“We don’t bite our friends.”
I can’t tell you how many times I have said that phrase. Once was enough, but I have repeated that phrase countless times. My 2 year old daughter has recently gone through the awful biting phase. If you are a parent who has been there (or is currently there), you know exactly what I’m talking about. Having a child who bites is tough!
I knew that sometimes kids go through a biting phase; it’s not that uncommon. My oldest daughter never really struggled with this though. So when daughter number 2 started biting others, I knew we were in uncharted territory and I got a little scared. I tried almost every piece of advice out there. I tried biting her back, time-outs, giving her something else to bite, reading books about biting, and much more. None of it seemed to make a difference. She still would bite me, my husband, her sisters, and of course her friends. I was frustrated and maybe even a little embarrassed.
It made play dates so hard. I felt like I was always having to apologize that my daughter bit someone, maybe leaving a bruise and causing tears. And while none of my fellow mom friends blamed me for it, I felt this weight of shame on me. It seems o silly to type those words about something as small as a little bite from a two year old, but it’s really true. I really struggled with walking through this stage. At the time it really felt like it would never end, which only made it worse.
Maybe you are dealing with a biter right now and you get what I am saying. Or maybe you are dealing with another difficult phase that also seems like it will never end. First, let me assure you, it will end! Maybe not as quickly as we’d like or in the way we expect, but phases can’t last forever. Let me share some of the other things that helped me survive this biting phase, and maybe will help you in a difficult season of parenting, too.
1. Take things one day at a time.
This is not anything new or revolutionary, but just take it one day at a time. Don’t get so caught up looking at the big picture that you get discouraged. Keeping your eyes on the present helps you stay focused. When I shifted my thinking from “She can’t bite ever again.” to ” How can I help her not bite today?” it became a lot more doable and less overwhelming. I have the same end goal, which is to help my daughter learn not to bite, but it helps to look at it on a smaller scale.
2. Take a time-out when needed.
I’m not going to get into discipline methods here, I am actually talking about a time-out for you. If you are at all like me, sometimes you need to take a step back, remove yourself from the situation, and then respond. Moms are humans too, so it only makes sense that we lose our cool too. But if I can help limit how many times I yell at my kids, or discipline from a place of anger I want to. I know that yelling or anger are not effective ways to help teach kids.
When I say time-out what I mean by that is sometimes just even 30 seconds to calm down before responding to a certain behavior or situation. For me it was my daughter biting, yet again. I grew tired of it happening so often that I could quickly jump to anger. But even taking the 30 seconds to calm down before responding helped. Or just recognizing when I needed to let my husband step in (when he was home and available) to handle the situation. Taking a time-out isn’t a sign of weakness, if anything it shows self awareness and that you know your limits.
3. Take the help.
Help comes in all forms. It could be advice, experience, support, encouraging words, or something else. But when your friends or family members offer you help don’t be afraid to accept it. Take it! That doesn’t mean that every piece of advice will work or be applicable, but you can still listen. The most helpful thing in some of the difficult stages of motherhood is just not feeling alone. So don’t isolate yourself by not sharing some of the hard stuff that makes up motherhood. Chances are when you share about something that your fellow mom friends are in that same situation right there with you, have been there, or will be there someday. We need each other! And remember, one day you it will be your turn to return the favor and offer help to your friends as well.
I hope these words were helpful to you mama! It’s always my goal and hope that when I share any of my experiences that it lets another mother out there know that she’s not alone.