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Forefront families by Sally Burgess;Jaws - The Child Biter; www.forefrontfamilies.org

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Child biting is always an exasperating situation, whether your child is the biter, or if another child is biting yours. I never forget coming home from work one day to find my little 3 year old boy sporting a big red circle of teeth marks on his cheek put there by the babysitter’s daughter.

It is not always clear why kids bite, but in the case of another little 2 year old I know, it is because he can’t express himself in words and when his brother pushes him over, his only defense is to sink his teeth into the nearest offending flesh he can find. Now, if his brother didn’t react, he would think of doing something else, but biting always induces a great response! It does also draw attention so mother does something about the annoying brother. In his case he gets a time out every time he bites.

Other reasons for biting might be because the child is teething, and biting on something is soothing (rather like puppies chewing everything in site when they are teething) or they need your attention, bad enough to cause someone to cry. He may be jealous of an older or younger sibling taking your attention away from him.

So what do you do with a child that bites?

Preventative measures:

a)    If you think he has sore gums then give him a cool teething ring or rub medication onto his gums.

b)    If you know of the biting habit, then warn the daycare or play-date parents.

c)    Try to head off your child’s frustration by removing the annoyance factors. If he needs attention, don’t ignore the signs, even though you may be busy.

d)    Tell your child very simply that he must not bite. Explain that biting hurts. If he wants your attention then to call you, not bite another child. Obviously, a very small child will not understand all those words. However, if you put on your stern face and voice and say, “Do not bite!” he will get the picture. Tell him if he bites, he will get a time out or go home.”

e)    When he acts as you ask, praise him for doing the right thing.

f)      When he gets old enough to express himself, encourage him to say what is wrong or what he wants so he doesn’t feel the need to bite others.

Active measures:

a)    If he bites, then do exactly what you said you would – serve the consequence.

b)    Do not bite a child to teach him a lesson. He will only get confused and wonder why you are biting him when you won’t let him bite others.

The habit of biting is not prolonged. However, it is disturbing to recipients!   If you have any other helpful suggestions of how to stop a child from biting please contact us at sally@forefrontfamilies.org, or visit our blog site at www.forefrontfamiliess.blogspot.com, or website at www.forefrontfamilies.org.




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