I am going through the terrible two's right now, times two, and it isn't easy. Luckily, though, (I guess) my twin daughters are taking turns with the tantrums. One seems to have them more frequently than the other for one month or so and then they switch. Right now I'm having problems with biting (big time) when they don't get what they want. A two minute time out works for one of my daughters, but not the other. Instead my other daughter laughs, continues biting and runs out of her room the minute she is placed in there. She also does not sit still, if I put her on a chair. My question to you is... how do I stop my daughters from biting? What type of consequence do I give them for behaving in this way? Any advice you could give me would be much appreciated as they are starting to wear me down. - Jennifer J.
First, let me extend a big thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog. I LOVE getting comments! Second, thanks for bringing up the topic of biting. It sure can be a tricky behavior to squash and I can't believe I haven't done a post on it already! I had to chuckle when I read about your girls taking turns with tantrums. You know I have worked with many families with twins over the years and have always been amazed at how the kids do seem to act up at different times. It's as if they know that if they do it at the same time they will push their parents over the edge! Kids are just absolutely amazing to me.
Getting to the issue of biting, I'm afraid there is no quick fix. Time out is really the most effective strategy for biting. For the little one who is trying to make a game of it (smart isn't she!), I am going to refer you to my posts on time outs. In them, I discuss how to deal with little ones who do not want to stay where they need to be. You may find them here and here.
The keys to making time out effective as related to biting are:
- Be swift. You want to move her to time out ASAP after the incident. The faster the better. You want her to make the immediate connection that when I bite, I am whisked off my feet before I even know it and am sitting in the corner.
- Make an unhappy face. Let the expression on your face do all the talking. A disapproving face (not an angry one) will clearly send the message that her actions are not okay. Remember that 85% of communication is body language, facial expression and tone of voice. Even the youngest of children (including infants) learn how to read facial expressions.
- Limit the discussion. No need to even discuss or tell her why she is going to the corner. She knows. I'm sure you have told her many times already that biting is unacceptable. In my posts, I discussed using an empathetic statement before you put them in time out. I should have clarified that there is no need to do that for some behaviors/issues, particularly those that you have discussed or made clear on several occasions.
hope this information is helpful, Jennifer! I wish I did have a quick fix
for biting behaviors, but like everything with raising kids, there is no
"easy" button. Please let me know if you have any further
questions regarding biting behaviors or the suggestions provided. Best of
luck to you!
Do you have any tips or suggestions to help curb biting? Please share your ideas!