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Our nearly 3yr old girl is a biter

Hi Sally-Anne, we have a desperate situation. Our nearly 3yr old girl is a biter. She has biten so many times from a young age.It is not only embarrasing as all the parents turn and look at me and i feel so sick. She targets babies and even her older sister and on occasion me and her dad. When she has biten she knows its bad as she will hide, when we tell her off she keeps saying no more biting, and we hope that its the last time but for some frustrating reason she still does it. We have told her that there is a better way to deal with her anger, like if someone is annoying her but Iam at my wits end. She also licks things like her feet and other things. Please help I feel like I don`t like her but of course I do love her. She speaks with confidence so theres no problem there. I would love our bond to be stronger with out the fear of her biting. She is a middle child of 3 but the biting was occuring well before 3rd child came along. Just SO upsetting!!!Sharon

Answer: Hi Sharon, I have just written an article for this website about how to manage toddler’s biting (see link at the top of this page). It has a number of strategies that you can try to manage this situation. It is a common behaviour but nonetheless it is embarrassing and frustrating, and can be dangerous both to her and to the person she bites. I know how difficult it can be to control our own feelings when these behaviours occur. We feel mixed emotions such as those you mentioned which are understandable, but often our young ones pick up on our tensions which may perpetuate the cycle. When she bites, it is probably her way of communicating a particular emotion. When you explain to her that there are other ways to deal with anger, if she has a strong grasp of language, help her to verbalise her emotion (eg. “I can see you are feeling very angry and frustrated”), and talk to her about suggestions of other ways that she can show how she feels (eg. “When you feel this way you can come and say “angry” to me, and I will help you). Read the article mentioned above, and try to relax a little bit more when implementing the suggested strategies. All the Best! Sally-Anne
Answered: 29 Nov 2007