Behavior analyst praises mom’s strategy for toddler’s biting: ‘Do you need something to bite?’

This behavior analyst is amazed by one TikTok mom’s strategy for when toddlers bite during teething! 

TikToker Dr. Sarah Williams, Ph.D., BCBA-D (@docsarahnicole), is a board-certified behavior analyst who shares helpful tips and entertaining videos on the subject of applied behavioral analysis. Recently, Dr. Williams posted a video examining TikToker Laura Love’s (@lauralove5514) video addressing biting during teething. 

The clip begins with split-screen footage of Dr. Williams, breaking down the contents of Love’s video

“Do you need something to bite?” Love asks her child. “If you need something to bite, you gotta ask mama. Say, ‘Mama! Bite!’” 

“Mama’s gonna give you that to bite,” Love says in the following shot where she gives her child a plastic teething toy. 

Dr. Williams then chimes in to give her analysis of Love’s strategy. “Oh goood!!” she notes enthusiastically, waving her hands while the words, “Functional Communication,” appear on-screen.

“So, she’s using functional communication, and she’s also utilizing differential reinforcement in the form of using a mouthing toy instead of having him bite on a person,” Dr. Williams explains. 

In the next shot of Love’s clip, in which Dr. Williams includes the phrase, “Differential Communication” on-screen, Love’s adorable toddler requests a “bite.” 

“You need something to bite?” Love asks the toddler, who responds with a smile and a “yeahhh.”

Dr. Williams nods in approval while noting, “Good, repeating what he said.”

When Love verbally thanks him for communicating with her, Dr. Williams can hardly contain her excitement and cheers, “YESSS!!!! Reinforcing the behavior of functionally communicating instead of engaging in that challenging behavior.”

During the final shot of the toddler holding a ring of teething beads, Dr. Williams concludes her analysis by practically giving Love a standing ovation, shouting, “AND, she gave him a toy! YES! Win for the mom!”

Many viewers agreed with Dr. Williams’ assessment and expressed how they benefited from Love’s parenting style

“Biting in toddlers is expressing a sensory need. Yay to this mom for getting him appropriate things for him to stimulate with,” one TikToker applauded. 

“I was a boomer mom. I was taught the 100% wrong way. I wish TikTok existed then. I need to go hug my daughter,” mentioned one parent. 

Love herself even commented, thanking Dr. Williams for her input. 

As evidenced by Dr. Williams’ observation, in addition to the comments, applied behavioral analysis clearly has some benefits when applied to raising communicative children.

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