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Help! I Have A Child Who Bites

Everyone has feelings; it's part of our human condition. One of these feelings is aggression. As adults, we may feel this, but for the most part, know that it needs to be handled safely. So, for some, they go to sit in a quiet place and breath for a minutes. Others, storm out the house and go out for a drive. And for a few, they feel better after a drink or cigarette. Is that a good thing or a bad thing, well the last one isn't healthy. But, that's not for anyone to judge. You as the adult make your own wise decisions. However, with children it's a bit difficult for them.

Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Lam Credit: Huff Post Canada

They might not know, fully, how to handle that emotion. It's difficult! Sometimes, even as adults, we want to punch a pillow. Children, however, lack the ability to stop and think before acting. In the case of biting, they let out their aggression on the person who triggered the emotion. For the most part, after the feeling was acted upon, that child will, most likely, feel bad for what they've done. When an adult comes in screaming at them for behaving in that manner, the child not only feels bad, but will feel ashamed.

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First things first, this behavior is totally normal. Yet, when it becomes a constant choice, for the child, then it is a big problem. How do you as a parent handle this situation? For one, put yourself in their shoes. How would you like an authoritative figure to speak to you? Calmly, but firmly.

As reported by aacap.orgif your child is 3-years-old, tell them that biting hurts people, that's why the child they bit is currently crying. Do not embarrass them. Do not bite the child back, in hopes they will understand, because they've been hurt by the same action. This is further telling the child that aggressive behavior is okay. The child might think that, because you are "bigger" then it is okay. So, if the trigger happens again, they might want to bite someone they feel they need to power over. A negative consequence, as stated in the article, might be a better choice. For example, not allowing the child to play with their toys for 5 minutes; any longer than that will not be beneficial, as said by the CDC.

If this is happening between siblings, parents are encouraged to step in and calmly, but firmly handle the situation. Because you might feel that this is normal between siblings, don't downplay it. Children with aggressive behavior display these actions for many reasons. Some reasons are because they've witnessed it in their own homes, or have been victim to aggressive behavior by a parent or caretaker. Be mindful of what they are watching on TV or the phone, as that is a heavy influencer as well. As we all know, children are like sponges; they soak up everything.

Studies have shown that if this isn't nipped in the bud, the behavior will continue on and possibly progress even further. Talking about why they are feeling like this, will be helpful. Sometimes all a child needs is to have someone see their point of view. For example, if little Johnny bit Suzy, take him to a quiet area and ask him why he did it. If he shrugs his shoulders, start from the beginning. Ask him what happened. He might say, "Suzy took my toy while I was playing with it." You, as the adult, can respond, "That wasn't right of Suzy to take your toy. I bet you were so angry with her." He might look up into your eyes and feel like, "Wow, this adult understands me." He will nod in agreement. You can also say, "I understand why you were angry. I would be upset too." Now you've connected with little Johnny. This will help him let down his guard and listen to what you have to say. "Johnny, it was wrong of Suzy to take your toy. She should've asked you first. It was also wrong to bite her. Maybe you could've told her that it made you angry that she took it away, instead of biting her. Or maybe, you could've came to me and told me what happened, so I can handle the problem."

Like many things that children do, that is not acceptable, try not to overreact, as stated by Verywellfamily.comMake sure your child has a routine, because they feel secure knowing what's going to happen next. This will help them to keep calm during the day. Actually, this is why young children like to watch say, a Blippi video, over and over. They thrive on structure and find comfort in routine. This biting may not stop at once, so be prepared to remind your child that the behavior is unacceptable. Try doing an exercise that might help them calm down. You know your child best, so maybe they need their teddy bear to calm down, or listen to some relaxing, classical music. Some parents practice yoga, together with their child. Other parents rely on the comfort of prayer. Whatever you feel is best, and reinforces what you're saying, in a positive way; that is right for them.

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