Fort Worth, Texas,
30
June
2014
|
09:00 PM
America/Chicago

My kid wants to be Luis Suarez

TheDocSmitty kicks around some ideas on biting

The World Cup has really been a tasty distraction for the past few weeks (ba-dum, ching!).

One of the biggest stories centers around the suspension of Luis Suarez for biting an Italian defender.  It’s not the first time he has done it either.

I usually tell families that their kids will outgrow this problem, but I guess if you’re a world-class soccer player, that’s not always true.

What do we do when our child is the biter?

First off, this happens ALL THE TIME…

Your child is not the first child who has bitten and won’t be the last so let’s be calm.

There’s really just a few things you can and need to do in these situations …

When the bite has already happened

Separate biter and the bitten child.  This helps the “victim” feel safer and diffuses whatever frustration caused the biting in the first place.

Try to talk it out.  Often you are dealing with a pre-verbal child, but it is still important to try and talk about the situation that led up to the biting.  Usually the child who bit is just as scared as the child who was bitten.  You are typically dealing with young toddlers with limited verbal skills, but talking with them about their frustration/anger that led up to the biting can help them understand that there is a better way to express these emotions.

Preventing the Problem

The ultimate goal in helping with biting is to prevent the situation that leads to biting in the first place.  The key to this is: distraction, distraction and distraction.  Keep the frequent biters from their trigger situations or be prepared to intervene quickly before the frustration levels begin to rise.

Or, Just Bite Them Back

Of course, everyone has had a family member or someone tell them that this is the best way to get a biter to stop and while it may have worked for them in the past, I feel that this strategy is simply modeling the behavior you are trying to extinguish.  Toddlers learn best through seeing their parents’ actions and having your parent bite you only makes you think that is appropriate behavior.

About the author

Justin Smith, M.D., is a Cook Children's pediatrician in Lewisville . He has a particular interest in development, behavior and care for children struggling with obesity. In his spare time, he enjoys playing with his three young children, exercising, reading and writing about parenting and pediatric health issues.He attended University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School and did his pediatric training at Baylor College of Medicine. He joins Cook Children's after practicing in his hometown of Abilene for four years. He has a particular interest in development, behavior and care for children struggling with obesity. In his spare time, he enjoys playing with his 3 young children, exercising, reading and writing about parenting and pediatric health issues.

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