Books for better biting behaviour

My kid was a biter (so I totally sympathise with MFS who has a hair puller, a condition also known as trichotillomania, officially, just so ya know…)

It occurred in private to me and my DH (I looked like I had been beaten up, with bruises all down my arms and thighs) and in public to other kids. Whenever we were in the park and I would hear another child scream I would think “Oh no, what has he done?”. Parties and social occasions were fraught.

Though boychild is now 7 and he doesn’t bite anymore, I wound myself up for years about the reasons for the biting: Was I too soft? Was I not loving enough? Was I ‘secretly depressed’? I blamed my not perfect relationship (please email me if there is a perfect relationship out there…!), blamed food, blamed myself day after day.

Guess what? Blaming myself didn’t stop the biting. Practical, loving, consistent support did.

So, if your kids has some difficult behavioural issues I have 2 things to say: It doesn’t last forever and it’s not your fault.

Now, practical things that did work.

Books one in particular ‘Teeth are not for biting‘ (alas, no hair pulling one in this range…write to them!) but all this range of books I recommend. Read over and over and over and over…

Consistency between all care givers. He attended a fantastic nursery here in Barcelona called The Playhouse who actually devised a biting strategy with us (LOVE) which we all agreed on and followed there and at home. It included things like wearing a baby teething toy clipped to him and when he was about to bite getting other children to say “Don’t bite me, bite this!”, comforting the injured one, encouraging him to ‘make good’ by bringing them ice or a hug, removing him from the situation if necessary, but in a calm and controlled manner (even negative energy is exciting to little ones, so making a big fuss and scolding can actually encourage the behaviour you want to avoid).

S.O.S technique for biting moments. If you do get bitten, don’t try to pull your arm away, it usually makes them bite harder to grip you. Gently but firmly push their head towards your arm/leg, their jaw should loosen up and open, and you whip away quick time. Good little tip to avoid shark teeth circular bruises. Learned this one late in the experience, but it works.

Lots of love, lots of cuddles, try not to lose faith in yourself or your little one. Oh, and my all time fave parenting mantra “Its Just A Phase“.

Books for better biting behaviour

10 things I love about girlchild

Since baby manchild was born I’ve been having more and more trouble with girlchild. It’s to be expected, she is 4 and she has a baby brother. And it’s nothing new, the issues big manchild had when she was born make her ‘acting out’ pale in comparison. But still, I feel myself pulling away, her pulling me back (read: being whiny and annoying) and I don’t want this to escalate too much. I need to pull myself back from the precipice of finding her overwhelming.

Gratitude is something I try to practice when possible, it really helps. I was also inspired last week by the gratitudinist blog and her lovely free ebook which should be turned not only into posters, but tea towels, bus ads, and guerilla graffiti (now there’s a cool idea…imagine if we all went around scrawling all the things we should be grateful for around the place…?)

It made me start thinking of all the things I LOVE about girlchild. So here’s my grateful list, and a kick up my own bum to remember it in times of extreme whining.

1) She is still small enough and light enough to pick up. If you have a little child, pick them up! My 7 years old is now too big and heavy, weighs 35kg and I just can’t …. it’s one of those things you take for granted until it’s gone. I can still pick up girlchild. Warm glow.

2) She still mis-pronounces words and says “somebodyone” and “nobodyone”, how cute is that?! I never, never correct! Time will do that. Sniff.

3) She invents funny words and silly funny names for things. Last night we made paper dolls and one of the names was “80 pick pack piggy pack pack pack pack pack”. I kid you not. Silly grin.

4) She has her own name for herself, Claireabill (yes as in a juxtaposition of Claire and Bill, sparked off by Clarabell of Mickey Mouse Club). She asks me to present her as such, and I do. But I can’t talk, I called myself Tulip from age 5. (For many years other parents would call my mum saying “Can Tulip come to play?”, the school and my mum went along with it. And yes, it wore off after a few years while).

5) She loves animals. Dogs especially. She loves stuffed toys too, “friends”. She has found an ingenious way of sleeping with them all by stuffing about 30 of them in an old baby duvet cover and schlepping that to bed every night. My DH was such a sport he took the whole sack along in the car when we went camping. No problemo.

6) She loves me! And tells me daily, “Mummy…”, “Yes?”, “I love you.” GLOW.

7) She is physically confident, agile and brave, with a strong spirit. It resonates with me.

8) She is not afraid to say no. Whe this applies to food or sharing toys at the park, it’s tough but I respect it. When it’s to kissing adults she doesnt see a lot or talking to strangers (to her) I think “YESSS!” you go girl.

9) She has her own whacky sense of style. Part rock chic, part manchild, part princess, with comfort as top priority. I let her go with whatever she feels like wearing, and hope I always will.

10) She is helpful, actually helpful in the kitchen and around the house when she feels like it. A great companion.

11) She is very generous with food and treats even, always gives a little bit if you ask nicely.

12) She looks after her baby manchild, even though she is jealous of him. She adores him and has special names for him.

13) She adores big manchild with a passion. He is her hero, she saves things for him, thinks about him, she is happy when he gets something even if she doesn’t. Even when he rejects her (ugh, my heart) she goes back for more (though I do worry about this aspect re: future relationships…)

14) She is bright, clever, creative and healthy. I am so bloody lucky my kids have never been ill or had any major health issues or accidents. Its something I am very, very grateful for.

15) Last but not least (yes I know it was supposed to be 10 but…hey) she goes to sleep easily! When she is tired and relaxed, she just turns over in bed and falls asleep in like 5 mins. (Not the hours I spent with manchild, very like the scenes in the book go the F*%$k to sleep!)

I love you girlchild!!!!


10 things I love about girlchild