Help - The boy keeps biting in school

Okay, I am at about my wits’ end. Fang (rapidly approaching two) started a new day care two weeks ago. We were very thankful to find a space for him, as space in this town is highly limited. The daycare seems nice, and has high quality activities for him, but they are very touchy-feely when it comes t discipline. To whit: his biting.

Fang has always been a biter. We tried redirection, and positive reinforcement. The only thing he has responded to is Time Out. At the suggestion of my sister (a kindergarten teacher) we have been putting him in two minute time out for biting. We give verbal reinforcement as to why he’s in time out, and when his Time Out is done, we reiterate why he was in Time Out, and make sure he understands that he is no longer in trouble. His biting at home has nearly stopped completely.

Daycare, on the other hand, is a completely different story. Like I said, they are a little touch-feely when it comes to discipline. Time Out is too strict [1], and is therefore out of the question. Fang is testing them to see who’s in charge. They are trying to get him to understand that biting hurts the other child. They also tell him to use his moth for kisses, not bites.

The boy is almost two. His brain is not wired to sympathize with others, yet. When you tell him that his biting hurts the other child, he won’t believe you, because it doesn’t hurt him. “Kisses not bites” is laughable, because then the only consequences for his actions are nice words and hugs. I don’t see that as being dissuasive.

I don’t know whether putting him in time out when he gets home would help, as several hours would pass between the incident and the consequences.

I don’t want my son to be labeled a trouble-maker. I also don’t want him to be kicked out of daycare (my current fear).

Does any one have any suggestions?
[1] Boggle I remember when Time Out was too lax, and the only kids who got Time Out were raised by touchy-feely Dr. Spock wanna-bes who wanted to be their child’s best friend, not the parent.

Have you tried coating all his classmates in a cayenne pepper and vinegar solution? It will make them taste bad, and he’ll stop wanting to bite them.

I’m not sure that would work. He likes Eastern NC Barbeque. I’m afraid he may decide his classmates are tasty snacks.

Hmm…it might take another child biting him back to make him realize it hurts.

My younger brother used to bite as an infant. He would break the skin - he had no concept of how it felt. I became one of his favorite targets, until one day I got fed up and bit him back. Not hard enough to really hurt, just enough to shock him. He never bit anyone again.

Find another really bitey kid, have them play together! Either they’ll both come out with an understanding that biting is painful, or… you’ll have to break up a biting war. Nevermind. :smack:

You could get one of those masks they put on Hannibal Lecter.

Or just hang cloves of garlic around their necks.

Again, Bad Idea. Mrs. Magill is Italian, he’s being raised on garlic. I don’t want to make his classmates into tasty snacks.

I think I need to be a little more clear. He understands actions and consequenses. That’s how we’ve stopped the biting at home. Unfortunately, at day care, the consequenses are kind words and hugs. I need consequenses that will fit into their Dr. Spock philosophy.

I dunno, I kind of agree with AFG.

I was a biter when I was a kid. Until I bit my mom, and she bit me back. That ended the biting, period.

Does he enjoy the daycare?

Would he be able to understand that if he keeps biting other children, he might not get to go any longer?

What did you expect with a name like Fang?

The OP is not clear on whether you’ve had an in-depth discussion with the daycare center about using time-outs. Did they actually refuse to use time-outs? You mention that you’re afraid of Fang being kicked out of daycare. Did the daycare center actually mention this as a possibility, or is it just something you are worried about?

It seems to me that if you request that they use time-outs (which is a totally normal way of teaching behavior and something the center should be doing anyway), and your child keep biting, then the center really has no basis for kicking him out. (But of course legally they can do whatever they want.)

Did you speak with the head of the center, or just with your son’s teacher? If you’ve spoken only with his teacher, then I’d suggest talking with the director, who may have more sense about these things. Your comments are totally right about the empathy and kissing stuff not being age-appropriate for a two-year-old.

Fang is still in his Self Absorbed ME ME ME phase. Sharing starts creeping in about late twos/early threes, depending on the child. Boys are a little later in this department, I think. ( Just my observation from working at the PreSchool.)

I would think that biting is a sign of frustration. The language isn’t fully developed and they act out either through biting, hitting or tantrums. I would think biting would be the worst. Maybe you can teach Fang some sign language to communicate through. Just because they cannot say it doesn’t mean they don’t know what it is. The brain to mouth synapses are not fired up yet, but its there.

At this stage you are probably best with the constant reinforcement that We don’t bite. Mouths are for kisses. simplistic and consistant. The same time every time by all adults and kids in his life. It will click later on.

Time outs at this stage are kinda ineffectual, IMHO. But, maybe putting a favorite toy in a time out the next time Fang strikes might be traumatic enough to make him realize cause and effect.

" Fang because you bit Joey, Mr. Wigglesbottom is going into a time out for 5 minutes."

Good times.

Wolfie is almost two and bites. Only one non-mom-person so far - he usually sticks to toys or himself. Usually frustration or extreme uncontainable excitement.

We use time out and he gets it; it’s more of a “do you want time out? Then stop.” but we do follow through on the time out threat.

You say he started a new daycare. Did the old daycare have time outs? Did he bite there? Is the new daycare simply unwilling to do time outs at all (mine is, though they do have a spot for kids to lay down if they want to be in a quiet zone.

Since he is nearly two, would this be helped by bumping him up to the two year old room sooner?

I have had discussions with the center director regarding punishments. I told him that the time outs were effective at home. (They became more effective when I followed my sister’s advice and repeatedly told Fang why he was in Time Out. The only time he bites at home is when we’re wrestling, and he gets excited and forgets himself. That is disappearing, too.) Using their constraints, I think I’ll bring his Ducky in, and let them put the ducky in time out next time this happens. Either that, or suggest they put one of their trucks in time out. [1]

I’ve spoken with the teacher, and each incident (five in three weeks) has occurred when another child wants something he has (or vice-versa).

He bit some in his old classroom in the old daycare, but stopped when he moved into a new class room. My wife and I are hoping that the biting will stop when he moves to the two-year-old room in three weeks. It’s just that three weeks is a long time at this rate.

[1] Ducks and Trucks. Trucks and Ducks. Thank Og for work, because that’s all I’d ever talk about if I didn’t get to talk to adults.