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3.3 yo biting, hitting. Is it possible that it's just a phase?

(13 Posts)
allwineismine Wed 13-Apr-16 18:39:06

3.3yo DS has been hitting and biting at nursery again. I am worried sick. I asked them if they think I should be worried about his development, they gave me a vague answer "we're not sure yet, we'll keep a close eye on him".
He's never been an easy child, he's very strong willed (or perhaps a typical 3yo?). He's my only child so can't compare...
IME, his behaviour goes downhill when he's tired. He still needs a nap during the day and he never sleeps at nursery. So he turns into a nightmare in the afternoon.
Does anyone have a positive story? Can this be just a phase, something he can still grow out from?
Or do I need to suck it up, face the reality, admit that there might be an issue and he needs some additional support?

minipie Thu 14-Apr-16 10:12:05

You have my sympathies. Sounds like my DD. She has occasionally bitten/lashed out on and off since she was 2 sad. It happens when she is tired - or when she is coming down with a bug (when she was younger it happened when teething too). She knows she shouldn't but it seems like when she's tired/feeling grotty she just can't control her emotions.

In DD's case the last time was Feb, age 3.4 and I am hopeful that that was the last of it <touches wood>. She does seem to have got much better at controlling herself when tired in the last couple of months - she's now 3.5.

Do you/nursery know what provokes the lashing out? Is it when another child takes something from him or won't let him play? That's when DD did it, so we have been teaching her to go and tell an adult rather than lashing out, and that has helped a lot (gradually). We also tell nursery when she has had a bad night or seems especially tired so they can keep a closer eye on her and get her to have quiet time.

In terms of development, DD's nursery teachers (who are really excellent and very experienced) are not at all concerned about her from a development point of view. They just notice she is tired a lot (which isn't a huge surprise to us as she has a medical condition which tires her and also she only sleeps 10 hours at night <sigh>). They certainly don't think the biting is in itself a flag for development problems - in fact they have said there are always one or two biters, even at this age, they just grow out of it eventually.

Do you have any other reasons for concern?

allwineismine Thu 14-Apr-16 19:36:38

Thank you for your reply.
DS turns into a monster when he's tired, mostly when he wants a toy someone else is playing with or similar. He knows he's done something wrong and says sorry and wants to kiss it better as soon as he hits. But he still hits.
He's just been very unsettled recently, his key worker has changed and he moved from toddlers to pre school, so lots of new kids, new staff, new surroundings. His speech seems to also be developing at incredible pace atm- he's all of a sudden gone from simple phrases to telling stories.
I managed to speak to his previous key worker and the new one too today and they said that they're not really concerned, that he's just being a 3 year old at the moment and that's all.
I was hoping we were past this stage, he went through an awful hitting stage last year, then it all just stopped.
Sigh. I guess I'll just have to wait it out

minipie Thu 14-Apr-16 19:59:24

Ah glad you got some reassurance. DD is the child from hell when she's tired and completely lovely when she's not. And it's horrible being the parent of a biter, makes you feel dreadful doesn't it? Luckily nursery workers have seen it all before and know that it's just something some kids do, it doesn't mean they are the devil...

MiniCooperLover Fri 15-Apr-16 06:59:03

It sounds like he's having some developmental spurts but his body is still tiny and needs sleep. My DS (now nearly 5) was a biter when he was frustrated and couldn't escape a situation or say no to whatever was going on. They do grow out of it, but there's something particularly awful about being the parent of a biter, it just makes us feel so guilty ?? Maybe because the evidence is usually nasty looking on the other child. But don't lose heart, he'll be fine.

allwineismine Fri 15-Apr-16 07:52:05

I always worry that people think that's how we treat him and each other at home: scream, hit and bite. Which we don't, I promise wink

It is really awful, I agree. It often seems to me that all other kids are just all sweetness and light and mine is just..well..just a biter. I know it's not the case because DS can be lovely and caring to but once he gets into his "anger zone", frustration just takes over.

Thank you for all the reassurance, it really helps flowers

Kariana Sun 17-Apr-16 22:13:40

My husband read me something today which contained a quote from a psychologist. Can't remember the exact words but something about for toddlers learning the skill of playing together is important because to them the world is divided into things to bite and thing not to bite. Basically I'm saying dont worry as lots of children do it and some just take a little longer to figure out/control what goes in which category!

BatFacedGirl Sun 17-Apr-16 22:33:32

Of course it's a phase.

Unless you've got real concerns elsewhere then I wouldn't give this a second thought. My now 9 year old boy was a nightmare until he turned 7. He would bite, spit, I was always being called to collect him from nursery or his childcare because he couldn't be handled

And now? He's very sweet, loving, gentle, extremely well behaved etc. perfectly well behaved at school and working well, he's no bother at all.

It's all a phase unfortunately. All you can do is be very firm, reiterate that ' we do not bite!' and watch him like a hawk and ensure that the nursery are doing the same. It'll pass

allwineismine Mon 18-Apr-16 23:15:51

Thank you flowers
Apparently DS had s really good day at nursery today. Just wish I could prevent the "bad days"

allwineismine Mon 18-Apr-16 23:16:47

*A really good day
It's late and contact lenses are out wink

MiniCooperLover Tue 19-Apr-16 09:19:40

OP, unfortunately you can't prevent them as such, you can try and pre-empt at times if you're nearby but it's a lesson they have to learn mostly on their own (and with some guidance from you'/teacher/childminder, etc.). Try not to take it personally, I know I did desperately when my DS was doing it. I understand now that sometimes its out of even his control, that doesn't make it less horrible for you too.

AmyOSB24 Thu 21-Apr-16 10:47:07

I am currently having this problem with my son, he is 27 months. Only about half an hour ago he had me in tears he was hanging off my hair trying to bite my head! He doesn't go to nursery he was supposed to start the other week but as my hubs in the forces we have just been told we are moving.
My son isn't talking very good yet and has been referred to speech therapy so I was told this is where his anger comes from because he cannot communicate
Not only that though he doesn't understand me at all when I put him on the naughty step he will just sit and scream and run away I stand my ground and keep him there until he calms down but I know he doesn't have a clue why I have put him there.
I do explain to him but he just doesn't show any interest or like he's even taking in what I'm saying. He doesn't have an hearing problem because when he's in a good mood he will respond to his name, he doesn't know any commands either like bring me your car or where's your ball
I feel like a failure I don't know what I have done wrong in these last 2 years. He is an only child so he isn't good at sharing and he does lash out at other kids all the time I'm scared to go out with him. I just don't know what to do

TheStorySoFar Wed 27-Apr-16 20:39:37

My 26mth old hits & goes through phases of biting too....no advice really but just another mum dealing with it do you know you're really truly not alone! I am really lucky that my CM is v understanding & has a daughter she struggles with. DS my 4th DC & definitely has been the hardest work since about 18m. Actually, before that he was v easy going. hmm. I know he's always bitten more whilst teething, even in excitement & not always rage. His temper is ferocious. ATM It's a battle to get him in his car seat. He frequently lashes out at me & has just broken my glasses for the second time. Sigh. I feel like everyday is a struggle & the rare times I truly enjoy him are few & far between. I hate wishing time away, but I can't wait until this stage is over. I do worry sometimes that there's something wrong, but mostly j just think it's normal toddler behaviour. Currently sipping a glass of cold wine after getting him off to bed...will be an alcoholic by the time he's at school at this rate though confusedwine

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