WWYD? Repeated biting at nursery by same child.

(25 Posts)
PatButchersEarring Mon 04-Jun-12 18:10:49


My DD is 3. She has a 'friend' at nursery who she also used to see outside of nursery a fair bit as I was friendly with the mum. Trouble is, this child who is now 3.2 has been going through a biting/scratching/general aggressiveness 'phase' for over 2 years now. Due to which, I have distanced myself and DD (much to the mothers irritation).

In nursery, bites recorded (and it's definitely this particular child who's the culprit) is around 10, and she's only there for 1 day per week. Outside of nursery, before I finally had the good sense to remove my DD from this child's company, she must have been bitten etc by him a further 20 plus times.

My DD is not the only child this child bites, but it does seem to be more frequent with her.

To my knowledge, this child has now been on a 'behaviour plan' twice, and is about to embark on a third. However, there is no question of the child being excluded as it is a Sure Start Centre and as such, their positive behaviour policy means that no child will be excluded/suspended for any reason (as far as I can tell).

That is all very well and a lovely Utopian principle, but I am now at the point of considering removing my DD because of this childs behaviour, effectively meaning that she may be excluded from somewhere she is settled, which seems grossly unfair.

Also, I have seen how the mother handles the other child's behaviour, and in my humble opinion, I would say that it's inconsistent at best (and probably why this child has been in this 'phase' for such a long time).

I have asked for the nursery to change my DD's days in order that she is not in this child's presence (I'm flexible as work from home), as frankly, I have no confidence in the nursery assuring my DD's safety in regard to this child when he is in the vicinity. However, the nursery are not being particularly forthcoming with a solution to this.

I guess what I'm asking is a) WWYD? b) Am I overreacting by potentially removing her from the nursery? (she is otherwise very happy there), and c) has anyone any experience of these policies with Sure Start and is it a Nationwide policy?

Thanks in advance.

OP’s posts: |
Littlefish Mon 04-Jun-12 18:19:17

I would make an appointment to see the teacher or manager and ask them to explain how they are going to ensure the safety and well-being of your child.

dangerousliaison Mon 04-Jun-12 18:21:16

move her, if they are not serving her or other childs needs I would no longer pay for my dd to be there. without question my dd would not be at the nurtsery any longer and i would also be informing ofsted of their falure to put in place measures to ensure your dds safety.

dangerousliaison Mon 04-Jun-12 18:22:35

Before informing ofsted I would actually put it as a complaint in writting to the nursery and that way it will be availible to ofstead if they chose to investigate this.

madwomanintheattic Mon 04-Jun-12 18:33:40

Much as I dislike your tone, pat, I agree that nursery are not handling this v well. The child needs direct supervision if this concern has not been dealt with by the methods currently being employed.

However, your child is your business. You can remove her and let them know that you believe they are letting down not only your child, but the child with the biting problem. Asking them to discuss their rationale, supervision and behaviour plans in the context of this child, is of course a no-no.

Rather than distancing yourself from the parent, it might be better to offer your support in getting her child some more supervision at nursery?

If enough parents complain (and complain to the lea) then often purse strings get relaxed and additional supervision can be provided. Parents of children with behavioural concerns are often isolated, which makes everything worse.

Biting is ordinarily a perfectly normal per-school experience. The length of this issue may mean the parent and child need additional help to get support out in place.

And shame on you for ridiculing inclusion.

PatButchersEarring Mon 04-Jun-12 19:45:15

Thanks for your responses.

madwoman- can I ask if you've ever personally been in this situatuation? Before I was, I most certainly wouldn't have 'ridiculed inclusion', and I don't believe that I am now.

However, I also believe that ultimately, a parent must take responsibility for their own child's behaviour. I do not believe that this particular parent is doing that. I've heard literally 10's of excuses/reasons for this child's behaviour from her- including blaming her step-daughter and my DD for the continued aggressiveness. I also believe that the continued 'softly softly' approach from the nursery is not giving the parents the impetus to address the problem.

To a degree, she also takes the stance that it is the nursery's problem. This is despite the nursery having previously put at least two separate behaviour plans in place, which should also have been used collaboratively at home (from what I have seen, any effort made on behave of the parent was inconsistent and short-lived).

Initially, I did try to support the parent, but there comes a point where my own child's wellbeing comes first.

Therefore, in this instance, I do not believe that the inclusion policy is in the best interests of anyone.

OP’s posts: |
dangerousliaison Mon 04-Jun-12 20:20:20

can i just say my dn was a "biter" he bit my own dd less than a handfull of times his own brothers a similar amount and zero children at nursery.

That is because they where aware of this and ensured it never happened on thier watch through being vigilant to his needs and pattern of behaviour. And the times with my dd, where we as parents were not as vigilant as we would like to be and where his older brothers had over powered him in play etc, so he responded. Such behavoiur was delbt with consistantly by his parents.

I find ir quite shocking any child could sustain this pattern of behaviour in any setting where a child he sees once a week is bitten 10 times. He and the dd are being failed by the nursery.


SugarBatty Mon 04-Jun-12 20:48:50

Are you being serious about excluding a 3 year old???

I would hope the nursery are working with the childs parents to make sure everyone is dealing with the behaviour consistently.

If the child has recognised behavioural problems the nursery might be able to apply for extra funding for additional support to have the child on a lower adult/child ratio.

I hope your dd is ok I imagine it is distressing for her and hard for her to understand.

PatButchersEarring Mon 04-Jun-12 20:50:57

Dangerous- thanks for your response.

I also find it shocking. Although it has to be said, it's not been all the time at the nursery (although I've had the general impression that it never stopped at home). What tends to happen is that he will go through a bad phase, I complain (and I dare say other parents too), and then a 'behaviour plan' gets rolled out. It then stops for a few months, and everyone breathes a sigh of relief and thinks it's stopped for good. And then it starts up again, and so on and so forth.

I have made a complaint to the nursery, and I think I will to Ofsted aswell.

The nursery have assured me that this time, the 'behaviour plan' will be ongoing, but obviously they have had to be sketchy with the details due to confidentiality.

I'm reluctant to pull DD out, as she is generally so happy there.

It's just so frustrating when it seems so obvious as to why the problem is persisting, and within the remit of the nursery's own policy, there seems so precious little that can be done.

OP’s posts: |
SugarBatty Mon 04-Jun-12 20:52:53

Forgot to add I don't think many settings would exclude a child of this age. And I don't think its a 'sure start' policy. Sure start is just funding basically most settings cone up with their own policies which follow their local authorities guidance.

Bossybritches22 Mon 04-Jun-12 20:52:58


This child is not going through a phase.

I'm sure the nursery are doing their best but it is not unreasonable for the OP to ask for another day for her child as it is only one day a week.

dangerousliaison Mon 04-Jun-12 20:54:08

they should swap her day at least, the only problem with that is if others find out that is why then they are not able to make this availible for any parent who may decide thats unfair treatment, how about you aproache them and say that you are considering or have been asked to swaping a day at work and could they swap dds day, no mention of the other child.

PatButchersEarring Mon 04-Jun-12 21:02:37

Sugar. Yes, I am.

I know that sounds harsh, but I honestly think that's the only way that these particular parents would properly address the issue.

I would hope the nursery are working with the childs parents to make sure everyone is dealing with the behaviour consistently

That's just it. The parents, as far as I can see, pay lip service to any plans, and generally abdicate responsibility to all and sundry.

In the meantime, my DD is being repeatedly bitten. So I'm left with a choice: effectively exclude her for someone else's behaviour, or carry on taking her to a nursery that can't assure her physical safety.

OP’s posts: |
PatButchersEarring Mon 04-Jun-12 21:08:34

Dangerous: would have been a good plan re not saying why I want to swap days, but unfortunately they already know.

Bossy: Yes, totally agree. I've come to the sad conclusion that this is no longer a phase aswell.

OP’s posts: |
tethersend Mon 04-Jun-12 21:43:48

I would ask the nursery how they intend to keep your child (and others) safe; ask if a risk assessment has been done and if adequate training has been given- do staff know how to release a bite for example? If they cannot give assurances, contact the LEA.

There is little point asking for details of the rewards and sanctions set out in the child's behaviour plan, as nursery are not able to tell you; however, I would agree that it is worth pointing out that the child who is biting is being failed in this setting.

madwomanintheattic Mon 04-Jun-12 22:44:47

Not biting per se, but two of my dcs have had peers that physically attack staff and pupils with ordinary household objects - chairs, tables, scissors, whatever comes to hand really. (they've had their share of biters - we used to say dd1 had 'victim' tattooed on her head as she was always covered in bite marks) I haven't pulled my children out of the setting or demanded they be kept away from the child with behavioural issues, but have strongly encouraged the settings and the LA to provide additional funding for supervision of the child. It's not rocket science. In one case the child was given 1-1 support and the behaviour stopped. In the other instance, peer group parents managed to get the child excluded, which may have puffed up their wee chests at their power and awe, but did absolutely nothing for the child concerned. <slow hand clap>

If the child is properly supervised in the setting, then incidents are less likely to occur. No one needs to remove children or get on their high horse, the nursery and LA just need to step up and do their jobs.

maples Mon 04-Jun-12 23:04:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

maples Mon 04-Jun-12 23:06:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PatButchersEarring Tue 05-Jun-12 07:51:41

Thanks for responses.

Tethersend- yes, good idea. I will ask if a risk assessment has been done.

Some of the bites have been quite bad, others not so much. None have required a trip to A & E etc.

Madwoman- if this child were given 1-1 support, then I would have no issue. However, this has been an ongoing problem, and the second time I have had a formal meeting with the head, and I have previously been told that there is no question of him getting 1-1 support.

However, another 7 or 8 months down the line, since the last meeting, and the problem still persisting, I suppose it's worth me raising the question again.

Does anyone know what the difference would be between speaking to Ofsted or the LEA?

OP’s posts: |
SugarBatty Tue 05-Jun-12 09:29:50

I'm not sure if the LEA would speak to you directly about another child. In my LEA there is something called the early years inclusion panel. Every term they hold a meeting and settings submit requests for additional funding to support children with additional needs. You could find out if this happens in your area and ask the nursery if they have done this to support this child.

OFSTED would investigate it as a formal complaint but not sure what the outcome would be.

dangerousliaison Tue 05-Jun-12 09:59:04

I would talk with ofsted rather than LEA, ofsted regulate the nursery LEA may or may not provide funding either way it would not be up to LEA to investigate.

Ofstead i imagine would investigate this as a complaint as concerns around safeguarding. If you are unsure give ofsted a ring and explain the situation and ask them what you should do now or if they would investigate this as a complaint. I once had a safeguarding concern about a nursery and ofsted where graet I rang them and sked for advice and they adviced me of what to do and they did investigate.

smokinaces Tue 05-Jun-12 10:18:57

My ds2 was a biter. At nursery it lasted about eight months. Every day I was in tears. I hid from other parents. I know from speaking to them three years on they wanted him excluded. Thank god the nursery did a behaviour plan etc with him instead. We tried everything. I posted here too.

A phase can last a long time. Fwiw I don't think the nursery in your case is being stern enough if it is still happenig so frequently. And I know it must be devastating to have a child being bitten. But as a mother of a biter, there is little you can do. I ended up making them put one on one on ds2 for a couple of weeks, then they moved him to a room with lots of older children he didn't know. Not being the ringleader anymore helped get him out of it. But it was a last ditch attempt gamble.

ohforfoxsake Tue 05-Jun-12 10:32:36

My DS1 was a biter, and I too was beside myself. If OFSTED had become involved it would have finished me off. Dont underestimate how upsetting for the mum it is. I had to get help because everything I tried just didn't work. Seemed to be an attention issue which, with the right advice, was sorted immediately.

Luckily I had a very supportive, and firm, nursery who supported me as well as monitoring his behaviour.

If you've had a friendship with the mum before I'd speak to her. I'd also speak to the nursery in a formal meeting. They aren't doing their job or supporting either of you very well.

But I wouldn't be going down the OFSTED route, or be talking about exclusion. Phases can last a long time. Not all bite, but they nearly all push/hit/snatch.

dangerousliaison Tue 05-Jun-12 11:32:40

ofsted would not be getting involved regarding the child, they would be investigating what safeguarding is in place, when I complained to ofsted, none of the other parents even knew let alone the parent of a child who was involved, They are not investigating the child or the biting. They would if they seen fit, they may not even think they need to investigate, be looking at how the nursery are implimenting policys and procesudres to keep children safe.

confusedperson Thu 07-Jun-12 09:47:44

No advice here, but as a mum of a biter, I would die if my child would be not dealt with, but excluded from a nursery. If there is none to take him, my career would be jeopardized, my mortgage would not be paid, my home would be at risk.. I would be broken. My life would be broken.

Besides, I used to punish my child a lot in front of other parents if he misbehaved, trying to show that I am reacting to the issue. It turned out, that the best behavioural strategy for him was ignoring as much as possible bad behavior, and praising the good one. The parents that do not have a difficult child, would never understand it. It seems like a child does nonsense and you just ignore. But it sometimes is the right thing to do.

Of course, the nursery should give that child more of support. And you can switch days for your DD. I believe it is hard enough for that child’s parents. Sorry, I am biased.

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