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Old 03-31-2011, 01:00 PM
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Missani Missani is offline Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Midwest
Posts: 214
Default Biter! My Child!

My DS is a biter! He is almost 2 (23 months) and has been biting for exactly a year (since 11 months). He used to bite at the center he went to, and he has continued to bite at home. He has gone through a few periods where he bites, and then he won't do it again for months. However, we are in a particularly difficult period right now. He is biting one of my DCKs who is about the same age (she is 19 months). He bit her once 3 weeks ago, once 2 weeks ago, then they were on vacation last week, and he bit her TWICE today. He always bites her on the back, and one of them today is particularly bad.

I feel so terrible, and I don't know what to do. Obviously, I will write them up and talk to the parents at pick up, but I feel so bad. I feel like the parents are starting to get angry (which I totally understand), but also like I am doing what I can to curb it. I have been completely honest with the family and I know they appreciate the honesty. I also know why my son is biting her. She is VERY dramatic and everything causes her to cry and scream like she is near death. If you take a toy she had yesterday, she will scream. If you get close to her, she will scream. If you sit by her at the table, she will scream. If you change her diaper/make her sit while she is eating/put her shoes on to go outside/you name it, she will scream...honestly like she is being tortured. I'm not trying to make excuses, but he does it because he likes the reaction. I totally get it. He loves to see her melt down.

It's horrible! I am trying to be on him all the time, but since he only tries to do it once a week or so, it's hard to follow him around all of the time. I know you are supposed to "shadow a biter" which I understand, but I'm pretty sure that parents would be upset with me if I didn't feed their kids/change their diapers/etc., and to shadow him every minute, I wouldn't be able to do anything else. I've separated them, but they like to play together since they are the same age. I can't see keeping them separate all the time (50+ hours per week) because my son will try to bite her once when they are the only kids in that age group. Obviously I can't term him because he is my son. I don't know what to do.

It is getting better since my son is getting so much better with using his words, but obviously he isn't all the way there yet. I have 7 years experience as a toddler teacher, so I have a lot of experience with biters. I understand that it is developmentally appropriate but unacceptable. I know that you need to find out why they bite, shadow them, and try to prevent the situation that causes the biting. I understand all of that, but it isn't working. He is old enough to respond to verbal correction, but as soon as he is in the situation, he cannot prevent himself from doing it. And she cannot prevent herself from the reaction. Obviously, it hurts! I am trying to work with her, too, by trying to curb the drama a bit. Everytime she breaks down for a minor reason, I respond with a great big, happy, "You're okay!" That isn't working either.

I feel like there is so much of a stigma with biting. Even though it is a developmentally appropriate behavior, parents react so harshly. So often, parents think it is a product of bad parenting. On this board, probably most people feel differently, but in the general public that is how it's seen. I've seen friends post on facebook that their child was bitten at daycare and others respond, "Take him/her out of there! It's obviously a bad daycare!" or "If my child was ever bitten, they would never go there again!" or "The child probably has terrible parents who neglect/abuse him or her!" and "If the biter wasn't kicked out of daycare (for the one incident), then I would find a new provider immediately!" Bottom line, that's how people feel. I'm not saying that it's okay to bite at all, but I can assure you that my son comes from a stable home. I parent him and do not allow him to be in charge of my actions, etc. His needs are met, we are active parents, he gets enough sleep, etc.

So what do I do? I am dreading talking to the parents again tonight. I am prepared for them to pull their children, but I don't want that to happen. I love the kids and the parents are great. They have 2 children in care and they fit nicely with the group and are similar ages to other children. All of my families are carefully hand picked to match in style and try to match in age so everyone has a "buddy" his or her same age. I really don't want to lose them. I have been open and honest and told them what I am doing to stop the biting. So far they have taken it well, but after 2 incidents today, I'm not sure what to expect. Any advice for talking to them or anything else I can do about my biter? Uggh...
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Old 03-31-2011, 01:11 PM
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Symphony Symphony is offline Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 222


I could write that exact same post. My son is the biter here, and the only child he bites is the one girl who screams her head off if anyone looks at her. Sometimes, she will gather an armful of toys, and seek out a child to scream at.

What I have done is I make one of them be with me at all times. I don't care which one, but I never let them play together. When I am making meals, I always bring one of them into the kitchen. When I change diapers, one of them stands with me the whole time. It is modified shadowing I guess, but it has worked. In the past, I tried shadowing just the one child, but he would bite her even if I had her on my lap. If they are never together, he can never bite her.

I understand the stigma, it is awful. Confidentiality applies to you too though, you don't have to tell who bit, just that she was bitten. I hope you get through this soon. I honestly thought I was going to have to close there for awhile it got so bad!
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Old 03-31-2011, 01:11 PM
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I would sit between them when they play by each other. I assume they are still into parallel play at this age so sitting between them could work. Or give them their own area to play to where they can not get at each other.

This is tough and I can understand your frustration.
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Old 03-31-2011, 01:47 PM
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Michael Michael is online now
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We have a long thread on biting:
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