Thursday, December 14

Parenting Basics: How to Deal With a Biting Child

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Learning how to deal with a biting child becomes a necessity for many parents, as they one day discover the unpleasant habit that their offspring has taken to. Whether it is a supposedly playful nibble that others simply do not enjoy, a complementary behavior to anger outbursts, or a violent act that draws blood and hurts other children, biting is certainly an act that should not be tolerated.


The most prominent and most important solution of how to deal with a biting child is through firm, effective discipline. Even without resorting to corporate punishment, or physical contact of any kind other than necessary restraint, the child must be shown clearly and powerfully that biting will strictly not be allowed, and further instances will incur consequences. The punishment can match the child, and there are many parenting theories as to how best teach consequences for actions, but the necessity of discipline itself can hardly be disputed. Biting is a behavior that should be discouraged, not encouraged, and not providing consequences for it is certainly an encouragement. The parent should remove fond objects or privileges, alter the daily routine, use stern words, and/or incorporate other methods in an effort to put a stop to the bite.


As with innumerable other aspects of parenting, even dealing with a so-called “difficult” child, patience is a must. Not only is it for the benefit of parental sanity, but in the case of how to deal with a biting child specifically, there is a simple truth at work: It is likely a stage that will go away. Biting tends to occur in younger children, such as toddlers, though not always. At that point of development, not only can the parent count on it most likely going away, but as the kid in question grows older they will better be able to process the verbal and cognitive reasoning behind why they should stop.


Although biting is a crude, almost instinctual habit, there still needs to be a little bit of sympathetic understanding. While this cannot take the place to imparting discipline, and should still take a back seat to it, a few relevant factors need to be recognized. For example, if it is indeed a younger child, he or she has a much less well-developed emotional state, and does not have the advantage of the same coping mechanisms as adults. This means that discipline can remain very effective without much effort, but also means that it cannot be overly severe, lest the parent risk being abusive or causing more emotional damage than desired or necessary. Even if there is “no good reason” for the biting behavior, the child being dealt with is still a child after all, and likely not a truly malicious individual.

As the issue of how to deal with a biting child is resolved, the lessons learned can be applied to other unwanted be behaviors as the child grows older, albeit writ large and increasing in complexity. Parents have been dealing with this and many other topics for thousands of years, and will probably continue to do so. This, though, is no reason for anyone to give up on the grand adventure of raising children.


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