Yesterday, I posted about BC’s saliva control and mentioned that he doesn’t have very good awareness about when his lips are closed tightly.
Well today, I can definitely verify that he knows for sure when his teeth are closed tightly – or to be more precise clamped tightly around something. Usually his brother’s leg. Or ear. Or Arm.
Yes. We have a biting problem in our house.
To be fair to be BC, he didn’t start it. Little Bean has been a biter from a long way back. He started biting pretty much as soon as he got teeth. And aside from one spectacularly embarrassing incident a while back when he bit the finger of a friend’s new born baby that he was rather jealous to see me holding, he usually reserves his biting for his big brother. And occasionally his dad when he won’t get off the computer to play with him.
It’s works rather well with his dad. He moves impressively fast once he’s been chomped.
As far as the 2 boys go, for a while now, there’s been a rather familiar sequence of events that results in a biting frenzy. It starts with Little Bean taking something that BC is playing with. BC lunges at Little Bean with his most effective form of defence – the giant bear hug. Held in that tight embrace, Little Bean has no real option but to take a good grip of the nearest body part he can see with his fangs. Then of course, there are tears on both sides.
It also usually ends with Little Bean giving a spirited and heartfelt repetition of one of his favourite phrases ‘sorry, sorry, so sorry’. It’s hard to ever stay cross with him when he says that in his cute little voice.
However, BC has, in very recent times, upped the ante by turning the tables and started to initiate the biting.
I don’t know why. Maybe because he’s seen how effective if it is when he gets bitten. Maybe he’s figured that if it’s OK for Little Bean then it’s OK for him too.
We’ve discussed with him that biting is not allowed in our house by ANYONE. We’ve also discussed that as the big brother he has to set the standards for acceptable behaviour and THAT comment that I can hear coming from my own mother’s mouth ‘you’re older! You should know better’.
I hate the biting – from either of them. But I’m not quite sure how to stop it.
I’ve consulted my ‘toddler bible’ about how best to deal with the biting Bean and have been informed that it’s “an intentional experimental/defensive/aggressive/emotional action amongst toddlers” (whatever that means). The bible also tells me that it ‘tends to disappear over age but’ (and here’s where BC comes into it as well) ‘preschool children and even older children sometimes bite when antagonised’.
But there wasn’t really any further constructive advice that’s helped me. Apart from reminding parents that it doesn’t ‘require biting back which is demeaning for the parent and teaches the toddler that biting is OK if you get mad enough’.
Really? Was my response to that piece of advice. You really need to tell parents that’s wrong? Guess I get a few brownie points at least for that solution never having entering my mind!
But apart from telling me what I shouldn’t do, the bible doesn’t tell me what should I do?
BC has never been a naughty child and aside from the biting, little Bean is hardly a mini menace, so I don’t really have an armoury of effective discipline techniques up my sleeves.
I’m considering getting muzzles for them both, but would appreciate some more practical advice is anyone has any!