Nail Biting – why it happens and how to prevent it

Categories Advice, Preteens, ToddlersPosted on
nail biting

Your child maybe nail biting for many different reasons. These could include curiosity, boredom, stress relief, habit or even imitation. It is also one of the most commonly observed nervous habits in kids. However, nail biting is also a habit that may continue well into adulthood.

What can you do about nail biting in kids?
  • Address their anxieties – before you try to get them to stop the habit, think of addressing the underlying causes of it. You see, if they are already under stress, you trying to simply get them to stop will only make them go at it harder, because they are now even more stressed and anxious!!!
  • Don’t nag or punish them – nail biting, like other nervous habits is something that is unconscious. This also means that unless your child really wants to stop the habit, they probably won’t do it. Simply establish fair ground rules like no nail biting during meals. But avoid getting irritated at them and using nasty tasting solutions to paint their fingers with.
  • Help then when they want to stop – if your child looks like they do really want to stop the habit, help them out. Talk to them about breaking the habit and assure them that they can do it and, that you will help them along the way.

nail biting

When to worry about nail biting

In rare cases, severe nail-biting can signal excessive anxiety. Consult your child’s doctor if nail biting makes their fingertips sore or bloody, if they also present other worrisome behaviors (such as picking at his skin or pulling out his eyelashes or hair), or is losing sleep. Also consult the doctor if your child’s nail-biting habit surfaced suddenly and escalated quickly. In either case, professional counseling may be needed. If this is the case, do not panic, simply speak to a professional and get them the help they need.

nail biting


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