Thursday, 05 November 2009
What do you do when your child begins to bite and/or pinch? The answer to this question may vary depending on the age of the child as well as your parenting style. It seems that almost all children go through a phase like this at some point or another.
When my cousin Lorraine and I were little children we had been playing together in my basement playroom when suddenly she grabbed my neck with her little hand and twisted my skin. The pain was intense! I immediately took her hand and began to pry her fingers from my flesh when she put her head down and bit my forearm! By the time I reached our parents, who were upstairs, I already had blood coming to the surface of the skin in a semicircle where each tooth had punctured the skin.
My mom came to the rescue by washing the wounded area and giving me ice for both my arm and neck. My uncle on the other hand, just stood there with an amused look on his face as if he didn’t see anything wrong with what my cousin had done; after all she was just a four-year-old. Sure, she was just four years old but did that mean she should not be reprimanded in any way? Also, a four-year-old is definitely old enough to understand, once explained, that biting and pinching someone causes pain and that is unacceptable behavior. How was she going to learn not to do this again if no one let her know what she had done was wrong?
On the other extreme when dealing with a child who bites or pinches comes a story a mother once told me of how she handled her daughter’s biting problem. Her 17-month-old daughter was biting other children and this was causing the mother a great deal of stress. She repeatedly tried to explain to her daughter that biting hurt and that she was not to do it but her daughter just continued on biting. One day the mother grew so frustrated with her daughter’s biting habit that she bit her daughter back! This unorthodox approach worked for this mother but I am not saying that I would recommend it. Here are some other useful and less painful ways to approach a biter or pincher.
When the child bites or pinches, yell in a high-pitched voice “Ouch!” or “Ow!” Children usually will stop the behavior immediately since the sound signifies that they have caused pain. However, some children seem to find the situation amusing and will only bite or pinch more.
If that doesn’t work you can also try fake crying. Children understand that crying means something is wrong and will usually put two and two together and realize that their behavior caused you to cry, this knowledge should be enough for them to stop the behavior.
If none of the above work you can always go with good old time-out. The child will realize that the behavior put them in a situation where they received a time-out and they will no longer desire to bite or pinch.
How have you dealt with a little biter or pincher?