Is it standard UK policy to exclude a child that bites sporadically?

(21 Posts)
SnowBusiness Wed 06-Feb-13 08:25:13

My DC2 is a sporadic biter (will bite then not for 5 or 6 weeks). He hasn't bitten anyone at home for months and I thought he had grown out of it. It's so awful and emotive. He bit the same little girl today that he bit the last time (first day of this term). I've just been told that his mother is demanding that he is expelled and that her husband has gone "apeshit".

meditrina Wed 06-Feb-13 08:30:44

How old?

It's horrible when your DC is bitten, but just as horrible when they are the biter (one of mine went from one to the other). No, exclusion should not be considered for sporadic incidents: that comes much later down the line when age appropriate interventions have been tried for an age-appropriate length of time, without result.

Have you discussed how his biting is being handled? And anything else about behaviour?

meditrina Wed 06-Feb-13 08:31:46

Ignore "age" bit - my apologies I'd somehow not noticed this was in 'nurseries'

SnowBusiness Wed 06-Feb-13 08:36:47

He's 2.4. It's a new girl and he hasn't bitten anyone inbetween the two incidents (if was her first day back...). I feel awful but the mother is hysterical and while I feel terrible, I do want to defend his behaviour (to a point). If it is usual to expel, then that's what happens but it doesn't feel right to me.

My DD1 was bitten a couple of times, and while I felt extremely pissed off I never demanded expulsion.

nannynick Wed 06-Feb-13 08:39:29

There is no UK wide policy, each nursery will have its own policies and procedures.

Exclusion seems a bit extreme. Staff to be more vigilent may be the appropriate next step, especially when the two children are together.

A lot of children go through a biting stage - the girl may be the next biter!

CaseyShraeger Wed 06-Feb-13 08:41:55

No, it's practically unheard of for a child to be excluded for occasional biting. It's not uncommon for the parents of the bitee to start ranting and raging and "demanding" it, though -- you'll see them here on MN from time to time. Part of the job of the nursery is handling the other parents.

didireallysaythat Wed 06-Feb-13 08:50:04

Most nurseries will handle this just fine but I am surprised they told you who your child bit and that they told the girls parents she was bitten by the same child. This is usually handled anonymously to help diffuse situations just like this surely...

Locketjuice Wed 06-Feb-13 08:51:33

In my nursery where i worked, we had a boy who was 1 1/2 he was massive though and could easily have really hurt any of the babies in the room, he used to bite and tended to go for the same little girl but with long intervals in between he had his own key worker that followed him all day everyday, she was never too far from him to stop if he did go to bite.

Moominsarehippos Wed 06-Feb-13 09:00:21

What happened when he first did this? Did the nursery talk with you about how to stop him?

I'd be pissed off if another child bit mine, then did it again. You can't really expect the staff to be 'minders' for the biter/bitee!

Exclusion seems harsh if the parents/child are willing/able to try to control the behaviour. I'd check the nursery small print. They can exclude a child if their behaviour is unacceptable or dangerous, but that's probably not spelled out in black and while.

iliketea Wed 06-Feb-13 09:10:27

I imagine that parents who demand expulsion have yet to have a child that bites. It's a phase that lots of children go through. DD has been bitten a few times at nursery over the last 6 months or so. In fact, the staff let us know she was bitten, buf don't tell us who it was, just that they are aware of the problem and that they have methods in place to help alter the behaviour.

I assume these parents who are demanding "expulsion" have an immaculately behaved child, who never hits / scratches / snatches a toy off.another child and would immediately pull her out of nursery for the protection of other children hmm .

Agree is a fairly usual phase for toddlers. Mine have both bitten/been bitten at times, it's what they do and IMHO tends to calm down when they are more verbal and can communicate better with speech rather than by lashing out with teeth.

I have had a nasty bruise on a thigh once from DS biting me hard . He only ever did it occasionally and I would expect nursery to manage it if only occasional TBH. They do need to be keeping the other children safe but exclusion for a behaviour that is not persistent seems heavy handed.

Do they have a behaviour policy? Are there any obvious triggers? It's often impulsive so hard to predict really.

PoppyWearer Wed 06-Feb-13 09:26:57

My PFB was the bitee a few times at nursery and I was always horrified, although knew the nursery was doing all it could. And that it is a phase a lot of children go through. Wouldn't have asked for exclusion of the biter though!

My DC2 is a biter, he bites a lot when he's teething (17mo now) but hopefully we're at the end of that, and luckily he seems to bite family rather than anyone else (lucky us).

Don't worry too much, OP.

lljkk Wed 06-Feb-13 09:43:47

He's TWO?! I thought you were going to say he was like 5 or 6 and still sometimes biting. Lots of toddlers bite.

2yos are barely more than babies, they are daft. The nursery must take steps to protect everyone which you should support, but don't worry about exclusion.

SnowBusiness Wed 06-Feb-13 10:41:55

Thanks all. The nursery have been great. They have a good policy but anonymity doesn't exist because the children can speak!

Of course, I am and the nursery are doing everything they can to talk to and discipline him appropriately. He also apologises etc They are also being supportive and say they told the mother that he is a good boy and this behaviour is uncommon. They have told me that they will not exclude and have been clear to the mother about it.

The trigger seemed to be merely being in her vicinity, they had played nicely and then he then was standing next to her and just lent forward and bit. He's appears to have stopped biting in a violent/ retaliatory trigger, which he did do occasionally at home.

I have 3DCs and this is so emotional for me as I know the venom the mother is thinking about him. I've offered to change the day for the rest of term that they overlap. The nursery were grateful to me, but I did say that even on their guidance I didn't have to offer it, so I hope she appreciates the offer. The girl is new and so this may help her settle in better.

TiggyD Wed 06-Feb-13 16:46:32

Nurseries only think of asking children to leave it requires a member of staff to be within arms length of a child the entire time, as it would affect ratios of care for the other children. Or is there is a whole group of parents threatening to withdraw their child. Occasional biting is big issue. I wonder if the other parent's child will be a biter?

SimLondon Wed 13-Feb-13 21:49:02

My DD has bit and been bitten a couple of times - its not unusual, doesn't make it pleasant to be the parent in either case. But if the little girl in this case is new to nursery - and its her parents first experience of nursery then i think its understandable how they've reacted.

DD2 was a biter and on a baby ASBO Behaviour Plan at nursery for a while, which mainly seemed to be a nursery worker stalking following her about and lots of chats about what teeth are for. Luckily the other parents were very understanding and she got through the phase without maiming any of nursery group.

I'm sorry you've come up against such a difficult other parent. Most people understand it's just something children do, and while it can be hard when your child is being bitten (also hard if your child is the biter!!), there's no need to be so reactionary about it as long as the nursery have a sensible plan in place. Good news that the nursery is taking your side and dealing with the situation in the only logical way.

FannyBazaar Wed 13-Feb-13 22:01:21

My DS was being bitten at nursery, he has a high pain threshold and wasn't making a fuss but I was discovering bite marks on him when bathing him after nursery. It took a while to identify the biter as my DS did not seem to avoid any particular child, he was pre verbal at the time and has some communication difficulties so asking him who did it was ineffective. Biter eventually discovered when he picked on someone else (possibly his own sister who in turn became a biter). Exclusion was never ever mentioned.

TrickyWoo Wed 13-Feb-13 22:02:51

Dd was/is a biter, was a bit of a relief when she was bitten at nursery at last, and it seems to have kerbed her biting a little...

WaitingForPancakeDay Thu 14-Feb-13 22:35:16

My 2yr 3mo DD was bitten on the face 4 weeks ago at nursery and the bruise is still there. The nursery said it had been dealt with with the other child's parents and it hasn't happened since. I would imagine the action was the same as mentioned above about the key worker becoming eagle eye. It's not like the biter is inherently evil, so I cannot see how a parent would be justified in demanding expulsion. If it kept happening to my DD though and it was the same child, I would be taking to the nursery about actions they could take and if it failed, I would remove my DD.

Weissbier Fri 15-Feb-13 08:18:08

The other mum is crazy. Next week, it could be her DD doing the biting. DD got bitten on face by a daily - not once in six weeks! - biter, it left a perfect crescent of teeth marks, but it never occurred to me to be pissed off with either the child or the mum! Your nursery will be rolling their eyes at the other mum, not you.

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