Recently I had the unique pleasure of being “that mommy”. The one who saunters into daycare to pick up her sweet son only to be told her little angel bit another child. I know, for those of you who have kids who are past this phase, you’re thinking not such a big deal but, as a new mom, this was appalling first-time news!

Shame, guilt, parenting uncertainty all flooded my mind (and heart) as I scooped up my little boy and asked for a detailed account of what had transpired. The teacher, sensing my concern, quickly explained that it was in self defense and that Trey had been pulled off the teeter-totter by another child. It upset him and he bit in response to being hurt. This explanation somewhat relieved my major concerns: would we face expulsion this early in my son’s academic history, did I put him into daycare too quickly; was this an outburst of some other frustration that has been building?

The teacher kindly explained that this was very common and since it was not instigated by my little boy and not chronic, it was not perceived to be a problem.  I asked what I can do and to my surprise she replied with, “Not much” but to be aware of any biting at home and to respond consistently with “No biting”. Well, that sounds easy.

But, I was not entirely content with that resolution and so, in keeping with my curious nature; I took to the internet to get more feedback. The best advice I found was from Parenting Magazine, “When Toddlers Bite: A guide to understanding and curbing this upsetting (but normal) toddler behavior” by Melanie Monroe Rosen. In the guide, I came to realize there a variety of reasons why toddlers may resort to biting; an understanding that helped me put this episode into proper perspective.

It’s been weeks since the dreaded incident without a repeat performance (thank goodness!). We have reinforced the “no biting” theme at home and it appears to be sinking in.

Mommy Lessons Learned:

  • Resist the urge to overreact: These phases will come and go and there will be many more throughout my child’s lifetime.
  • Knowledge is power: Reference all the great sources on the internet and in person (teachers, doctors, friends and family) for excellent advice/feedback.
  • Take a deep breath and give it time: Change doesn’t have to happen overnight, but with reinforcement, it can happen effectively.
  • Do not allow an incident to define your child: Even if you skew type “A” like me, try to provide your child with the room they need to learn and grow naturally through life experiences.

Now, if only I can keep these lessons top of mind!

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