Nothing gives you a surprise like the moment you’re bitten by your innocent young child. While babies often begin to bite down while they’re teething, toddlers who bite are a fairly common phenomenon also. Young children who bite other children usually do so to deal with frustration, feelings of powerlessness or stress. Biting can make them feel powerful because of the reaction and attention they get as a result of their actions.
Biting to experiment:
One of the first ways your child will explore the world is through her mouth. Eventually most objects will go into her mouth. And not long after that, she will probably experiment by biting down with her gums or her teeth. This may happen during breastfeeding, which can give you a bit of a shock!
Biting from frustration:
- Some children bite when they get frustrated in a social situation and they’re not yet able to articulate how they feel.
- Children who are not yet old enough to share and take turns, often resort to biting other children to get what they want
- Younger children sometimes bite when they’re playing with older children who have control of the shared activity.
Biting from feeling powerless:
The youngest child in the family is often the resident biter. While his older siblings can easily communicate their needs – and so may get more of what they want more often - the biter feels powerless to do the same. In a group setting, the biter will discover that by biting he will get attention and, very often, what he wants.
Biting under stress:
One of your child’s biggest struggles during the toddler years, is to learn how to manage his feelings. And for some children, one of the coping mechanisms they develop is to bite when under emotional stress. They’re unable to articulate that they’re feeling upset or angry, so just lash out instead and sink their teeth into the nearest juicy arm.
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