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20 mth old biting: I am losing all our friends!

(8 Posts)
ChunkyBrewster Wed 22-Jun-11 10:39:55

My 20 month old DD is biting her friends really badly and I am absolutely at my wits end. I know the trigger points; it's always when one of her friends tries to take a toy that she is playing with. I do my best to stay on top of it at all times, I am the worst helicopter parent at the moment, trying to intervene and distract her before it gets to a stage where she might bite.

But on two or three occasions, when I just haven't been fast enough she has really bitten these poor poor children very hard. They have had big bruises and teeth marks on their arms. I try very hard not to shout (although sometimes I instantly react with that) and say very firmly "No biting, biting hurts", and put her on her own for a minute or two while making a big fuss over the poor victim. I've been working really hard on trying to get her to use words instead of biting ie "Share" and "No" if she is in a situation that makes her really upset.

None of it seems to be working though. It's been months and just this morning she did it again. I think my friends hate me and my DD now and it makes me so sad. If I were in their shoes, I am sure I would dislike us as well. I feel wretched that these sweet children are getting hurt because of me.

Does anyone have any advice as I am desperate? Do you think it's a good idea to avoid play dates for a while or will that make it worse? Also, I take care of these children a lot as well as my DD. Do you think that makes the situation worse? I am just so depressed about the whole situation and feel like it's because I am a crap mum that she is doing this.

steben Wed 22-Jun-11 10:46:08

No adivice really - we are going through something similar with DD who is 15 months. We are trying to be really strict when she bites us (we have had 2 incidents where she has bitten another child at nursery) and say very firmly NO and put her on the floor which she hates. It has got slightly better - but again it is done out of frustration and tiredness. Can HVs help with this kind of thing? Good luck and try not to beat yourself up about it - I think it is very common.

ChunkyBrewster Wed 22-Jun-11 10:50:07

Thanks Steben, I feel like it's just me as none of the other children have biten! I might try the HV, thank you.

MrsRhettButler Wed 22-Jun-11 10:51:39

Someones going to tell you to bite her back in a minute...

<gets popcorn>

I bit dd back once and she didn't do it again....

<dons hardhat>

Fwiw I don't think they understand that it hurts at that age until someone bites them, dd happens to be one of those dc that doesn't like hurting others so stopped when she realised she was hurting them it wouldn't work with every child

lallyp Wed 22-Jun-11 11:57:21

when my ds tried out biting i did two things:
1) When he was a bit younger 16months ish I would Loudly bark in his face 'NO WE DON'T BITE' then change the subject by pointing at something interesting and engaging him.

He never bit other children but did experiment with biting me. I'm with MrsRhettButler. After a few 'We don't bite it hurts' i eventually said "that really hurt mama, would you like to know how that feels?", he said yes and i sat him on my lap and slowly bit in to his arm until he got upset. Then said "see its not nice is it? Let not bite anyone." then change the subject immediately with something really positive like "lets have a biscuit" or "shall we go on a grasshopper hunt?"

he never bit again.
if this didn't work (your babba might still bite other kids) give one warning "if you bite i will take you straight home" The second she bites pick her up, bark "we don't bite, if you do it again i am taking you straight home" if she does act immediately, "WE DON'T BITE, now i am taking you home" put her in the car and do exactly that. Works for almost everything! (haven't tried it with biting though) Your friends will see you taking action.

Make sure you talk to them and ask their advice. Mothers can be some of the most judgmental people in the world. If you ask for their help and be open and honest about your fears of losing their very important friendship it may pave the way until this phase passes.
And remember IT WILL PASS!!!!
good luck x

ChunkyBrewster Wed 22-Jun-11 15:03:42

Thanks MrsRhett and lallyp.. I think the going home ultimatium is a good one. I did that at first but haven't been consistent. As an update, after she bit this morning, I did take her straight home where she has been projectile vomiting all afternoon! Not trying to blame this mornings bite on that but she obviously isn't feeling well.

I look at people who have children that push or pull hair and WISH I had that! Biting is just so horrific and I am on constant red alert. I haven't sat down in six months! I wish she just bit me, I feel awful that poor little children are getting hurt because of us. And then I feel guilty that my little girl, who is very good in so many ways does this!

Danthe4th Wed 22-Jun-11 17:04:23

Get your friends on your side, ask for them to keep a close eye on your dd as you are worried. If another mother shouts at your dd so be it,Tell them that that is ok with you.It will pass and she will stop doing it. You really need to be very close to distract her and as you know the triggers be ready to remove her and also don't forget to praise her when she behaves as you want her to when playing with others.
I had a biter and it was my 3rd child but I was very open about it and openly warned others and asked them to watch their child and felt it helped the situation.

petaluma Thu 23-Jun-11 16:46:18

hi there

I don't have a biter, but I do have a hitter. I am in exactly the same boat as you - and I've begun to avoid playgroups and playdates with similar aged kids as a result. They aren't any fun for either of us - me constantly pulling off my ds from other 'victims' and not being able to spend more than a few seconds at a time chatting to the other mums as I'm playing the police helicopter mum. I'm pg too so can't abide being sweaty and stressed all the time, crawling through soft play tunnels! My real mum friends are supportive but I find some of the other mums truly awful and disapproving, so much so that I left one playgroup and burst into tears in the car (only to find my ds, who is perfectly charming and amiable the rest of the time blowing a kiss to me from the back seat)

Does your dd like older children? My ds follows older kids (3 years plus) round like a puppy and is incredibly well behaved with them, as he is with much younger babies. If so, maybe seek out mum friends with older toddlers who may be able to fend biting off more effectively...

Good luck, I feel your pain (literally)

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