Published November 15, 2011 by
There are few things more harrowing than a child suddenly biting another child. If one of those children is yours, it’s even worse. You worry if your child did the biting. And you certainly want your child out of there if he’s the one bitten. Human bites can be dangerous. So if you have a child who has been bitten, get it checked out by a doctor as soon as you can, especially if the skin has been broken.
If your child did the biting, you’re going to have to step in and be a strong parental influence. If it’s a young child, you need to figure out if he is teething. Teething can hurt sometimes so much that the child just wants to bite something to make the pain go away. It’s a natural reaction to the pain. You need to do everything you can to reduce the child’s pain including using teething rings that you can freeze (so they cool the gums) and if a doctor advises you, a pain reducer like Anbesol.
Whether your child is teething or older and bit for no reason, you must have the child apologize at once for the bite. Have him apologize to the child he has hurt. If the child is too young to understand, also have him apologize to the parents of the hurt child. It will make everyone feel like at least you addressed the problem. If it happens at a party, you may want to leave immediately after the apology to show everyone how seriously you have taken the situation. If you stay, you may give the impression that it wasn’t such a big deal and the incident may happen again.
When you return home, you need to speak to your child in a firm voice. Be strong, but don’t yell. It won’t help the child understand what he has done any better if you say it in a loud voice. Resist the urge to lay down a huge punishment without talking about things first. Older children can understand what they have done better than younger children, so determine the punishment by age. If a fight over a beloved baby teddy bear or other toy caused the attack, the toy should be removed for a time to show the child you mean business. You can return the toy to the child when the incident has passed and you feel he understands what he did wrong.
A teething child often can’t control his impulse to bite, so deal with it accordingly. But an older child of the age of reason does have control over his actions. Sit him down and ask him if something is bothering him. It may have been a one-shot deal where he wanted to see if he could get away with biting, or he may have acted rashly over a prized object he wanted.
Many times a bite happens once and then never again. If you notice your child has bitten someone (including you) more than once, it’s time to seek help. Ask your pediatrician what to do and what could be causing the behavior. Sometimes children under stress will act out by biting. A child who continually bites needs help, not a spanking. Don’t treat a violent behavior with more violence. It will only make the situation worse. Instead, seek professional advice.