View Full Version : Biting, biting, biting

03-15-2011, 04:43 PM
One of our twin boys is biting now and I am not sure what else to do. He only bites his twin but it hurts the other and leaves the other screaming, with a bruise and he in turn hits. Most of the time they really do get along well. I see it more when twin#1 is more tired and also I am wondering if he might be doing it as a way to tell us he isn't happy with something since he can't talk yet. So maybe he is frustrated? Either way it needs to stop. We have tried the super nanny tactic of putting him in the naughty corner and explaining to him why he is in there (he won't stay in it as I think he is too young) . We have spanked. We have moved him out of the situation, we have made him hug or shake his brother's hand to say sorry, we have yelled at him, we have put him in his crib to no avail. It isn't all the time but enough is enough. I know he picked it up in pre-school as there is a biter or two in the room but he doesn't bite anyone else which is great but our previous tactics just don't work. Any ideas? He is the most laid back child who loves to cuddle and usually plays really well with his brother. It is just every now and then and wham the drama begins. I've never had a biter so I don't know what else to try.


B 03, 06, twins 09 and surprise 7/11

03-15-2011, 05:58 PM
How old are they? Are they closer to 1 year or 2 years?

If closer to 1 year, I would just move the biter somewhere else where he can be contained for a few minutes to simmer down. A P&P or something like that. You can even keep a few (old) toys in there. But ignore for a few minutes before letting him out. You don't even have to call it a time-out, or make a big deal about it - simply pick him up, say "No biting", move him into the assigned spot, and then ignore for a few minutes. If you're consistent, then he will eventually get that biting leads to removal from the action and no attention from Mom & Dad. This is what we did for hitting (our girls were hitters but not biters) and it worked quite well. They only rarely hit each other now. This takes lots of repetition and consistency - if you try it just be sure to do things exactly the same each time (and don't add variations like yelling, etc).

If closer to 2 years old, then I have removed the hitter from the situation (while saying "No hitting"), put her somewhere across the room where she can still watch me, go and make a big deal out of comforting the one who was hit, then go get the hitter, bring her over and explain how upset hitting has made her sister and then I ask for help to make her sister feel better. Depending on the situation, I ask why she hit and try to teach other appropriate outlets for the frustration. For example if they were fighting over a toy, then I use that as an opportunity to reinforce taking turns - we've had good luck using a timer for this as long as the timer is set for a reasonable time (30 seconds, then take turns).

Good luck with whatever you decide!! I think the main thing is that whatever method you choose, you must be consistent with it. It's tiring when twins always have the exact same needs and wants at exactly the same time during a period when they are developmentally ingrained to want everything to themselves. I still get frustrated by it.

eta: now at 2.5 years old we implement "real" time-outs where the offender has to go to her room until she is ready to come out and play nicely.

03-16-2011, 12:03 AM
Our twins have each gone through a biting phase. Initially, it was only one. The consistent response was to say "no biting" to the biter and remove them from the fun (not a formal time out until they were 1.5-2years old). The bitten got lots of hugs and ice and all sorts of attention. This started before they were 1.5, I think.

Often, we can see an attempt to bite coming -- it's usually when they're fighting over something. If we can break them up, no biting...

At this point (2.5), each has bitten the other. (One still uses biting more, but it's not exclusive any more.) Any biting now is a time out. (We go by the 1 minute for each year of age, so it's not a long time out, but it gets the idea across.)

I don't know about "picking up" biting. Our oldest was bitten in daycare, and never bit anyone himself. The one twin picked it up on his own -- he was often losing fights for toys, and it was his way of getting what he wanted... but the twins are home with a nanny during the day, so there's no one else for them to have "gotten" it from.

03-16-2011, 06:00 AM
We separated the biter from all fun. S would bite HARD. And for whatever reason she re-started just days before WDW (she didn't know about the trip, it was coincidental). She bit D very hard at WDW and while I chastised her she bit me! So DH and her twin went to "go have fun" while we stayed in the hotel room. She never bit again. I think separating, and fawning over the injured party is the way to go.

FWIW, DDs have never been to daycare. I think it's just something some kids do, it's not learned behavior. In my DDs case, she would do it when frustrated, but also for entertainment. :irked:

03-16-2011, 09:54 AM
I agree with PP that your DC may or may not have picked it up from daycare. Mine weren't in daycare until they were almost 2 years old, and when I was home with them they used biting, hitting, and head-butting as ways to fight for what they wanted. Fortunately the biting only happened a couple of times. The hitting happened more often, and...

the head-butting was the most surprising thing of all. They were only 10 months old. Just barely starting to crawl. They were in the bathroom, and started to fight over a toy. Before I could intervene, DD2 lowered her head like a bull and RAMMED DD1 backwards into the wall (of course DD1 began screaming in anger). I was so shocked that I think the only thing I could do was to gasp. And that wasn't the only time DD2 used head-butting. I can say for certain that I have NEVER modeled biting, hitting, OR head-butting - so I think that those are actually instinctual behaviors. Of course, they may be reinforced if your child sees others doing it...

Big sigh!