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Old 08-25-2011, 12:21 PM
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Default Biting

Do you consider biting a learned behavior?

My 21 mo, and 17 mo have NEVER biten. The 13 mo old, reached out and grabbed the hand of the 17 mo and bit it today, before I could stop him. She was just standing by him. Nothing was going on, no toy fight etc.

The only time I've ever had a biter was the 13 mo old's older sister. She was about 2 at the time. Only did it twice and I came down hard on her and she never did it again. She hasn't been her in 6 months.
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Old 08-25-2011, 12:51 PM
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Folks, PLEASE comment. 8 people have looked in the last 15 min and no comments.

I want to talk to the parent at pick up.

I just want to know if you consider biting a "learned" behavior or not.
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Old 08-25-2011, 12:54 PM
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Probably teething, or just seeing what will happen. Ages 9 months to about age 2 I notice they are making noises with cheeks, biting on things more, drooling, learning about sounds.

I would say "we dont bite" then remove from situation and give a toy she can bite on. Show her we bite this, not our friends.
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Old 08-25-2011, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilrugrats View Post
Probably teething, or just seeing what will happen. Ages 9 months to about age 2 I notice they are making noises with cheeks, biting on things more, drooling, learning about sounds.

I would say "we dont bite" then remove from situation and give a toy she can bite on. Show her we bite this, not our friends.
So you don't consider it a learned behavior?? When you know the older sisters bite?
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Old 08-25-2011, 01:02 PM
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It "could" be, like trying what she saw sister do. You could ask mom if sister still bites, at home and that could be it. Maybe if the child was over age 13 months I would say yes totally that is it. Hope she never does it again!
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Old 08-25-2011, 01:03 PM
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Thanks for the replies. The biter is a he, btw.
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Old 08-25-2011, 01:12 PM
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I think biting CAN be a learned behaviour, but not necessesarily (SP).

My 15 yo was a horrible biter. My 17 yo that comes to visit still has scars on her chest and her hip from her. The 15 yo was my first biter in 12 yrs. After I got rid of one family, her other favorite victim, she completely stopped the biting.

My 5 yo bit the 4 yo a few times when they were babies, but it didn't last long.

Both boys were/are bad biters. The 4 yo has grown out of it, but I can see it in the 3 yo's eyes every now and then. He wants to, but I can usually catch him in time.

I did everything short of duct taping their little mouths to stop the biting, but didn't find anything other than constant supervision that worked for me.

In nearly 30 yrs, my only biters were my grandkids.
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Old 08-25-2011, 01:14 PM
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I have known some kids that have gotten bitten to use biting as a recourse themselves. This is usually out of frustration or anger and not being able to communicate.

It can also be something as pp mentioned having to do with teething too.

Sometimes I've had a dck bite for no apparent reason though and just out of the blue they do it. At this age they like to put everything in their mouth and bite on things. I don't think they realize they are hurting someone.

Good luck!
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Old 08-25-2011, 04:04 PM
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I don't have biting here. I haven't had a bite in 17 years.

I think it's a product of escalation... a release of pent up energy... a sign of overwhelmededness (yeah I made that up) that is often (not always) in an atmosphere of distracted or absent supervision.

I keep everything calm. I watch for pre-biting behaviors and nip them at the root. I don't allow escalation that isn't guided up and down. It has boundaries to it and when it does happen it's predictable and metered.

I don't think it has anything to do with teething or lack of communication.
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Old 08-25-2011, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nannyde View Post
I don't have biting here. I haven't had a bite in 17 years.

I think it's a product of escalation... a release of pent up energy... a sign of overwhelmededness (yeah I made that up) that is often (not always) in an atmosphere of distracted or absent supervision.

I keep everything calm. I watch for pre-biting behaviors and nip them at the root. I don't allow escalation that isn't guided up and down. It has boundaries to it and when it does happen it's predictable and metered.

I don't think it has anything to do with teething or lack of communication.
Everyone has their opinion but the research I found stated the following:
For infants, developmental theorists suggest that biting is probably a form of exploration--infants use their mouths to explore because it is one of the most developed parts of their bodies. Biting in infants may also be a primitive form of communication; it is likely that the infant does not connect biting to pain experienced by others (Claffey, Kucharski, & Gratz, 1994; Marlowe, 1999; Oesterreich, 1995). Infants also are impulsive and lack self-control; some babies may bite simply because something is there to bite; others bite when they are excited or over-stimulated (e.g., music stimulates the infant, who then bites because he or she is so happy and excited) (Greenman & Stonehouse, 1994). Thus, the literature concludes that infants bite because they want to smell and touch objects, experiment with cause and effect, or relieve teething pain (the National Association for the Education of Young Children [NAEYC, 1996] suggests offering infants who are teething chew toys, frozen bagels, or other safe items--see http://www.kidsource.com/kidsource/c...ers.p.t.4.html).
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Old 08-25-2011, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nannyde View Post
I don't have biting here. I haven't had a bite in 17 years.

I think it's a product of escalation... a release of pent up energy... a sign of overwhelmededness (yeah I made that up) that is often (not always) in an atmosphere of distracted or absent supervision.

I keep everything calm. I watch for pre-biting behaviors and nip them at the root. I don't allow escalation that isn't guided up and down. It has boundaries to it and when it does happen it's predictable and metered.

I don't think it has anything to do with teething or lack of communication.



Well, I was sitting 3 feet in front of him, looking right at him when he did it, so he was under CLOSE supervision. NOTHING was going on, no "escalation". He was sitting on the floor, and she had just walked up and stopped there. They had just been calmly playing all morning. My house is always calm. I keep a tight rein myself.

He took her hand and put it in his mouth and bit before I could stop it.

Dad picked him up today instead of Mom. I mentioned it to Dad and told him I needed their help at home, as I couldn't have a bitter. (I have one 4 mo old and another coming this fall). Dad, sort of shook his head and said, yeah, he has been doing that at home. I just bite him back. Arrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhh!

Last edited by SandeeAR; 08-25-2011 at 05:22 PM. Reason: added quote
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Old 08-25-2011, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SandeeAR View Post
Well, I was sitting 3 feet in front of him, looking right at him when he did it, so he was under CLOSE supervision. NOTHING was going on, no "escalation". He was sitting on the floor, and she had just walked up and stopped there. They had just been calmly playing all morning. My house is always calm. I keep a tight rein myself.

He took her hand and put it in his mouth and bit before I could stop it.

Dad picked him up today instead of Mom. I mentioned it to Dad and told him I needed their help at home, as I couldn't have a bitter. (I have one 4 mo old and another coming this fall). Dad, sort of shook his head and said, yeah, he has been doing that at home. I just bite him back. Arrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhh!
It can happen just like you stated....nothing going on to warrant it and no warning signs! I posted a website on my pp that might help you with this.
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Old 08-25-2011, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SandeeAR View Post
Well, I was sitting 3 feet in front of him, looking right at him when he did it, so he was under CLOSE supervision. NOTHING was going on, no "escalation". He was sitting on the floor, and she had just walked up and stopped there. They had just been calmly playing all morning. My house is always calm. I keep a tight rein myself.

He took her hand and put it in his mouth and bit before I could stop it.

Dad picked him up today instead of Mom. I mentioned it to Dad and told him I needed their help at home, as I couldn't have a bitter. (I have one 4 mo old and another coming this fall). Dad, sort of shook his head and said, yeah, he has been doing that at home. I just bite him back. Arrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhh!
Well there goes my theory.

I don't have much to offer with biting. My experience is completely different than the research and child development theories. I don't have biting with teething kids or kids who can't communicate. I don't have it with excited kids or kids who are exploring.

I just don't have it with ANY of the situations where the experts say it is normal. After raising generations of kids year after year.. I just don't see it at all in my population. For something that is SO normal.... I go year after year without a single incident.

It's a hard subject to discuss because it ALWAYS comes down to "it's normal" and the solution for serial biting is always more adult. IRL, the parents who have the kid who is bitten don't care a lick if it's normal or not and most providers don't have the resources to do the "more adult" to solve it.

So it's a never ending discussion with no real solutions or explanations.

Wish I could offer more but on this subject I just don't have anything to offer.
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:09 AM
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I don't consider it "normal". I really think it is a learned behavior. That is why I ask if anyone else considered it "learned behavior".

I KNOW his older sisters have done it in the past, and I'm pretty sure they still do it. The parents don't really "see" some of the things their kids are doing.

I think he has been bitten by one or both of his sisters and that is where he learned to do it.
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:40 AM
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I think its normal for a kid to try this for whatever reason but that doesn't mean that you have to tolerate it or have to be okay with it. The only thing I have ever heard is to try and figure out the kids "triggers" to avoid, shadow them and make sure they know this is not tolerated whatsoever. Either you have the time and patience to do that or you don't. I wouldn't consider a bite or even two to be that alarming but by 3 purposeful bites, its clearly becoming a habit and something you have to address. Be prepared for the parents of the biter to not care at all or not care enough to do anything about it. Its basically your problem. There is a rare parent out there who will really work together to overcome this but since sister was a biter for awhile (thats what I am reading from your post) sounds like the parents don't know what to do or just don't do anything period. I think a kid that is not verbal or that is easily frustrated CAN learn to control themselves and restrain from biting, you don't have to wait till they grow older to address it.
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:41 AM
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Biting can be learned, but it is also a very natural part of development for some children. It can be done to explore "cause and effect" and can also be a natural part of oral development. We have to teach them not to bite their friends, but you can provide other alternatives. One great option is fruit chews!! You have to be careful not to give them right after a bite, obviously, so it isn't a "reward." But, just giving a biter lots of oral stimulation can often alleviate their "need" to bite other kids!
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:46 AM
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interesting last post....I personally would not do anything that might encourage that need for "oral stimulation". Every kid has things that they want to do that just are not acceptable. I think that providing fruit chews is accommodating the biter instead of helping them learn that biting is not acceptable. I don't allow chewing either for kids old enough to not be doing that. Definitely by 1 year old, I don't let the kids chew on toys, suck on stuff, bite or slobber on things. Its very unsanitary in group care and I feel it is better to curb that desire instead of letting them go at it or providing alternatives that are okay to suck on, etc. thats just my two cents. my own middle daughter was a biter and we nipped that in the bud fast.
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
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interesting last post....I personally would not do anything that might encourage that need for "oral stimulation". Every kid has things that they want to do that just are not acceptable. I think that providing fruit chews is accommodating the biter instead of helping them learn that biting is not acceptable. I don't allow chewing either for kids old enough to not be doing that. Definitely by 1 year old, I don't let the kids chew on toys, suck on stuff, bite or slobber on things. Its very unsanitary in group care and I feel it is better to curb that desire instead of letting them go at it or providing alternatives that are okay to suck on, etc. thats just my two cents. my own middle daughter was a biter and we nipped that in the bud fast.
It sounds like you want the issue to go away by using discipline with the child as opposed to honing in on the reasons behind it. The fruit chew theory is something I learned at a traiing given by a child dev elopment expert and we tested in a toddler setting at a large center - with success!
Negative reinforcement does work on some children and I suspect you used some kind of punishment with your own children to "nip it in the bud" tha you likely cannot use with your daycare kids. If you're wanting the parent to handle it at home, then good luck to you! As for me, I ust use a lot of bleach water b/c infants and toddlers need oral stimulation to adequately develop their whole sensory-motor systems in their brain! (I'm a big nerd, though! I've studied a lot of brain development stuff!) Biting is always a difficult issue to tackle, because I do agree that it CAN be learned. But, if parents allow it at home, and aren't willing to change, it's going to make things very hard for you!!!
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:31 PM
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I've been lucky so far (knock on wood!) and biting hasn't really been an issue here. I worked at a center before opening a home daycare and I wasn't so lucky there. It wasn't so much that there were a lot of biters, but it was the fact that the biters in my class were highly unpredictable.

I was desparate to find a way to get it to stop and I tried to learn as much as I could about biting. I asked a lot of questions and I got a lot of advice on the matter. Shadowing was recommended a lot but that shouldn't have to be the answer. Besides, it's not always possible to have a staff member who is available just to shadow one biter. Since it was a center that I wasn't in charge of, there was nothing that I could do other than ask the director for help. She said that I would just have to shadow him on my own because the budget wouldn't cover an extra staff member just because of one kid. My class was the 12months-30months group and I was often put in the position of being out of ratio for a good 1.5 hours every morning because the center didn't want to hire another person or risk having any of the staff go over 40 hours a week. How can one person shadow a biter and still be able to give the other kids the care that they deserve? There were mornings when it was just me and 8 toddlers, one of which was the worst biter that I've ever seen! Shadowing is nice when it can be done, but it's not a solution.

I learned to notice the warning signs and it's made a big difference because then I could step in and the situation didn't have the chance to escalate. Some kids have a tendency to get frustrated more easily than others and if the child doesn't have the words to use yet, then they will try to find other outlets for frustration and anger. It doesn't have to be a learned behavior. I've seen kids lash out by hitting or pushing at that age and nobody was consciously teaching them to do it. It's human nature to need an outlet and if a child isn't able to use their words to express frustration or anger, then they will find a way to get it out of their systems! Obviously that's a problem because it's not cool to bite, hit or shove our friends. With the biter in my class, I would have terminated him because of the severity of his biting and the parents of the biter weren't helpful at all. The director wouldn't let the family go because of the money but they ended up losing another family with 2 kids because of the biter. I couldn't do much about the situation and it sucked. That was one of the reasons that I wanted to start my own daycare.

I teach my kids sign language from infancy. I know that it doesn't mean anything to an infant at that moment but I still use it and say the words so that I can give them a way to let me (and their dck buddies) know what they need. I work on teaching them how to communicate when they are hungry or thirsty or if they want more or if they are done. I teach them sign language that will cover if they're sleepy or if they are in pain. Same goes for sharing toys and other situations that crop up. It's worked so far for me, but it might be more effective because of a smaller group and staggered ages.

If a child is consistently biting, then it might be better for that family to part ways. It's understandable that it happens and as long as it is an isolated incident, then it doesn't have to result in a termination. My advice is to make it a BIG deal the very first time it happens, not just to the biter, but to the parents of the biter as well. It seems mean, but it beats having to deal with a child constantly biting because the parents make excuses for the biting. It's in everyone's best interest to address it fast and firm!
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:37 PM
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no I did not use discipline with my middle daughter for biting. we did the same thing I do with my daycare kids, shadow them, figure out and avoid the triggers, a firm no and remove them from the situation if a bite is about to happen. Most of my daycare kids do a lot of stuff at home that is not allowed here. Even very young toddlers can be capable of seeing that some things that are okay with mom are not okay at daycare. I don't think it takes a study on brain development to figure that out. Parents allowing stuff at home does make it harder to curb unwanted behaviors but not impossible by any stretch of the imagination. I have kids that have horrible table manners, lots of crying and whining, lots of comfort items and a multitude of stuff allowed at home that is not allowed here and it is amazing to see the change once they walk through the door. I had a 1 year old so obsessive about her paci at home and as soon as she would walk thru the door I would open her bag and she would readily drop the paci, sippy, blanket and lovey toy into the bag where they would stay till the end of the day at which point mom would give it all back. I do agree that figuring out the reasons behind something is a good first step on addressing an issue but just because there is a specific reason behind a distruptive behavior still does not mean that you have to allow it. I don't discipline to get rid of the sucking/chewing/slobbering. I just tell them no until they give up doing that here and are then able to use their time doing activities that are much more exciting than sitting there and sucking on their thumb, meanwhile missing out on learning and fun.
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