An Open Letter

To the Parent of the child my son is targeting with biting-

All I can say is that I’m sorry. I don’t know why my son is “targeting” your daughter and biting her. From my understanding they are buddies and play well together – until he decides to take it that one step further and ruin the fun. I can only imagine what you think of us as parents. How could we possibly allow this type of behavior? Well please know that we don’t. We do not tolerate biting, hitting, name calling, spitting, etc. in our home.

Not that this will ease your mind at all but my husband and I have been where you are. I know how it feels to get “that” call while at work or to see the bite mark upon pickup.  At our old daycare our (now 4 year old) daughter was the target of not one, but two biters which went on for almost 2 years. It wasn’t an everyday occurrence but there were days when she’d have 2-3 incident reports from one of the kids biting her. We were told “it’s just a phase” or “he’s having trouble at home”. To be honest I didn’t care I just wanted the biting to stop. Many times it felt as if I was the only one trying to come up with solutions to stop the problem. Daycare would shadow the two kids and if there were no incidents for a day or two the shadowing would stop. It never felt as if the other parents were doing anything to curb/stop the issue either – relying on the “it’s a phase” reasoning to just wait it all out.

For what it’s worth, I want you to know that my husband and I are working hard with the teachers, co-director and director of the center to end this biting spree. We’ve brought in teething rings and frozen mini bagels – as recommended by friends who’ve had similar problems with their own children. In addition to saying “no bite” we are also signing “no bite” so he hears and sees it at the same time. We remind him each morning that we don’t bite, that it hurts our friends and makes them sad and he acknowledges us and says “ok” and will typically sign back to us “no bite”.  And finally, at our own expense an assistant teacher will be “shadowing” him this week to ensure that he doesn’t bite and that if any attempts are made he’s stopped and reminded, sternly that “we don’t bite.” My hope is that he’s a quick learner and by having a “shadow” this behavior will be nipped by the end of the week.  I have a call into his pediatrician and his dentist as well but honestly don’t know what else there is for us to do.  My daughter was on the receiving end of the biting so this is new territory for us as well.

Part of me wants to defend my son. He’s a really good kid. Very friendly, loving and outgoing (welcomes all the kids that come into the class with hugs and kisses each morning and waves good-bye each night). He’s been going through a rather large transition as he (along with my other 2 kids) just entered their third week at the new center. He’s cutting a number of teeth including a few molars and while he’s able to say a lot, he gets frustrated when he can’t find the word (s) he wants. He’s also not even 2 years old, so I cringe as I say this but it might just be a phase. None of these are intended to excuse his behavior but to explain to you that he’s not just walking over and biting because he is mean and intending to cause hurt and pain. He gets just as upset after the bite has occurred as your daughter.

I hope you can find it within yourself to understand our side of this and know that we are doing everything within our power to ensure that this stops quickly. We all want the same thing – for the biting to stop. Please know that we are open to suggestions, so if you think of something that might work, please by all means share. I’m willing to try anything at this point.

Hopefully, with the help of his “shadow” this week we may find some answers as to “why” he may be doing it and then be better able to help him stop.


The (very sorry) mother of the biter

3 thoughts on “An Open Letter

  1. You are doing a great job! For what it’s worth, it sounds like this IS simply a phase. 🙂 I’m also a parent of twins…and work in the educational field. Give yourself some slack, you deserve it!

  2. My daughter is 19 months old and bites me when she is angry or frustrated. So far I have been her only victim (and I have been disciplining her accordingly) but I keep waiting for the day that it happens at school too.

  3. I’ve been on both ends of this myself. It’s tough to have the biter or the bitey, but hopefully this other mom realizes it’s just a phase and her child most likely will not be bitten at school when she’s 10. And hopefully you’re able to take comfort in this as well. This too shall pass. Hang in there.

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