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Old 07-11-2011, 05:53 PM
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Default 3 Yr Old Becoming Mean

We have a really really sweet 3 yr old dcg, but for awhile now she has been beginning to get down right mean. The worst behavior is biting (at least 6 months now everyday she tries to bite). No matter what we do, her first response is to bite someone when she's mad. She's bitten me a couple or 3 times (hard), and has tried numerous times but have been able to move my hand, arm, leg, etc before she sinks her teeth in. The other children often go home with a story of how x bit them. I know removing her from the situation before she has a chance to is what everyone will say, but with her, since it's so quick and her very first response we usually can't get to her in time. Besides that, if I have to physically pick her up and move her (since she gets so focused and refuses to move), she'll try to bite me. Her parents are really good with her and not afraid to disipline, but they are having trouble with her behavior also recently. Some of the other behavior issues are: She'll step on someone's foot, just to do it. If someone lays down on the floor for a minute to play or whatever, she might just step on them on purpose. She'll throw toys all over the room, and if we get after her, she'll throw them all the more, and then becomes focused on just throwing any toy within reach. Wait til she's calm and try to have her clean up, she'll ignore us until we go right up to her, then she starts throwing them again. If we tell her to clean up and then we leave the area, she never does clean them up. Just goes to another area and dumps all those toys out and throw THEM around. She's also mean to animals. Steps on them, kicks them, teases them to no end, throws rocks at them... We used to have a 3 yr old boy who did this type of thing (but he was autistic, we're almost positive). Got to where we couldn't care for him anymore and they had to move on. But several months after he has been gone, this dcg has began acting like him. If he was still here I'd think that was why (repeating the behavior that she sees), but he's been gone long enough now that I don't think that would be the cause of it. None of the other children act like this. They KNOW they'd be in big trouble, but nothing works for this little girl, and she used to be just so sweet and mature for her age, and SO SMART! But now...it's like an evil twin sister took her spot Besides the biting, her other behaviors are just random. She's not mad or anything like that. Even smiles while she does it!
Terming is not an option we want to consider. She was one of our favorites! Just so sweet. But now we dread when she's going to be here (part time, 3-4 days/week). How can a little girl change so much? We love her to pieces, but this behavior... What are your thoughts?
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Old 07-11-2011, 06:05 PM
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There is most likely something "going on" with this child that can help explain the issue. If nothing has relay changed in the child life such as a pet leaving etc.. no matter how small it may seam that may have something to do with it. Or it might be a social disorder, or it might be an anger issue both of those things or something that outside help would be needed. If the parents are truly concerned and confused by the behavior I would suggest discussing it with the child's doctor.
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:24 PM
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Biting at that age is usually frustation at not being able to express themselves.

Here is a piece that I found on the internet for why children bite:

Very young children are often biters not so much out of anger but out of frustration at not being able to speak. They know they are supposed to use their mouths, so they use them differently. Generally, biting clears up when a child can make his/her needs known in language.

Here is one course of action that is effective with children under three. One teacher is assigned to "shadow" the biter. If one teacher is with that child constantly, it is very often possible to restrain the biter when you see him/her getting ready to bite. Then you repeat the rule -"We do not bite. We use words." (If the child has no words, you can say them yourself. "I know you're angry because you can't use that toy right now, right? But you cannot bite for ANY reason.")

Then you can remove the child from the situation if it is warranted. Sometimes, if you've stopped the bite before it's occurred, the child can continue to play.
Now, this works only if the child is watched CONSTANTLY, which is a very difficult task. It's best to have teachers take turns being the shadow. If you have the luxury of enough teachers, however, this is an effective method of helping a biter to stop biting and start talking.

Last edited by Michael; 07-11-2011 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:28 PM
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Can you talk to the parent and ask if something new is going on in the child's life?

I had one that would get evil whenever Dad was out of town. She'd become a whole different child.
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Old 07-12-2011, 04:59 AM
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We usually see a child's behavior turn this way prior to a divorce. I'm sorry to say that there's most likely problems at home. The parents are probably arguing in front of the child and it's affecting her.

With all of the biting she would be gone from our Center. We have a 3 strike/bite policy.

Time to conference with the parents - sooner than later. This should have been done 6 months ago. Now the biting is a really bad habit. The child has anger issues that weren't nipped in the bud. Not a good thing.
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Old 07-12-2011, 06:29 AM
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It is possible for her to have on Autism Spectrum or adhd because of her ages. My daughter was like that. She was very sweet girl until 3 years old. She changed the whole different things when she was 3 years old. We decided to take her to a specialist doctor to find out what was wrong with her. We found out that she has PDDNOS on Autism Spectrum. I would say get her an evaluated or see a specialist doctor.

As of 3 years old, it is not normal for bites. She knows better than that. My daughter had bitten to many children and strangers children until she was around 5 or 6 years old. My husband and I have training her to get better on our own for a long time. Now she is very sweet girl. We refused to go get some help for her or anything else. We wanted to do it on our own.
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Old 07-12-2011, 07:09 AM
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Is this a young 3 year old?

From my experience, girls go through the "Terrible Two's" at around 3 years of age.

Are you permitted to using time out or isolation as a form of discipline?

My best suggestion is to shadow her all day, everyday. You will be able to tell what she is going to do before she does it and if you are walking around with her before she goes into a "mode", remind her of "good choices, that we don't hurt our friends, etc."

As for the biting...some children bite. My best suggestion is to give her a wet washcloth and tell her that if she feels the need to bite, to bite on it. Hopefully she can get her frustration out on that and not on a child.
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:00 PM
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Thank you everyone for the replies! She is a young 3. She used to be advanced for her age, I thought, and still is academically (but socially and developmentally in other ways like being able to sit still and all that, she seems really young for 3 lately). She can express herself really well, also, which is why I can't understand the biting. It's like she'd rather just go the quickest route and bite first, then use her words.
We are allowed to use time out, but it doesn't affect her. She smiles the whole time like it's a game, or doesn't understand. Usually that's when she bites me when I'm having to physically place her back into time out. She REFUSES to sit in time out no matter how many times I bring her back to her chair (if I just point at it as a silent direction, or tell her to go back to time out, she ignores me completely and walks away. I always have to physically bring her back). Isolation would be nice, but we don't have anywhere we could put her in isolation. She would just run away and go right back to playing with the others. Shadowing her sounds like a nice idea, but kinda impossible for me while trying to watch and care for all the other children at the same time.
Someone mentioned suggesting the parents talk to her doctor, but her parents just think it's normal behavior. Bad behavior, but not out of the ordinary for a 3 yr old. She has a really stable home and her parents are so good with her and discipline, but it doesn't affect her. I don't think it's THIS bad at home, but then she is an only child...
When you see a situation where they might possibly bite someone, like if they're fighting over the same toy with another child, what do you do? If I try to remove the toy from their hands or seperate the two children, I usually get bit lol. And if I try to talk them through it, they're too upset to listen and dcg ends up biting anyway, even if I'm standing right there. So many times I'll see her lean forward with her mouth a certain way, so I KNOW what she's about to do, but if I try to quickly pull her back, she lunges forward so fast I can't pull her back in time, and she latches on. If I try to pull her off while she's in the process of biting, it just hurts the other child worse. She's like a little vampire! She sinks her teeth in and holds on
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