Sunday, August 12, 2007

Please Advise

I have a problem with my eldest child. Up to this point she has been a relatively well behaved toddler, but she has recently started exhibiting a behaviour I've only seen on Nanny 911 before now. She bites. She bites a lot, and she bites hard. She doesn't do it when she's having a tantrum, she doesn't do it when she's angry, she does it for fun. She'll be giggling and playing, and suddenly lunge out at Ian or me like a giant chihuahua. Today I was standing in front of her, and she tugged on my hand to pull me down. I thought she wanted a hug, so I of course obliged, and while I was hugging her, she bit my right boob so hard that I have a bite shaped bruise. I am not impressed, and I don't know how to deal with it. When I yell at her, she just laughs at me. I smacked her bum the other day, and she just laughed at me. My step-mother recommended that I bite her back as hard as she bit me, but I can't even bring myself to spank her hard enough to actually hurt, I don't think I can bite her. Not to mention the fact that I don't think resorting to childish behaviour is going to solve the problem. Ian says that I should put soap in her mouth every time she bites, but I really don't know if that'll work either. Anyone have advice for me here? I don't want to end up with a bossy British nanny judging me and my horrible cannibal children on network TV.


Raven said...

We had problems with biting, too - with Connor.
The Child Psychologist working with him agreed it was one of the worst problems, and HAD to be nipped in the bud.

For him, the moment he bit us, we would shout "NO! No Biting!" and put him directly into his bedroom for time out (do not pause to explain, do not pass go, do not collect $100.)

If Mary is biting for social reasons (which she seems to be, if she's laughing and thinks it's funny) then being immediately given time out might help her see that biting leads to isolation, not to fun.

I hope you find something which works for you, even if this isn't it.

Take care. Love you and miss you and your whole entire family,

- La

greypanther said...

As Raven said quick discipline when the bite occurs is best. I like the idea of time out or a loss of a privilege should tell Miss Mary that biting is not acceptable behavior. I would probably add tell her about it before hand and then when it happens do as you said you were going to do without explanation. Afterwards when she has been disciplined try talking to her again and I think eventually she might catch on that her behavior has consequences that she does not like.

Biting the child back is not something I would recommend. Yes it might have worked for some people but I believe that the strategy that Raven is endorsing is better.

If it doesn't work there are other alternatives. I hope you have success and like Raven I miss you and your family too.

JSM said...

My mother did the biting-back thing with my sister, and while it worked, she wasn't exactly the model parent overall.

I'd have to agree with Raven and Greypanther about quickly interrupting the behaviour and sending Mary to her room, corner, etc. At this age too much discussing just encourages them-and really, she'll understand pretty quickly without lengthy explaining.

The hard thing with stuff like this is to deal with the incident, let the child know you're angry and the behaviour is unacceptable and they will be punished-and then get over it. I tend to remain aggrivated long after the misbehaviour and punishment and it takes every bit of effort not to just send Danny to his room for the rest of the day, or scowl at him. If you can keep your displeasure focused on a particular incident, it does help foster good behaviour in the between times-but God it is hard.

If it is any comfort, these misbehaviours (hitting, POOPING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FLOOT LIKE A DOG (oh no, really, I'm not upset by that at all), biting) are typically short lived.

Anonymous said...

I have a biter too. I have no advice, but you aren't alone.

Welcome to Regina. I found your blog by googling tots cafe of all things.


greypanther said...

One of the reasons why I suggested that the situation should be explained to Mary is simply that it then becomes a habit that will help with discipline later. Right now the explanation may mean nothing to her, but eventually she'll start to realize that what Mom says should be heeded before the loss of privileges. I guess it was more for Mom's sake that I said to use that because I have found that it helps with my kids. If they don't listen to what I have told then the consequences are enforced. And some days they actually listen and don't misbehave. Somedays though, only somedays