View Full Version : When your own child bites

01-11-2012, 12:12 PM
Hello everyone,

I'm new to the forum and I'm looking for some advice with regards to my son biting my daycare children.

I have been running my daycare for the past 6 months. My son is now 21 months and I have a 20 month old in my care. My son began biting this other child pretty much the first week he started. At that time he was almost 16 months. I stayed on top of him, tried to limit the causes of his biting (the other child likes to steal his toys, and he would get jealous when I was giving the other child attention), told him a firm "No, we do not bite friends" and gave attention to the child he bit. Since he knows a lot of words, I taught him to say help when his toy was being stolen or when he was frustrated. It helped a bit. Around October he seemed to be backing off on the biting, and when he would try to bite I was able to intercept. Once December hit he seemed to be back to his old ways. Luckily, the daycare parents are very understanding and have not seemed very upset by this, telling me it will pass and that its normal. But I feel awful!! Especially because it is my own child doing the biting.

He bit again today. I am going to try a new technique and keep a teething ring on me and when I intercept a bit tell him "No, we don't bite friends. You bite this" in hopes that I can redirect the biting. I really have no idea what to do. I feel like an awful parent. My heart breaks for my daycare child and I hate having to tell his parents that my son bit theirs every few weeks.

Any advice?

01-11-2012, 11:30 PM
My own child did the exact same thing as yours. I hate to say it but I finally bit her back. I tried everything you're trying and nothing worked. People kept telling me to bite her back so she could see what it felt like. I didn't want to because to me it felt like I was abusing my child. One day I just had enough and gave her a little bite on her arm after she drew blood on another kid. She kind of looked at me like WTF, shed a few tears and hasn't bitten since.

Judy Trickett
01-12-2012, 08:17 AM
If were my OWN child (never a dckid) I would bite her back. I know I will likely get poo-bahed over that comment but I don't really care. Here is my reasoning:

What we are always trying to ultimately do is teach kids empathy. When you have empathy that means you UNDERSTAND what it feels like to be in someone else's shoes. Much of the reasoning we are able to act as compassionate, normal, respectful human beings is because we have experiences being hurt or baring the burden of rudeness or unkindness etc and that makes us NOT act out others in that way. In short, our building of empathy is why we act civilized.

So, HOW is a child supposed to understand what it FEELS like to be bitten and therefore have empathy to NOT do that to someone else if they, themselves, have never been bitten?? Lots of kids get pushed, hit, shoved etc by other kids as that is just par for the course. They learn how those things feel from their peer group. But few kids are actually bitten - ESPECIALLY the biters themselves. Being bitten makes them realize that it HURTS and just what they did to their friend.

I also do NOT believe that kids bite because they are teething. Whenever I read that I think it is utter nonsense. Any teething kid I know can be found chewing constantly on a toy or their fingers - NOT their friends. Biting is an act of aggression born out of simple aggression itself or frustration.

You only have to bite a child ONCE until they get it.

01-12-2012, 09:53 AM
In the absense of being able to bite the child a good pinch with nails serves the same purpose - abuse all in your definition but as Judy said there are times and with certain children that you need to give tangible examples to back up what you are saying - biting hurts and if you pinch as you say hurt they get the connection of the hurt - pinch where they bit the other child - usually arm or cheek. A child that is being agressive - yes that is why they are biting out of anger perceived or real they can be taught to pinch themselves instead.

The alternate to biting a child is to put their own arm or finger in their mouth and in their temper tantrum that are very likely goign to chomp on it in anger for being held - serves the same purpose of getting them to feel what they were doing. Then at least the teeth indentations are their own and works for your own or daycare child.

After this it is important to watch when the child shows you they are angry by biting or pinching themselves. Take note of the situation, who else is there, particular toy involved, etc.

When it is our own child that is biting it usually has more to do with jealous - for all intents and purposes you have introduced a new"sibling" to them and they don't like sharing you. Making your own child your helper, letting him be first as much as possible or giving him times to take the lead it should help. It is also generally a short lived issue till words develop and they can get to verbal sparing and pushing instead of biting and hitting. Think about it - a dog bites because it can't tell you to stop. A child with no language instinctively bites because they can't tell you to stop.

Teach the child that gets bit all the time some self help skills too so they learn they do not always have to be a victim. Teach them to put their arms out to keep the other child at bay. And turn a blind eye if they push gently but don`t teach that. The biter needs to be shown that their advances won`t be tolerated. Peer pressure is the best teacher.

01-12-2012, 11:41 AM
Yup, I agree with the other.
I would NEVER do this to a dck , just so that is clear but when my son was 2 and bitting I bit him back after exhausting all other options and guess what ?
That's right, that was the last time he bit someone.

01-12-2012, 12:07 PM
Thank you for your replies.

I have read so many people online in different places saying to bite them back. While I may resort to that eventually, I personally feel that its not something I want to try right now. If your child smacks you in the face or does something else that hurts you, you wouldn't do it back to them. It would seem to me like we are telling them this behaviour is ok sometimes. But I totally understand why people do it!!

I like the idea of shoving his own arm/hand in his mouth. I might give that a go next time he tries to bite.

Who knows, maybe I will resort to giving him a nip eventually!

Thank you all for your replies!! I appreciate all of this advice!!

01-12-2012, 12:17 PM
What you have to remember is that there are different learning styles and most children exhibit them from the very beginning. If we look at our group we can see the ones that just sit and take it all in and then reproduce what they see, the ones that dive right in without a care in the world even to their own safety, the ones that accept what we tell them and the ones that insist of trying for themselves, those that sit in circletime and those that can't sit still but learn on the run literally. I have found in my biters they are either the most laid back kids until they snap and lash out or they are the ones that have to be totally hands on with what and how they learn. Of course at 16 months you are still guessing but when you file the info away for later it usually pans out. How we deal with both of those children is different. For the one they actually need to experience being more outgoing so they don't feel as threatened by the child that came too close or whatever and the other child needs to be shown limits - not told limits - shown in concrete ways limits.

01-12-2012, 02:07 PM
My 18 month old daughter bites (usually she bites herself when she is angry, but sometimes she bites me or her brother)...I did bite her back the other day...it has slowed her down, but not completely stopped the biting. Maybe I didn't bite her hard enough or maybe it just won't work on her. She is very verbal and able to express herself quite well, but has a temper out of this world!

Judy Trickett
01-12-2012, 02:52 PM
If your child smacks you in the face or does something else that hurts you, you wouldn't do it back to them. It would seem to me like we are telling them this behaviour is ok sometimes.

No, but when you hurt somebody in the big grown up world we separate you from your family and toss you in an itty bitty cell among other individuals who will do more than just bite you. And in some of the states (another so-called civilized nation) when you murder someone you are sentenced to death. We must always remember that we are not raising children we are actually raising adults. The lessons they learn now will carry the through the rest of their lives.

My point is that with parenting there sometimes IS a double standard in order to teach a lesson.

01-12-2012, 03:55 PM
Many times with my own kids especially I had to remind them that "Discipline is my perogative". That meant if you had an issue with someone you could come and ask for help - you didn't always get what you wanted but the situation got resolved. In other words if a spanking was in order I did in not them. If they hit they were punished - discipline is my perogative. I am the adult. What I say goes. Too bad we have gotten the age/maturity/ parent role so washed down that it barely exists in some families. When children knew where they stood they did so much better. A lot less whining as adults too.

01-13-2012, 03:09 AM
Hear, hear ladies..... :)
PS: "We must always remember that we are not raising children we are actually raising adults. The lessons they learn now will carry the through the rest of their lives."

Sooooo exactly true. This is my personal parenting philosophy, and stated in my parent handbook. We must make choices when raising children that are LONG term. That is what can be so tough. Sure, it might be EASIER to do things differently, RIGHT NOW. But that will have adverse effects in the future.
And on the original topic; I have never had to resort to biting a child back, luckily. But I do think that sometimes a firmer hand is required when a child is aggresive. They NEED to know that it is not okay, it hurts and will not be tolerated.

01-17-2012, 07:19 PM
so by biting a child or spanking for hitting you are teaching it is ok to hurt someone smaller then you. i do not agree with spanking or biting a child back. (my opinion) if a child bites you need to watch for triggers. you can do a ABC chart and watch for triggers and change your environment if that is the problem. for example a child is biting when you are changing diapers that child can be in a highchair or at a table with activities while you are busy with books or a puzzle. in the adult world someone punches you because you took there parking spot(toy) we do not punch back we call for help or get the police involved. children need to learn coping skills and hitting or biting back is not teaching them anything.