My 15 month old has been biting me to express anger. He bites my shoulder if I pick him up, and a couple times he has bitten my legs when I wouldn't pick him up. I try to tell him "We don't bite", calmly put him down or walk away and ignore him, but frankly it makes me angry and upset and it's hard to be calm about it, which only makes things worse. He is very well behaved in almost all other ways, and he doesn't bite anyone else! When he's angry and I'm not around, he does bite furniture and gnaw angrily on his sippy cup (which, frankly, is kind of cute).

The only success I've had is to prevent an angry situation in the first place, by anticipating his needs, etc., but that's not always easy to do, especially with a demanding toddler. Any ideas?

asked 08 Sep '10, 17:18

Anne's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%

15 months.. is he teething currently? Maybe you can provide him with something to chew on (carrot, chewy toy...)

(09 Sep '10, 11:27) brandstaetter

He never chews on teethers, he just throws them away. I would suspect that, but this is clearly related to anger or feeling out of control -- like when he's hungry and we're late with dinner, or when he has one of those tired meltdowns. He doesn't have many words yet, and I think this is one way he feels he can communicate.

(09 Sep '10, 12:10) Anne

chirp, chirp, chirp (crickets) -- anyone?

(10 Sep '10, 15:06) Anne

My toddler went through this phase around 15 months also. He tended to bite when he got very excited, not because he was angry or anything like that. I tolerated it until daycare reported he had started biting other children. After that, every single time he tried to bite me I would carry him upstairs and put him in the pack n' play for 1 1/2 minutes. During this time, I'd leave the room and hover outside the door where he couldn't see me. There's a couple of reasons I chose this approach:

  • My toddler is a big people person. The concept of time-out doesn't work for him if he's still around people.
  • The pack n' play provided me with a safe environment I could leave him in for a couple of minutes at a time. Also I chose the pack 'n play, which is in our guest bedroom, because I didn't want him to develop a negative association with his crib or going to bed.

While he was in the pack n' play, he'd scream the whole time. Once the 1 1/2 minutes were up, I'd pick him up and cuddle with him in the rocker and explain that we do not bite people. In our case, this cleared up most of the biting within 3 days. Every so often he regresses and will try biting me again and I will once again have to give him time out but it's less than once a month. I have had no further reports of biting at daycare.

Obviously, every child is different but this worked for us.


answered 20 Jan '11, 14:38

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Kiesa ♦
accept rate: 26%


+1 Kiesa for well thought out discipline taylored for your little guy!

(20 Jan '11, 15:26) Neen

I can only speak from our experience with our daughter and it sounds like your approach is very similar to ours.

I don't remember our daughter biting us but she would pinch. When she did I would say "ouch" "You hurt mommy, that's not nice" and put her down to remove my attention. What also helped would be if Scott was around when she pinched me or I was around when she pinched Scott and the other one would say the "you hurt mommy/daddy" part. I not sure why it made a difference but for some reason she took it more seriously.

She has bitten or knawed at other things on occasion and it can't be teething at this point because she has all the teeth she's going to get for awhile. When we catch her we just correct her and say "don't chew the table, the table is not for eating, it's for...". Now that's she's a little older she's into being a big girl so we will often say things like "don't put that in your mouth, babies put things in their mouths, your not a baby..."


answered 11 Sep '10, 17:30

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Tammy ♦♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 19 Jan '11, 16:54

Thanks, good idea with having the other parent chime in.

(13 Sep '10, 12:30) Anne

You can see what I did with regards to biting in this question.

Your little one is probably too young for time-outs and I think you're on the right track with prevention and the calm response - I know it is easier said than done!


answered 13 Sep '10, 04:30

Kate's gravatar image

accept rate: 20%


There is a cheap kids eBook by Casey Crayne called Logan, Lucy and the Biting Monster.


answered 11 Mar '11, 23:21

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accept rate: 0%

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Asked: 08 Sep '10, 17:18

Seen: 6,274 times

Last updated: 11 Mar '11, 23:21