A certain footballer put biting in the headlines during the 2014 World Cup. While there was general outrage there were also endless jokes made about his behaviour. For many parents biting is far from a laughing matter.
A child biting other children, or their carers, is unacceptable behaviour. Some parents think biting is worse than hitting. Possibly because it can leave a mark and seems more animalistic. But hitting is also totally unacceptable.
In addition to and probably more important than disciplining your child for biting or hitting another person, you must educate them and make them see how their behaviour was wrong.
Children may bite or hit for any number of reasons. They may be struggling to cope in a situation, may be unable to express an emotion or unable to communicate their need for some personal space. Understanding, or at least trying to understand, their reason for biting or hitting should help you formulate the best response.
Shaming the child or doling out a harsh punishment rarely cures them of biting or hitting. An aggressive response from an adult does not teach a child the social skills she needs to cope with the situations that trigger her bad behaviour.
And never bite or hit your child back to “show them how it feels”. This only teaches them that it is ok to bite or hit people when you are upset and it is child abuse.
If your child is the one who has been bitten or hit it is hoped that the parent of the offending child will deal with it. If they don’t, you can ask the parent to teach their child that it’s inappropriate. If this seems unlikely remove your child and yourself from the situation.