Mothering Forum banner
1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DD is 3.5, and she has had intermittent issue with biting since she was a young toddler. Only ever two friends, myself, and just recently her younger sister. She hasn't bitten me in a very long time, though she has tried a couple of times when she felt very powerless. The two friends who she has bitten in the past are the only friends she has who she feels dominant over.

Generally she is a very conflict-avoiding child, and a bit quirky socially. She is very bright, and very verbal. It's like with just these two friends, every so often she goes from 0-60 in the frustration/fury department and she becomes totally feral and bites. It has been months since it happened, and then yesterday she bit her younger sister (9 months old) twice, and today she bit one of her friends very hard- enough to break the skin.

We've talked a lot about what she should do when she feels frustrated- "Mama I need help" is her code phrase, and she uses it sometimes so I know she understands that. Tonight we talked about choosing a doll to be her "Biting Doll" that we could carry with us and she could bite the doll when she feels that frustrated. But I don't trust her ability to stop herself in the moment


I know that not enough sleep and low blood sugar are triggers for her, but I feel SO frustrated about this. I feel like she is more than capable of expressing herself in other ways, and I'm at a loss for how to handle it when she bites a friend. I could really use ideas- I keep feeling like she is too old for this, which isn't a useful feeling but is there nonetheless and heightens my frustration and embarrassment when this happens.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,277 Posts
Working in child care, biting is one of my least favorite things to deal with. It takes a lot of energy, and when you let down your guard, it may happen again. You know she is capable of making a better choice, but that still means that you should do everything you can to make it easier for her to make that good choice.

The most helpful thing I have found is to supervise interactions, especially with people you know she has bitten before. If you are down on the ground with her, you may notice something that might upset her even before she has the chance to get upset so that you can help her deal with the emotions that she has. You can help her name her emotions: angry, hurt, disappointed, etc and let her know that what she feels is OK. I know that you can't be down on the ground with her all the time, and even if you are, you may still not catch it fast enough, but the more time you spend with her, the more time you have to coach her in how to deal with her feelings, and the better she'll do when you're not right there.

The second part to prevention is making sure that her needs are met. If she has problems with low blood sugar, then maybe she needs more planned snacks throughout the day. If you are going someplace, pack a little something in a bag for her. If she hasn't slept well, maybe that's not the best time for a play date. I'm an adult, and I still have a hard time being nice when I'm tired and hungry. Add any amount of stress, and it's not pretty. Just ask my husband.

Your idea about a doll to bite is a good one. If that works for you, and she's always got the doll with her, great! Some children need something that they can chew on attached. This works especially well for girls in the form of jewelry. A chewable bracelet or a teething ring on a necklace can be quite fashionable and quite useful. That way, the object that she can bite is always closer than the person she is considering biting. Also, some children are just more oral than others, and your daughter may enjoy having something to chew on in general, not just when she is upset.

Hopefully, most of the time, these prevention tips will work, and you won't have to actually deal with your daughter biting, but the reality is that it may happen again. When it does, it can be helpful to show her what affect her actions have on the people around her. Remove her from the situation and the people she was around, and don't let her go back to play with those toys and those people for a time. If she bites you, let her know that she can play with any of her toys, but you don't want to play with her right now. This shows her the natural consequence that people enjoy being around her much more when she is not biting. If she bites another child, pay more attention to making sure that the child who was bitten is OK, showing her that biting is not a good way of getting attention.

Good luck, and remember that this is just a stage. She will not always bite people, but it may take some patience to help her through this stage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
710 Posts
Just a quick sympathy post. I was a biter, and truthfully, I still do bite, or at least think about it.
For me, even when I was little, it happened when I got excited or REALLY happy. I just feel really sorry for biting kids; I genuinely think they can't help it for a long time. But man! How hard to see your very dear child really hurt someone else...
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top