Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Biting Concern

Did you ever have the feeling that something was bothering your child? The past couple of weeks, Miss H has just not been herself. She has become more and more defiant, saying "NO!" with greater and greater frequency. She seems to have a chip on her shoulder and gets angry very easily.

At first, I chalked it up to The Move. Perhaps she was feeling my stress and reflecting that back onto me. Then I thought, maybe this is just a phase. She is four now and trying to exert more of her independence and control.

But then, it happened. She bit Lil' B on the finger during one of their daily scuffles. My sweet Miss H has never bitten anyone in her entire life. I didn't yell. I just looked at her and quietly said how disappointed I was in her. I asked her where she had learned to bite people and she told me, "My friend from school."

I sent her to her room for time out and consoled the still crying Lil' B. On the outside I was calm, but on the inside I was reeling. Our preschool expels children for biting. What if she did this to someone at school? Did she really learn this from her friend at school? Wait a minute. What if this friend was biting Miss H?

That night we attended the Spring Pageant at Miss H's school, so I took a moment to discuss this with her teacher. She told me that there had not been any biting incidents this year, but to tell Miss H that if someone bit her that she needed to tell the teachers.

Before bedtime, I snuggled Miss H and asked her if her friend had ever bitten her. She shook her head yes, and held up four fingers. "She bit you four times??" I asked. "What did you do?"

"Nothing. She kissed it better, gave me a hug, and told me she was sorry," Miss H replied. She even showed me a place on her arm where she had been bitten, although no physical mark remained.

I wanted to cry. Is this child biting my daughter and getting away with it? Is this why she has been getting so angry and lashing out lately? Maybe Miss H is making the whole thing up. My mind flashed to the scene in "A Christmas Story" when Ralphie tells his mother that he learned the "bad word" from one of his (innocent) friends. Is Miss H just telling me a story?

I reinforced with her that biting, hitting, and kicking are not acceptable behaviors. That if anyone ever hurt her, she needs to tell the teacher. I'm still not sure if it actually happened, but I can't take the chance that this is happening and going unaddressed. I also wanted her to know that she can talk to me about anything that was bothering her, no matter what it is.

I guess only time will tell.


Nicole said...

It sounds like you handled it very well! The best thing you can do now is follow up and hopefully she'll talk to her teacher in the future or you when it happens again.

blueviolet said...

I had a friend who went through that with her son and I know how difficult it can be. You're reacting very well, I have to say.