tagline
WETA

Search LD OnLine

Get our free newsletter

advertisement

Forums
Behavior: Social Skills, Self Esteem

children biting


Author Message
Joined: Nov 03, 2005
Posts: 69138
Other Topics
Posted Mar 23, 2001 at 5:54:20 PM
Subject: children biting

I am currently working in private daycare and am experiencing problems with a child who is constantly biting his peers, he is nearly 4 years old. I am seeking help from fellow proffesionals or parents who have/are experiencing similar problems. He is generally a pleasant child, but will without cause or reason suddenly bite/smack out at whoever is near, causing great pain and distress to all concerned. It is getting to the point where other parents are coming and complaining about this child, or comments such as \'Oh, so this is ***** is it? I\'ve heard a lot about him!\'. I am at my wits end, help!

Back to top Profile Email
Anonymous
Joined Dec 22, 2014
Posts: 69138

Other Topics
Posted:Mar 24, 2001 6:13:12 PM

How does he respond when strongly chastised for this behavior? I assume of course even at this young age he is strongly chastised for biting - a very anti-social behavior. How long has this child been in your center?

One of my own sons was a biter but not for long. Biting was one of two things that my son did that brought a strong negative response from me. (the other was trying to play with electric sockets)

If he continues to bite, he won't be able to stay with you. This behavior not only impacts on others, it will impact on him. No child care center can tolerate this forever as your parents will not allow it for long before they begin to complain. Have you talked with the child's parents? Does he do it when he's around other children outside the center? What is their response?

I would think both his teachers and his parents need to get on the same page and consistently meet this behavior with strong negative reinforcement. You need his parents' understanding to meet this head on. I would take my young son by the shoulders and speak very loudly with my face right in his face "We do not bite!" This was scary to him and would be to any child who's normally spoken to in calm and caring tones. After a few times, it worked.

It's probably an impulse behavior if it's happening without provocation but it's an impulse this child needs to learn to control sooner rather than later.

Good luck.

Back to top Profile Email
Anonymous
Joined Dec 22, 2014
Posts: 69138

Other Topics
Posted:Mar 30, 2001 1:16:36 PM

I am a parent of a 4 year old son who was asked to leave 2 different childcare/mom's day out programs because he bit several times. (The 2nd center knew he had bitten before and asked us to leave the very first time he bit) My son was between 2-3 when this took place. It was a distressing situation for me since I was not able to observe this behavior and assess the triggers. I had to depend on other's perceptions of the event. In most cases, the teachers could not provide the whole picture - only the end result that someone was bitten. My son used a pacifier until he was 12 months, and we had weaned him from this. In desperation, we gave him the pacifier back thinking this might help. I regretted that decision because it took a VERY long time before he gave that up. I always felt his mouth and speech development was not as well developed due to this (personal feeling). Also, he already had a heavy overbight - it's probably much worse. He stopped biting altogether once he entered the Montessori school. I attribute this to these facts: the room was extremely large - children can get away from one another - spread out so to speak. 2) fewer students per teacher 3) teachers who worked with him and had resources to do so (not overwhelmed). As a mother of a biting child, I would "bit the bullet" take a whole day off work and carefully observe the interactions in the classroom. I'm sorry I did not do this. Yelling in a child's face may get his/her attention, but I don't know how much this will change behavior. The teacher should get an outside observer in this class to record exactly what happens prior to and after the biting. The child may be getting "extra attention" once biting the child - which is what we think was happening in my son's case. The biting was an act of anger/frustration displayed in an inappropriate manner, but he got reinforcement (attention) once he bit. He got talked to one-on-one by the teacher, he helped take care of the injured child, etc. If you think about it, WOW he was getting a lot more attention than if he were just behaving well. So, have people observe the situation and evaluate what might be reinforcing this child's biting - and don't reinforce it. Good luck. Let me know how it works out.

Back to top Profile Email
Anonymous
Joined Dec 22, 2014
Posts: 69138

Other Topics
Posted:Apr 04, 2001 11:09:29 PM

We went thru a biting stage. Same type of behavior. Boy started out in day care setting at age 2+. Nothing seemed to work when the biting started. Loud talking (did not believe in corporal punishment), time outs, loss of priveleges. We were at wits end. Finally, after much searching and thinking, came to the conclusion that child was biting out of frustration. Bites could be brought on by another child's agression toward him, as well as by his being exceedingly happy. Language delay was diagnosed when tested. Child was almost four by this time. Biting was an expression that could be rendered by him when speech was not possible. Child is now 6. following a really rocky kindergarten year, began a treatment of ADHD therapy. While not really in favor of this initially, it has been a tremendous benefit to child. Able to socially function within a group. There are obviously language delays that need to be worked on in order to provide success in school. However, the "block" to his success has been removed and now the child is able to "think" rather than react. To say how effective this is, forgot to give him his medicine one day last week. He bit! Hadn't bitten all year since starting medication! We do not necessarily medicate on weekends because he isn't in a group setting and therefore, the stresses and the "normal" reactions are not present. However, if we do know that he is involved in a group activity, we do medicate on the weekend. New drugs which permit once a day dosing make this easy on him. Perhaps testing for language delay may be of some value to you or your little one.

Back to top Profile Email
Anonymous
Joined Dec 22, 2014
Posts: 69138

Other Topics
Posted:Apr 06, 2001 5:02:29 PM

Others have given good advice -- I just wanted to pass on some information I learned as a Beaver Leader: We had a child who had problems with aggression (hitting, biting, pinching) that sound somewhat similar. The behaviour was uncontrollable and unpredictable -- even in the middle of laughter and fun he would suddenly turn on someone and begin to pound, bite, or pinch. Sometimes there was provocation -- i.e. conflict -- other times there was none. Often happened more during exciting games or particularly while waiting for a turn at something really exciting.

Turns out this little guy was dx'd with Tourette's Syndrome -- the aggression in some children is exhibited the same way as the vocal outbursts seen in many adults with severe versions of this syndrome. He was NOT able to control it -- had to be watched one on one and even then had problems. (another child would distract his "helper" for a split second...and then disaster!)

Once he was dx'd (not until 7!) it became easier -- partly because we began trying to have someone with him constantly. (I realize that's probably impossible at daycare!) Here is a case where I agree with "blaming the syndrome" instead of the child, as this child would often be very upset by his own actions and that would cycle on itself, resulting in more tension, more outbursts, etc... also, our beavers learned to understand that this guy had a problem, that he did his best, etc., even as they nursed their hurts.

Immediately after an outburst, we would grab him, take him aside, sooth him and remind him that it was not his fault -- but then have him face the consequences, help to sooth the hurt person and assist in the explanation that this was an uncontrollable outburst, that he did not mean to be hurtful, lost control, etc.

Once this dx was understood, incidents were reduced somewhat and became much more manageable -- possibly because the support and understanding reduced the terrible stress on this child, but also because we all knew how to take action, immediately after an incident, in a consistent way. We tried to do this in pairs -- one with the hitter, one with the victim, then coming together. It was still a problem, of course, but parents and beavers began to accept it and make an effort to help -- instead of the reactions you describe.

This may not be the case with the child you describe, but I mention it because we all felt so bad for him once the dx was clear -- even adhd kids have much more "choice" control than this guy did, and his reactions/actions were lightning fast and totally unpredictable. If we had understood earlier what was happening, life would have been much easier for this child (and his parents! and the victims!)

Turned out there was Tourettes history in the family, but people tend to expect this to be exhibited in the same way it is in adults -- according to what the parents were told, this is often the way severe tourettes manifests in childhood. It required a specialist in this disorder to clear up the mystery, several peds/psychs had said "adhd" but meds did NOT help at all (often true of Tourettes.) Even parents did not suspect this at first, although they knew of the family history.

I also mention this because in my experience "regular" biters are usually cured reasonably easily and long before 4...sounds like something really plagues this poor child. Best wishes and good luck!

Back to top Profile Email