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my 4 year old is biting....help!

(12 Posts)
zaneysmummy Tue 14-Oct-08 21:32:20

my ds has had a problem in the past with biting other children. he has speech problems and i always believed that he did it out of frustration. he hasn't done it since may/june so i thought he had gone through that phase but sadly, not! he started in reception in September and seemed to be settling well but in the last 2 weeks he has bitten several children in school. he is the youngest of three children but my elder two are 20 and 25 and i was lucky enough to have a different set of problems with them. my ds is probably a little spoilt in that he is never sort of attention and he doesn't have to share his toys or us! but on the whole, all agree that he is not a malicious or spiteful child. his speech is slowly improving and he seems to be learning the art of sharing but i am at a loss as to what to do. he just doesnt seem to understand that its wrong, that it hurts. he always apologises, no problem but by then, hes usually left his mark already! im at a complete loss and any advice/tips would be gratefully received!

1066andallthat Tue 14-Oct-08 21:58:56

I have a biter, about the same age, 4 almost 5, and he used biting as a form of communication - everything from "go away" to "I want attention".

My DS has almost stopped but occasionally will revert; I think it is just a case of very ingrained behaviour. Could it be that here?

As for stopping it - a magic wand would be nice. I labour the point, "Biting is bad. It makes everyone feel horrible. You don't bite." I think I may be talking to myself hmm.

Anyhow, lots of sympathy from me - I always feel powerless and a dire parent.

zaneysmummy Wed 15-Oct-08 10:34:24

if you find that wand, please pass along!!!hmm as i said, he stopped for a while and because his speech was improving, i thought we were over it....how wrong i was! i haven't taken him to school today and i don't think ill be taking him tomorrow...just cant deal with the parents and apologizing and trying to explain..... i can understand why they would be upset but no-one seems to have any suggestions on how to 'fix' it!?! yes, maybe it has become a habit but its one that needs to broken...and fast!!! thanks for the sympathy and the understanding of how i feel, much appreciated.

1066andallthat Wed 15-Oct-08 13:25:47

No, don't take him out of school. He isn't being bad or naughty; you are not failing.

Oddly enough, DS2 (the biter) is popular, despite his lack of speech and the perfect round bite-marks every single one of his class had from him last year.

Yes, some parents react very strongly to a bite but realistically, most kids try out some anti-social behaviour: pushing, punching, biting, swearing, hitting, pinching or excluding. Just most are not so obvious.

Interestingly, the only parents who were really supportive had kids who struggled with something.

Is he open to bribery? Does he get the concept? I tried it with DS2 to no avail but mercenary DS1 loved it grin. If he is, start the day with "No biting at school and we will ..... (reward - time at the park, softplay, sweets, tv).

Is there any pattern to the biting? Tiredness, hunger, time of the day? DS2 was a random-biter - it covered all eventualities.

DS2 got bitten but that didn't stop him. The nursery didn't cope with him and I did remove him from there but school just ploughed on and so far in class this year so good. The last couple of times have been at soft-play so I have removed him.

Keep going. You don't bite at home. This is not learnt behaviour. You are not to blame - so, treat yourself, too. It will stop - it is getting better and point this out to other parents, too. Big apology first, short explanation and that you are doing everything you can and it is getting better.

zaneysmummy Wed 15-Oct-08 22:30:56

you know what?....THANK YOU! you have said the first words to sound positive on this that i have heard. ds is strangely popular, now you mention it and i have had to put up with my ds being taught the f-word and other choice phrases by his classmates. he doesnt get bribery, unfortunately, or i would be straight on that bandwagon, im not proud....not about this. the school suggested today that he come back tomorrow and he will be given a 1 on 1 assistant. he will be observed by her (she's his old nursery teacher so he is familiar with her and her, him....and i know she 'gets' him!) and see if and what the triggers are....what do you think? i value your opinion on this.

pookybear Wed 15-Oct-08 22:56:24

Just caught this on my way up to bed, so although something is nagging to be turned into a coherent thought I think it will have to wait until tomorrow before I can think this through, but it hit me straight away that his problem is aural, ie his speech problems and so is his behaviour problem, biting. Do you think this is a co incidence, I have a nagging feeling that somewhere in my training in early years I have come across this but cant unearth it. I will look it up tomorrow if it helps ... try not to get upset. night night

zaneysmummy Thu 16-Oct-08 07:33:13

thank you. this is the first time i have used this and i didnt realise what a lifesaver it can be. people are really, genuine concerned/interested in our problem.....i feel less alone then i did the day before yesterday! thank you all again.

1066andallthat Thu 16-Oct-08 21:31:50

Hi, Zaney. Did he go in today? How did it go?

Did it come back to you, Pooky?

zaneysmummy Thu 16-Oct-08 21:43:23

hiya! yes, he did go in......i saw one of the parents of a child he bit.......and she was fine, thank goodness! ds had a really good day,participated well, shared nicely etc. we were going to get speech therapy sessions starting in january, apparently, but they have now been moved forward to november, which is good.the speech therapist told ds' head teacher that its not unusual for children with speech problems to bite or spit. i spent the whole day on the edge of my chair but hey, he did ok! fingers crossed that it continues tomorrow. thank you for your thoughtfulness.how are things with you? im sorry if i havent seemed interested but i have been sooooo worried! and yeah, pooky, any flashbacks???

1066andallthat Sat 18-Oct-08 10:46:46

Really pleased he has a good day. The constant worry is very stressful and picking them up from school becomes hard, too.

It wouldn't surprise me if there was a correlation between the speech problems and biting. If it is part of a bigger issue, it'd be helpful to know, particularly when dealing with other adults. It also puts handling the biter into a different light - the usual strategies are probably not going to work, but what is?

Having the speech therapy brought forward is great. Can you speak to the therapist and see what he/she recommends you do with the biting if it continues?

DS2 is having a psychological evaluationsnext week - thanks for asking grin. Fingers crossed they have some answers and strategies.

zaneysmummy Sun 19-Oct-08 15:09:09

thank you. it is a constant worry, maybe wrongly, but especially picking him up! i had a sarky somment in the playground on friday but decided to be bigger then that and refused to re-actangry. i will be talking to the speech therapist and asking about anything i can do and how to re-act when/if he does bite. i will posting any advice i get as and when i get it, no problem. as for the psychological evaluation, ds had one of those, dont know if it really turned up much apart from 'he needs speech therapy'. you dont say???lol!hmmbut good luck with that and keep me up-to-date please?! we are off to washington dc (to visit family, not welcome in the new president!grin) back on 4th november! take care ok

connieza Mon 26-Oct-09 08:28:25

hi,
i have exactly the same problem! my 4 year old daughter, who is delayed in speech has started biting at playshool again. She started to bite and pinch when i first took her last year and then once she had settled it completely stopped and she was fine. she had all of August off (summer holdiays) and then went back to the same nursery but different teacher and some new children. She has started biting (one little girl in particular) and is acting up a bit in general. she bit my 2 year old son on the face this morning whilst playing. she doesnt usually have a reason to bite. she just goes up and does it. i dont know what to do next

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