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How to stop Nail biting?

Discussion in 'Toddlers' started by balamotwani, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. balamotwani

    balamotwani Bronze IL'ite

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    My 3 yr old daughter is having this very bad habit of biting her nails all the time. Actually there is no nail at all. But full time her finger will be inside her mouth. I know it is very dangerous bad habit. But i dont know how to stop her.

    I have scolded, beaten, advised her and i also tried to put nailpolish so that she may like it and she wont bite, i have tried putting oil. But all in vain.
    I have explained her what happens when she bites nails, she says dont tell that boring story again and again, i was so shocked hearing this and i dont know what to do. (She can speak very well for her age )

    Please ladies advise me, did your child had this habit, what did you do.

    P.s. I have this habit of biting nails when i am very curious and anxious or while i watch my serials. But now bcos of her i have stopped.
     
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  2. Sriniketan

    Sriniketan IL Hall of Fame

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    Have you tried some gloves on her hand, Bala?
    It is good that you had stopped doing it in front of her. That itself is an example to tell her how bad it is to bite the nails and also tell her that the dirt from the nails will go inside her stomach and cause problems.
    Try!
    Sriniketan
     
  3. Huma

    Huma Silver IL'ite

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    you could bribe her.......
     
  4. padmaiyangar

    padmaiyangar Bronze IL'ite

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    Madam balamotwani,
    I am posting the extract of article on nail biting available in http://parentcenter.babycenter.com/<SCRIPT type=text/javascript> dojo.require("bc.widgetfactory.BcFormFactory"); dojo.require("bc.login.PageBodyLoginHandler"); dojo.require("bc.Topics"); </SCRIPT> for your benefit.

    Why preschoolers bite their nails
    The child may bite her nails for any number of reasons — out of curiosity or boredom, to relieve stress, or from force of habit. Nail biting is the most common of the so-called "nervous habits," which include thumb sucking, nose picking, hair twisting or tugging, and tooth grinding,
    Nail biting is often a way of relieving the intense but transient tensions of childhood. All children get anxious. Learning something new in school or feeling shy at a party or on the playground are common triggers. If your child bites her nails primarily at times like these, it's just her way of coping with stress or comforting her, in which case you have nothing to worry about. In all likelihood, your preschooler will eventually stop on her own, but if the biting goes on longer than you'd like, or if it's a habit you just can't abide, there are simple ways to help her quit.
    What to do about nail biting

    Don't nag or punish. Unless your preschooler really wants to stop biting her nails, you probably can't do much about it. Like other nervous habits, nail biting tends to be unconscious. If your child doesn't even know she's doing it, nagging and punishing her are pretty useless.?)

    If you truly can't stand it, explain to your child in a compassionate way that you know she can't help biting her nails, but you don't like to watch, so you're going to leave the room for a few minutes. In general, though, as long as she's not hurting herself and doesn't seem overly stressed out, your best bet is to keep her fingernails neatly trimmed to cut down on the temptation to bite off ragged tips, keep her hands clean to cut down on her ingestion of germs, and try to keep your attention focused elsewhere. If you pressure her to stop, you'll just be adding to her stress and risk intensifying the behavior. Moreover, any direct intervention on your part — such as painting nasty-tasting solutions on her fingernails — will feel like a punishment to her, whether you mean it that way or not. The less fuss she associates with the habit, the more likely she is to stop on her own when she's ready.

    Help her when she wants to stop. If your preschooler's friends are teasing her about her bitten nails, she may be ready to stop — and she'll need your help. First, talk to her about the teasing, encouraging her to tell you how it makes her feel. Reassure her that you love her no matter what her nails look like. Then move on to possible solutions.

    Talk about breaking habits. Begin a discussion with your child about what nervous habits are and how it's possible to break them. A good book to read together is Janet Munsil's Where There's Smoke, in which nail-biting Daisy and her cigarette-smoking dad try to break their habits together.

    Help her become aware of the habit. Encourage your child to become more aware of when and where she bites. Agree on a quiet, secret reminder for times when she forgets — a light touch on the arm or a code word. Suggest a substitute activity or two (Silly Putty for car rides, for instance, or a smooth stone to hold while reading) and then practice the alternative habit with her for a few minutes before school or at bedtime.

    Some children benefit from physical reminders that call their attention to the habit the moment they do it. This option is helpful as long as your child is the one choosing to try it; if not, it'll just seem punitive to her. Techniques to try: Keeping adhesive bandages on her fingertips or colorful stickers on her nails, or applying a bitter-tasting bite-averting solution such as Thum, available in drugstores. Be sure to check the ingredients first, though. (Thum, for instance, is made with cayenne pepper, so it's appropriate only if your child can remember not to rub her eyes.)

    Different children prefer different techniques, but in general the more your child feels like a partner in this endeavor, the more likely she is to succeed — and the better chance you have of avoiding a power struggle.
    When to worry about nail biting
    In rare cases, severe nail biting can signal excessive anxiety. Consult your child's doctor if she's biting her nails so intently that her fingertips are sore or bloody, if her nail biting is accompanied by other worrisome behaviors, such as picking at her skin or pulling her eyelashes or hair out, or if her sleep patterns have altered considerably. In these cases, professional counseling may help.

    <SCRIPT type=text/javascript> dojo.require("bc.widgetfactory.BcFormFactory"); dojo.require("bc.login.PageBodyLoginHandler"); dojo.require("bc.Topics"); </SCRIPT>
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2007
  5. balamotwani

    balamotwani Bronze IL'ite

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    Padma - She used to scratch her nose when she was newly born, she has good nails and i used to peel it off as it is soft. So that time we used to put her gloves but she never liked it. Till now she doesnt like gloves.

    Huma - I bribe her for taking medicines , for eating food, for going to school. I am really worried bcos nowadays she says "If you give me something, i wont disturb you". I dont know whether to continue by bribing habit. whenever i go for shoppig i buy items like puzzles, pens, crayon, coloring book, vcd for kids, small toys. All this for bribing. She is very stubborn, adamant for her age. She is not afraid of anything. I feel sometimes that i am a poor mother. I dont know how to bring her up.

    Padma - Thanks to you for your detailed reply on this and also for your website info. I will try my level best.
     
  6. Jananikrithsan

    Jananikrithsan Gold IL'ite

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    Hi Bala,
    My freind had this bad habit , believe me she recently got married. She bought a serum from Revlon, I think, it's supposed to be applied on your nails to stop that habit. But as your kid is very young i do not know whether that is advisable. Consult the padreatician for some suggestions. Good luck!!!!!!!! ​
     
  7. malarvp

    malarvp New IL'ite

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    Hi Bala,

    you are right. kids get used to bribing and will do anything for something only. it's good that you have stopped it and in future do not continue.

    i also have a 3yr old daughter with nail biting habit and still finding a way to stop it :confused: . but my daughter she doesn't bite, she will just be cutting it off with the other hand(in tamil we say pichu edukuradhu). I explained her about what happens if she continues like this and even then she continues. so nowadays I have left to her. whenever she feels thats not good habit let her stop.

    instead of bribing you may start removing her favourite toys one by one. tell her that you will either throw it away in trash or keep it out of her reach until she stops. if shes adamant for her age, you also be adamant to change her habit.

    the article from parentcare (posted by Padma) is really useful. I'm gonna try some of them with my daughter:thumbsup

    good luck for you too.

    Malar

     

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