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Children come in different shapes, sizes, and of course personalities. There are some children who are mild tempered and transition rather easily from one stage of life to the next, but there are others who exhibit some violent tendencies that may leave parents, caregivers, peers or anyone within their reach, quite worried, frustrated and edgy. It is rather challenging to raise a child who bites, because, aside from the difficulties you face, public opinion and negative scrutiny may add more stress to an already challenging situation. However, the good news is that children usually stop this kind of behavior after they reach a certain age. The bad news is that you will pretty much have to endure it until they reach that age.

There have been many attempts to explain the underlying causes of this type of conduct.

What Are The Causes?

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According to certain studies, this is a behavior that a child learns over time. There are other studies that emphasize genetic encoding and the general surrounding that the child is raised in, but the majority of studies argue that this type of behavior pretty much comes with the territory and simply marks a stage that children generally go through. Some simply remain there longer, so it may not be a case of a lack of parental discipline. Even parents who are good at disciplining their children, at times still end up with kids who have biting tendencies.

When Does It Usually Occur?

This type of behavior is most likely to occur in children between the ages of one and three, but it does occur in children who are younger. At this stage, children are developing at a rapid rate but they have are not yet speaking. As a result, they have difficulty venting appropriately and this may result in them resorting to bouts of aggression or biting in order to get their message of frustration across. In addition, at this stage, they also want to do things on their own and they may simply be trying to assert themselves. Nevertheless, this can be a very difficult time for all involved because at this stage they really do not yet value the feelings and views of others and are simply seeking gratification without thoughts of consequences.

It is, therefore, important that you try to empathize with the child. Try to imagine having a lot to say and not having the faculties to express it as this will go a long way in helping you to deal with the situation. Try to remain positive and be encouraged by the fact that once they are able to talk they will generally stop biting those around them and the aggression will more than likely go away. So your best bet is to wait it out and hope that they talk soon. This, of course, will be the beginning of another phase but we will discuss that in another article.

One way to stay positive, is by taking care of yourself both physically and mentally. Healthcare professionals recommend eating healthy, taking supplements, losing excess weight and exercising regularly. 

Ways To Deal With A Child Who Bites

The following are ways in which you can help children overcome this issue:

A) It is important that you try to fully understand the factors that are driving this particular behavior. Do not berate yourself because this behavior does not necessarily come about as a result of a deficit in discipline on your part. If, however, you find it is, then give your child clear boundaries and take them out of the contributing environment.

B) Try positive reinforcement by praising your child when they do not behave negatively when introduced to possible aggression-causing stimuli. Also try to engage or distract your child from venting in such a way.

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C) Monitor your child's activities and be sure to remove anything that may be influencing this behavior. Be extremely vigilant in screening messages from the media, ensure that they are only involved in wholesome forms of entertainment. Be sure to pay attention to the behavior of their friends and be sure to note the level of interaction between your child and other family members and relatives. Children are very vulnerable at this stage of life and they will model behavior that is exhibited around them.

D) Be a positive source of behavior. It is important that you do not use aggressive or violent methods as a means of discipline because this will make the situation worse, reinforcing negative conduct. Never resort to mimicking the child's behavior. For example, do not playfully bite the child or spank them if they hit you. Be firm in discouraging this behavior and do not model it because they will not fail to model you.

E) Be an active participant on the playground. Be sure to play with your child so that you are able to clearly observe their behavior and quickly correct it. Encourage your child when they play without any outbursts and discourage them from doing so when they do.

F) Show them what is appropriate. Children at this stage are in need of boundaries because they really do not know what type of behavior is prohibited. It is imperative that you show them that you understand how they feel, but point out what should be the correct response in each situation.

G) Be sure to treat your child with respect and love. Once you establish an acceptable mode of discipline do not change it, but keep your child within the ambit of this restraint at all times. Take it in strides and remain hopeful because things are likely to change.

Researched and written by experts, brought to you by our team at Mommy Authority.