & new grandparent, a best-selling children’s author, career educator, and longtime consultant for schools, parents, and writers. And importantly, Babs is a former teacher for all ages and abilities and former school administrator!  Be sure to check out the Babsy B website to find field-tested books, prints, and other products.

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95 Responses

  1. Rebecca Swenor says:

    This sounds like a post I need to share with my two nieces who have little one. I love advise to parents like this for sure. It can help many parents with their children when they get to this stage.

  2. I’ve been lucky and haven’t had to really deal with biting with my son. Even a playful bite was always taken seriously and I talked to him about how it’s not okay. So he hasn’t done it since. But I do know some parents who deal with toddler biting. This has some great tips, tricks, and tools to address it! Thanks for sharing.

    • Babs says:

      Hello Lalia. Welcome to our Biter-S-Capers Club! With this post the final of four on this biting topic, I’m wondering just how many Club members we have in all now. Who’s counting? Sounds like you chose to use talking words with your son and it has worked well for you. Yay! Thanks for sharing your appreciation for these posts.

  3. Catherine Curti says:

    My son doesn’t biting, but if you would ask him, he will bite you. This is a great way to deal in biting.

  4. Elizabeth O. says:

    These are all very helpful, especially for new parents who are struggling with their babies. Thanks for sharing a lot of information!

    • Babs says:

      Hi Elizabeth. Yes, a lot of information, and barely scratched the surface for a challenge that will likely face parents of every new generation of toddlers. Never too much info nor too many tips for parents to choose those that work best for them. Thanks for sharing your appreciation.

  5. Eileen says:

    My kids did not go through this stage. I was lucky that all three of them keep their own teeth buried in their food. This is a great resource for new moms. Thanks for sharing.

    • Babs says:

      Hello Eileen. You were lucky, indeed, and it also means you get welcomed to membership in our Biter-S-Capers Club! Glad yours used their teeth for their intended use only. Thanks for reading and taking time to give a nod to this resource.

  6. Joely Smith says:

    I actually do not remember my kids going through a biting stage. I am lucky for that! Granted it was decades ago so I may have forgotten but I know that they did bite a little when they were teething but that was on a cold waffle. 🙂 This is an AMAZING infographic and should be very helpful to moms out there with young ones!

  7. Victoria says:

    My youngest son went through the biting stage. Luckily, we were able to stop the habit fairly quickly. This is a very important topic that you have discussed today though.

    • Babs says:

      Hi Victoria. Sorry to hear you have had experience with the Quad-B. Glad you were able to stop it fairly quickly…care to share your strategies that worked? We are all ears, are we not, Readers?! I hope you’ve had time to check out the other 3 parts in this 4-part series on Biting right here at savingcommoncents.com, beginning this past June and posted monthly through September. You’ll also find more strategies for addressing this and other hurtful behaviors @ http://www.babsyb.com under Blog/Ask Babs. Thanks for affirming the importance of discussing this topic, Victoria.

  8. I’m sure we’ll have a biter again here soon. Frustration brings it on here with the almost 2 year old whenever anyone gets up in his space.

    • Babs says:

      Hello Annie. Thanks for your comment. Yes, even at his young age, your under-2 has his own space and his boundaries for others around his space, just as each of us sets and monitors our own. Knowing how he may be feeling (and knowing that you will be wearing the hat that assumes his inclination will be to do the kind thing), we are glad that you are there and ready to help him verbalize and monitor his feelings BEFORE his frustration can lead to any kind of hurtful behavior! If you’ve not read the other 3 parts in this series, we invite you to read them for more tips. Thank you for all your preparedness that assists (and models for) your child!

  9. eliz frank says:

    Who knew there was so much information on biting? I’ve always wondered why some kids do it and others don’t … Very informative post.

    • Babs says:

      Thanks Eliz, for reading and commenting. So glad you found the series informative. We hope you caught all 4 parts to this Biting series. If not, the first 3 parts were posted right here at savingcommoncents.com in June, July, and August. In addition, check out the Ask Babs (one particular post on Biting and Other Hurtful Behaviors) and Babsy B Tips sections, as well as my Blog, at http://www.babsyb.com. And next month’s guest post topic here at savingcommoncents.com is on Talk to Stop and Talk to Start. See you here!

  10. rika says:

    This is a great article. It happened to my son long time ago and glad that he stopped biting.

    • Babs says:

      Oh, Rika. We, too, are glad it stopped. Thank you for reading and sharing your experience and your compliment on the post. Hoping you read the first three parts of this series, too.

  11. This good information. I am very thankful that my kids didn’t go through this phase.

    • Babs says:

      Ah, we have yet another new Biter-S-Capers Club member! Welcome, Ourfamilyworld! Glad to have you find this info helpful. Thanks for your comment.

  12. Jennifer says:

    I’m definitely going to back and read your other posts since it seems I’m finding this at part 4. For this post, I like the Q&A Games you touched on. Thankfully, I’ve never experienced a biting problem with any of my kids but hitting it another story. My 17 month old has just started hitting and pushing his sisters when he’s mad. THAT is something I need guidance on.

    • Babs says:

      Hi Jennifer. Welcome to this series. You’ll also find a Facebook post on Biting at http://www.ilikeme.com/ask-babs-on-hurtful-biting/
      And you’re a likely candidate for membership in our Biters-S-Capers Club…once that fellow passes the developmental age-stages most common for the Quad-B. [Hmm. There may be cause to form a Hitter-S-Capers Club…] We’re happy to have you and your experience-sharing. Good that you found us and, yes, you will find the series applicable to other hurtful behaviors. Curious if your 17 mos is the youngest member of the family. You’ll find mention of birth order and how it can affect behaviors…that feeling of helplessness and frustration a toddler can experience in being the sole family member without the oral language tools to get a “word” in edgewise. And here he is with so much to say about all that’s going down around him. So he speaks out…er, hits. Recently learned that I was my mother’s third and youngest child and her only biter. Ouch! Glad you’re finding the Q&A Games helpful. Do let me know if I can be of help to you along your toddler’s and his sisters’ and your journeys.

  13. Savannah Miller says:

    We use to have play dates with a little girl who bit. After the 3rd of 4th time I asked the mom to please make it stop. She was kind of rude to me and told me if I didn’t want my kids being bit then we shouldn’t have play dates any more…. THAT was the last time I seen them.
    This is great advice for anyone struggling with a biting toddler issue 🙂

    • Savannah Miller says:

      GHH I just realized when I said “This” is great advice it sound like I meant what the mom said. I meant you post lol You post is great advice!

    • Babs says:

      Ouch X too-many-times! Savannah, I’m guessing you felt surprise and disbelief to hear the other mother’s response to all that. Sounds like you found a way to take care of your child and you. Thank you for sharing those experiences that, I’m thinking, will be helpful to others around hurtful behaviors. Yes, the Quad-B can be a difficult one to encounter and, as your experience clearly relates, it’s a behavior that may bring a family up close and personal with others who embrace differing parenting styles. Happy to hear that you, a Quad-B Survivor, found this series beneficial.

  14. These are great strategies! Thanks for sharing:)

  15. Dina says:

    this is so helpful for the preschool set. I taught preschool and biting was a huge nono at our school.

  16. Autumn says:

    I’ve seen kids at church with huge bite marks where a child bit them at pre-school and it can be truly terrifying looking! I think these are great tips and resources!!

    • Babs says:

      Thanks for sharing how you felt in viewing the aftermath of a Quad-B, Autumn. Glad you found the tips and resources helpful. Hopefully, they’ll be proactively helpful for parents, caregivers, and teachers.

  17. Kerri says:

    I love the tips especially when you help the kids talk about the emotions they may be feeling when they bite. I know that when I was filled with terror while on the Tower of Terror ride, I bit my husband. So I can only imagine how little ones feel.

    • Babs says:

      Hi Kerri. Thanks for sharing. That must have been some ride of terror! Ouch for your husband! Yes, those emotions in children are much the same as yours and mine…fear, surprise, anger, disappointment, and the like…but we have our words. (Your words surely flew far away on that ride!) And depending on our environments as children (and our children’s current environments), individuals may have had or are having modeled for them…or not…ways to talk about emotions. Thus, we each come to every scenario bringing our own “unique perspective”…and we may or may not communicate what’s going on in us. The really difficult aspect is that no one can read another’s mind. And no one else can see that my needs get met. Guess that’s why the adage says something like, in order to love another, we must first love ourselves. Ah, look at where your ride of terror took us! LOL

  18. Jessica says:

    Wowee… no babies yet, but this sure gives a girl lots to look forward to 😉 On a serious note though, this is all a wonderful collection of information. Thanks for putting it all together!

    • Babs says:

      Aww. Yes, Jessica, lots of fun and laughter to look forward to, as well. Heartening to hear that you’ve found the series interesting and supportive for a time when/if you choose to make that kid-is-me plunge. It’s a joy for me to interact with readers like you who care about the feelings and needs of children everywhere. Thanks for choosing to be here with us!

  19. Great tips. I’ll try them on my husband. LOL.

  20. Kate says:

    What wonderful tips that actually don’t shame children and help them develop skills and communication!

    • Babs says:

      Thanks, Kate, for your comment. Yes, children look to their adults for how the world is supposed to be. Dorothy Law Nolte’s poem comes to mind as we consider shaming: “If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.” My ageless activity books, “Peaceful Me” and “Sometimes I Feel Happy, Sometimes I Feel Sad,” model short rhythmic words with actions children can practice and take as their own tools for use on their journeys toward becoming the best people they can be.

  21. Stephanie says:

    My daughter bit me once right through my jeans and made me bleed. For absolutely no reason. I was standing there and so was she and she just walked right up and bit me! Thankfully it only happened once but I can’t even imagine how it would feel to another child.

    • Babs says:

      We’ll join you in a collective vociferous OUCH! Whoa, that was rather cacophonous, but you get the point, Stephanie. We are all feeling for those jeans…and your leg! Thank you for sharing the feelings of surprise and pain and confusion––to name a few––that a Quad-B visits upon another person, little or not-as-little. Thank you!

  22. CourtneyLynne says:

    Ahhhh I am so thankful my daughter is not a biter! She just started preschool this year and apparently biting is a very common thing. Several kids bite :-/ These are some great ways to deal with it 🙂

    • Babs says:

      Ah, and another new Biter-S-Capers Club member! Congratulation, CourtneyLynne. So the Quad-B goes to preschool in your experience? As you’ll read about in Parts 1, 2, and 3 of this 4-part series, preS is not a common age for this behavior. It’s far more frequent during the Toddler One and Toddler Two age-stages, years when those teeth are emerging from the gums AND oral language is limited. This preS experience merits more and different strategies…this topic is truly an open-ended one. It will be interesting and helpful to hear more from you in the next few weeks about strategies the teachers and families employ there. Thank you for sharing…and for follow-up from you in the near future!

  23. My middle son was a biter, but it did not last long. He bit his sister once, and quickly learned that was not the best thing to bite.

  24. Kerri says:

    I remember the biting days. These are such great tips. I love how you put a variety so that you can pick the strategy that works best for your child.

    • Babs says:

      Yes, such experiences are not easily forgotten! Glad you liked the host of strategies, Kerri. We educators tend to have overstuffed pockets,because…well, rarely does one strategy work for all or even during more than period of time. Children (and we!) seem to come wired with unique uniqueness! Thanks for your comment.

  25. Wildish Jess says:

    My first son had a quick 1-2 week biting spree and my 9 month old has just started. I hope it passes just as quickly!

    • Babs says:

      Ouch! And again! We all hope this, too, shall pass quickly. We’d love to hear the strategies you used when experiencing Quad-B’s with your first son…and the kind(s) of strategies you are employing now with your 9 month old. Thanks, Wildish Jess, for sharing now…and we hope you’ll return to share more.

  26. The biting stage can be really hard for some parents (and kids). Hopefully understanding and trying some of these tips help them make it past this stage easier.

    • Babs says:

      Yes, Onica (MommyFactor), we hope to help make it easier for children and for all who are parenting, teacher-ing, neighboring, friend-ing, community-ing, and the like. Each and every age-stage certainly does come with its challenges. And possibly more so than ever before (note I did state “possibly”), it takes all of us to help today’s and tomorrow’s children become the best persons they can be! Thank you Onica, for reading and sharing.

  27. michele d says:

    I’m very thankful that my children didn’t go through this. I am sure these tips will be helpful for those who do.

    • Babs says:

      Hi Michele D. Welcome as our newest Biter-S-Capers Club member. We join you in your gratitude for zero Quad-B behaviors with your children. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  28. Rosey says:

    Redirection or explanation really does work better than a simple command. It lets the child reason and see why.

    • Babs says:

      Yes, Rosey, and as Kerri shares here, it helps to have different strategies for different children and families. And as you say, commands in this kind of setting do get heard as just that: commands. (Yes, there is implication therein that a command can have its place.) Thank you for sharing!

  29. Heather says:

    I used to have a home day care and a little girl would bite my son, and then he learned to bite back. It was squashed pretty early and didn’t happen more than a handful of times, but I didn’t like having to send home a child that had a bite mark on them. It seemed to be out of frustration that another child was playing with the toy they wanted and being non-verbal, biting was her solution. It was quickly fixed when I started to “sign” with her more like her mother did.

    • Babs says:

      Hello Heather. Yes, we educators experience it all the way with the children and with their families when any Quad-B or other hurtful behavior occurs. And OUCH x 2 when a child’s behavior models for others! Glad to hear that you grabbed that opportunity to communicate through signing. Thank you for sharing your experience, how you handled it, and the end result.

  30. M says:

    Super impressed with all the worksheets & tips! Thanks for sharing! We had a terrible time deciphering why our son was biting … But moreso y would he only bite the men in the house .. Never the women! Long story short, he was later diagnosed with autism. So we’re guessing that was his form of communication at the time.

    • Babs says:

      Hi M. Glad you find the strategies sound and helpful. Your taking the time to share your experiences here and now is likely to be empathically helpful to other parents…thank you for that. We do know that biting communicates, so I, too, am guessing the impetus for your son’s biting. As a former teacher of special needs students and later serving as director of special services in two states, I extend to you and your family my personal gratitude for all that you do for your child’s every social, emotional, physical and learning need. I enjoy child and adult friends with diagnoses along the autism spectrum; I continue to witness in awesome admiration and gratitude the depth of payback for all when a child or adult lives with and within a supportive family and community. Thank you, M!

  31. Becca Wilson says:

    I am very lucky and fortunate that I did not have to worry about this with any of my children. They were however exposed to children that do have this habit. It can be a hard thing to break. Thanks for sharing this post!

    • Babs says:

      Hi Becca. Very sorry your children (and you, the other child, and family) experienced one or more incidents of the Quad-B behavior. Glad to have your sharing. And, if it’s of any comfort, you are our newest Biter-S-Capers Club member! 😮

  32. Lorane says:

    I remember the biting days .. boy did they hurt. You listed some valid points / explanation but all kids are different and resort to biting for different reasons

    • Babs says:

      You’re right, Lorane. Hope you’ll check out the other three segments in this Biting series where we discussed many other feelings and needs that can lead to biting. And yes, those biting days did, indeed, hurt. Hoping I offered some kind of apology at the time to whoever’s finger or arm I apparently bit into when I was a toddler. Ouch! Biting hurts me to think of it!

  33. Megan Elford says:

    I’ve dealt with a few biters through the years, and I’ve found that often it’s because of overstimulation. I always had success with separating the child from the situation and giving them a break from the activity around them.

    • Babs says:

      Yes, separating and distracting are powerful strategies, as is our awareness of how a child is feeling when overstimulated. And awareness that, just like with us adults, what can be entirely doable and bearable to one person/child may be way over another’s limit. Thank you, Megan, for reading and sharing.

  34. Lisa says:

    These are great tips for dealing with a biter. I have a friend who is going through this now. I’ll have to share this with her.

    • Babs says:

      So glad to have your reading this post now, Lisa, when your friend is in need. Be sure to share Parts 1, 2, 3, and this final Part 4 of this series on biting. Thank you for sharing!

  35. These are terrific tips. We have about to be 1 twins in our family, my grandbabies, and I am dreading that stage with them. This will definitely make it better.

  36. My son sometimes did little love bites. Thank goodness that’s over!

  37. Useful tips. A lot of practical solutions for such a common toddler problem!

    • Babs says:

      Hi Jenn. Glad to hear the tips feel practical and useful. Yes, it does seem that the more common an age-stage behavior, the more likely we are to be in need of more options for survival! Thanks for sharing.

  38. Those are great ways to approach this subject. I would have never thought of this but it is a great way to educate children how to behave.

    • Babs says:

      Hi Mama to 5 Blessings! I find that looking for the instructional ops can help us adults keep our cool during stressful times with children. With 5 Blessings, I’ll bet you’ve noticed more than a few times how children tend to be one step ahead of us all along the way. Finding those teachable moments can help to ground us AND them. Thanks for your sharing.

  39. Tammileetips says:

    These are all great ways to help a toddler with biting. It’s hard when they are younger and don’t have the words to express themselves.

    • Babs says:

      Thanks for reading and sharing, Tammilee. Yes, language is the key. I’ve watched in awe how a few of the baby signs, such as “help” and “more,” serve as great assists for everyone until a child’s words come along. It’s interesting to observe how the signs accompany the oral language for a short time and then the signs diminish as oral language confidence grows.

    • Liz Mays says:

      That’s true. It doesn’t always seem to come from aggression so it can really surprise you.

      • Babs says:

        Yes, Liz, it isn’t always aggression (though unfortunately sometimes is viewed and handled as such) and can be one shocking surprise to be the victim or to witness a Quad-B. Who would anticipate it?!

  40. Liz Mays says:

    This is really helpful. Biting is a tough thing when you have two kids around the same age especially.

    • Babs says:

      Yes, Liz, I so agree. Ours were 13 months apart, and though we didn’t have biting incidents that we can recall, we certainly had more than a few double doses of this and that behavior. I well remember their side-by-side potty chairs, for one.

  41. Jaime Nicole says:

    Avoiding labeling is so difficult because for many it’s a natural and even helpful (at times) way to understand what is going on. How much better would we all be if we could learn to refrain from affixing permanent labels to temporary behaviors.

    • Babs says:

      Hi Jaime. Thank you for sharing! I like your verbiage,”permanent labels” and “temporary behaviors.” My hope is that we arm our children with options that can give them peaceful choices for their own “natural” responses. I’ve found daily ops to put to use Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s nonviolent communication strategies [http://www.nonviolentcommunication.com/index.htm].

  42. Kimberly says:

    My daughter wasn’t a biter…thank goodness. Positive reinforcement paired with redirection always worked wonders when I was child therapist. Regarding the Q&A’s, I like how the strategies are specific. That will be helpful to parents.

    • Babs says:

      Kimberly, you’ve become our newest member in the Biter-S-Capers Club! Congrats! Yes, that positive direction and redirection do work wonders, just as you mention. Glad you find the Q&A’s helpful. I hope you’ll share with others. Thank you for your therapy work with children!

  43. Alli says:

    None of my children were biters, but I remember a friend telling me about a daycare worker at her child’s daycare that bite a child back when he bit another child. I couldn’t believe it! That is definitely a don’t!

    • Babs says:

      And another new member of our Biter-S-Capers Club! Congrats to you, Alli! I’m quick to agree that biting hurts people…and to bite a child is to model hurting another person. Double ouch! I hope you’ve read the first three segments of this four-part series on biting. You are so right! Double ouch! Thanks, Alli, for reading and sharing.

  44. Jennifer says:

    It has been SO long since I had to deal with biting, since both my boys are teenagers. This is a great resource for parents that are going through this stage.

    • Babs says:

      Glad you’re past it, Jennifer. Enjoy those teens! As a new grandmama of two wee ones, I’m getting to experience, and delight in, each age and stage again and again! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  45. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says:

    The games and Q&A’s definitely seem like a smart way to handle biting. I am just thankful that neither of my boys were biters.

    • Babs says:

      Hi Robin. Happy to hear from you and that you find the strategies helpful. Oh, and welcome to your membership in our Biter-S-Capers Club. After this month, we will be closed to new members in this particular club, though we may well initiate members into some new kind of club in months to come. We’ll want to stay tuned to learn what we don’t want to miss! LOL

  1. October 21, 2015

    […] Click here for Part Four […]

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