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Mom Accused of Biting 2-Year-Old to Teach Her a Lesson

by Adriana Velez on January 16, 2013 at 2:00 PM

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

Filed Under: in the news, toddler development


  • flowe...


    January 16, 2013 at 2:08 PM
    I bit my daughter gently on the arm when she was in a biting phase, because she didn't understand that it hurt. Then I explained that mommy feels hurt just like she does. She "got it" after that. But here's the thing, you don't bite your child hard enough to LEAVE A MARK. Ever. Even if they leave marks on you. That isn't okay. Sounds like the mom lost control with her child and hurt her because she was angry. Not cool. And no, I've never hit them back, but I do sometimes pinch their butts when I'm walking up the stairs behind them. LOL.
  • Cass
    -- Nonmember comment from


    January 16, 2013 at 2:12 PM
    Was she bleeding or bruised or did she just have the same tooth marks I can give myself in 5 seconds? If you bite a dog's ear when it bites you, it stops. If you throw a tantrum in front of a tantrum-having toddler, it stops.
  • fave82


    January 16, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Love flower_momma's comment! .. And totally agree!

  • sand008


    January 16, 2013 at 2:16 PM
    Agree with flower_momma. I've done the same when my son was in the biting phase
  • nurse...


    January 16, 2013 at 2:22 PM
    Agree with everyone else.
  • BeckyP.


    January 16, 2013 at 2:32 PM
    I did the exact thing with my son. Around 2, he went through the biting phase. I have a home daycare so obviously, this was a problem. After trying to stop the behavior with verbal warnings and time-outs with no avail, I warned him the next time he bit his friend that I was going to bite him so he would see that it hurts. Within hours, he got angry and bit his friend and I promptly gave him a bite on the arm. I didn't even bite hard enough to leave marks but it was a total "light bulb" moment for him, and honest to god, he NEVER bit again. Problem solved.
  • jessy...


    January 16, 2013 at 2:45 PM
    I appreciate that the other commenters have put thought into the way that they deal with biting. However, teaching a child that something is not acceptable by doing it to them is irrational. If you want your child to understand that it hurts, try exaggerating your response. Fake cry, say over and over again "Ow! Ouch! Owie!! Oh, that huuuuurts!!" Children who see an exaggerated response like that are more likely to understand the emotional queues and feel empathy. Biting them so they know it hurts does nothing but teach them that sometimes adults are allowed to hurt you.
  • Sure
    -- Nonmember comment from


    January 16, 2013 at 3:17 PM
    I guess jessyroos never met a kid that thought exaggerated responses are hilarious...
  • doodledo


    January 16, 2013 at 3:21 PM
    People who spank, hit, slap, bite,pinch,kick or otherwise physicslly abuse children in name of discipline make me sick. I totally judge you and I think people that do this type of crap are LOUSY parents. I feel so sorry for all the children that have to suffer with abusive parents.
  • jessy...


    January 16, 2013 at 3:47 PM
    Sure: Yes, it never crossed my mind that a kid might think an exaggerated response is funny. Derp. They are kids! They think everything is funny. I'll tell you though, I've done what I suggested with about a half dozen kids and I don't do it in a funny way and it always gets the point across. I prefer not to use physical violence of any kind to try and teach a lesson. I put thought and effort into what and how I teach kids.
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