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Any advice about a biting 16month old

(23 Posts)
estobi1 Fri 26-May-06 21:26:38

My husband and I were summonsed by our dd's nursery today who are very concerned about her biting. She bit 5 children at her nursery today and I think it was a casual chat before she gets kicked out! I was advised to discuss the matter with my health visitor which made me feel like I was officially the bad mother being referred to social services! (A bit over sensitive but you catch my drift) I know that she is trying to assert herself and she is teething but I really want to get some control. She has been biting me at home and I have tried punishing her by putting her in her play pen, pretending to be bored by her actions, telling her off and on a separate occaion, by smacking her. I just don't seem to be getting through to her. My Mum is suggesting to bite her back but that really isn't a route I want to go down. What is worse is that she keeps shouting at herself and calling herself bad. I feel like a monster - has anyone got any advice or suggestions? Many thanks

Jimjamskeepingoffvaxthreads Fri 26-May-06 21:42:41

oh FGS your nursery are being ridiculous! She is 16 months old, she is going through a biting stage (teething perhaps?) so she needs to be shown every time she bites that is not a good thing to do- in the way you are already doing. But when she is at nursery they have to deal with it. She is far too little for you to tell her at home and expect her to carry it over into nursery.

You are using the right approach. My 16 month old bites (me and his siblings) - especially when teething. It will go and it will pass, but do not beat yourself up over what she does at nursery, When on their premises- they have to deal with it. She is too young for any other approach.

Bugmum Fri 26-May-06 22:35:20

Smacking is not going to help. Sorry, but it isn't. A 16 month old doesn't understand that biting is wrong, they have to be taught, and that is slow and difficult. If your nursery doesn't get that, maybe you ought to ask them about other policies/attitudes they have.

Really, 16 months is very little.

And no, your instince is right: please don't bite her.

Jimjamskeepingoffvaxthreads Fri 26-May-06 22:38:26

oh I didn't see the smacking, agreed won't do any good, the bit I was sayig was the way to go was the ignoring, or plaving in the play pen.

Heathcliffscathy Fri 26-May-06 22:43:36

my ds bit from about 14 months for a year! was v depressing. what turned the corner for me was when cristina7 recommended the book 'how to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk'. i really helped me. what also helped was taking the 'heat' out of the situation which your nursery's attitude can't be helping you with. please know that this will pass. please consistently reward behaviour that you like and let her know that you don't find biting acceptable both by saying 'no, no biting' and then giving no further attention.

please don't smack her. it's won't help at all imo.

i know it is really really hard. i got v depressed about it as i felt like i was a terrible mother and pariah but i think that is part of why ds persisted in doing it. it pushed my buttons. when i chilled out about it a bit and realised taht he is not defined by biting behaviour, things got better.


LeahE Fri 26-May-06 23:01:28

Can you identify anything that's triggering the biting? For example, is it when she wants attention, or when she's thwarted in some way, or when another child invades her personal space? That might help you and nursery on a practical level to identify the possible trigger situations and intervene before she actually bites anyone.

You need to be consistent -- you list four different things in your post that you've done so no wonder she's getting confused. I'd suggest if she bites saying firmly "No biting", putting her down and ignoring her completely for a minute or so. Also try positive reinforcement -- when she's playing nicely with no biting make a point of praising her frequently for playing nicely and being gentle. Eventually the "biting = no attention; not biting = attention" idea will kick in.

I think nursery is being over-reactive if they are really thinking of kicking her out. Did you ask them how they have been handling it when she bites at nursery? I suggest when you have worked out your action plan about tackling it that you discuss it again with them so that she gets consistent messages at nursery and at home.

acnebride Fri 26-May-06 23:08:13

Something I tried with my ds was saying 'you can bite teddy, not people' and getting his teddy for him to bite. Does anyone think that was a good idea??? I really don't know if it helped or hindered.

DS bit and hit a lot. I hated it. It's hard. sympathy.

glassofwine Fri 26-May-06 23:33:38

My DS now 3 1/2 bit for ages, well over a year, he bit me and DH, sisters, other children, anyone - it was hell. One of the mum's from DD's school was a HV whose own son had done the same thing. She said that the only thing I could do was to prevent that it would be hard going for me ( had 2 other children too) but not to let him out of my sight or reach and if he went to bite another child to swiftly remove him. It was exhausting, but I tried it and soon he forgot about it. I wasn't working, so not sure how this would work if your DD is in nursery full time - but it might help.

tysmaw Fri 26-May-06 23:50:11

my 12 month old ds has starte biting and i'v just taken to ignoring him when he does. i know it's an attention seeking thing with him as i just gave birth to dd 5 weeks ago so i'm trying to praise the good and ignore the bad as they say.

i cant believe the attitude of the nursery though, 16 months is still essentially a baby, they don't know right from wrong

Sexonlegs Sat 27-May-06 20:50:45

Oh I feel for you soooo badly. This caused a friend of mine to stop seeing me as my dd bit her dd. I was heartbroken and felt at a real loss.
We used the naughty step which I think was helpful, but in all honesty, I think it is just a phase that they grow out of.
I did have to shadow my dd whenever we were out, to catch her before she bit, which was exhausting, but worth it.
I would avoid biting back also. My dad suggested this, but I just think it sends out the wrong message.
I do think you and nursery need to decide upon one approach and stick to it. It is such a shame they are not being more supportive. I have to say dd's nursery were great about it, and accepted that it was a phase that many had been through and many more would.
I wish you all the luck in the World as I really feel for you.

kitbit Sun 28-May-06 11:12:23

Our 18mth old has also bitten someone twice at nursery this week - we asked lots of questions and found that it's firstly due to his teething (he has tried to chomp on my hand twice this week and both times he manouvred my hand so that my finger was over the sore gum place) and it happened both times at nursery when someone was trying to "mug" him of the toy he was playing with.

I've been making sure he's had a dose of calpol before he leaves in the morning to make sure he's as comfortable as possible when he's there, and we've been working on sharing at home. We told the nursery we were doing this and it seems to be as long as they feel we are supporting them and trying to deal with it as best we can, they are happy.

Also, both times he bit me I stopped what we were doing, turned him to face me, stooped down and made sure I had eye contact, held him arms by his side gently but firmly, arranged my face to look stern and in my best firm, serious "no nonsense" voice said "No, no biting. Biting hurts." and tapped his mouth to make sure he knew what I was referring to. I repeated it until I was sure he'd paid attention then put him down.

I'm hoping it will pass soon - I'm sure it'll get better when teething isn't so bad as it will with your dd. The other posters are right though, 16mths is too little to have a conceptual conversation about biting in general as it just won't make any sense to her, it has to be at the moment so the nursery has to work with you to try and stop it.

MagicGenie Sun 28-May-06 11:22:55

We're coming out the other end of our 16mo's biting stage. We had to be firm and calm - the more we made a big deal out of it, the more he did it, so my advice (as other people have said) is to say 'no biting' in a calm way and then ignore her. No attention if she bites.

Just to warn you though, this behaviour in our DS seems to be transferring to lashing out, particularly when he's being told to do something he doesn't want to do i.e. he'll kick when we try and change his nappy. But again, being firm, calm and ignoring it seems to work. All about asserting independence, it seems.

I wouldn't bite back either. It just mixes messages.

The nursery need to support you as well, not make you a villain!

juliajudeandjoel Sun 28-May-06 14:23:58

Hi, I used to look after a friend's son who used to bite my little boy and others. He did grow out of it.

What we used to do was say "no biting!" and then turn our attention to the child he had bitten, even turning our backs on him. He quickly learned that if he bit, the other child got the attention, not him. Maybe you should suggest that to your nursery.

It's not uncommon. You would have thought they'd know how to deal with it rather than put it all on you. She can't be the first child in there to have bitten another!!

AUBINA Mon 29-May-06 18:22:44

This is what has worked for me. When they bite you say, very calmly,"oh dear biting hurts people, you'll have to sit in the buggy so they are safe". Put the child in their buggy, strap them in. Totally ignore them. Give the victim a cuddle, then busy yourself, washing-up or whatever. Then after a few minutes come back to the child, tell them they can come out of the buggy but if they bite again, they will go straight back in. You've got to be totally consistant. Don't be angry, it's a phase alot of them go through. However they must know it is not acceptable.

At Toddler Group I follow them like a shadow and if they do bite, they are treated the same as at home.

Having said all this if you are observant,you can distract them alot of the time. I speak as a nanny/mum/childminder so I've had experience of lots of children.

I don't agree with ignoring unacceptable behaviour, how will they know it is unacceptable if there are no consequences to it?

spidermama Mon 29-May-06 18:31:14

My 16 month old has been biting lately. It is teething. I agree that your nursery are over reacting. 16 months fgs. It's a bit young to lable her with behaviouraly difficulties!!

When my ds does it I say 'No', put him down and walk out of the room.

garbo Mon 29-May-06 20:10:32

My ds is biting all the time at the moment. He is 16 months old today and in my opinion he's only a baby. He's teething and has no idea what he's doing. He's biting chair legs, the high chair table, my shoulder, dd's toe, dh's shoe, the list is endless. I can't believe the nursery don't understand. I am sure it's nothing like the situation when an older child bites. I just say no, remove him from the situation and give him something else to bite on that's 'legal'!

zippitippitoes Mon 29-May-06 20:18:09

I think the biting is to do with teething and also possibly socialisation. If it is ain a similar situation that she bites then try to anticipate it until the phase is over.

happybebe Tue 30-May-06 09:43:08

i have been on the other end with my poor 14 month old DD being bitten by a nearly three year old hard enough to draw blood. i was absolutely furious and really didnt give a stuff that the child involved was 'young' i was disgusted. the mothers response was well its done now isnt it. so her son got off with no punishment other than she ignored his crying.

babies of my DD's age may not understand WHY something is wrong but they certainly understand that mummy is cross. with my DD if she tried to bite i would make sure she knew mummy was very upset with her as it is something i just dont find acceptable in the slightest.

clairemow Tue 30-May-06 14:49:18

They all do it around this age...

Def don't smack. We used to take DS away from the person he'd bitten, say no biting, and then ignore him, giving lots of attention to the child he'd bitten. Or if he bit us, we immediately said no biting and put him down on the floor and ignored him for a few minutes. They soon learn that biting doesn't get them any attention.
I found DS used to bite when he got excited - ooh, there's a juicy arm going by, I'll have a nibble. Just keep your eyes open for your lo getting a bit over-excited, and try to get there first maybe! To stop the bite occurring I mean by distracting, not to bite yourself.

clairemow Tue 30-May-06 14:50:06

Agree that by 3 years old, they should know never to bite!!! But that's very different to a 16 month old imo.

joanna4 Tue 30-May-06 15:22:29

My son who is 11 got bitten at the gym last week by a 7 year old girl.Hard enough to leave marks through his skate pants too.I wouldnt suggest biting her back you dont want to send the message it is ok and to get to 7 and be in this situation.

mabel1973 Tue 30-May-06 16:13:42

I went through this with my DS at around the same age - and as everyone says - it is normal,especially if they are teething, but not nice and upsetting for you.
My DS bit another child on the cheek at playgroup and drew blood, I was mortified.
The problem with my DS was HOW he was doing it, he would go up to children and give them a hug and look as if he was kissing them. There was no malice there at all, it was because he was teething that he felt the need to sink in his teeth - no excuse I know, but I think you need to be careful how you tackle it. Certainly don't bite back or smack.
If your DD is doing a similar thing, someone on here suggested to me saying no biting and explainin g that it upset you but then trying to make it into a positive situation by saying ' now give mummy a nice kiss' and showing her how to kiss nicely and praising her when she does it nicely, so that she learns what the acceptable behaviour is.
My DS is now 18 months and although still hugs every child he sees, he gives them proper kisses now.
TBH if she is teething, it is more than likely just a phase that she will grow out of and I think your nursery have over reacted and really should be watching her to ensure it doesn't happen.
I think a 16 month old biting is a completely different situation to a three yr old doing it.

GIRLSAT104 Tue 30-May-06 23:14:49

Gosh - this is all so familiar to me. My first daughter started biting at about 16 months and I was also made to feel a criminal because of it (and indeed I lost 2 friends because of it). I was made to feel like the nursery had NEVER had another child bite ever before. Don't let them make you feel that way - turn it around on them and ask them what their plan is for your daughter, and how they are going to tackle it. This is basic child management, and certanly one of the skills that OFSTED require them to have.

As my daughter's nursery handled it so poorly, they reinforced her biting - she is now 3 1/2 and has only recently stopped biting. It is very important that you tackle it now and make sure that every time she does it that the reaction and response from the nursery is exactly the same, and also is the same as what you do at home.

My daughter only stopped biting after being treated by a specialist child unit at our local hospital. They said that the main problem was the inconsistent approach that had been taken between nursery and home.
I don't want to alarm you, but do take it very seriously, and don't assume that it is just teething. Handle each episode in the same way, and be very consistent.

My second daughter is now 17 months, and I am very (overly) alert for any signs that she too will be a biter. But I am better prepared this time, and also more confident in myself to know that it is not due to poor parenting. As a single parent it is sometimes hard getting through the day with two toddlers, let alone a biting one - one of her favourite targets used to be her baby sister's toes.

Good luck. My thoughts are with you.

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