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When Your Child Bites Or Hits

When your child hurts another child by biting or hitting, it can be embarrassing for you. It also can be frightening for your child, who probably feels overwhelmed.

Why Do Children Bite And Hit?

Babies often are trying to imitate their parents, who may playfully nip their fingers and toes or pat their behinds during play.

Toddlers usually start biting or hitting to get attention. They lack the language to express their needs with words alone. Preschoolers are more likely to bite out of impulse, often when they are overtired or frustrated. Usually a child stops biting and hitting as he gains more control over his impulses and learns to express his frustration in other ways.

Don't Overreact

A calm but very firm No usually ends the problem with babies. Toddlers and preschoolers may need to be removed from the situation, then told firmly that hitting and biting are unacceptable. They must use their words when they are upset or want something.

Hitting Back

Experts say that biting or hitting your child back only makes the problem worse. It teaches him that biting and hitting are acceptable ways to express anger.

An Ounce Of Prevention

Some children are more prone by temperament to get over-excited and have a tendency to hit or bite. They may need extra supervision when they're with other children. It's best to keep playdates and parties small and relatively short.

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