I hear cries coming from the other room. It’s one of the girls. This isn’t a scream that tells me they’re just fighting, it tells me that they’re hurt. Real pain. I run in the room to find my son Macks close by. I look at my daughter’s leg to find teeth marks.
He’s bitten her. Again.
It’s been nearly three months of biting and despite what our doctor told us at his last appointment, it hasn’t gotten any better. In fact, it’s gotten much worse. He bites any chance he gets — and nearly anything he can sink his teeth into. The couch, toys, the straw in his cup, but usually the victims are either myself or my older daughters.
No matter what I do, he won’t stop. He gets frustrated and his first thought is to bite. The second? To hit or scratch. He’s got so much aggression and I don’t know what to do. His doctor says it’s normal for his age. Friends and colleagues have shared advice, but nothing is working. No matter how we react when he bites — whether with anger or sadness or disappointment — it has no effect on him. He thinks that it’s funny.
From the beginning, Macks has presented me with many new challenges that were so different from my girls. First it was not sleeping through the night for the first year, then it was climbing on anything and everything in sight (including getting through our baby gate and climbing up the stairs) and now it’s biting. I’m entering brand new territory and I am unsure of which path to follow for the answer.
Although it hasn’t happened yet, one of my biggest fears is that he will bite someone else’s child while we are out. I take him to the gym with me every day and he stays in the child play area while I work out. I haven’t seen him do it while we’ve been out of the house, but I’m so worried about dropping him off because I don’t want to hear that he’s bitten someone else’s child. Keeping this issue confined within my own home makes me feel somewhat in control of the situation. If it were to continue outside of the house, I’d probably have a hard time ever taking him anywhere out of fear.
Many people have told me that it’s his way of expressing himself because of his lack of language. At 16 months, he knows many words and believe me, he will let me know verbally if he isn’t happy with me. The word “no” is often heard from his mouth or he will let out a scream if he’s upset. But now his frustration has gone beyond verbal and is getting physical and I’m not sure what to do about it.
There’s no manual on motherhood and while I’m certain I’ll be stumped by many more challenges that come my way, I just really wish I could find an answer to this one. Not only so that we can stop playing victims to his biting, but so that I can better help my son and truly understand why he’s doing this.