My son has been bitten twice at his daycare school in the last 2 months by 2 different toddler boys. The first time it was because J (my son) had a toy the other kid wanted, the kid bit J on the arm and left a severe mark. The second time it was because J was "in the way" of the other kid, so the kid reached out and bit my son on the shoulder. Both times J didn't react with violence, instead he waited until the other kids were done biting him and then he got upset and started crying.
Now, in the last 2 weeks J has gone and bitten 2 fellow toddlers. The first time it was because he wanted a toy the other kid had and this last time, today actually, the teachers don't know what provoked him but it wasn't due to a toy. J's momma and I (partners) and his dad agree that this is likely a learned behavior for him, as he's never really been prone to biting other kids or adults. After he was bitten twice at school, he tried biting me a couple of times but aside from that - nothing. Any advice on how to handle this in teaching him that biting is not ok? I appreciate any input.
Also - daycare has an adequate policy of how they handle these situations. J's momma G and I also want to teach him that he needs to apologize to whomever he hurts because he needs to understand it's not ok and he needs to learn to be held accountable.
So, how have things progressed since you posted? I read your post a while back and am just now getting here to post a response. In general, I try to stay away from trying to identify where a toddler learned this or that behavior. I just don't think it's good for the overall "what goes around, comes around" karma of being the parent of a young child.
Also, in terms of apologies, you will find a fairly hearty debate over that subject here. There are some who think an apology encouraged by a caregiver is good practice and is healing for all involved. Others feel that an apology should come from internal motivations if it is to be genuine and valued. I think there is merit in both views. That said, I would probably be the one modeling apologetic behavior for now and I would apologize and make amends in my toddlers stead.
Another important thing is to be extra vigilant during the biting phase to be sure that you are preventing as many incidents as possible. IMO, this is the best way to send the message that biting is not OK: biting is so "now what we do" that mama, mama, papa has to sit right next to me while I play so I don't bite anyone.
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Also, another really good GD basic is to redirect with what we want kids to do. So, rather than saying something like "no biting" we may want to say something like "biting is for food" or "mouths are for kissing" or whatever. OR, you may want to redirect positively for all the "small stuff" and so that you have reserved the powerful "NO!" for something more serious like biting. Does that make sense?
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