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Old 09-29-2007, 02:44 AM   #1
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Title: 4.5 y/o biting when angry
Post by: klpmommy on April 15, 2007, 11:06:35 AM

This has happened once or twice in the past but has happened more frequently recently. I *know* that part of it is the stress of Daddy being out of the country right now, but I need help with strategies. (DH will be back the 21st).

Here is what happened today. We got home from church, lunch & a very little shopping. I opened P's door & told him to get out of the car, then I walked around to E's side to open her door. This is a very typical method for us when exiting the car. Once on her side he had not gotten out of the car & I repeated to him "Get out of the car" or maybe I said "Go to the front door." He started to kick his feet so that E couldn't walk across & exit his side of the car (normally she doesn't exit his side, but she asked & I fully expected P was going to get out & it wouldn't have been a problem- if I had realized this was going to create a problem today I would have told E to get out on her side). P kept kicking. I repeated a third time for him to get out and added "Do you need me to help you get out?" He didn't respond, I walked around to his side of the car & again asked if he needed help, no response but he scooted away from me in such a way that his body language was obvious "I'm not getting out of the car & you can't make me". So I grabbed him & helped him out of the car. That made him angry, he fell to the ground, grabbed my leg and bit the back of my knee. My knee has a dark bruise, but it doesn't appear to have any broken skin. I picked him up & helped him walk to the front door & he tried to bite me a few more times & hit me. I told him that he wasn't allowed to hit, bite or hurt me.

Once inside we talked for a few minutes- it took him a bit to calm down, he was crying with tears streaming down his cheeks. He said I hurt him when I got him out of the car. If I did it wasn't intentional & I apologized for hurting him. He said he bit me b/c I hurt him & he wanted to hurt me. It took him a few minutes to decide to apologize to me- I didn't coerce it. We hugged & he seems to be better now.

But I really need ideas to get him to stop biting when angry. So far as I know I am the only person he has ever bitten. This was the worst bite I have ever received from him- not sure if it is the location of the bite or if he bit harder. I have talked to him about using his words & he told me today that he didn't want to use his words to tell me he was angry, he wanted to bite me.

Title: Re: 4.5 y/o biting when angry
Post by: Joanne on April 15, 2007, 04:33:50 PM

I have talked to him about using his words & he told me today that he didn't want to use his words to tell me he was angry, he wanted to bite me.


Increase oral stimulation through foods, using texture, taste, spices and temperature variation.


"I understand you want to bite me. It is unsanitary, disrespectful and hurtful. I will stop you from hurting and biting me while you learn more mature ways to handle how you express anger."

Title: dealing w/ biting in 2 yo
Post by: Love_Is_Patient on April 27, 2007, 06:22:56 AM

I though I knew how to deal with biting when ds was younger, but it doesn't seem to be getting better. Actually, it did get better for a while but then the last couple of months it's gotten worse again. Ds has a 3 1/2 yo friend who we see about every other week (at their house or ours), and lately it seems like every time they're together his friend ends up bitten. I'm trying to monitor them constantly, but that's exhausting. They have so much collective energy when they're together that they can spend hours chasing each other from one end of the apartment to the other. I don't see how I can simplify the situation, since there's only the one other child (plus some familiar adults). How should I be reacting when it happens? We talk about gentle touches--a lot--beforehand, with reminders during, but sometimes when I tell ds that his friend is coming, he says 'hit him! bite him!'. Of course I respond, no, you need to use gentle touches, hitting hurts, etc. What should I do with this?

Also, he bites us and sometimes it seems like he gets on a biting kick and just doesn't want to stop. We'll move away, move him away, get angry, but it doesn't seem to really help.

Any suggestions? We talk about using gentle touches, and sometimes I tell him he can bite a pillow or something else. I'm just not sure what else I should be doing.

Title: Re: dealing w/ biting in 2 yo
Post by: hink4687 on April 28, 2007, 08:40:46 PM

If he's continually doing it I think you need to leave the situation all together. For both a consequence and the other child's safety. When Cooper does something to hurt other children now he gets a warning that if it happens again we go home. If it happens again, we leave. I use to redirect when he was younger but at this age I think he is more able to comprehend what he's doing. And I want Cooper to know that hurting other kids is in no way acceptable and I will not allow it. And the only way for me to not allow it is to remove him from the situation.

ETA: Also...if the boys have endless energy you might want to find activities to get them out of the apartment for playdates. If they are just in an open field or park to run and play then there are no toys to fight over and less things to provoke your son. I think trying to set up the best situation as possible for your son to behave is also important. Always make sure he's well fed and rested and feels great before you get them together. Remember, people who feel bad, act bad.

Title: Re: dealing w/ biting in 2 yo
Post by: ArmsOfLove on April 28, 2007, 08:48:10 PM

at 2 I assume it's teething and offer care for that. I also would increase oral stimulation: lemonade, spicy food (not too ), cold, ice, different textures, drinking with a straw, hard candy, etc.

It can also be worse if he's pre-verbal. In that case I'd teach some baby signs so that he can communicate and set boundaries non-aggressively. And make sure that "I need space" is something he can communicate better than with biting

Title: Help! I've got a biter!
Post by: BabyHopes on June 05, 2007, 09:39:48 AM

I never delt with this when DD1 was little. Her preferred form of aggression was usually hitting. :/ But DD2 -literally overnight- has started this whole "oral aggression" campaign against her older sister. It happens when her older sister is not respecting her space. DD1 tries to "mother" her younger sister and what occurs is a VERY unhappy little DD2 who is screeching at her older sibling to stop. Except she can't say STOP very well and her older sister isn't listening to DD2's "no's." (By "no's" I mean loud resistant screeching.)

So really this is a two part issue.

1) DD1 is a space invader. She has always been. She doesn't get it that other people want space. So she encroaches until she gets bit. Only now she's being bit LITERALLY. If you KWIM. We're working with DD1 to listen to her younger sister's cues and to respect DD2's personal space. But this is an everlasting "fight" with DD1.

2) How do I get DD2 to stop? I know if she were more verbal she'd be able to start substituting words for physical aggression... but she's not there yet. We try to stay on top of it and intervene when DD2 starts shrieking (her first line of defense up until now.) But within the last couple days she's given up even telling her sister "no" and is instead biting as her first defense. A lot of times it comes out of nowhere. The girls will be playing happily and the next thing you know she's BITING!

Just a few moments ago DD1 came running in to tell me that she got bit. This is what I see:

There are three bite marks. Starting at her wrist and working the way up her arm to the one that is most visible near her inner elbow. I kid you not, I was just around the corner, and I didn't hear a THING. I brought DD2 over, explained that biting is "owie" and that it "hurts the sister." DD2 just disolved in a puddle of tears and immediately tried to give her older sister a hug. But, even with apologies exchanged and the girls having "made up" I know this isn't over. I don't know what to do!

Title: Re: Help! I've got a biter!
Post by: Joanne on June 05, 2007, 02:05:15 PM

A cut and paste because I don't have much time:

Biting is a common behavior in young children. It’s one that parents react strongly too, both the parents of the biting child and the parents of the children who get bitten. In my daycare, I experienced the most passionate responses from parents over issues involving biting.

Some children are more prone to biting than others. You’ll see biting emerge around the 1 year mark and disappear around age 3.

Many children who bite have a high oral need for stimulation. They seek sensation using their mouth. If you can increase appropriate stimulation to their mouth, you can decrease the frequency of biting. There are several ways to do this. You can increase the chewy foods a child eats, such as fruit leather or bagels. Increase spicy foods such as sausage or salsa. Offer hot or cold foods, such as smoothies or soup. Finally, have the child use a straw often.

When biting does occur, remove the child from the immediate area. Say “No biting. Biting hurts”. Look at the situation, and if you can identify what the bite was used to communicate, offer substitute words. Coach the child to say “I need space” or “I’d like a turn” or “I’m angry”. If the child is not yet verbal, you can use baby signs.

For the toddler or younger, offer a designated toy for biting. “You may not bite people, you may bite this.”

If your child continues to bite with frequency, you will need to provide constant and arms reach supervision until your child has moved out of this stage.

The biting is unacceptable of course, but the base of the issue is your sensory seeker/space violator. You'll need to do some real coaching with her. She doesn't get space issues because she doesn't process "space need" in the way most other people do. So, you need to teach her deliberately about the bubble that is around each person's body that she's not allowed to pop. In the case of her sister, I'd institute a no touch rule. I started code words with my space violator:

Title: Re: Help! I've got a biter!
Post by: BabyHopes on June 05, 2007, 02:15:39 PM

Thanks JoAnne,
This is EXACTLY what I need. I was reading this:

If you can increase appropriate stimulation to their mouth, you can decrease the frequency of biting. There are several ways to do this. You can increase the chewy foods a child eats, such as fruit leather or bagels. Increase spicy foods such as sausage or salsa. Offer hot or cold foods, such as smoothies or soup. Finally, have the child use a straw often.
And I had a lightbulb moment. This biting has started right about the time that DD2 started weaning. Now that she's not nursing at all, it's really escalated. Quickly. I laid down with her for nap and was watching her suck on her bottom lip and it about broke my heart. It's very apparant that she still needs oral stimulation. I like the idea of a straw and may go to Walmart to get those straw sippies for her. Maybe even pick up fruit leather.

We're working on her using the sign for "stop!" Now we need to work with DD1 on respecting and listening to that sign. I know that the fact that the biting is creating a clear and effective boundary for DD2 is partially why she's started using it more as well. It works!

I haven't read the link yet, but am headed there next.

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