Biting and Signs of Agression?

Updated on August 24, 2007
D.K. asks from Stow, OH
9 answers

Hello All!

I am in need of some advice. My daughter is almost 21 months old and recently she has started biting herself when she is angry. She also is fairly agressive towards our cats and continues to do things that she knows hurt others (pinching, hitting etc). This has all been very recent starting only after she was bit by another child at her daycare. She bites herself hard enough to leave a mark and then she cries because it hurts. I have called the daycare and they have said that they do not have a standard no biting policy as it is a developmental stage that children go through..... however, I am wondering if my daughter is learning these things from this other child.
There are a number of home daycares in my area and I would probably move her to one of those as we have had now two bad experiences in a Regular daycare setting. I just wonder if that would be a good move or not...... Any advice would be appreciated.

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answers from Columbus on

Hey Dannielle,

I would say try an in-home setting. It is such a different experience and children, I think, benefit more from it. Just a thought! Good luck!

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answers from Toledo on

It is VERY common for kids to start biting other kids or themselves after being bit by another child or even after witnessing biting. I would just be sure to tell your daughter why it's not a good idea to do it (it hurts and it makes whoever is being bit sad). Let her know that it's not okay to do it.
Next, I would be leary of any daycare that doesn't have policies in regards to hitting, biting, or otherwise hurting other kids. Typically daycares like this do not want to go through the hassle of discharging children for behavioral reasons because they just care that they are getting tuition payments each week. I would personally recommend switching to a daycare that does have such a policy and that cares a lot about the kids and their safety. That of course is just my opinion.
Last but not least you had mentioned switching to in-home childcare. I am bias because I am an in home childcare provider however I definitely feel that with in home you typically can avoid this... although even at some in homes they still allow things like biting and hitting. Just do your research and make sure your daughter is in a safe and healthy environment. If you need help on tips for finding good quality care defintiely feel free to ask!
I hope this information as well as my personal opinions are helpful!!!! GOOD LUCK!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I don't have any answers for you, unfortunately, however I did find this article. I hope it helps to shed some light on your question.

Re: switching daycares- Every family/child is different concerning what childcare setting is best for them. I personally love having my daughter at an in-home setting. I think maybe it would be worth it for you to try it out since you've had multiple bad experiences at a bigger facility. I think children receive much more one-to-one attention, and this way, if nothing else, your daughter would be removed from the biting child.

Trust your instincts to do what is best for your daughter.


answers from Cleveland on

Hi D.!

Unfortunately, biting is a developmental stage. Young ones cannot express themselves with words. So they react the only way they know how: biting, hitting, screaming, etc. My 18 month old son bites himself as well. I can pretty much tell when his frustration is escalating to that point. So I try to head off the outburst by distracting or helping him. I also really try to work with him about using his words. I tell him "Use your words. What do you need? Show me", just so that he gets in the habit of using words. And he sees just how powerful words are.

He is in an in-home child care setting. I prefer this over a facility because of the attention he is able to receive. At a facility, it is a lot harder for children to receive one-on-one care. At a home, he can. I can also tell his care giver what we do at home. And because she doesn't have 10 other children to care for, she able to do what we do. Plus, in-home child care is much cheaper (I pay $25 a day).

However, because biting is a phase, you cannot avoid it everywhere. My son was bit by a 2 1/2 year old at his care givers right on the ear! Every child is different. If you are uncomfortable with the daycare, remove your child. I had my son at a home which started out great, but fizzled. I hated leaving him, and he hated to see me go. It was stressful on both of us. And I was contstantly worried about his care. I ended up switching care givers and I felt so much better. As did my son!

Follow your mommy gut. It's usually 99.9% right! Good luck!



answers from Cincinnati on

First of all it's a good sign that your Daycare recognizes it as a normal developmental stage as some will kick a child out after a few incidences. I don't know what your other bad experience with the childcare was so I can't give any strong advice one way or another. I worked in childcare with your daughter's age group and it is very normal - at one point 5 out of 6 kids in my class were biters. Biting is more worrisome than other aggressive behaviors because it seems so much more "mean" and the threat of broken skin and infections worry the adults more. It's also normal for her to bite herself. Try watching her when she gets aggressive - is something specific triggering it, is she tired, hungry? If you can pinpoint something you can try to fend off her aggressive behavior by treating the "cause". If she bites another child put her in a "time-out" of some sort and pay attention to the injured child, showing her that she will not get extra attention by biting, but don't overdo it or she may bite herself to get the attention you pay to the victim. Toddlers are amazing little creatures - it's like seeing human nature in it's raw form. As far as changing to home care. I personally prefer home care for all day care, like I said, I worked in day care centers and just don't feel comfortable with them in general. However, there's no guarantee that she's not going to bite or get bitten in one of those either. If you're really not feeling comfortable and confident in your day care center, start looking around. Just remember that biting (both other kids and herself) is in the realm of normal behavior and that she'll grow out of it in either setting. Good luck to you and her.



answers from Boca Raton on

Hi D.. I have used only home daycares since my daughter was born because of what I had heard about regular daycares. I LOVE home daycare. Your child gets more attention and it is not such an " I dont care " setting as it is in a regular daycare. I think that it would helo your daughter tremendously. Hope this helps.



answers from Toledo on

Take her out of that daycare!

No self-respecting daycare provider would decline to have a no-biting policy! Sure, it's a developmental issue, but it's still inappropriate and children need to be TAUGHT that it is inappropriate.

I would recommend removing your daughter from that environment and placing her in a setting that is loving and STRUCTURED. The adults at your current daycare have shown an astonishing lack of willingness to help children develop self-control.



answers from Cincinnati on

I would assume its monkey see monkey do. First of all....A NO , NO BITING POLICY????? Thats like a City not having a crime ..policy! Not a good sign.....
Where are you located? I know that there have to be better options for her care. It just doesnt sound like where shes at now has her best intersted of socializing her in order and it seems like its starting to cause other problems :( You must feel really bad, althought it doesnt sound like its you, so not to worry to much. Maybe taking her out of that situation would help her, because right now.....she feels its acceptable behavior and is at an impressionable age.



answers from Cincinnati on


My daughter is 23 months and is also in a daycare facility. She also recently started biting and hitting. One day she came home and said that a little boy hit her at school. I immediatley called the daycare and they told me that the little boy had been put in timeout and they were speaking with his parents. She told me that they do have a structured policy of discipline on biting and hitting. I would be upset if my daycare did not have a policy at all. Even though it is normal to do this at their age, they still need discipline to help them understand that they are not supposed to do it. I have many friends who use in-home daycare and love it. Unfortunately I don't know of any in my area so I am stuck with regular daycare.

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