by bokkieborduur 02 Mar 2012

Hello Cuties all over the World. I need some help PLEASE. I've got a granddaughter who is biting herself on the right arm. If she gets frustrated or cross or cannot get what she wants, she bite herself. So bad that there is marks on her right arm. We have tried about everything to stop her biting herself. She is three years old, no bad temper it is just the biting. She can play the whole day without any biting and then all of a sudden it started. Please if anyone know to help. Thanks Marie


by marthie 03 Mar 2012

Marie dis n pragtige foto van jou. I like your avatar

by kryztyna 03 Mar 2012

Hi, I see some sound advice here and would like to add one point which may be considered. Have you taken her to a dentist? Could the problem be related to toothache, sore irritable gums? The irritation and pain from toothache or irritable gums may manifest it self in this way, after all she is only 3 years old and may not actually know how to show you what the problem is. Some parasitic infestation can also cause this and is often picked up at nursery school. Sterkte Marie, Hugs Christine, Johannesburg

by mjdg 03 Mar 2012

I didn't read every answer...but if she is bringing blood...I would try to get help right away... Sure sounds like a behavior problem to me.
Kids do the darnest things!
The line that stands out is "if she cannot get what she wants, she bites herself"
We had a granddaughter that banged her head for the same reasons. After tests and talking to the dr. my daughter just walked out of the room and soon the child realized that she was not getting the response she wanted and stopped banging her head.
Just my humble opinion and experience after 3 kids, 6 grandkids, and 10 great grandkids.

by hightechgrammy 03 Mar 2012

Social Stories - Some families "write" a story about her, using pictures of her, of a made up situration that would normally cause her to bite herself, but this time with a different situation - like jumping on a tramp.
Lots of families who have kids who react to stress in destructive ways go proactive to prevent by putting a mini tramp in their family rooms. Often these kids have the need for more sensory input and jumping helps. Also, those big exercise balls are good, short enough for her to sit on, and bounce when watching favorite videos. Don't despair - there are lots of things you can do without meds! That's just 2 things. Also there are "chewy tubes" you can order that are safe for kids who need more oral stimulation. ONe year I had a whole class of kids who needed them, so I ordered two dozen, each had their own, parents loved them and ordered them for home too. It sure saved chewing on fingers and sleeves and collars. That may not be her solution, but they are all things to try. NOw that's 3! Hugs, Jan Also, don't talk about the biting in front of her.

hightechgrammy by hightechgrammy 03 Mar 2012

I do agree you should call her pediatrician right away about this. It may be something serious, but it could also be something relatively simple and typical. Regardless, I agree it needs addressed right away :-) Lots of kids bite, just usually not themselves :-)

hightechgrammy by hightechgrammy 03 Mar 2012

themselves. There are lots of examples of social stories on the internet. I didn't finish my example very well. Some kids react positively to a stronger daily sensory routine. PM me if you like... Been there, done that!

by jacquipaul 03 Mar 2012

Along with all of the other suggestions, practice scripts with her, so that she can express her frustrations in words. Having language skills can help people deal with situations.
Hope this helps you/her.

by ansalu 03 Mar 2012

In Germany you have regular dates with your pediatrician when the kids are small. So he/she would be the first to ask if this is just a bad behave or a symptom for a real problem.
Hope that she stops biting cause this is hard to watch for her family (especially for a mother).
Greetings, Bettina

by anangel 03 Mar 2012

I think one statement you made, Marie, was overlooked by many urging professional intervention; "She can play the whole day
without any biting, and then......"! That is quite
a long time to stay calm, if one has a major emotional issue, especially a three year old! "Professionals", today, are too quick to over medicate to keep our children's behavior in reign! Try other loving tactics, with patience, first!
Hugs, Angel

by zoefzoef 03 Mar 2012

One of my sisters children had the problem, if you didn' t do it her way or she didn't get what she wanted she held her breath. Very scary too you know. So one day we got a tip from someone : next time she does it again take her to the bathroom, open the shower, put her onder with ice cold water.
Since then if she acts again like this my sis only needs to turn on the shower and she is breathing again. Don't know if it would help for you ?

by gerryvb 03 Mar 2012

like Mops wrote, professional help is the best. On the internet I read a piece about this, So perhaps you can google in your language. Because the site I saw was in Dutch. ButI should advice a visit to the doctor and talk about this .Hugs and prayers for GD.

by justonlyme 03 Mar 2012

I see this behavior when children, or even adults, tend to internalize their feelings. Instead of expressing their feelings in a way that may result in punishment, they withhold those expressions and turn against themselves. I know two adults who have been hospitalized this week for cutting themselves to "relieve the pain". Talk to her doctor and see if they can evaluate her for some sort of stress or other reason. I wish you the very best. I hope that this behavior will end as quickly as it started once she gets the help she needs!!! I totally understand your fear!! Good luck!

by terriweistra 03 Mar 2012

I agree with Mops Marie. The best thing to do is to get professional help as soon as possible. It might be an easy problem to sort out, and perhaps the earlier the better. Good luck and I pray that her problem is soon a distant memory :)

by mops Moderator 03 Mar 2012

Seek professional help! I don't know how it's organized in your country, here your GP is the one to see first. Don't wait too long, it only gets harder to cure once it's become a habit. I am a retired child psychologist I know what I'm talking about.

by bevgrift 03 Mar 2012

Pls ask for professional help.
Sometimes we leave a bad situation and the answers could be so easy, We say why didn't we seek help sooner.
It is much better to seek help for the little ones sake, and the parents have better choices to be helpful.
Plenty of Hugs
From Bev

by airyfairy 03 Mar 2012

I personally would not let this go another day without seeking medical help. Sarah.

by noah 02 Mar 2012

will pray for her :):)hugs carolyn

1 comment
drro by drro 02 Mar 2012

Me 2;>)

by linda8450 02 Mar 2012

No one here seems to think it is serious, but I do. My grandson has issues controlling his frustration/anger, he was dignosed with Aspergers, a condition in the Autism spectrum. Not as serious, but displays many symptoms. Some children outgrow the issues, some change over the years as they mature. Coping mechinisms are necessary, and most parents are not equipped to do this without guidance from professionals. Look further, nursery school/daycare facilites see this often and should be well equipped to advise if further steps should be taken to get her the help she obviously needs. Waiting for a little one to "outgrow" a distructive/harmful habit or behavior is not always the best way. I would not wait and see, I would ask and research and act. IMHO Linda

bevgrift by bevgrift 03 Mar 2012

I agree that we are not equipped as parents to help without guidance.

hightechgrammy by hightechgrammy 03 Mar 2012

Linda, I have a grandson with Asperger's syndrome also :-)

by honni 02 Mar 2012

I used to bite myself on the arm. It was out of sheer frustration. I was a few years older. I bit myself so hard one day that I thought I had gone right through the skin. Fortuntately not. I have never bitten myself since that day. Do check with your Dr if you are worried, but i think it she will probably outgrow it. Good Luck. Honni

by katydid 02 Mar 2012

Do mention to nursery school teacher and ask for advise and if it still still persists, by all means ask the pediatrician on next visit. This should be nipped in the bud!!!

by twee 02 Mar 2012

I have a family member who was about the same age and would bite herself when she didn't get her way. She'd bite herself, cry, her mama would console her. It gave her attention. When the family stopped giving her attention after she bit herself she quite. It was painful, and no fun, there was no reward (attention) She out grew the behavior. Some children in anger lash out at others. Other people cave in on themselves. You are seeing the personality type this little gal is expressing.

by marcellelewis 02 Mar 2012

Definitely take her to her pediatrician.

Look into what goes on at the nursery school. If they have the cameras so parents can see their children on the internet tune in often.


by mary51 02 Mar 2012

I will take her to a dr. or concelor never to a psiquiatry they always give medications.... the hot suace is a good idea, but now days you have to be very careful with the law.

by fannyfurkin 02 Mar 2012

I agree with some of the other posts here, this might be attention seeking behaviour, I do hate that term, after all we all seek attention in some way or another don't we? The thing is that if the behaviour is getting a big reaction it will continue. The first thing I would be doing is investigating what is happening at Nursery school. Make sure she is both physically and emotionally safe there. I would definitely be completely ignoring this behaviour, it is some sort of coping mechanism and she needs to learn more appropriate ways to cope or express her feelings. This will be very difficult and needs to be very consistent, but do not pay one bit of attention to her when she is doing this and make sure she gets heaps and heaps of positive reinforcement when she is behaving appropriately. When you see "self harming" behaviour in young adults and adults it is almost impossible to stop, because it is so shocking to most people that the behaviour always gets some kind of reaction. This is secondary gain and it is what keeps the behaviour going. I would also not substitute advice given here for professional advice. I would be inclined to take her to a paediatrician, I would not take her to a psychologist or counsellor to start with, definitely a reputable paediatrician.

1 comment
hightechgrammy by hightechgrammy 03 Mar 2012

I also agree you need to make sure she feels safe in her environment - everywhere. Not only IS safe, but also FEELS safe.

by sewfrenzie 02 Mar 2012

Is it possible to catch her when you see she's getting frustrated and try to refocus her attention elsewhere? Give positive feedback when she deals with her frustration in a more productive and non-aggressive manner.
My sister did that when we where children until my mom starting putting hot sauce on her arm and fingers. Sounds cruel and I don't know that I would try that today.
Good luck with hwlping her to stop this before it becomes worse.
My heart goes out to you and her.

by mranderson 02 Mar 2012

Sounds like an attention seeking thing, ignore it and I am sure it will stop. As long as she is only biting herself and not others at kindy. If she does not get the attention she will stop.

by anangel 02 Mar 2012

As a kindergarten teacher, I see a possibility of two causes: Having difficulty adjusting to nursery school/new teacher and/or repeating an action she has seen at the nursery. Also, she has realized the action gets your attention, knows you do not want her to do it, so uses it to try and get what she wants (bribery). Act as if you do not notice the action. Eventually she will stop. When it really hurts, she will not do it. Relax, this too shall pass! LOL

by sewmom 02 Mar 2012

My son was about that age when he started biting his best friend. He only did it when he was frustrated. He saw this friend at his playgroup. We did 2 things. We firmly took him home from playgroup as soon as he bit (he loved playgroup so this was incentive). We also told him to use his words. We would tell him whatever he needed to learn to use like, "I want to use the truck too." "Can I have a turn?" It actually worked fairly quickly. Good luck.

The difference here is that she is hurting herself and that can be a sign of an emotional problem that needs special help from a counselor.

by edithfarminer 02 Mar 2012

Might she be picked on at nursery school. I would have a word with the teacher and see how she is in school.
Hope all will sort out ok for you

by bokkieborduur 02 Mar 2012

Sorry I forgot to say it only started since she started with the nursery school. Marie

1 comment
pldc by pldc 02 Mar 2012

ah..... she has probably been biten by another child which means this is a learned behavior which also means it can be un-learned! Positive re-enforcement will encourage her to use her words when she is upset & not to harm herself, good luck Marie Hugs Loralye

by pldc 02 Mar 2012


by blueeyedblonde 02 Mar 2012

Keep close tabs on what food she has - there could be a connection. when my GD was little certain foods would set her off and we had to figure out what. She has grown out of it. Good luck.