Why Your Toddler Hits and Bites

When Your Kid's the Victim

You've probably seen her at the playground: the clueless mom who doesn't seem to notice that her kid just sank his teeth into your child's arm. While you can't come out and tell someone to discipline her child, it is possible to get an oblivious parent to step in -- without putting her on the defensive.

  • First, state the problem simply: "Your child just bit my daughter. Can you help me?" Once the kids start calming down, encourage them to do something independently for a while. "You might say, 'Let's see if you can both build the mommies some cool sand castles,'" says Dr. Edward Carr. "If the kids are busy doing something fun and positive, they won't be slugging each other."
  • And if that doesn't work? You can always leave if things get too rough. "Bottom line: If the other mom really thinks biting is no big deal, the kids shouldn't play together anymore," says Dr. Carr. But in most cases, the other mom will feel terrible about her child's behavior and will try to get him to stop.

Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the January 2008 issue of Parents magazine.

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