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How to stop biting

My 3 year old son has been biting his 1 and 5 year old sisters and i dont know how to get him to stop. i have tried time out but it does not work. does anyone have an answers for me? please help.

Answer Question

Asked by KimmieKat0709 at 10:07 AM on Jun. 7, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 3 (15 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • I may get bashed by those who don't believe in spanking, but I'd spank my kids butt for biting.

    Answer by momov4kids at 10:16 AM on Jun. 7, 2011

  • wish I could help! My oldest who is now almost 22 was a serious biter too. She finally stopped biting when she met another biter. The other biter literally bit a peice of skin off the back of her neck and my dd never bit again.

    Answer by gemgem at 10:21 AM on Jun. 7, 2011

  • Bite him back

    Answer by bellagracie82 at 6:45 PM on Jun. 7, 2011

  • I say bite him back. It worked for my son. He didnt realize that it actually hurt others when he bit them so I showed him.

    Answer by LiLJeni at 1:07 AM on Jun. 8, 2011

  • thanks you all for ur help :)

    Comment by KimmieKat0709 (original poster) at 7:51 AM on Jun. 8, 2011

  • Does he seem overwhelmed? Angry? What can you tell is the trigger?
    With my boys (I have two-year-old twins) they are aware that biting hurts; it is a strategy for them (to get the other one to let go of a toy, to stop doing something, or to retaliate for being shoved or violated in some other way.)
    I don't recommend biting him, and even if you don't have a philosophical problem with it I know that it has not worked perfectly for some people who did try that approach (so it is not necessarily a pat answer or a slam-dunk.)
    What I have done is to address the behavior by really GETTING where the kid is coming from, getting his validity. All behavior is motivated by good reasons, feelings, needs. If you can tap into that & let the kid know you recognize it, you can approach him as clearly on his side. (Time outs & other punishments communicate just the opposite--he is wrong & you are discouraging the behavior.) The problem is, this

    Answer by girlwithC at 12:54 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

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    approach triggers resistance in the child, who feels (accurately so) misunderstood. If you are missing or ignoring what is valid about his behavior, & simply addressing it as unacceptable, you are negating the child. Which is okay (tons of people do it & advocate it) but it DOES inspire counter-resistance & power struggles & it escalates the situation, rather than inspiring cooperation or providing space for empathy.
    If instead of resisting the kid, we acknowledge his validity, that he used this strategy for good reasons (is he frustrated, overwhelmed, threatened, annoyed?) and that he just wants to have a good time or whatever (conflicts over toys are PRIME, and it's all about not wanting to be interfered with, or else seeing what someone has that looks so exciting and JUST wanting to have fun) then you can connect with him, share that you get it, validate that desire, but say that biting hurts. I spent time focusing on

    Answer by girlwithC at 1:02 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

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    what I DID want to encourage ("No biting" or "stop biting" still focuses all the attention on biting, not on some alternative) and I came up with the concept of "ask for help." I wanted my guys to ask for help instead of biting. "When you feel like biting/hitting/pushing/pinching, you just need help. So ask for help, instead!" Being proactive & present (nearby & involved/able to intervene) goes a long way, as does focusing on what you want (not what you don't want), modeling it, and really ORIENTING yourself toward the child so that you are seeing him not as a "bully" or "aggressor" or "bad" or "misbehaving," but truly as a kid who needs help when he's overwhelmed. Biting is a strategy to meet a need, usually in a highly emotional/stressful situation. We ALL revert under stress. Kids need support.
    This helps you offer it in a very triggering situation. (When we are triggered by challenging behaviors in our kids, WE are

    Answer by girlwithC at 1:10 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

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    vulnerable to "acting out " our feelings of frustration & helplessness, powerlessness, fear, anger...but if we can orient ourselves to the child's validity and humanness, in spite of the problematic behavior, we can connect & guide instead.) If I can't feel the validity of the child, I know I'm too stressed or have too many unexamined "stories" or automatic thoughts going on inside. (Usually related to self-doubt or criticism..."If I were a good mother, this wouldn't be happening" or "a good mom would know what to do," or "He shouldn't be..." or "If I'd been watching....") The more harsh your own (often unconscious) judgments of yourself are, the more likely you are to be harsh with others. So noticing & exploring what is underneath the particularly angry, critical, blaming other-directed feelings can be helpful to easing some of that stress and connecting better.
    This approach helps the biter AND the bitten.

    Answer by girlwithC at 1:18 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

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