Help me... I resorted to spanking - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 08-05-2009, 10:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Please help
My 22 month old dd is biting and has been biting. First it started as pinching when she was 15 months old. I tried the gentle hands and showing her, but it kept escalating. Then I did time outs in her pack n play and it nearly went away...until we went traveling and it came back due to lack of consistency. Now it's evolved into biting and pinching. She bites when frustrated over toys, or tired, and sometimes when jealous over me. I got so much advise about spanking and my husband wanted to try it, so for three weeks we did try it. Boo Hoo...
I told him I can't do it anymore...it's not working anyway...and I was very consistent with it. He's fine to stop, but we don't know what to do.
My plan so far (please add or adust it):
  1. Shadow her everywhere.
  2. Intervene the second I see it coming.
  3. Say, "NO biting" I will not let you bite...so n so.
  4. Give her something she can bite.
  5. Give her words to express herself.

If she bites and I don't get to her in time:
  1. Say, "NO biting"
  2. Pick up the bitten child and console, apologize, and kiss (I know the kids we are with well)
  3. Have her help the bitten child with a kiss or ice or something. Offer an apology.

Why is it that this doesn't feel like I am doing enough? Most people are saying, oh this is terrible, if you don't spank and stop her now, she will do it more when she is older and it will be too late...she will be ruined...and on and on.
Then when I read online about biting...all the advise is more like, it's ok, this is a phase, just shadow them and give them words to use instead of their teeth.
Please help...I am so torn up over this. Thank you.

DH, and Me plus baby girl (10/07)
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#2 of 16 Old 08-05-2009, 10:42 AM
 
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Hurting a child isn't going to teach her to not hurt others.

Your plan sounds very reasonable. Biting IS a phase - do you know many high school kids or adults who bite?

I'm pretty sure my twins were about 2 before we dared leave them alone together for 10 seconds, for fear that someone would get bitten, hit, or have a toy thrown at his head. COnstant diligence, and instruction of appropriate behavior (touch gently, throw this way, not at your brother, etc), does work - but it takes time. A 2-year old is trying to figure out what is acceptable and what is't, and activities (like biting and pinching) that get a big reaction from a grownup are a lot of fun.

One thing that helped us was to concentrate on the bitee, not the biter. If she bites you, put her down, walk away, and tell her you will pick her up again (or play with her or whatever you were doing) when she's ready to be gentle. Remember that you have to teach her what TO do, not what not to do.

Hang in there! And I'm glad you so quickly realized that spanking doesn't work!

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#3 of 16 Old 08-05-2009, 10:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Shami View Post
Please help
My 22 month old dd is biting and has been biting. First it started as pinching when she was 15 months old. I tried the gentle hands and showing her, but it kept escalating. Then I did time outs in her pack n play and it nearly went away...until we went traveling and it came back due to lack of consistency. Now it's evolved into biting and pinching. She bites when frustrated over toys, or tired, and sometimes when jealous over me. I got so much advise about spanking and my husband wanted to try it, so for three weeks we did try it...
Why is it that this doesn't feel like I am doing enough? Most people are saying, oh this is terrible, if you don't spank and stop her now, she will do it more when she is older and it will be too late...she will be ruined...and on and on.
Then when I read online about biting...all the advise is more like, it's ok, this is a phase, just shadow them and give them words to use instead of their teeth.
Please help...I am so torn up over this. Thank you.
I think your intervention lists sound great in terms of responding to the biting, etc.

I don't think she'll be ruined at all later. I don't know who the "most people" are but I'm guessing they haven't seen a lot of kids grow up, because you can't predict based on who is the biter who will be a problem later.

I think the part I bolded is where you can perhaps (?) do more in terms of helping her minimize or deal with frustration. Is she in an environment with a lot of other kids? Is there a way to help them play without being on top of each other? How can she get more sleep?

Also what I have seen help with many kids is to help them communicate their frustration in other ways whether that's through baby signs, or expressing feelings for them, or whatever.

This too shall pass. You are right to intervene gently but I certainly wouldn't worry that this is a lifetime pattern. Know any college kids who bite when they don't get their toys?

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#4 of 16 Old 08-05-2009, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you both for you quick replies. She is in settings with other children about 3/4 times per week. I have an active church life with lots of home gatherings and many children involved. On Sunday, I have been leaving her in the nursery with the two women who serve in there. They know my dd and they know what to do. I trust them to be gentle. However, they can't shadow her completely so I am thinking to stay with her on Sunday. Also, shadowing her means I cannot be with the adults. I guess that's too bad for me, but a necessary thing right now.
Thanks for pointing out that not too many teenagers bite as an expression of their feelings. Now that I think about it, not too many older children do this either. That is reassuring.
The "most people" who tell me this are my parents and my friends, who have a different view than me. I don't have many who feel like I do about spanking. Maybe only one person...and the GD forum

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#5 of 16 Old 08-05-2009, 11:11 AM
 
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Also what I have seen help with many kids is to help them communicate their frustration in other ways whether that's through baby signs..
This wasn't even something that had crossed my mind....but I think is a great idea!!! What if when you're shadowing your little one, you see she's about to bite, you go up and instead say, "Oh, you would like some help?" or "Are you frustrated? Would you like a turn too?" Teaching her the signs for the bolded words.

Had I not taught my daughter sign language we a) would've had a lot more temper tantrums than we have b) I don't think I would be able to 'read' my daughter as well as I do and c) I don't think we would have the relationship that we do.

I remember once when we were at the pool my little one wanted two boats to push around instead of just the one. She had the one, then spied another, only problem was it was in the hands of a little boy. She went up to him and started signing please then when he didn't respond instead of just grabbing it she turned to me and asked for help. Of course I didn't grab it for her LOL but it made me feel good that she turned to me rather than resorting to grabbing the toy. I made her cry OOPS when I told her he was playing it with it and I think we headed for the slide

My little one is starting to talk quite a bit so sign language has kind of taken the back burner but it has been extremely useful and I would definitely do it again! And no, it is not too late for you to start! If you need any help PM me, I have a list of resources on the internet that I'm sure you'd find helpful. Let me know
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#6 of 16 Old 08-05-2009, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Also, I have been looking on line for something to hang on her clothes for her to bite. So far, I haven't found anything. The teething necklace is all I have found, but I don't feel that comfortable putting something around her neck. I'd like something to hang off of her shirt. Any creative ideas?

DH, and Me plus baby girl (10/07)
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#7 of 16 Old 08-05-2009, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Buttercups, I will pm you. I did do sign with her when she was little and she still uses some. However, she became so verbal so quick that I dropped it. I think the bolded words would be good to help her. I know the sign for help but not for turn or frustrated.

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#8 of 16 Old 08-05-2009, 11:25 AM
 
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I had a biter. It was horrible. She bit until she was 4. Every once in awhile she still expresses her anger by biting clothes, but she doesn't bite people anymore.

You're doing the right thing. Shadow her. Try to remove her from situations where she's likely to bite someone. And, yes, your job will be to stick by her and prevent her from biting someone even if that means you miss out on adult interaction.

The people who are telling you she'll be messed up for life don't know what they're talking about. Someone told me to bite my DD back to show her how it feels. She did get bit once by another child. Outwardly I consoled her, but inwardly I was sort of glad she got to experience it herself. Every time she bit someone after that I could remind her of how it felt when she was bitten. For her, though, she had a lack of self-control and just couldn't stop herself. She's still a very orally fixated kid -- chews sleeves of her clothes, pencils, etc.

Back to the people who are telling you biting is so horrible and she needs to be spanked, I'll tell you the conclusion I came to about that. Children express their anger and aggression in a variety of ways - hitting, pushing, yelling, and, yes, biting. My biter DD had two children she played with regularly. One of them consistently hit when angry. One of them consistently yelled - like she braced herself, opened her mouth wide, and yelled a horrible yell. As I observed this I realized they all had the same thing going on inside them - they were angry about something. They all just expressed it different ways , and all of those ways were wrong. Socially, biting is more unacceptable, but the issue in their hearts, being angry about a toy or jealous for a parent's attention, is the same. That brings things from this hierarchy of which behavior is "worst" to a level playing field. My DD had to learn to express her frustration in healthy ways just like any other child does. Maybe you can help other people see it that way. HOpe I made sense.
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#9 of 16 Old 08-05-2009, 01:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Shami View Post
Also, I have been looking on line for something to hang on her clothes for her to bite. So far, I haven't found anything. The teething necklace is all I have found, but I don't feel that comfortable putting something around her neck. I'd like something to hang off of her shirt. Any creative ideas?
We used to give my son a toothbrush to bite. It worked wonders!! He was biting so much at that age...hang in there it won't last forever and it looks like you have a great plan in place now.
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#10 of 16 Old 08-05-2009, 02:25 PM
 
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What helps is realizing that her behaviour is age appropriate. She's not talking yet,so that makes it difficult and frustrating to get what she wants. It's normal to act out...you would too.

With your first child (making an assumption there), you really don't have a clue what's normal unless you've worked with many kids. I"m horrified when I think back at how I parented my first child and I was even pretty good. I just didn't understand him or what he wanted or how he was supposed to act. Now, on my 4th, I just roll with it and wait for the new stages to come.

Consider your "no" before you say it. Only say it if you absolutely have to. Say "here, lets try this" or don't say anything. It takes practice to let the child do things when you want to say "no" but it's important to give them that freedom. For example, my son decided once when he was 2, to make his own oatmeal. I watched him from the corner of my eye, he opened the package, poured it into a bowl, pulled up a chair to the sink, turned it on and Bam, water and oatmeal everywhere. It was such a learning experience for both of us. I showed him how to do it and he was so proud.

Also, look at the kids at the park. Which ones are hurting themselves? Usually the ones with a parent at their butt, waiting for an accident. Those independant kids runnign around with a non-chalant parent don't get hurt!

Sorry, I got off-topic. Anyway, with biting, your best bet is to give plenty of words. Really concentrate on giving the baby words for what she wants so that biting isn't necessary. When my kids bite, it's usually because I've let something escalate to the point where the child feels helpless and angry. Pay attention and use lots and lots of words. If you're normally a quiet person, you really have to teach yourself to talk through everything so that your child gets that vocabulary.

Our children make a study of us in a way no one else ever will.  If we don't act according to our values, they will know.~Starhawk Rainbow.gif  New  User Agreement! http://www.mothering.com/community/wiki/user-agreement

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#11 of 16 Old 08-05-2009, 03:48 PM
 
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Why is it that this doesn't feel like I am doing enough? Most people are saying, oh this is terrible, if you don't spank and stop her now, she will do it more when she is older and it will be too late...she will be ruined...and on and on.

Just a few words to help you deal with the pressure to spank. There's a myth that spanking is effective, that other methods are only preferable because they are less painful, but that spanking is the real deal and will give the intended results. Don't buy this myth. Put it to rest with the other myths that people once believed: that formula is nutritionally superior to breast milk, that babies are safer sleeping on their bellies, that rice cereal needs to be given in a bottle as early as 2 months. Spanking doesn't produce respectful, altruistic, confident children. If you think your husband or someone else is going to suggest spanking again, arm yourself with some research and give it to them to read.

You child is biting because she is in a developmental stage in which biting and other inappropriate expressions of anger and frustration are common. You plan sounds excellent. This will pass. I promise you. It will pass.

My daughter bit from 18 months to 26 months. It was awful. I'd much rather she were bitten! But she grew out of it. We did what you proposed and it worked. Although sometimes I think she would have outgrown it no matter what we did. But what we did, especially the shadowing, at least minimized the impact to other children.

Mom to DD 7 and DS 5.
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#12 of 16 Old 08-05-2009, 04:03 PM
 
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When I read my post, it sounded like I was lecturing- which was NOT my intention. I just wanted to hep you respond to other people suggesting that you spank. I totally get that you are not into spanking. Sorry if my intention to support you didn't come through my first post.

Mom to DD 7 and DS 5.
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#13 of 16 Old 08-06-2009, 11:49 AM
 
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I have a 14 month old who is just starting to bite as well. Im wondering if it's because I "play" bite him sometimes when I'm tickling him or playing "monster" with him.

(for the mods: When I say "play" bite, I mean that I just open my mouth and come towards him, barely even touching him. Then i give him raspberries on his belly.)

Did you ever pretend bite your child just playing around?

I know pp's say that biting is developmentally appropriate for this age, but I can't help thinking that maybe I shouldn't be imitating this behavior to my ds.

Don't mean to hijack here, but I'm wondering what the more "seasoned" parents have to say about it.

Wife to - Mama to DS 6/08 and DS 9/11
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#14 of 16 Old 08-06-2009, 04:43 PM
 
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My dd went through a LONG phase where she hit and scratched EVERYONE. It was horrible. She would target a kid and go after then and hit and scratch their faces with no provacation what so ever, over and over and over again. I was so frustrated and hated being around other kids with her. I stopped bringing her to LLL meetings, etc. One time at a LLL meeting, she all of a sudden, out of the blue, barreled across the room and knocked over another girl.

I was so frustrated and people kept telling me to do time outs, spank, scratch her back, etc. She was 12 months at the time and it lasted about a year (she is 29 months now and just recently started to get better).

What I finally wound up doing was to remove her, everytime, from the situation. I would hold her in my arms, and tell her "We don't hurt people." When she would be ready to get back down, I would have her show me gentle touches, and then go to the kid (if it was someone I knew well, not just a random kid at the children's museum) and show them gentle touches. If she hit me while I was holding her, I would either hold her hands and tell her again, "We don't hit people" or would sit her on the stairs until she could show gentle touches (this didn't work until she was almost 2 because she would get back up).

Last night, I took her to a LLL meeting, and she was so great. She played with the other kids, was gentle with the babies, and even was gentle when another kid targeted her and was yelling at her and trying to push her over. I still remind her before we go places that we need to be gentle with her friends, but she almost always is. She is also much better at using words when she is upset than her brother is at 6 years old.

This too shall pass. Let people know that you are dealing with it the way that is best for your child, and then keep going with what your instincts tell you is best. Your child won't turn out to be a horrible, chronic biter. It will pass...
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#15 of 16 Old 08-07-2009, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to all who responded. I don feel better hearing your experiences and that it is a phase.
Onemomentintime...I didn't take your post as lecturing at all, but thanks for clarifying it. Glad to hear your LO is through with it, and I think the shadowing is the best thing right now. I just can't let others get hurt.
Bonnienova...I never play bit my daughter for the reason that you already mentioned. However, I think it's just wired into them (I believe it's sin nature that we all have) to do things like pinching, biting, hitting, lying because they lack the verbal skills, and the emotional stability/impulse control. Nobody teaches their kid this stuff, it just comes out in whatever form. I guess it is possible that play biting could give them the idea, but I wouldn't beat yourself up over it. If it wasn't that, it'd be something else.
Aprildawn...yes, your post did make sense and you helped me put my thoughts in order. I had a feeling that because biting is soooo socially unacceptable, and scary, that people make it bigger than hitting or yelling. It does seem to all be from the same source, but expressed differently with each child. So, with that in view, I feel better about treating it like other forms of unacceptable expressions of frustration.
Thanks again to everyone!

DH, and Me plus baby girl (10/07)
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#16 of 16 Old 08-07-2009, 03:27 PM
 
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I have a 14 month old who is just starting to bite as well. Im wondering if it's because I "play" bite him sometimes when I'm tickling him or playing "monster" with him.
My younger child went through a VERY LONG biting phase (which I think is over now...), and nobody ever pretended to bite him.

For the original poster:

I agree with the folks who said that it's a phase and will eventually end. One thing I eventually realized about these behaviors with my son (he was also a hair-puller, for a year) is that sometimes, it doesn't matter what you do. They're just going to keep doing it until they get over it.

It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if only you hit upon the right parenting technique, this behavior would stop. For most kids, that's just not true. Whether you spank them, give them something else to bite, try to help them deal with their feelings, whatever -- they're still going to keep doing this until they're done with it. What we do in the mean time serves to:

* Let the child know biting isn't OK.
* Protect the people they bite as much as possible.
* Let the person who was bitten know that the biting isn't OK.
* Provide the child with tools they can use as an alternative when they're ready.

Oh, and for what it's worth -- my son didn't bite people because he was angry or frustrated. He bit people because it seemed like a fun thing to do while roughhousing, so his sister was the primary target.

Sonja , 40, married to DH (42) since 5-29-93, DD born 11-3-2004, DS born 1-18-2007.
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