A few days ago I got a call from the kindergarten my 4-year-old son is going to and was told that he was biting and kicking and they couldn’t get through to him. You can imagine how shocked I was. My son?
My first thought was: What did I do wrong?!
He refused to talk to me about it so I did some research on the topic of children kicking and biting. Maybe you experienced the same problem so here is what I found out:
It’s not uncommon for toddlers to misbehave this way. It usually starts when they are around one and a half years old. Knowing though what they want, they get upset by lacking the proper means of expression and unfortunately resort instead to biting and kicking to convey that they are now terribly annoyed. Maybe they didn’t get enough attention from you or their kindergarten teacher or another child just won’t give back something he took away from them.
So what can we do when such a thing happens?
If the incident occurred just then, remember that your child is upset by the incident, whatever that was, and feels justified doing what he did. Which of course it’s not.
The best thing is not to overdramatize the situation.
The best thing is not to overdramatize the situation. Explain that biting and kicking is not an option. Never If he protests or refuses even to listen, wait a while till he cools down and explain again. And again, if necessary.
There is nothing else you can do anyway. Spanking? Well, I did it once when I lost my temper and never again! I was so ashamed. Quite idiotic to tell a child he shouldn’t hurt somebody else and then exactly that. By the way, it’s not about the physical pain you inflict, I am sure most parents take care not to seriously hurt their child – it’s the humiliation, the helplessness they experience. Terrible. Their future psychiatrist will thank you for that.
An adequate punishment is OK though. If they refuse to accept your arguments or to apologize, or even worse, bite and kick again, well, just take away their favorite toys, or don’t go to the park as promised, no TV, and so forth. And by all means, explain as good as you can so they really understand why do you must now reluctantly resort to such an action. Would they rather be bitten or kicked back so it really hurts?
That’s a no-no, parents don’t do that.
They know that hurting someone else is strictly forbidden. However, if they do apologize, show how proud and happy you are that they understood what it was all about. And tell them what to do instead when they are upset about something. And that never involves biting and kicking. It takes a lot of patience to get through to a child this age, I know, but who said parenting is easy-peasy?
I wish you the best,