You asked

My toddler bites. Should I bite him back?

Having a toddler who bites is a nightmare for any parent. It can get you in trouble with their day care or crèche, and when they do it to you, you will be hurt not only physically, but emotionally too.

Conventional wisdom tells you that you should bite your child back; however, this is definitely the wrong response.

Remember, your child takes his or her cues from you, and if you bite them, you’re only reinforcing the idea that biting is okay. After all, mummy does it too!

Understand that biting is a natural impulse for your child. When they’re angry or frustrated, and unable to articulate those feelings, it’s normal for them to revert to this type of behaviour. Tell your child that biting is not acceptable behaviour, and that it hurts. If they bite another child, ignore him, and focus on the injured child. Even negative attention for his misbehaviour may be a desirable result for your child, and it may encourage him to do it again.

Rather encourage your child to express their anger, fear or frustration verbally, and reward him or her when they do.

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