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My children bite and are disobedient

(14 Posts)
DitaVonCheese Tue 26-Mar-13 17:18:20

I have a 4.5 yo DD and a 20 mo DS.

DD has always been a bit of a biter - in anger but also occasionally just out of the blue wen DH or I were playing with her, maybe a kind of over-excitement thing? She is now much better and only (ha!) bites DH and I and DS, and only in anger. She broke the skin on my arm on Sat and DS currently has two perfect crescent-shaped bruises on his upper arm which I assume are her work too sad

DS went through a stage of biting me during bfing when he was teething but in the last week or so has suddenly started constantly biting other children - he had a really good go at his (younger, smaller) cousin several times at the weekend and today his childminder flagged it up as an issue when I picked him up. I mentioned that he'd probably learned it from his sister and she said she thought DD was a bit old to be biting still.

CM also said last week that she thought I should be working on being firmer with DS and getting him to be more obedient eg she said that her other mindees will stand next to her patiently when getting them in and out of the car whereas DS repeatedly runs off.

I am not a completely permissive parent (I don't think) but thought all these things were within the bounds of normal child behaviour ... ? With the biting we have been saying no very firmly (little too firmly sometimes blush) but am going to work on ignoring. For DD we had a sign up on the wall which seemed to work well. I do obviously encourage DS to do as I say but my opinion is that he's still little and doesn't always understand/can't always control his impulses when he does.

Grateful for any thoughts/suggestions on the biting (and disobedience I guess) issue.

Bumpsadaisie Tue 26-Mar-13 17:46:00

You did ask ... I think at 4.5 years your DD really shouldn't be biting anymore. It's baby/toddler behaviour, not the behaviour of a child who will presumably be starting school in September.

Can you be firmer with her?

I think at your DS's age its normal. My DS is 17 mths and doesn't bite but he does like to hit people on the head. I dont think its unusual that a 20 mth old runs off either.

So, I wouldnt worry too much about your DS - just set boundaries with him and it will sink in. But TBH I would worry about a 4.5 year old biting still.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 26-Mar-13 17:49:53

I agree that 4 and a half is way too old for biting. What do you do when she does it? Having said that I don't think it indicates any problems as such with dd...more with how you have been dealing with it.

LadyofLallybroch Tue 26-Mar-13 17:54:27

I know this will be controversial, but hey ho.

I suggest you bite back next time, one sharp nip will soon teach her how it feels and discourage any further biting. Worked for me.

fieldfare Tue 26-Mar-13 17:59:36

I would find biting unacceptable in either age, but understandable with your younger child. You need to be firmer with your dd, what's her currency? Something she is keen on, likes doing? Have you tried a wall chart with happy faces for non biting days and unhappy faces for biting days. Start with small periods of time and small rewards and then a longer period of time and a larger reward. Explain to her that biting will not be tolerated at school and she must stop now.

With your younger child, he presumably has enough understanding that biting hurts? Every time he bites, put him down / away from everyone else with a firm "No! We do not bite" and then console the other child while ignoring him.

As for him running off from your childminder while she's loading them into the car, she needs to look at how to stop that as its perfectly normal behaviour for that age group. She should either use reins/wrist-strap/put him in first/leave him in the buggy. You could also play games with the children in the park or garden, when you shout 'stop!' they must stop immediately without moving. Whoever doesn't move gets a treat - choc button or similar. The practising pays off.

chickensaladagain Tue 26-Mar-13 18:01:53

Lady that won't be controversial -pretty much everyone will come on and tell you it's never acceptable to bite a child

Am I the first?

needastrongone Tue 26-Mar-13 18:03:00

Ok my kids didn't do this and are now pre-teens so things may have moved on but if they behaved in a way that I didn't think was at all appropriate I would take to one side look them firmly in the eye (and make sure they were looking at me) and say 'NO BITING' very clearly, say 'Ok?' then walk away. Making sure they knew thatI wasn't pleased at all.

Then praise for good or appropriate behaviour.

needastrongone Tue 26-Mar-13 18:04:24

And ignoring afterwards.

Cross post!

Lottapianos Tue 26-Mar-13 18:06:48

Agree with chickensalad - what are you teaching a child by biting them? That they are not allowed to do it but you are, because you're bigger? Not a good idea, to put it mildly

LadyofLallybroch Tue 26-Mar-13 18:19:09

Chickensalad - no, you're not the first and to be fair, my post was a bit flippant. I don't condone biting children in anger, or retaliation or anything like that, but my ds was a HORRIFIC biter. I tried everything to get him to stop and my last resort was to bite him back.

It wasn't done viciously, I sat him down and very firmly explained why he shouldn't do it, and if did again, I would have to show him what it felt like. True to form, he bit again (another child, quite badly sad) so I carried out my threat. I didn't break the skin, no blood or anything that extreme, but it did hurt him a bit (not enough for him to even cry) and it made him realise what he'd been inflicting on others. I asked him to imagine what it felt like when it was 10 times worse. He NEVER bit again.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 26-Mar-13 18:29:42

20 months old and running off is totally within the bounds of normal. DS1 used to do this until he was almost 4! DS2 is not quite 2 and he never runs off, bizarrely.

The biting is more difficult. DS1 used to be a biter, and he actually bit someone in his first week of school. I was mortified but school obviously dealt with it really well, because he has never bitten since.

hillyhilly Tue 26-Mar-13 20:35:55

You can't ever ignore the biting I don't think. You need to deal with your dd because he is learning from her. (Would she respond to that as a reason not to do it?). His behaviour sounds pretty normal, some kids wait nicely, some run.

montmartre Tue 26-Mar-13 21:01:03

I have a biter, he's just turned 4, and as you say, he only ever bites DH and me, and in frustration or anger. He is a very closed child, doesn't share his feelings much, so it's hard to get him to talk about things that are upsetting him, to dispel that anger. It doesn't help that he still sucks/chews toys, necklines of his clothes, cuddlies, etc.

I don't have any answers I'm afraid, but I wanted you to know you're not the only family struggling with this, and I understand how hard it can be at times. thanks

DitaVonCheese Fri 05-Apr-13 23:49:19

Thanks all.

When I said I was working on ignoring the biting, I meant as a strategy, not just doing anything about it. For context, before starting this thread I read through lots of old ones on MN and ignoring so child isn't getting attention as a result of biting seemed to be popular. I think for DS definitely it is an attention thing a lot of the time ... though replying to this thread has made me realise that actually <touch wood> he doesn't seem to have bitten for a while (after a couple of hideously embarrassing toddler groups the week before Easter sad).

When he bites I remove him from whoever he's biting and tell him no very firmly, that we don't bite, making eye contact if I can (he generally won't look at me).

DD only ever bites me, DH or DS so school will hopefully not be an issue. I tend to shriek at her, because it really pushes my buttons (as does spitting, which she's also a bugger for at the moment sad) hence my plan of reacting more calmly. We don't really do rewards charts/naughty step etc.

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