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Friend's son keeps biting and pushing DD (he is 18mo and she 19mo)

(7 Posts)
ATouchOfStuffing Tue 02-Apr-13 12:52:33

She wasn't too bothered by it at first, and just carried on. She finds him funny and giggles at him a lot, despite him pushing her. Then he bit her and she wailed (unsurprisingly) and got her coat. We left shortly after that. Went back yesterday (3 weeks later or so) and he was at it again. Unfortunately I had said we would stay for dinner so we had hours of trying to stop him pulling out her dummy (swiping at her face ever 5 mins), pushing her over and biting anything he could get his teeth into. Poor DD was still game for a giggle but was being very defensive (arms out to ward him off) whenever he came running at her.
His mum has just had another baby in the last month, which is possibly a cause but he also has been bitten and pushed at his nursery, which could explain where he is learning it from.
I know his mum is trying to stop his behaviour, as did I yesterday, by asking him to kiss/cuddle instead, shouting NO! and distracting, but it is wearing and I can understand with NB she is a bit worn down. I suggested she talk to the nursery (she has mentioned she is annoyed they aren't firmer with him when he pushes there as they say 'oh he did a bit of pushing and biting' as if it were nothing).
Any advice from people who have been through this before? I know DD thinks he is the best thing since sliced bread other than this as she is constantly in hysterics when we are over there and they chase each other, etc, laughing. I don't want to stop seeing my friend either (especially as she is trying to stop it ad with a NB), but worried DD may be getting more than physically hurt if I keep subjecting her to this. Help!

cathan Tue 02-Apr-13 14:01:03

My DS went through a phase of being aggressive like this to his older sister. I don't really remember what started it, but we managed to stop like this - when he attacks or bites, ignore him completely and make a huge fuss of his victim! We had tried telling him off etc before doing this, but he just carried on. Once we stopped giving him attention (even negative attention) he gradually stopped. Hope this helps.

ATouchOfStuffing Tue 02-Apr-13 14:16:20

Yes, I think this is a good way to do it. I was worried about doing it in case it made it worse (as he is now competing with his DB for attention as it is) and thought perhaps him getting less would provoke it. But reinforcing it isn't the right way to go about attention makes more sense even given this situ. My other worry is pandering to DD - she is pretty tough and I don't want to turn her into a crying whinger by showing her crying gets a lot of attention...maybe I am just a tough nut.

NellyTheElephant Tue 02-Apr-13 14:47:40

It is a bit of a tough phase that lots of them go through. I agree that best way to deal with it is a simple and firm 'NO, we don't bite / push etc' then lots of attention to the victim. My DS, now 4 was a bit of a nightmare at that age, when I went round for coffee with other mothers, or toddler groups etc he would push and shove and I had to watch him like a hawk to ensure no one was getting hurt. It was pretty exhausting and annoying so for a while I sort of opted out of those situations as he clearly wasn't ready for sociallising (he's my third though, so to be honest I was sick of toddler groups anyway by then). He grew out of it and is now an unbelievably kind and gentle little boy. Since your DD is coping well and clearly still happy seeing him I would try and keep going to see your friend regularly (just keep a close eye, and don't be concerned about gently but firmly telling him off yourself rather than waiting for your friend to do so, it can be quite helpful for other adults, not just parents, to reinforce what is acceptable behaviour) as with a new baby I bet she really appreciates seeing you.

TiddlyChocolateBunny Tue 02-Apr-13 14:50:20

My 22mo DS is a biter and has been since he was 12mo, his is caused by teething and frustration/being territorial over toys etc. It's absolutely gutting when he does it, I always apologise a lot, but I can't seem to stop it completely. He's bitten and lashed out at lots of his friends, and fortunately all the mums have been understanding so far.

If the boy is also biting other stuff I'd suggest it's prob teething, the mum needs to do whatever helps whether that's cold carrot sticks or a Calpol dose 20 mins before you arrive, but he may still bite.
If its anger/frustration, you just have to watch them like a hawk and make sure they don't get too close. Helicopter like mad.
Sometimes I can divert him into hugging someone instead, but he wants the 'release' of biting, so I also take hard teething rings out with me and tell him to bite them instead.

I try to give DS lots of positive attention when he's behaving well, then when he bites he gets a firm "NO, no biting, it's hurts" then he's completely ignored either in favour of the other child or someone else until he's calmed down.
So far, all this does is make me and the other mum feel better - he doesn't seem to remember it or feel sorry!
I've started doing the naughty step this weekend, so will use that next time he bites too.

It would probably help if you asked the mum for permission to tell him off when he bites - it really has to be done immediately, and if she's distracted with a newborn she may not be on the ball. All my friends are welcome to tell DS off for bad behaviour, as long as any consequences are dealt with by me.

Re your DD crying, don't worry too much, bites don't tend to hurt for long (DS has bitten me a lot!) so maybe do the quick 'kiss it better' and then distraction route if you're worried she'll get whingy.

Hope this helps

ATouchOfStuffing Wed 03-Apr-13 21:06:00

Yes Nelly she doesn't get many visitors at the moment so I don't want to stop seeing them. I think it is just a phase so hoping it goes sooner rather than later!
Actually asking for her permission to be a bit firmer with him would be a good idea as I feel a bit lame just holding his hands and saying "No! We do nice hands please" Or just "No! X! That is not nice!" If I could be a bit firmer and confirm she doesn't mind me pulling sad faces at him or ignoring him for a bit then I would be happier, as this is what I would do with DD (turn away and ignore and make sure she knew I was upset).

PoppyWearer Wed 03-Apr-13 21:08:15

My 19mo is going through a phase of this with his big sister too at the moment.

DD was on the receiving end if this from friends when she was that age too.

I am doing all I can to stop my DS, believe me! It is just a phase, but so hard when your DC is on the receiving end.

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