How To Stop Children From Biting
Being the parent of a toddler definitely way harder than it looks, and that’s what every experienced parent swears by. Not only you have to make sure that your child learns key life skills in order to survive out in the real world but you also have to ease them into the society and equip them with the ability to deal with their peers. However, as children do not understand how to behave under certain conditions when they are feeling defensive, they often find recourse in biting others to express a range of emotions. Unless the behavior is contained at the earliest, biting can last well into preteens.
Usually it is just a phase that most toddlers go through, and at times its nothing that you should be very worried about, because with proper guidance, this specific tendency is known to go away. Read on to find out a few easy ways in which you can discourage your toddler from biting people.
Give them tools to express themselves
Most young children often don’t have the emotional tools to deal with the range of emotions and situations that they face. This could be related to the array of emotions that they experience grow up and enter a social setting.
Younger toddlers bite as a sign of affection while older ones bite to gain attention or express a need. You should teach the child to show love and expression of needs in other ways, which more along the lines of peaceful conflict resolution, and the biting should stop soon.
Allow them to explore in other ways
Toddlers are still in the process of learning how their body works. Biting is just their way of exploring their environment, other people’s bodies and even their own mouth.
To distract your child away from biting people as a way of exploration, you need to give them different foods to satiate their taste buds while letting them touch things in their immediate environment with their hands to explore sensations and textures.
Sometimes children bite because their teeth are developing, and they just don’t know how to deal with it.
If you find out that your child is biting as a result of the teething phase, you should give them soft and safe teethers to ease the sensation in their gums.
Help them vent in other ways
A lot of kids might resort to violent actions like biting when they are frustrated or when they feel threatened. As a primeval defense mechanism, biting is a way to vent and defend themselves.
If you wish to avoid situations like these, teach your child to ask for help from adults if he feels threatened from others – instead of biting and talk to him calmly to get to the bottom of his problem if he seems to be doing it out of frustration.
Don’t be manipulated by it
Children often use biting as a way to exert power and to manipulate others so that you give into their whims. If you begin giving into their whims when the child uses biting to get his way, you may be encouraging this behaviour and paving the way to it becoming a permanent feature in his behavior.
If your child bites to get his way, you should never give into the manipulation, and stand a strong ground by putting your foot down. Once the child sees that the behavior isn’t working, he will drop the biting act soon enough.
Discourage it effectively
If you ever catch your child biting anyone, you need to put an end to it immediately. You don’t have to start yelling at the child in order to induce fear into the little soul.
But a stern look, a verbal rebuke or even a time out – just to know the little guy know that his actions are not being appreciated, can be effective at preventing biting.
Try verbal discouragement
When you catch your child in the act of biting, you should try the age-old method of lecturing about how biting is a bad thing, and how it gives people a negative impression.
Try to use simple but firm words, like ‘Biting is bad’, ‘bad boys bite’, ‘That’s biting, and that’s wrong’ etc, and keep on telling them until they seep deep into the little one’s conscience. You will probably see that the tendency will decrease as time passes on.
Try praising them often
Sometimes, the tendency to bite might come from the lack of attention from your side. The child might act out of desperation to get your undivided time – and it has the possibility to come out in a negative light. Even though it is not possible to stay with your child every hour of the day,especially if you hold a job, still you should always make some time to praise the little guy on his small milestones and achievements everyday.
Remember, every day in a child’s life is a wonder, and if you are not there to witness it first hand, you better be there when your child tries to share the experience with you and praise him/her like the little genius that he/she is.
There are parents who have struggled with children who would not stop biting – even after following every rule in the parental advise book they weren’t able to modify their child’s behavior, and listening to their stories might induce a bit of a fear or panic in your mind.
But you should not let that linger for long. Remember that it is just a phase, and like all children, yours one too will grow out of it – but you need constant persistence and undiminished patience at your disposal to be able to fight.
Know when to ask for professional assistance
Even after following the best of advises, sometimes parents fall short. This is not to say that the toddler’s continued behavior is anybody’s fault, its not even the little one’s either, as the child acts on his/her primal instinct.
If you find yourself in this situation, contact a recommended children’s therapist who would be an expert in counselling the kid through the process of behavioral modification. Make sure your whole family is on-board for this, and not making the little fellow feel like a prisoner in punishment.