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Why does my son bite other children when he can't put forth his point of view?

Q: Both my husband and me are working parents of a 4-year-old son. Our son has a problem of biting people when he can't put across his point of view. At times, it becomes difficult for him to play with his friends or cousins. We thought that he is behaving in such a manner due to our absence from home, feeling of insecurity or lack of proper way of communicating. Therefore we shifted him to his grandmother's care. There he has a 5 and a half years old cousin to play and communicate with. But he still bites his cousin at times. He also has a bedwetting problem and even wets his pants. He is a poor eater as well. How can we change his habits?

A:From what you have said, I think your son is rather disturbed. You need to take him to a Child Psychiatrist, if such a person is available in the city where you live. If such a person cannot be found, you must consult some expert (this kind of e mail consultation is often only the first step) who will have to see him and identify the problem. It is not a simple case of changing his habits. We will have to work with restoring his confidence in himself and in the setting in which he finds himself. His grandmother may also find it difficult to look after him. If it is possible for the mother of the child to spend less time away, it might begin to restore the child's sense of security. If that cannot be done immediately, just a lot of hugging and cuddling and show of affection will be necessary. Biting is a message he conveys that he does not appreciate his circumstances! When he sees you, does he express some joy? Does he cry when you leave him? Even these would be positive signs. Please do discuss this with helpful family and friends and do what is best for the child. A continuation of the present settings will not help, in my view.

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