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What causes biting habit in a child?

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Posted on Sat, 23 May 2015
Question: My 23 month old daughter recently has developed a biting tendency. She has most of her teeth now except for her last set of molars. What could this be causing and what are the possible remedies?
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Answered by Dr. Pradeep Kumar Jain (47 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
This is a way of expression in this age group

Detailed Answer:
Hello

Thanks for the query

Biting habit is common in this age group.Babies of this age are not learned enough to express their emotions like adults. This is the stage of social,language and cognitive development.Aggression or temper tantrum is a part of development.The biting habit is just a way of expressing their emotions be it anger,affection or to get an attention.
You have to notice that when,why and whom she is biting.Teach her the various expressions like hugging,kissing,to say that I am angry with you and to use this instead of biting.
Spend enough time with her so that she does not bite just to get an attention.
Once you get to know, try to avoid that situation which has incited her to bite.
Just hold her tightly when you see that she is about to bite and say "No baby,this is a bad habit.Don't do this.(This is called negative reinforcement)"At the same time you can teach her right way of expression.After that give her reward like a toy or toffee and say "Good girl now you will get this if you won't bite in future".(This is called positive reinforcement by giving reward).
She will grow out of it in time as she will learn the other ways of expressing herself.So keep trying your best and don't get disheartened.
I shall be glad to answer if you have any more doubts.
Regards


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
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Answered by
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Dr. Pradeep Kumar Jain

Pediatrician, Cardiology

Practicing since :2006

Answered : 2053 Questions

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What causes biting habit in a child?

Brief Answer: This is a way of expression in this age group Detailed Answer: Hello Thanks for the query Biting habit is common in this age group.Babies of this age are not learned enough to express their emotions like adults. This is the stage of social,language and cognitive development.Aggression or temper tantrum is a part of development.The biting habit is just a way of expressing their emotions be it anger,affection or to get an attention. You have to notice that when,why and whom she is biting.Teach her the various expressions like hugging,kissing,to say that I am angry with you and to use this instead of biting. Spend enough time with her so that she does not bite just to get an attention. Once you get to know, try to avoid that situation which has incited her to bite. Just hold her tightly when you see that she is about to bite and say "No baby,this is a bad habit.Don't do this.(This is called negative reinforcement)"At the same time you can teach her right way of expression.After that give her reward like a toy or toffee and say "Good girl now you will get this if you won't bite in future".(This is called positive reinforcement by giving reward). She will grow out of it in time as she will learn the other ways of expressing herself.So keep trying your best and don't get disheartened. I shall be glad to answer if you have any more doubts. Regards