Biting Behavior in Children


Recently I saw a young boy who attends the same preschool as my son. At the end of the visit his mom shared with me a concern that her son started biting. I reassured her, explaining that biting is a common behavior at this age, and recommended that she should stop him if she notices it but should not make a big deal out of it.

Young children may bite for different reasons. Infants may bite when they are teething. Toddlers usually bite out of frustration, inability to use words to express their feelings or wishes, or to exert control. Children older than 3 years of age with a history of frequent biting may need to be seen and evaluated by a psychologist.

When a biting incident occurs in your presence, calmly but firmly explain to the biter that this behavior is not acceptable. Use short sentences, for example: “We don’t bite. Biting hurts.” Encourage the biter to apologize and comfort the child that was bitten.

…Later at home, when I was giving my son a bath, I noticed a bite mark on his shoulder…

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