The Biter Or The Bitten: Which Is Worst?!


Daycare is a kid-bite-kid world; all daycare parents know it. Sometimes your kid is the biter; other times, the bitten. My first experience with this side of daycare was when my daughter came home with a nasty bite mark and blooming bruise on her forearm.

“This is it. This is the worst!,” I thought to myself. My husband and I were beside ourselves. This is our first and only child, no other child to wrestle and tussle with at home. She told everyone she encountered that her friend had bitten her, with fake tears and quivering lips, even long after the bruise had disappeared.

A couple of months later, there was another incident and once more, she was bitten. Again, my husband and I were devastated. We considered speaking with the teacher, counseled our daughter about telling her teacher and walking away. Our poor baby, the victim.

Fast-forward six months and a class change, we get another message from daycare. This time, our daughter had bitten a friend as they fought over playground equipment.

“What?! Not my baby!,” I thought. “She’s never bitten anyone.” I was convinced it had to be a mistake, but it wasn’t.

When I picked my daughter up that day and asked what happened, she said she was arguing over her best friend who moved to another class and didn’t want to share her on the playground. So she bit her other friend…on the face, nonetheless.

Visions of my daughter launching herself like some possessed piranha ran through my mind. “Her face?!,” I spat. “Yep, and I didn’t say sorry,” she responded.

My husband and I were dumbfounded. How does a kid who has never bitten anyone just start biting? I started to rationalize it. My daughter was just missing her best friend. I spoke to the teacher about it the next day to get some clarity, and found out the following: A) My daughter did not bite her friend on the face but on her shoulder — slightly better than I had imaged and B) My daughter was not jealous over a friend (that friend wasn’t even at school that day).

So now my daughter was biting and lying — just great.

After we got home, we talked to my daughter and gave her a few consequences and had several conversations. I wish I could say that was all it took, but alas, we have had some phone calls following this event, some about more biting and some about hitting/scratching. We’ve stuck to our consequences and even added in a behavior chart. We’ve also had lots of talks. It’s a process, but I’m hopeful we’ll make it through this stage alive, granted, with several more gray hairs.

Having been on both sides of the biting situation, I can firmly say I find it much tougher to have a biter than to have my child being bitten.

Kids are tough — they’ll heal and forget — but it’s so hard hearing your child was the perpetrator. It’s hard seeing your child in that light. It’s also hard to handle. What do you say to the other parents? Thankfully, none of our situations have been serious, so no confrontations yet, but it’s still uncomfortable.

By experiencing both sides of the situation, I have learned to not judge so quickly. It was easy for me to think the other children were little monsters biting my sweet angel, but now, I know just how easily these things happen. And it’s pretty dang tough being a toddler — so many emotions and feelings to sort through. It’s also hard being parents to guide them. Heck, sometimes it’s hard for me to keep my emotions in check. I don’t go around biting people, but sometimes, I really wish I could!

To all the other parents experiencing this: I’m with you and I apologize if my daughter has ever bitten your child. Please forgive both of us.

If you’re looking for resources to stop aggressive behavior like biting, check out this podcast by Dr. Becky.


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