Nail biting - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 06-01-2004, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
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My 8 yr old bites her nails. She has tried to stop, but no success so far.

She's not biting because her nails are rough - she has access to fingernail clippers and good quality files. She says she bites her nails when she's bored and when she wants to chew something. I try to keep her busy and not bored, but sometimes that is just unavoidable. And I try to redirect the "wanting to chew" to healthy snacks or even gum. But still, she bites her nails. And I've tried painting her nails so she won't want to bite, and it helps some, but doesn't eliminate it. (Maybe because I don't keep up with it.)

I have purchased the "Thum" stuff. It tastes bad, but not horribly so. I'm thinking of trying painting her nails AND using the Thum stuff. (You put it on their nails 3 times a day.)

Does anyone have any other ideas? Any success stories of how you got your child to stop biting nails?


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#2 of 4 Old 06-01-2004, 02:42 PM
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My dd bites her nails and she is only 2 . I have sought advice from someone I know who teaches a child development class and she said ignore it for now. The cause for my dd may be because I had to stop nursing cold turkey at 15 mo. when I was rushed to the hospital with a deadly illness and remained there for several days. (or then again, I was never very good at clipping her nails and she just started trimming them on her own!).

I hope you get some good responses. E.
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#3 of 4 Old 06-01-2004, 06:37 PM
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Is she having any medical problems from biting, such as infections, pain or bleeding? If not, why not just let her grow out of it? I bit my nails - and toenails - until I was an adult and had no medical problems as a result. Just short nails.

Bitter stuff never worked on me, nor did soap under the nails. I prefer to keep my nails short anyway; when they are long they scratch people and get caught on things.

If she wants to have long nails and can't seem to stop biting them, maybe regular professional manicures would do the trick. Other people put a dollar in a jar, sort of like a swear jar. Some people bite because their nails are very thin and they feel weird and get bendy when they grow; maybe some kind of nail strengthening polish would work.
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#4 of 4 Old 06-01-2004, 11:20 PM
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I used the same approach for nailbiting and chewing on clothing. I got him some sturdy beads and some satin ribbon and had him make himself necklaces to wear, and then when I saw him chewing nails or clothing, I directed him to chew his necklace instead. So he had the necklace in his mouth for months, but it was better (IMO) than the other habits. We also used the necklaces for when he was picking at his nose for awhile -- he carried it in his pocked and used it to "finger" and "fiddle with" when his hands needed something to do.

Someone here said it is possible to get food grade plastic tubing which can be cut into beads. You could try that if you are concerned about plastics.
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