Today we had a long and active day, with lots of “play dates”. It is a Sunday and normally that means time with the family, but my wife had to fly off to some work meetings this morning. So, instead of being alone, me and the little guy met up with some friends.
I have mentioned in the past that there was a bit of a “biting thing” going on with our group of friends, and the little guy was included in this. Since I wrote that, we have stopped the little guy from biting – but it appears from today’s play time that we are the only ones who have been successful at stopping our child from biting (at least for the moment – maybe he will start biting again?).
Two of the three friends, in separate play dates, bit him. Hard. More than once. And those bites leave some nasty marks – one of them, on the arm of the little guy, started bruising immediately and has left a nasty mark. I hope it is not looking too bad tomorrow.
The biting is partially his fault, I guess – but I kind of have to resist from claiming it is his fault too much, because that method of “victim blaming” is passe now – the action of the individual – toddler or not – is that of the individual. Anyway, I still think I can use the biting of the little guy as a learning opportunity. I mean, if he gets bit doing something that could cause someone to bite him, then he can learn not to do it – helping both parties.
What happened with the first bite was that the other child is smaller than the little guy, so I think when he is being hugged or the little guy is too close to him, it can get to be too much, and then the other child does not know what to do. In other words, the other kid probably had “enough” of the little guy’s hugs and closeness, and didn’t know how to get away – so he bit him. He bit him a few different times, but I think that was the reason for the last bite anyway.
The other child is the one I have mentioned where the mother is not really applying much proactive discipline. But in this case, I will say, she was right there taking action so her son knew it was wrong. The little guy had this kid’s toy, and he wanted it back, so he bit him.
I think both instances where we are seeing biting today it is difficult for the parents, because they need to address more complex issues, like, “if you want something, XX is how you get it, not by biting.” (so teaching about sharing, for example, or teaching that you don’t always getting what you want). The one where he bit because he may have felt like this was a defense – I kind of don’t blame him. If you put yourself in his shoes, what else is he supposed to do? He is a lot smaller (same age) than the little guy, so I guess this was his only way out – normally he is a mild-mannered kid.
So on we go with the “biting” thing. Ugh. What a pain. With the little guy, I am using the biting to say, “see, this is why you cannot just grab other kid’s toys” and “you can’t hug him so close / so much.” And I am also trying to teach the little guy to wait and not steal toys, and to not hug too much at home. But I will say, what kid doesn’t steal toys? Isn’t that how kids play? And hugging too much? Never thought that would potentially be a problem. But I guess parenting is full of these little twists and turns. Those behaviors we reinforce (like hugging) can be just as potentially disruptive as those we do not.