Children who bite

Children who bite

For younger children, biting is a way to explore the world: through the mouth they learn about the objects that surround them, discovering ever new shapes and flavors. When the first teething begins, the movements of the baby's mouth change from sucking into bites because the baby feels something "new" and "strange" appearing in his mouth. In this period the baby is still not able to understand the difference between "affectionate" bites and aggressive bites.

After one and a half years of age, the child begins to understand that he can use the bite to attract the attention of others to himself and, if he is not yet master of language, biting becomes a way to communicate. By means of the bite, the child manifests his emotion through the use of the non-verbal and therefore of the body, and he still has no knowledge of the pain he causes by biting.

Around two years of age, the bite is instead used to express frustration. An example are children who bite little sisters and younger siblings or parents for a request for affection or a demonstration of jealousy.

Only after two or three years does biting become a deliberate way for the child to express anger and intimidate peers. Together with punches, slaps, throwing objects and crises of anger, the bites become an attempt to explore relationships and also to verify the effect that these actions have on people and the environment around them.

In the face of the problem, the educational model that mum and dad should put in place is an authoritative model, therefore neither permissive nor authoritarian, calmly suggesting to the child more acceptable ways to let off steam, encouraging him to express anger in words instead of with bites .


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