• Wed, Mar 27 2013

Bad Mom Advice: Your Biting Toddler And Your Makeup Hoarding Teen Make Me Think You Need To Chill The Eff Out

largeWelcome to my weekly Bad Mom Advice column where I attempt to answer all of your parenting questions as only I know how — with zero degree in early childhood development, but with the experience of raising four kids and not having any of them in prison – yet! Plus, I back all my advice on numerous scientific research, which may or may not include me making fun of your dumb kid behind your back and drinking a bunch of wine! Welcome to Bad Mom Advice!

I’m so embarrassed to write this but you said we could be anonymous so here goes. My two-year-old son has started biting me and my husband when he is angry and frustrated. We have tried time outs but it isn’t working. How can we get him to stop biting us? He usually does it at bedtime or when he has to leave the park, any time we have to lift him up to take him somewhere or to bed. He doesn’t have many tantrums but the biting needs to stop. 

Because this is Bad Mom Advice I was hoping I could find a baby-sized mask like the type Hannibal Lector wore in the Silence Of The Lambs and just link you to that, but no such luck. I’m sorry your kid is a biter, but lots of kids are biters. They bite because they aren’t great at articulating their feelings, and because you are being a bitch and making them leave the park. God, Mom! Why you gotta be so NOT fun? The first thing you need to do is firmly tell your kid “No biting. Biting hurts Mom (or Dad). We don’t bite. What the hell is your problem?” Or if you aren’t a bad mom like me you can say “No biting, biting hurts. Tell me why you are upset.” You want to teach them to tell you why they are mad rather than resorting to taking a hunk out of your arm or wherever.  Explain to them the next time they bite that they will lose a privilege or put them in an age-appropriate length time out. You should never, ever bite your child in retaliation, all that teaches them is that hey, my mom can bite too, this sucks. If the stern reminder and the time out don’t work, you can place your hand over their mouth and remind them “We do not bite.” I’m sure as soon as your kid is able to better express why they are upset, the biting will cease. Until then, I suggest long sleeves. Made of Kevlar.

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  • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

    The first one reminded me of Honest Toddler! i agree with your advice on the second one. My step mom gave me guidance on makeup from a pretty young age when a family member sent me a makeup kit for my birthday and my oblivious uncle dropped me off to her with full on Mimi from The Drew Carey Show makeup going on. I’m sure it was hilarious, I was like 7.

    She sat me down and explained some of the rules of makeup and occasionally let me wear it in the house (never outside, not until i was 13ish). I think I avoided a lot of the typical teenage pratfalls this way (foundation line at the jawline anyone?).

  • http://twitter.com/TwAlexLee Alex Lee

    “Dear Bad Mom Advice – my cat has started stealing my cosmetics. That tube of M.A.C lipglass cost a fortune. Why do cats have to be such sluts?!?”

  • Harriet Meadow

    I tried to become a biter when I was about three years old. The *two* times I bit someone, my parents made me bite a whole raw onion. I never bit again. Then again, it also took me awhile to be able to eat onions, but I’m able to now, so the trauma didn’t last too long lol!

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      ” i tried to become a biter” hahahahaha, and oh no! I love onions though, would have hated that as a kid, hahaha

    • http://helloalle.com/ Alle

      My mother once bit a kid who bit me. I must have been about two when it happened, and I have never forgotten it.

    • Blooming_Babies

      That’s quality parenting… Love it!

  • cleaK

    The older I get the more I like the way my mother handled the raising of my self and my sisters. She had set ages when we could do something, set with the oldest and carried through to the youngest. Age 8 we could have our ears pierced, at the start of 7th grade we could wear blush, mascara, tinted lip gloss and concealer for blemishes and gradually as we got older eye shadows,eyeliner and foundation were added.

    • Daisy

      I think that’s a great idea, to set out consistent and sensible boundaries, and then stick with them for each kid. I really wish my parents had done that. They kind of made up “rules” as they went along, according to their whims, which were promptly forgotten or changed the next day, and different for each kid. It was terribly frustrating.

    • Justme

      I had a student tell me a story about how in her family she wasn’t allowed to chew gum until she was five. So what did she get for her 5th birthday? A whole bunch of bubblegum. It’s all she asked for.

  • Kat

    I wonder if this means my (toddler) boys will bite when they’re teens. They’re hoarding my makeup right now…

  • Tea

    Bad mom advice is once more spot on, and that Onion suggestion in the comments is genuis! I was never a biter, not for a lack of trying, but I had no depth perception and 20/300 vision as a toddler, so I kind of became a head-butter.

    And for Pete’s sake, do not let your teen leave the house coated in makeup. Not even if they’re “goth,” emo, candy or whatever the current “I’m different from everyone, you don’t understand, mom!” phase is. Especially if your teen is a goth boy who looks like a glitter raccoon. It took me years to learn to do goth and look dapper, mostly after meeting my boyfriend who did a lot of stage makeup.

    My mom still has pictures.

    • Makabit

      ‘Glitter raccoon’. Yes. I can see that all too clearly.

  • faifai

    I remember when i was 14ish and all the girls started wearing makeup. I told my mother I wanted to wear makeup too, so she bought me some blue and some brown eyeliner. “Because only sluts wear black eyeliner.”

    • Justme

      My mom told me I couldn’t dye my hair because I would ruin God’s creation. nothing like a little Catholic guilt.

  • Xie

    I agree with Bad Mom–let your little girl have her makeup, but set guidelines. Pick your battles. Don’t fight her about nude lipgloss, brown eyeliner and peach blush, fight her when she decides that she should be wearing cat-eye contacts and dyeing her hair magenta. Take time to teach her what looks good and what doesn’t (teenagers usually develop a sense of wearing things before they develop an actual style) and allow her the occasional wild-child moment, even if it’s a just a crazy eyeshadow moment or lipstick. Let her pick and choose for herself sometimes, just steer her away from the really tacky/tasteless decisions. Maybe even spend an evening in front of the mirror with her, or in the convenience store aisle while the two of you agree on colours and styles that you can both agree with and think look good. Teach her that makeup is a choice, not an obligation (to herself, to you, to boys, to girls, or to anyone. It’s not.) and teach her how to properly apply and remove it. Other than that, it’s like anything else–you have to let the baby bird leave the nest sometime, and this is just one of the ways. It’s natural, even if it makes moms skittish.