My 2.5 year old has bitten other children since age 1. At play groups when surrounded by other children or if others want the same toy. He bites children who visit my home if they play with his toys or unprovoked sometimes just because they are there. I know children bite , and I know he will grow out of it, and I am trying to teach him to use words instead of biting. The trouble is other parents reactions, I'm afraid to go to playgroups now because people are so cruel, he's been pointed at and people have removed their children from him. My friends have suggested he needs psychiatric help even. And I know this not to be true. It's is awful when your child gets bitten, but how do I deal with these parents? My confidence is on the floor.
well, I would remove my child from your DC's vicinity too
the comment about psychiatric help was uncalled for though - sorry you had to hear that
all I can say is that you have to be next to him and watch him like a hawk every second you are out or with other children
it is YOUR responsibility that he does not bite others
you must know the signs by now that he is going to bite, so remove him immediately from the situation
in fact, give playgroups and playdates a miss for a couple of weeks.
he no doubt will grow out of it, probably in the next few months
(I knew a little boy who was a biter (he bit my DS several times), he outgrew the habit as soon as he started talking at about age 3.5)
hang in there, but you really can't blame the other parents
sorry, should have put a smiley in there somewhere
chin up, parenting is hard work
That must be really hard. Are many of those parents with their pfb? I think most adults who have been around children a lot know that it's a stage that lots go through- and that it's no reflection on the parenting. Try to remind yourself that it is normal for many toddlers, and the parents making sly comments may well find that their DC go through an equally unpleasant phase at some point.
If it helps, my DD2 was bitten at nursery yesterday. It was a fairly nasty bite, but my reaction was exactly the same as if it was some kind of accidental injury, because that's how I see it with toddlers. It's nobody's fault.
Just keep being vigilant and trying to teach him- it will pass eventually!
Ok, biting does happen, but you can't blame other parents for wanting to do what they can to avoid it happening. Nothing to do with 'pfb' at all, I would never have been thrilled at any of my kids getting bitten. And would have avoided a biter at a toddler group if they were a repeat offender.
I agree the comment about psychological help is ridiculous, but sometimes people do say silly things.
What you don't say is what you do when the biting happens or what you do to prevent it. And that might contribute to negative reactions as people rightly hold you responsible for your child at this age.
You need to tell him if he bites, he goes home. Then follow through. 2.5 is old enough to learn not to do this.
Swishswoshswoosh I disagree with your last sentence. 2.5 is old enough to understand that biting is wrong, but to stop doing it they need to be able to override their initial impulse in the heat of the moment. That's asking a lot at that age, especially with children who are still unable to express themselves verbally.
I do agree that the OP needs to be seen to be dealing with the biting in an appropriate way. I assumed from the OP that she was doing so.
To add...I observe him closely when we are out, I remove him from situations where he is surrounded or situations where I know he will bite. If I recognise he is getting cross/ frustrated I speak to him clearly and give him phrases to use, ie. ask the other child if you can play together. Ask the other child if you can have a turn next. When he does bite while we are out ( rarely these days tbh, can't face it) he goes into to time out and is told we do not bite then all my attention goes to the child who is bitten. At home he goes to his room ( a boring box room) and again my attention goes to the child who has been bitten. I feel that by not mixing with other children he won't learn to not bite so I'm reluctant to cancel play dates and wish I could pluck up courage to go back to groups, constant negative reactions from adults won help him either.
I have never had a biter, but DS2 went through a hitting / pushing phase which I found very stressful.
I tried several discipline techniques and I found the only thing that worked was to take him home immediately after an incident. I realise this is annoying if you've only just got there, but I only had to do it twice and it suddenly stopped happening.
Firstly, a hug and a
Having fled playgroups in tears and wept myself to sleep over my DS biting, you have my sympathy.
I was lucky, when I finally sobbed in view of others some childminders at the playgroup I run sat me down, gave me a cup of tea and one watched DS while the others talked through their discipline techniques.
With DS words do not work. What stopped the behaviour was immediate sanction. If he went to bite or displayed aggression he was strapped into the buggy immediately. I explained why he was there and he stayed in the buggy for one minute (he was 18months at this point). Once I had explained he was ignored (I could see him so knew he was fine, just tantrumming mostly). The buggy was in full view of the group so he could see the other children playing.
I watched him like a hawk, he was immediately removed as soon as aggression was displayed.
I spoke to play session leaders and explained so I could have the buggy in the room with me.
It took about three/four weeks (sometimes he was in the buggy more than out of it), but he is like a different child now and parents who pulled their children away now comment on how different his behaviour is now.
Skipping playgroups won't work IMO as he'll never learn. It hurts when others pull their children away but I found that as soon as I put a plan in action and explained it to onlookers who gawped I got a lot of support.
Hang in there xxx
I should add I also made clear that any adult witnessing his aggression (if he had run out of eye line, I'm only human and toddlers are fast) had my permission to remove him and find me for sanction.
Have you tried going to different groups? My DS2 tended to hit at toddler group, but we went to a music class which he loved and he never hit anyone there. I think music class or similar is good for engaging their attention, and less likely than playgroup to involve a confrontational situation.
Thanks for comments. I don't think I'm going to get any support from the group I was going to, but I thnk I will join a new one, a less busy one maybe. He has a 100% no biting record at wriggley readers (proud). And keep hovering and doing what I'm doing until it passes. I like the buggy idea, he hates his buggy so that would be a real punishment for him. Looking forward to getting out in the big wide world again!
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