My Toddler Bites! Back Off

K. Emily Bond

toddler bitingI thought the face grabbing was bad. Ha! That was a walk in the park in comparison to our latest toddler discipline issue: biting. I’d been given fair warning when he started snapping his chops as an infant. One veteran mom told me, "Careful ... you don't want him to be the kid biting everyone in kindergarten."

At the time it sounded so feral, something I couldn't imagine my gentle little guy doing past the early teething stages. "How awful that must be," I responded, certain that my son wouldn't end up like that. How naive I once was. Propelling full steam ahead into the terrible twos, my kid is that kid. And I'm the mom of that kid.

I hate to say it, but it’s unbelievably embarrassing.

Try as I may to shrug off judgmental looks and step in like a mother totally in control, the truth of the matter is his biting is out of control. I've read the discipline books, blogs, I even checked out what Super Nanny had to say. From the little that I've seen on television, she seems to know what she’s talking about. Maybe it's because I'm American and, therefore, easily impressed with an authoritative British accent. Surely, other parents on the verge will understand. Just ask the residents of Cherry Tree Lane. I felt slightly reassured after reading:

Anecdotal evidence suggests up to a quarter of all children will bite others at some stage, with most parents conceding that it's one of the worst things your child could do in public.

Okay, so we’re still in the minority. But this number I can work with. What else is one in four? One in four young adults has used a hookah. One in four homes has a cell phone and no landline. One in four working seniors has no idea when they’ll retire. One in four of the Sister Wives has a one in four shot of having sex tonight. We’re not complete barbarians, are we? When people see us coming, the Biting Boy Wonder and his Helicopter Mother, we’re not such a terrible twosome.

Still, not even the occasional, “ah, don’t worry about it -- he’ll grow out of it” statements meant to bolster me, the novice mom, do a lick of good. No matter how you cut it -- canine teeth, molars, and all -- toddler biting is a frustration, humiliation, and mortification wrapped into one very hard pill to swallow.

But every dark cloud comes with a silver lining, so someone said. Must have been someone British. It sounds so blissfully reassuring.

Does your toddler bite? How do you make them stop?


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