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In her creche, my 2-year-old daughtergot severely bitten by three different children now with a couple of months between each incident-cluster. The first biter moved to a different creche soon after, the second one became her friend after parents and teachers worked closely together, but the third continues to be a problem. The parents are quite aggressive and from what the teachers say I have the impression they refuse working with them but get defensive.

My daughter is clearly affected by the incidents as even weeks later she reenacts the biting with her doll and from within unrelated situations we have dialogues as »I cried.« »Why did you cry?« »X bit me.«.

It is my first child so my questions are:

  • I am beginning to fear there is a pattern as other children do not get bitten as often. Might there be behaviour that encourages other toddlers (all under 3) to seek her out? Which would that be?

  • How can I help her both dealing with it and avioding it in the future without suggesting to her it's her fault? I don't really want to tell her to avoid the biter or push her, but don't really know what else I can do.

  • 1
    I'm sorry this happens. It is an interesting question. In my experience, almost all toddlers bite or get bitten, but it is usually isolated incidents, as they learn biting is not acceptable. I would think the main issue the biter's parents, but even then the daycare workers should correct the biter. I am interested to see the answers here. – Ida Feb 1 '16 at 17:49
  • @Ida, they do a good job correcting the biter (the 2nd one is her friend now) but can't keep her with them for months – when it happens it's always very quick. And as you say, the parents are an issue. After having a brief matter-of-factly talk with the mother after the last incident, the father later came into the creche in a rage, having the nursery worker in tears. His affect regulation could definitely improve. I posted in a forum before and almost all answers there asked me to see how distressing it was for the biter's parents. I'm sure it is, but my concern is how I can help my daughter. – Seul Feb 2 '16 at 9:01
  • is this a private or public daycare? If it is a private daycare, and the dad continues to haress the workers, and is not easy to work with, you can maybe complain to the director of the daycare? (Just make sure you don't blame the employees, if you in any way can avoid mentioning their names that is good). The workers might not want to complain about a parent, but you could? Usually a private daycare can kick out customers if they don't abide by the rules. 'The family doesn't fit our school'. – Ida Feb 2 '16 at 20:31
  • As for being upsetting to the biters parents - yet it is upsetting (my kid once bit someone too), but it is never acceptable to yell at your child's nursery worker or other parents. If you feel your child is unfairly singled out, then you can complain, but the first reaction if your child bites is to say - 'ok, how do we teach him/her not to. We will talk about not biting at home'. – Ida Feb 2 '16 at 20:33
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My daughter has been bitten a couple of times, including once in the playground while waiting behind a boy to go off the slide. (I include this example to show the problem (and thus solution) are not limited to the kindergarten.) I felt that the best solution would be if my daughter learned to stand up for herself a little better and in particular how to defend herself when attacked by a biter. The one time in the playground my daughter was bit on her belly, so I practiced that scenario with her a little bit whenever it came up, trying to get her to push my head away from her so I would not succeed in 'biting' her. Depending on the severity of the problem you might go for a more pro-active defense and teach your daughter to slap known biters away from herself if they get uncomfortably close.

Did it work? I do not know of any occasion afterwards when my daughter had to bring her training into practice, so I cannot say for sure.

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