If you are anxious about your child’s biting behavior, let me tell you that you are not the only one who face this situation. There are many kids who have the tendency to bite anyone, especially other kids, and part of it arises due to their age factor. Most parents can be lucky enough to eliminate this apparently negative behavior of their children with limited efforts. Some parents may have to put some extra efforts.
In order to work towards behavioral changes, it is important to know the reason for the behavior. Why does my child bite? If you know the reason, half of the problem is solved. Normally, children between 14 months and 3 years of age express biting tendency which is considered a normal behavior. It goes away when children begin to express themselves properly through words/speech. During this period, it would be beneficial for both of you to act as a tolerant and encouraging parent . Your calculated reactions can go a long way in controlling and eliminating this biting behavior of your child. A child can depict biting tendency due to many reasons.
Why it happens?
1. Consideration aspect
Your child always wants your attention. Biting can be one such tool with him/her to realize his/her motive of drawing your consideration/attention.
2. Annoyed expression
Biting can be an expression of your child’s frustration or annoyance. The child may want you to react in a specific way to a situation
3. Exploring tendency
Children have endless exploring tendencies. They are never short of experimenting. Biting can be a tool in their effort to discover something new. As they are too small to use words to tell anything properly, they are being smart enough in using their behavioral attributes.
4. Copying others
Children are very good at copying others. They might have seen somebody biting something and try their skills in a similar way.
5. Preservation instinct or self-defense
This is an art which a child need not be taught exclusively. Biting can actually be a way of showing resistance to something or self-defensive.
6. Demanding nature
A child is demanding, be it for a small toy which may be of no importance to you. By biting, he/she may get his/her demand fulfilled quickly than by adopting any other method. Children are too impatient to try other tools.
With age, biting behavior should subside and eventually get removed. But there may be children who are a tough nut to crack. Children depicting such a behavior after 4 or 5 years of age need careful attention and expert advice. Habitual biting is a cause of concern and needs to be dealt with immediately. It can be physically and emotionally disturbing and create behavioral problems if not attended promptly.
How to tackle it?
1. Be pro-active
You can control biting behavior by determining the situation where the child shows such tendencies. Try to avoid the situations when your child gets aggressive and starts biting. Some children bite to express hunger or a particular feeling. If you can strategically handle the situation, it can be easy to take away the biting habit of your child. A child’s behavior can be predicted by spending more time with him/her. It is said that “prevention is better than cure”. Instead of devising ways to deal with an ‘after-bite’ situation, create a ‘no-bite’ situation.
2. Handling infants and toddlers
If your child is in teething stage, give him anything which can be munched on. At this stage, the gums are troubling for the small kids and by munching on anything, they feel relaxed. As they cannot use words to describe the irritation, they bite anything that gets into their hands. Give them something clean and safe to bite at.
3. Discourage biting strongly
Let your child know that biting is not tolerable at all. You can create discouraging situations at home. They should be made to understand that the biting behavior is not be accepted socially. At no stage, it should be entertained by anyone. You can ask the teacher/day care lady to strictly discourage the child from biting others. When the same message will come from all corners, it will create a strong impact and work faster.
4. Know your child
Spend enough time with your child to understand his/her behavioral attributes. Most of the problems faced by the parents of small children can be resolved by knowing the child’s psychology. If your child bites, ascertain the situation why he/she bit anyone. Distract him/her on revelation of such tendencies.
5. Tit for tat
Never tell your child to bite back if he/she is bitten by somebody. This would give a wrong message. It can further aggravate the problem and create difficult situations for you and your child. You can temporarily keep your child away from other children’s company to control the situation instantly.
6. Transition period is important
Your child is extremely volatile during transition periods like when beginning to attend the play school. Ensure that he/she is given sufficient care and concern when demanded or need be. Make your child as much comfortable as possible and show your love through gestures. Tell your child to use words to describe his/her feelings. You can make your child learn short sentences to verbally express the emotions.
While certain children may not follow the league, most of the children overcome this annoying behavior through effortless but careful guidelines. Let them take their time. For those who are not in the league, expert advice is supposed to resolve the matter. Many books are available to help parents combat the situation easily. You can shop for one which suits your needs.