biteThere's spanking your kids. And then there's biting them. A mom is defending herself against accusations that she bit her 2-year-old daughter on the shoulder. But her boyfriend claims she has an excuse: She was just trying to teach her daughter not to bite. That's okay, right?!?

Riiiiight. Well, here's what happened. A police officer spotted teeth marks in the shoulder of a toddler. When he confronted the mother, Christina Crandall, she said she didn't know how those teeth marks got there. But her boyfriend claimed Christina's daughter bit her first, and Christina bit her back to show her daughter how it feels. Now Christina faces charges of assault and child cruelty.

Does that seem a little severe for a little difference of opinion on the subject of parenting techniques? I've actually seen parents and caretakers do this sort of thing on the playground. Their child hits or pinches, and they pinch back and say, "See? That hurts! Don't do that!"

I guess there's a sort of logic to it. Or there would be, if the adults were doing it to other adults. But I don't even think this makes sense to toddlers. You have to remember, they don't think like we do. They're still figuring out cause and effect. What's more, they're looking to us for emotional support. If the person you love most in the world, the person your whole life depends on, HURTS you, what kind of message does that send?

Every single time I've seen an adult hit or pinch back (I've never seen actual biting, wow), I've seen the same sad look of confused betrayal in the child's eyes. NOT a look of comprehension. NOT "Ah-ha! I see now! That hurts people." And in the end, the grownup just ends up looking cruel and foolish. Not to mention -- why is it suddenly okay for you to hurt your child, but not for your child to hurt others?

I don't know that parents who hit back really need to be charged with assault and child cruelty. But come on. This is not effective parenting. This is just one adult acting childish with a child.

Do you ever hit, bite, or pinch your children back in order to teach them a lesson?

 

Image via Alisha V/Flickr