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Don't hate me but I think Marko's right on this one. He'll get sorted out soon enough when he gets bitten back! No no kidding! But he won't be the only kid to bite in that class. Teachers have ways of dealing with things like this and he will soon outgrow it.

I won't tell you not to worry because that would be stupid, but put him in as well and see how he does for a month or two.

He'll be fine - as long as you keep teaching him how to play with other kids, to share toys, not bite and hit etc.

If you are consequent and communicate well with him he'll be fine sooner or later.

I'm sorry that your having to deal with this kinda stuff and I wish I could help you some on this issue,but I can't. Having never dealt personally with a biter. I wouldn't know where to begin to give advice on it. However,I am curious to hear what others have to say. My nephew bites the hell out of my Kate and my sister-in-law has tried everything from telling him no and showing him what he's done and explaining that it hurts others to sitting him in a chair for a time-out and nothing seems to work. How do you even explain about biting to a 22 month old child?!?!

I used to be a teacher in a play school classroom full of 2 year olds. I promise, many, many, many children go through a biting stage at about 18 months-30 months. Mothers would be outraged when I explained to them how their child acquired those teeth-marks on his arm, but inevitably, 3 months later, when their own child entered the phase, they would be utterly embarassed. I think it sort of goes around and comes around. Somebody else will bite Adam once or twice, and he'll stop doing it. Just keep reminding him its a no-no, and the phase will pass.

Not going to be any help here, but just had to mention I used to be a biter growing up. Then one day my dad got so fed up with me biting everyone he bit me. hard. I still remember it to this day and would never bite anyone again. Not saying you should do that at all, but I had to mention it. I think you are doing the right thing reminding him. He is bound to get it sooner or later.

My son went through a biting phase, though I think it was related to teeth pain rather than emotional expression.

I followed him around like a hawk, and if he looked "bitish" I offered him a teether. Soon he learned to ask for teethers if he felt like biting, and he kept them in his pockets. I also worked closely with his daycare, and they followed him around like a hawk and did the same thing as far as offering other options.

In the end, he only bit another child twice over several months, but it was very stressful for the duration. I was also mortified. Luckily both times the other parents were very understanding.

One thing that seemed to really work well was responding very positively to kisses and hugs. If my son leaned in, open-mouthed, either to kiss or to bite and then turned it into a kiss, we practically did a jig with him. We tried to emphasize how much we loved his kisses, etc. etc. I think that helped a lot. He would remind himself "Kiss, Mama kiss" as he leaned in towards me.

I'm personally a big believer in early exposure to high-quality group care for some kids. (I don't believe all kids are suited to group care early on; group social skills develop at different rates just as kids walk and talk at different rates.) It's been tremendously valuable to our son. I did childcare for years when I was younger and see it as a positive, not a negative, if the personality of the child fits. The biting situation was no different. The reaction of the other kids did more than I think we could ever have done. Biting will interfere with the social relationships he'll want to build, and it might discourage him. IOW, I agree with Marko on that point.

Good luck. I feel for you!

as an educator and counselor i have to agree with marko, send him on, he will be fine! he will be bit back and pushed back a few times, and he will figure it out. it will fun and good for him, and kate will love it!! you might try seperate classes after the first year. your new school year starts in feb, right? that will make them two. don't worry, they will do great!

When I was younger, I bit my brother all the time. I was like Adam, very intense and my emotions just spilled out all over the place. So my dad started doing things to me that I did to my brother...but with a twist. If I bit my brother, my dad would put my hand or my arm in my mouth and make me bite myself. If I scribbled all over the pictures my brother had drawn, my dad made me scribble on my own.

Before that, he had tried everything...time outs, explaining why I shouldn't bite, telling me no, emphasizing kisses, etc. Nothing worked until he made me do to myself what I had done to others. Hope this helps.

I agree with your husband. The other kids most likely will sort Adam out - 'tit for tat' being the name of the game. ;o)

Ask MaryP! http://partners-in-parenting.typepad.com/ or
She is awesome.

As a proud Aunt, and observer of the keen differences between the development of my Nephew and my Niece, I think this might be a development thing. I don't mean to generalize but girls often develop verbally/socially earlier than boys. Especially if Adam hasn't developed the verbal process to correctly or efficiently express himself it may come out in shoving, biting and physicalness. As that's how he is excelling. I'm constantly telling my nephew to "use his words" when he's frustrated, excited or upset. Slowly he is learning to ask for things rather than pushing his sister off the chair when he wants it.

Just my thought.

I'm afraid I don't have any advice or been-there-done-that experience regarding biting (sorry). My 23 month old daughter is more of a 'hitter', and whilst I find it terribly embarrassing and challenging to deal with, it hasn't stopped me from sending her to day-care once a week. So far all I've heard is good reports about her behaviour. In fact, by the sounds of it, she behaves/eats/sleeps much better at day-care than she does at home. Peer pressure can sometimes be a wonderful thing.

ahhh I love Adam's fierce face in the first shot. They are both so delish.

Daughter is a biter (and as a girl she uses her nails too.) She started talking better (after the eartubes) and the issue is almost resolved. I really think she was frustrated because she has so much to tell. How is Adam in the talking department? He is supercute by the way..

My 4 year old USED to be a bit of a shark. Argh, the shame!!!!!

Just earlier this year, we went to a local park and he bit another child almost 'Tyson' style (blood an' all) on the ear when the kid tried to take my sons precious Kinder Egg Surprise.

I thank God the father was there, because I am sure if his mother had seen it happen she'd have bitten him back.

When we got back to the car, I gave him such a talking too – SUCH A TALKING TOO!!!!! – he hasn't done it since.

Ahh, the peace.

Can't offer any first-hand parenting advice, but it does seem to me that this is what being that age is all about -- learning how to control your emotions. I worked at a daycare for a while, and most children who were handfuls when I met them had mellowed considerably after a few years.

And! I was a biter as a toddler, and my mom ran a daycare from our house. At her wit's end, she finally did what they all say -- she bit me. It did the job, and I don't remember it even a little.

T - it's the age! I swear to you it is SO, so, so, so Normal.

M - right.

Sorry hon !

Hi Tertia

Tim was exactly the same. I am affraid you are just going to have to wait it out. All tactics had no effect on Tim at all. I smacked him, I bit him back, I shouted at him, I pleaded with him, but no effect. Then when Mark was born and he was in the NICU I had no choice but to put Tim into Crèche. I asked the teacher to please keep an eye on him because he was a biter. The first day he bit four children and some of them pretty hard. But Claire (the crèche teacher) stuck him in the bathroom every time and was very, very stern with him.

The next day he tried to bite again, but she stopped him just in time. Since then he has never bitten again, only in self defense. I would definitely send Adam to school, because that might just be the place where he will learn that it is not socially acceptable behavior. However, I think it is imperative that you warn the teacher before and just let her know.


I think the technical term for Adam's condition is "BOY". Sorry to all the gender equalitists out there, but little boys and girls are just different. Saying that, both my girls went through a violent stage, I remember when DD2 was learning to walk she would plop on her bum every time she saw DD1 as she knew she was about to be pushed over! Hold off on the decision re creche, next year is a long way off yet, you'll be suprised by how much Adam changes between now and then.

Socializing is something you have to do to learn to do.

IMO, precisely because Adam has difficulties, he will benefit even more of directed playgroups.

My son was also a biter for a little while, at about the same age, maybe a little older. I SO understand you about the shame and humiliation, but this is NOT your fault. Little children bite out of frustration, because they haven't yet learned better tools. We just kept telling him "no biting, biting hurts", telling him to use his mouth for eating, talking, kissing, etc., reminding him 4,000 times a day to "use his words", etc. and then praising him enthusiastically when he modelled the "right" behavior. It was a really hard phase (mostly for us, not for him), but it did pass. Oh, and he was in preschool at the time (yes, they start much younger here). Hang in there Tertia, this too shall pass.

Another former teacher speaking up here. It is absolutely true that many toddlers go through a biting/pushing/physical stage as you're describing, mostly among boys who aren't verbal enough to explain their frustration. It is even tougher for you because you have boy/girl twins, so you can't help but compare them. This is also leading to more frustration on Adam's part because his twin is a little ahead on the communication front just because she's a girl. Add this to the fact that twins tend to be a little behind verbally because they are so used to communicating without speach pretty well.

Send him to school! It will actually help if you send him to a good one. He'll get to play with other boys his own age, and realize that he's not the only one having a tough time expressing himself. Also, try and give him words for his needs all the time. If he tries to bite you, instead of just saying "No biting" try saying "I know you're angry/excited/happy to see me right now...let's try using our words. I'm soooo happy to see you Mommy/Kate...." Or "I know you're angry and frustrated, why don't you go play by yourself for a while, and then come back and tell me all about it". Once he is better able to explain his emotions, the biting and pushing WILL stop, and good teachers can definitely help you there.

Get an occupational therapy assessment asap. He may have some sensory integration issues, and the sooner you tackle those, the better.

J.Q.'s developed a touch of the biteys lately... strange thing is, he bites affectionately (leans in for a big kiss, winds up clenching a chunk of mama's cheek between his pearl-like little choppers). I have NO idea what's running through his wee noggin. I've tried biting back... in our case, at least, it made me feel awful and didn't work at all. Pinching the nose mid-bite IS a nice tool for detaching him... and oh, how strange that I NEED such a thing for removing my little pirhana from my face.

My little girl is more of a Kate than an Adam but one thing we have found very useful is having a 'special' way to say no, to use on occasions when behaviour is dangerous or absolutely unacceptable.

We've been doing baby signing and I've ended up using the sign for no (hand with palm forward moved assertively across the body) at the same time as saying 'no' very sternly (though calmly) and, if possible, getting her to look at me.

It doesn't always work, but it seems to effectively convey when a boundary has been crossed and to differentiate that occasion from the other 8 million times I've been saying no during the day. A few 'special' noes are generally enough to stop her in her tracks and the stern delivery also demonstrates to the other parents around that you are taking the behaviour seriously.

Have you considered teaching him a bit of sign language? We started teaching our oldest daughter some basic signs when she was very young. Things like please, thank you, more, finished, stop and thirsty. It might help him with his frusteration about expressing himself. By the time our daughter was really talking she had built up quite a sign vocabulary. There's lots of resources on the web or books that can help you out with it. We were lucky since my mil deals with a lot of hearing impaired clients at work so she was teaching the whole family. We found it really helped.

Our preschool used timeouts (and stern "We do not bite/push our friends!") to deal with that sort of thing... it worked pretty well. As the kids got older they were also expected to apologize to the bitee. Even with our 18 month old baby (who thinks biting is funny and will try to pull your fingers into her mouth to bite) is slowly learning with the timeouts.

Adam isn't and won't be the only kid who does these things. Put him in!

I know that it sounds horrible, but have you tried to bite him back? That is what my SIL had to do to my nephew. It actually worked. Once he realized that biting hurts, he stopped.

My kids have never been biters, but have been on the receiving end of the biting. My son was bit in the eye at daycare. We had to go to the dr and his actual eye was barely missed. Being on the receiving end of biting is no fun. I understood that this was a phase, but still it upset me quite a bit. I hope that you find a way to resolve the biting or it resolves itself.

I don't really have any good advice for you re the biting -
it's awful.
I have an Adam (he's 21) and I just want to tell you that you have incredible insight and it will serve you well...

My Scott is a lot like your Adam. He was a biter at the exact same age. And isn't wasn't usually mean biting, but rather over-excitement, like Adam. It got to where if he was running towards us for a hug, we would flinch, because we were afraid he was going to bite us. But you know what? One day we realized that he didn't bite anymore. It was a long few months, but it IS a phase, and he grew out of it without psychotherapy or a muzzle.

Adam will be fine. My son is also a bit intense, and can't express himself very well verbally, but he does manage to go to preschool without eating or otherwise maiming other children. He has fun, is not marginalized and is getting along with other chldren (or mostly ignoring them at this age and doing his own thing).

I'm going to suggest biting him back too. My 16 month old was biting a couple of weeks ago everytime my boys would bug her. So first, I told them (8 &5) to stop teasing her, and then when she bit me one day, I said " OW!! that hurt mummy. See what it feels like" and then I bit her (not really hard, but hard enough for her to get the idea.) She looked shocked - and hasn't done it since. And, alas, her brothers havent stopped bugging her, so the stimulus is still there. It seems mortifying - but I think that as long as you tell them what you're doing and don't do it out of anger, they will be fine. The reality is, if they have never been bitten before, they don't know what it feels like.

I would think that the day school might actually help with the biting because he will quickly learn that it is not cool to bite (or be bitten, if there are other biters in the class). My little sister was a biter and the situation was resolved easily one day when she bit me on my leg--she is 5 years younger, drawing blood. Not the first time she had bitten me. My mother then bit HER leg to show her how it felt. She cried, I cried b/c I felt so sorry for her, my mom cried, but she never bit again! It does sound harsh but it worked!!! I don't think children know how much that hurts.

My son is 16 months old and has been biting for quite some time. He, too, bites out of excitement, but of course I don't want him biting at all. We had a friend's daughter over who is about his age and her father said that she bites, too. I don't know if it's instinctual, just a reaction or what but I'm not doing anything about it unless it comes out in aggression.

Hmmmm...so I guess I don't have any advice, just offering my empathy and looking for suggestions myself. I haven't done anything about it as he has not purposely sought someone out to bite them (yet).

One day my friend's twin son bit her so hard. She did something she never thought she'd do - she bit him back. She said she didn't think, she just bit. Not hard enough to damage, mind, but hard enough that he was shocked.

He never bit again. It's like he suddenly understood how it felt. She doesn't advise biting your own child, but maybe Marko has a point. Sometimes all the talk is useless. Adam may only get it when he's on the receiving end.

when my dd was about adam's age, she too went through a biting phase. i tried redirecting her, telling her that it hurt mommy, etc... one day she bit me hard and without thinking about it, i instinctively bit her back. not hard mind you, but enough to shock her. after that, she never bit again. i think it proved to her that biting really did hurt. good luck!


p.s.--def. send the kiddos to school! it's amazing what they will learn both socially and academically.

This is just a phase.

I remember picking my sweet, laid back daughter up from daycare one afternoon and seeing little Luke with a swollen, bruised and cut eye....my daughter had bitten him! I was mortified! My son also bit.

I don't remember now how it stopped, but I do remember reading lots of books that explained why they do it. It didn't stop the behavior, but it helped me understand what made him/her do it, and then I could try and help the child navigate through whatever situation would most likely cause the behavior.

Of course, I don't remember which book it was, but I'm sure all toddler books address it! Good luck.

I will say it again, your kids are just so damn cute!

Hi Tertia,

I had to de-lurk here because I know exactly how you are feeling with Adam. My daughter Cecilia is 2 1/2, but I swear "Terrible Two's" came at 18 months. I often feel that Cecilia feels everything so much more intensely then everyone else. When she is happy and loving, the affection and happiness are so incredibly overwhelming. But when she is unhappy, the intensity that I love so much is very difficult to deal with.

She attends daycare and it has been a huge help for both of us. When I expressed my concern to her teachers that perhaps Cecilia was somehow abnormal because of her aggressiveness or extreme feelings, they made me feel much better by reminding me that at 2, she doesn't yet have the skills to deal with her feelings. They also reminded me that it must be so frusterating on her part to not be able to accurately communicate her feelings.

The daycare was a huge help with her too because unlike us at home, they are very consistent with their discipline. One day I watched Cecilia hit her friends from the window and how her teachers dealt with it. She reacted completely different to discipline with her teachers then with us at home because at school she realized that they will take her away from the toys/friends/etc if she does not behave. From watching them, I learned how to administer her time-outs, and how to communicate to her what behavior is acceptable. Her behavior has gradually toned down. I am so happy that her loving moods are still so joyful, yet her unhappy moods are becoming more manageable.

Clearly, I love Cecilia's daycare setting. Cecilia's daycare is to me what Rose is to you. I hope that if you decide to place the children in daycare/group setting, that you are able to find one which you love as much as I do.

One of the things that may be helpful about sending him to a play school is that the teacher can work with him on this and he can work on these skills. My DD has gone through many phases and her day care/nursery school was so good with her and the kids, they helped her tremendously. Good luck!

Something that has stuck with me in terms of behavior and development that I either read or someone else told me: basically toddlers are little cavemen who have difficult articulating their needs so they find the easiest way to get the point across. Adam is just a physical being and that is how he articulates his point. I also think, as difficult as it may be, that sending him on to class could be a good thing. Not only to be around other children and having to find his own place but also to be under the direction of another adult that isn't so emotionally close to him. It's amazing what a little authority can do for a little person. Good luck...

I was in a pediatric nursing class a year or so ago, and this topic came up. The professor asked what to do when children bit. A rousing chorus of, "Bite them back" came from the class. She laughed, but suggested instead to put a couple of drops of hot sauce (Tobasco, Texas Pete....) on their tongue everytime they bite. Of course, that necessitates always carrying a bottle of hot sauce......

Mine was a biter until one day at the library, a toddler sauntered over and bit him, hard, on the arm. The mother was mortified, but I knew it was just what my son needed. He never bit again. Marko is right, the other kids will sort him out.

They all bite at this age. One day DD came home from school having been both the bitER and the bitEE....the SAME DAY! She only ever bit that one time (thank God) but the school handles it by lavishing attention on the bitEE while sternly reprimanding the bitER.

A lot of this stems from the kids not being able to verbalize what they want/need. If you continue to correct him and show him proper ways to vent his frustration he WILL grow out of it.

I'm with Marko, too, on this one. The teachers and other kids won't let him get away with biting. He'll soon learn that no one wants to play with a biter.

Send him to school!!! There is a major life-lesson waiting in the wings...if you want to play with other people/make friends/have fun, then you can't bite. If he is, indeed, the kid no one wants to play with becasue he bites them, he is learning a powerful, direct-consequence lesson. It is hard, as a parent, to fear our children being ostracized by thier peers, but it teaches them socially acceptable behavior faster and better than we, the adults, ever can with all of our "talking to's" and time outs and whatever. Harsh as it sounds, I would probably fall into the biting back. People will tell you it is mean, cruel and ineffective, but I have seen it work many times. You know him best and know best what he will respond to. Now, take a deep breath and repeat, "HE WILL OUTGROW THIS." Becasue he will.

This is a phase. I promise that he will have outgrown it by the time he leaves for college.

Seriously, my 13 month old is doing the same thing right now. Drives me insane. Thank God she's only bitten Dad and I so far, not any other kids.

I'll be coming back when I have more time to read all the comments for suggestions, but I wanted to let you know right away that I feel your pain (literally!).

I've been going through this same thing with Delaney since she was 10 months old (she's now 18 months) but she scratches rather than bites. I've been at my wits end many times and tried nearly everything there is to try to get her to stop. They are almost about to kick her out of the gym daycare which is completely mortifying to me.

I Asked Moxie and here is what she had to say. Hope this helps you as much as it's helped me!


My son was on the receiving end of getting bitten by a child. It freaked my husband out but I knew that some children went through that phase.

At least it wasn't as bad as what happened to the daughter of a friend of mine. Her kids were being babysat by another woman and one of her (the babysitter's) kids crawled into my friend's daughter's crib and started biting her all over (don't ask me where that child's mother was...Christy must have been screaming). They had to take her to a hospital and the hospital nearly called Child Protective Services on my friend because they thought she had been abusing Christy. Anyway...it could always be worse.

(BTW...do you know what a great mother you are? Your last paragraph was lovely.)

OK, I know I'm in the minority here but I'm not a believer in the Lord of the Flies, send them to day care approach. My best friend worked in day care for years and would never send her own children. She said the staff are busy enough taking care of the basic needs. She said the stronger ones work out they can dominate the weaker ones, the weaker ones learn self defence mechanisms or just end up scared. Some end up hiding in a corner, unnoticed for quite some time while the staff are busy doing other things. Now not all preschools are like this, obviously. But unless you can guarantee that Adam will be constantly supervised, the biting will be rewarded because kids will do anything to avoid it. 2 year olds are too little to work out that if they join forces and ignore a biter than they are teaching him a lesson. The other possibility is that Adam might be hit or bitten back - and even though a lot of commenters seem to think this is a great lesson, I reckon at his age he should be protected from that. Even if he bites or hits himself. He's just a baby.

Biting is so, so common and no kids are doing it at 10. Or 5 even. It's a phase. But it needs one-on-one attention to pull him up on it every single time, hopefully just before it happens. He's a lovely, gorgeous boy - you can see it in the photos! But he is also, as you said, an intense little boy and my gut feeling is he needs one-on-one attention, and not to be thrown into a group situation. They cannot watch the kids like you or Rose would yourself. Controlled play dates are a great way to start. But it's tiring because you have to be on top of him the whole time.

Your kids are great! I think if this is your biggest worry at the moment, you are doing REALLY well!

My dd did the exact same thing at that age. What helped was always keeping a teether on hand to give her an alternative biting focus. We (or the daycare teachers) would say, "No biting, biting hurts," and hand her the teether. It also helps to focus on the bitten child and get the biter to help comfort the bitten ("Look, that hurts Megan - do you think she needs a hug/cold compress/whatever?"). For a few weeks she was biting the other kids at daycare, then it was somebody else's turn. This is why I never got upset when other kids bit her - I knew that someday it would be our kid doing the biting.

I had 2 biters. Both of them were in daycare. At the daycare, when a child bit, the care giver had to whipe that child's mouth off with white vinegar to "get rid of any germs that may have gotten from biting." That did deter a lot of kids since it taste bad to most. One of mine liked it though.

All of that to say, he will outgrow it. But I know it is an awful feeling. In fact, I felt worse when my child bit than when they were bit. But, we did get through it.

Came back to add, I asked my ped about it with my first child. His response "Bite her back." Well, she wasn't biting me - it was the other kids so it made no sense for me to do that.

However, the first time (and only time) she bit me was right between the boobs. It left a scar. I instinctly took one finger and popped her mouth. Then I cried because I felt so bad that I had done that. But, she didn't ever bite me again.

She's 10 now - we're at the "sassy mouth" stage. Can't wait for you to do a post on that ;-)

Maybe Adam's craving more intense sensory input than most of us need. Couldn't hurt to try a few "sensory diet" things like hugging him extra firmly, giving him crunchy/chewy foods (or a chewy toy to gnaw on), encouraging him to carry or push heavy things, running/jumping/spinning, dangling him upside down...just anything that gives his body deeper tactile input. These are the sorts of things that my Ben needs to keep himself "regulated." He also goes to OT weekly. He wasn't a biter, but boy, would he fight me from about age 2 on. We thought it was behavior-based (and that possibly I was a terrible mother who didn't know how to get him to behave), but it turned out to be sensory integration dysfunction (which really is not such a big deal, but OT helps so much).

My assvice could be completely useless, but it doesn't hurt to try. And it doesn't involve biting Adam!

I was a biter. My mother's doctor suggested she bite me, and she did, everytime I bit another child (usually the girl she was babysitting). It didn't work until the other child got fed up and bit me back. My mom says I never bit after that, and I was young enough (about Adam's age) that I don't remember any of it! I think sending Adam to school is a good idea, if, like others have said, you warn the teachers, and they know to keep an eye on him. Of course, this is all coming from a lady who is 7 months pregnant, so what do I know?! I'm learning a lot reading you, though!

I thought Orange's comment was so interesting, because I have a twin who is so much like Adam (though mine are only 18 months) and also a biter. I have no reason to pathologize it at this point, after all, toddlers bite, and his intensity is not to the point where it really worries me. BUT, I think the sensory input thing is really true for N. When I dangle him upside down, make a "pillow sandwich" with him in the middle, squeeze him hard, etc., he is calmer and more peaceful afterward. His mellower brother just gets riled up and upset. N also loves the wind, and car and stroller rides, while O gets bored, and wants to always be able to manipulate objects with his hands (like undoing carseat buckles!). I think N needs sensory input to regulate himself, and will probably continue to need that even if he's within the spectrum of "normal". Maybe it'd be worth a try with Adam too. I think there are even toys made especially for kid that need a little extra sensory unput help. That said, I'm not at all saying you need to "get an assessment" or that Adam has some sort of abvious or major issues. Needing some extra sensory input is not necessarily a problem so much as an example of how different things work well for different kids. Sorry for the long comment!

I had a bitee first, then a biter. Some kids at that age bite. It's so effective, after all! Same with shoving. You get what you came for. They simply can't look ahead and see that someone bigger then them is just going to take it away from them. You cannot fight aggression with aggression. All that teaches a biter or pusher is that he just needs to get bigger for his approach to work all of the time. What works is prevention. When you or Rose see Adam heading for another child you jump in right then and prevent the agression from occurring. In other words, teach him what TO do not what NOT to do. Also, support Kate by letting her know that she does not have to give up whatever it is that Adam is trying to take from her. When he bites or pushes, remove him from the situation but don't give him attention. Focus on comforting and aiding the child who was pushed or bitten, while Adam has to sit by himself with no attention.
Finally, this situation makes an excellent interview question for potential play schools. Tell them what Adam does and ask how they would deal with it. If they focus on punishment rather than prevention, thank them politely and get the hell out of there.

You know, a lot changes in a year--he could very well be out of the biting phase by the time he goes to nursery school. Or maybe not, and maybe you could send just Kate to nursery school at first? If she is ready, it might do her good to have something just her own.

Good luck!! I don't have biters so I have no good advice really--although, my mom was a preschool teacher for years, and she made her biters bite a lemon. Usually cured the urge after a while!

Isn't it nice to hear Adam is normal and other kids do this too? I didn't have a biter, I had the kicker when my son was about 2. There is a book I bought called "Feet are not for kicking" which we'd read and my son "got it" after reading it for about a week. He even tells other kids that feet are not for kicking! They have a series of books and one called "Teeth are not for biting". Might want to check it out if that interests you. Good luck!

Check Ask Moxie. She had a biter. She got him something to bite instead (maybe a puppy chew toy?) and would give it to him every time he looked like he wanted a chomp. I think it worked great.

I also think that you have what, a year before they go to pre-school? (Not sure when your school year is -- ours are Sept/June but maybe because of the seasons switch yours is March/December or something like that?) Anyway, as you said stuff with kids is always changing. Hang in there, I think school would be a very good thing for him.

Speaking of biting...check out Laid off Dad. http://laidoffdad.typepad.com/lod/

I guess Marko is right as far as other kids getting him to stop but as a mom, it would bother me to sit and wait for him to be bitten back or to bite again.

My son was a biter and it was a phase. I, too, believe it had to do with verbal development and with my son, like Adam, I would see that it was his first response - almost reflex. It did pass and I think all you can do is wait, keep reminding him, keep reprimanding him (however you see appropriate for a kid his age) and pray that he doesn't strike again. I think the worst of it all is the embarrassment. I always wanted to make sure the parent knew *I* didn't think it was acceptable and *I* wasn't taking it lightly.

For the record, my son is 3 now. He does still rarely bite but it is a whole seperate thing now. Now he does it to be an asshole and he gets punished for it where before, I really saw no forethought he just jumped right in (that went for pushing, hitting, hairpulling, the works).

My youngest, Luna, was a biter. Daycare and we (doesn't that sound awful?) worked together and we would remove her from the situation and tell her how nobody will play with her if she bites. So she reverted to pushing. We finally taught her to "keep her hands to her body" she will hug herself and say "NO! I don't like that" when she wants to push or bite. It took about 5 months of working on her, but she got it.

She still pulls my hair when she is mad at me....it gets better. I promise. And I don't think you need to wait because of his biting. If he is ready for creche in other ways, just let the teachers know about this habit...they've seen it before. Trust me on this one

I tend to dissagree with most, biting is a big issue and even at 22 months they do know what they are doing. I agree though that it is very difficult and frustrating for them to express themselves and sometimes they don't know how, so they lash out the only way they know how. They do need to be taught though that biting is absolutely not an acceptable way of expressing themselves. If he does bite, remove him from the situation, before you go into a play area tell him that if he bites you are leaving straight away...if he does it at home, take away his favorite toy for a day or two. Let him know that there is a consequence for every action. Same with pushing. If he pushes tell him that if he does it one more time he is losing XX amount of playtime or movietime. I do not agree with putting hot sauce in their mouth, that's just plain cruel if you ask me and has no long term effect like spanking. I don't agree with biting back either. 2 wrongs don't make a right.

ahh the joys of parenthood right :)

Has anyone ever recommended the book Raising Your Spirited Child to you? It's about kids like Adam. Both of my kids are VERY intense, very spirited. When they were toddlers I belonged to a mailing list of parents with spirited kids. Many of those kids ended up being special needs kids later on with various neurological issues like SIDs, ADHD, and Aspergers. Many turned out to be really cool, but intense young adults. Many turned out to be normal, neurotypical kids. So who knows what makes kids so spirited when they're younger. My kids both bit, and were bitten at school. It's normal. They hit and pushed and were aggressive. It's normal. It's HARD being a toddler, especially when the verbal skills can't keep up with all the feelings you have. So they are aggressive and they do behave socially inappropriately according to adults. But they are just babies, and they do the kind of things babies are known to do. Like bite and push and hit. It's a passing phase. It sucks, it's embarassing, but other parents DO understand.

If you can't get that book in SA, let me know. I've got at least 2 copies of it I can pass on.

Hi Tertia! I work in a nursery and I have to tell you that Adam is soooo normal biting! In fact you are lucky if you get a child that never bites.You hit the nail on the head when you say that Adam doesnt seem to know how to express himself . . let me tell you all the biters I have known are all those who just pre talking,by that I mean those that know in their mind what they want to say but just havent quite got there yet.In nursery we deal with someone biting by totally IGNORING the biter.Sounds crazy and we have had some run ins with parents whose child has been bit but a couple of months down the line they are usually in the same boat.Actually now is the best time for Adam and Kate to go to day care ,tell the Manager that Adam is biting and she will put your mind at rest as she tells you how common this is.As soon as Adams speech fully developes biting and aggression dissapear.Hope this helps?

Too funny. My twin girls are a few months younger than your kids and I'm amazed at how many times you write exactly what I'm thinking. Usually, I can read your blog and see what's coming up next with my twins. In this case, my twins are ahead of yours. They are already biters - sometimes playful - sometimes when angry. Interestingly enough, at daycare, the only reports we have received of them biting are when they have bitten each other! We get a corresponding report that our other child has been bitten and received some TLC. I believe it is a phase and when they are able to use words more and when they are done teething, it will stop. At least I hope so.

I "teach" a one-year-old class at my daycare, and I hate daycare. It's such a load of bs. I do not understand the point of trying to socialize a child under the age of three b/c they are hard-wired to be self-centered (it's a survival mechanism). Between our two one-year-old classes, we have several biters, none of whom stopped biting b/c another kid bit them, and a few who became biters b/c they learned it from the other kids. The only way I have seen to stop a kid from biting is to shadow him and stop him every time before he bites. Also, keeping him v busy w/ other tasks. Eventually he will grow out of it. Having a biter in your daycare room is v tiring and incredibly stressful b/c you have to be right next to them at all times and try to pacify the parents of the non-violent kids who are paying good money for their kids to be terrorized. If you have a biter, you have to be with them every second when they are with other kids. This means at the park, at relatives houses, etc etc. You have to be right there to stop them and, most importantly, to protect the other child. If a kid in your home is biting (yours or visiting) you need to shadow them at all times to protect the other kids. Yes, it is a normal phase, but biting is so much more vicious than pushing. Sorry if that sounds offensive, but I have seen kids who DO bite out of spite, and, regardless of motivation, biting REALLY FREAKING HURTS. Parents of biters: Please shadow your kids!!

We have had both boys bite both the nanny and me--on the boobs! They get very excited and are happy and their instinct is to bite us in a place that feels good to them. We just say "Ow!" and then "No biting!" But hug them afterward so they know we aren't angry. They also bite their loveys, their soft sheepies that they adore. They bite them A LOT.

The other biting that is happening is when Zack steals Nick's toys. No matter what Nick is playing with, Zack steals it. For a while Nick just finds another toy, but eventually he gets mad and yells at Zack "Bad!" and goes to bite him. He has bitten him quite a few times. Now when we see Nick on his way to biting, we say, "No biting!" and separate them. Then Nicky will try biting his own hand gently, as though to see why he isn't allowed to bite.

The pediatrician told me to let them fight as long as they aren't hurting each other. She said if we keep rescuing Nicky we are creating a bully and a victim. By letting Nicky defend himself, we break that cycle, but the trick is to let them work it out but be ready to jump in before anyone gets really hurt. Funny that Zack is the aggressor, because he weighs about 7 lbs less and is about 3 inches shorter. Nicky is bigger but is the milder one.

This will pass. Seems like a lot of kids bite for a while.

T- you already have tons of comments and I'm repeating, I'm sure of that...but realize that being physical is the only way he has right now to fully express himself. Physical aggression (biting, pushing) are VERY common at this age. He doesn't know how to tell you things or tell others things, so he pushes, or he bites. It is also what gets probably the biggest rise out of him.

The best you can do is keep yourself at even keel and keep reminding him of what is right and what is wrong. When he's four or five and still biting, then we'll talk. As for school, I'm a preschool teacher (right now - was a public school teacher for a LONG LONG time) and a few hours a week would be GREAT socialization for them. Go for it! They will both gain so much from it!

My Will (just a couple of weeks younger than Adam/Kate)is very intense. He has panic attacks already (I know...I feel like I passed along crazy genes) and can't quite figure out how to appropriately handle his emotions. It's one thing when he's doing that mess here at home with his triplet siblings who are used to him. It's horrible when it happens with other toddlers. I'm watching and waiting until his next ped appt but it's already on my list of questions for then. If you're worried, ask your doctor. It's probably just a phase, but I know how I am. I'll worry until a medical professional tells me not to. Oh, who am I fooling...I'll still worry. Slap me.

Biting can be a phase for many - but I also agree it could be a sensory issue.

My 3 year old nephew was recently diagnosed with a sensory issue and goes to OT. He didn't bite but pushed and was very physical. Everyone kept telling my SIL he would grow out of it and he was just a "boy" but she finally gave in to her gut that said it was more than that and had him assessed.

The OT has helped him so much. He is happier and my SIL is much happier too! SIL says OT gives her ideas for ways to deal with his sensory issues, to give him what he needs - and it has helped him tremendously socially.

I have no idea if it is a phase for Adam or if OT would help. I just wanted to share my nephew's experience.

I'm with everyone else that said It's the lack of communication skills. Teaching him to talk and or sign will help. Face it there have been times when I've had to remind myself to use my words to maintain social acceptability!

HUGS, Just keep doring on him and know that he's not the first kid to ever bite someone.

Hi Tertia,

Totally off topic, but do you know if Grrl will ever start up her blog again? I wonder how she is doing, I'm not sure if you knew her but I just noticed she was on your friends list.

Re: the biting...this too shall pass. My mom in law would always make me relax when I would worry about these types of situations. She would say "Don't worry! He won't be doing that in highschool!" :)

Holy crap people, are you really recommending that Adam be sent to school (and who are we kidding, at not-even-two, it's day care, not school) to be let loose to bite other children and then to be bitten back, hit, teased or ostracised by his peers as a solution?? Not too many commenters have talked about the preschool teacher getting on top of it, it's about the ganging-up on Adam technique. Not loving that at all.

It is a phase, a difficult one, but he just needs loads of supervision, controlled socialisation and maybe as others have said a way to communicate. Your kids are GORGEOUS by the way!

Kids this little are very excitable and out of control. They're frustrated a lot of the time and having just a little power is intoxicating to them. We can follow them around talking, begging, pleading, giving "time-outs" for the next six months, but they'll continue attacking others because it just feels so good to be that powerful.

There are so many good ideas here, but I have to be honest about the issue: my kids didn't stop biting until we bit them back. They had no motivation to stop the aggression until there was a price to pay for it.

Even though my own child, Jul, betrays me above (sorry, babes!), Sarah, Pascha (in a modified way), Anna, 3littlepigs, victoria (NAILS IT!), polly, WkngFmHmToday, Is and Stefanie bear witness: retribution should be swift, and the child learns the lesson today. Today--not six months from now after he/she has seriously injured other children.

There's a big difference between lashing out at a child in uncontrolled anger and teaching a child a lesson that needs to be taught urgently. Some life lessons are hard, whether they're 2 or 22. Each of us has to follow her/his instincts and discipline with love as the bottom line.

He's a little MAN. Mind of his own, it's all on his time, tell him something he will do opposite. You're screwed.

I haven't read all the other comments but I did want to say this...Gromit has tended to be the bitee rather than the biter at his daycare (The staff tells me he just won't back down...I think that's a nice way of saying he's stubborn) and I think it's worse for the parents of the biter. His daycare has one particular girl who was a biter (whenever Gromit got hurt at all for any reason, he'd tell me "Mlamla (toddler version of her name) bite"). Gromit hasn't been bitten in a while, so I am guessing she grew out of it.

As a parent, while I don't like Gromit getting hurt, I accept it as part of the whole toddler experience and I don't hold anything against the biter or his/her parents. So please, don't panic. He will grow out of it. PLenty of positive reinforcement when he doesn the right hting, and negative when not. Do you use a naughty chair/step/whatever?

I would have to agree with everyone that it's normal. At least, I hope so. My son (2) doesn't bite, but he does everything else - hit, kick, knock kids over. Even his reactions to us when he's upset are violent. Definitely a girls vs. boys difference I've seen throughout my extended family. Looking forward to him outgrowing this though!

Hi Tercia, I am a long time lurker, I have b/g twins that are now 8 (groan!). We had this issue with biting and fighting with each other and their Dr suggested we just let them at it. I never was comfortable with that but it seemed to work some. Other than that with school they only ever bit or had issues with each other never the other children. Hopefully this will be the case with Adam. It is amazing to watch the differences between them as they grow. Adam and Kate are so adorable!! Enjoy!

Loving Adam's Touque!

Had to laugh at the comments about boys who bite. All biters I know are girls and all have perfectly behaving brothers. Maybe roles are reverse on the other half of the planet ;-)

My 20 month old son was a biter. Mortifying to come pick him up at day care and get a notice to sign from his teachers. It happened on a regular basis, once or twice a week. The director actually sat both DH and I down for a "talk" on small son's biting. In other words, if he didn't stop, he'd have to leave the day care.

We tried everything. And he knew it was bad to bite! And would do it anyway. We resorted to a pacifier.. better to bite the rubber than another kid.

Then 2 months ago another kid bit my son on the arm. Left a huge bruise and perfectly formed indentations.

Small son has not bitten since. I wish he would have learned another way, but I'm THRILLED there's no more biting.

I didn't take the time to read the other comments so I apologize if this is re-stating something somebody else already said.

My nephew was a biter. Much in the same way as Adam. Well, one day, during a playgroup he bit a little boy and that little boy...bit him back. Shocked the hell out of my nephew for sure! Shortly after that my sister started to notice that said nephew was no longer the eager little biter.

In relation to preschool. Send him on in there. The socialization with other children besides Kate and family will teach him quite a bit.

My 22-month-old daughter has been in a biting stage lately. I was amused when recently we got 2 incident reports from the school on the same day. I forget which was which, but they were 5 minutes apart from each other. One said, "Your daughter bit a friend." The other said, "A friend bit your daughter." They never identify the "friend" (just wait until the kids are older and do it FOR the teacher!), but I feel quite sure my daughter and her friend were havin a little spat!

And my older daughter and I still have a good laugh about Peyton Parsons biting her several times when they were 3. They do grow out of it. don't worry!

I'm going to third what Margalit said about the book "Raising Your Spirited Child." Jeffrey has a lot of sensory issues and has trouble expressing to other kids his frustration or even his, "Hey, I wanna be your friend" feelings. He sometimes bit or pushed...not out of aggression, but out of a need to express something that he couldn't with words. He's now being served by special education...he's in a normal classroom, but he's being tutored on how to deal with other kids in a less physical way.

I know how it feels to feel like something might be wrong with your smooshums. The biting and pushing probably ARE normal, but I know that it can leave you feeling quite desperate. It might help your nerves to set a timeline for yourself (If he isn't improving by X, I'll talk to my pediatrician...) or just go ahead and talk to him/her now. It can't hurt anything...

The only way for him to learn how to behave better with other kids is to be around them more. He'll be ok. Kids have amazing ways of teaching each other.

Wow. Every time I have derision for something, fate makes absolutely sure I get confronted with that issue. A few years ago(pre-kid), my SIL was bemoaning the fact that her daughter was biting other kids. My niece was probably 3. I remember thinking smugly that it was because she was just a wild kid, and blah blah blah. Today I pick Skyler(16 months) up from day-care, and my precious little gentle angel had bitten THREE other kids!! WTF??????? Now what?? I feel completely a)flabbergasted and b)confused. What do I do?? How do I address this? I am`completely emotionally and mentally at a skidded halt. Somebody please kickstart me because I am desperately in need of help.

Oh I know this one I know this one! S used to bite like a maniac. If he was near another child there was a hundred percent chance he was going to bite. No amount of reminding did anything. We read "Teeth are not for Biting" nightly. And nothing. And then poof! After a year of having to trail an inch behind him while all the other mothers were relaxedly chillin' on the sidelines he just stopped. It went as quickly as it came. So my advice? The famous 'this too shall pass'. If we had another biter I wouldn't waste so much energy trying to explain pain tolerance to a one year old. Poor you though. I've been there. He was the king of all biters. Now a gentle boy.

Tertia, i promise he will outgrow it by the time he goes to University! ;)
And my assvice: BITE BACK! Evan is more agressive than Samantha also and pushes her down sometimes, grabs all her toys, etc. He has no idea he is hurting her. Hasn't bitten yet, but, i am waiting....!!
He got bitten HARD in daycare by a girl and they put her in her own play area, but, there's nothing to do really except wait it out like everyone says.
BTW... Evan also has the MOST INTENSE tantrums in the world over absolutely frickin' nothing!!!!!
NOTHING i tell u! So, i ignore him and he stops in like 5 seconds.

My son (slightly younger than Adam) also has an aggressive streak and the professionals at his daycare have been super at helping him learn appropriate hugging and touching. So don't let that keep him out of an activity you might all benefit from enjoying.

My oldest (7) was never truly aggressive, but he had "anger management issues" as we called them. When frustrated, he would hit his friends. I fretted and worried most of his second and third year. But by the time he was 4 he had completely outgrown it (maybe sooner, but I don't remember exactly when it stopped) and by 5 he was the most gentle child in his class. I keep reminding myself of this as his little brother (2 in Nov) is going through the pushing/hitting stage and has taken to biting his sister lately. Almost all the kids I know who went through this outgrew it. Good luck!

Hi Tertia --

First, I love your blog -- I've been reading for a long time but never yet commented.

My kid is the one who gets bitten, very frequently, at daycare. I *certainly* don't hold it against the other kids or their parents (I know it's a totally normal developmental stage, &c), but it does upset me, to the point where we're thinking of withdrawing him. The bites (all of which leave long-lasting marks) are extremely painful, & the most recent incident broke the skin (which is a tiny bit dangerous from a health perspective).

So ... from the perspective of a bite-ee's parent ... I think that if I were you (& if this were a logistical possibility), I'd keep Adam at home for awhile longer until he outgrew the biting stage. (For most kids, the stage doesn't last long, so an end is in sight.)

I don't agree with the "let the other kids sort him out" reasoning. First, why let your sweet baby get hurt? He's still a toddler -- IMHO, way too young to need to learn that the world is a harsh and unforgiving place. Second, my guess is that getting bitten won't stop him. One of the two biters at my son's daycare has been bitten himself, & it hasn't had any effect. (I don't think he's had the epiphany -- "Wow, biting hurts -- I shouldn't do it!" -- that we would, as adults.) I'm sure that he eventually *will* stop biting, b/c that's how kids develop, but it won't be b/c he gets bitten another few times.

Third, of course, biting hurts the bite-ees. Not lethally or even seriously, but some. If you have a choice and could let your baby outgrow it at home, why not try it? (I'd obviously still want my kiddo to have lots of social opportunities -- play dates or informal hanging-out at the park -- but in settings where I could CLOSELY supervise. It's hard for daycare workers, in a classroom, to watch things with the same level of scrutiny.)

Best wishes, & I hope that this hasn't been offensive,


One more thing -- I'm reading all the commenters advising you to send Adam to playschool b/c it'll give him a great education in appropriate social interaction. Obviously I disagree -- but if you do decide to go that way, please *do* tell the teacher in advance that Adam is in a biting period, so that s/he can "shadow" him as effectively as possible.

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