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  1. #1
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    Default What to do with nail biting ?

    My son constantly bites his fingernail, already he doesn't have much nail to bite. I have taken him to the doctor, but doctor said there isn't much I can do about it, he suggested providing an alternative to bite. I bought him a necklace which is safe to bite and encouraged him to bite on the necklace every time when he had the urge to bite, but it didn't work. I offered him dummy with the advice of the doctor, didn't work as well. I don't know what to do now. One of my friend recommended buying some kind of nail gel or cream which is safe from the chemist, and put it on his nail. The bitterness of the gel or cream might deter him biting his nail again. I am not sure if this is the right solution or not. Anyone has had this problem with their bubs ? Any advice please

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    Subbing. My 4 yr old DD bites her nails too.

  3. #3
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    How old is your son?
    My parents used the bitter tasting nail polish on my nails to stop me from biting but I must not have been a baby at the time because I have vague memories of it.

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    HLE  (22-03-2014)

  5. #4
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    I started biting my nails at the age of 2. My mum tried everything to get me to stop, the yucky tasting nail polish and all. I'm 30 and I still bite my nails, I'll even chew them if I have false nails on. It's something I do subconsciously. I'd like to hear suggestions of how to stop.

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    My son is 2.5 years old

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    I started around this age, and still do it at 27.
    So I guess I could suggest what doesn't work?
    The bitter nail polish (while I think is worth a try) I found isn't nearly bitter enough to put me off, and it doesn't last very long. Once you've bitten/sucked a couple of times, it's all licked away. Maybe if you constantly reapply?
    Maybe I was just a pedantic, literal child but I also found the language my parents used completely ineffective. Like "Stop eating your fingernails" when I wasn't "eating" them, I was just chewing them.
    I was also never given a convincing reason why I should stop doing it, so if your child is old enough to be reasoned with I'd definitely suggest this. I know that doesn't help with toddlers though, sorry.
    The only reasons I remember are "you'll lick germs and get sick", but I never did, I actually still rarely get sick and seem to have a great immune system (maybe from all those germs I licked as a child)
    Or that it just looks bad and makes your nails look bad but I didn't get why people would place so much judgement on something as trivial as my fingernails, or why it would apparently bother other people.
    (Mind you, as an adult, I'm well aware that it looks unprofessional and would never do it at work, or in front of customers or if I've been handling chemicals or animals, etc…)
    Slapping the hand away every time you see it might work for a younger child where the behaviour isn't as established, but it didn't stop me from doing it when my parents weren't looking, and just tended to make me feel bad about myself.
    Giving a substitute to bite was a good idea, I've tried this too - but it really doesn't feel as good. And it does feel good, or comforting, or something, I'm not exactly sure but if you can find out what makes it so appealing then it might help you find a solution.

    The only other thing I can think of (besides giving mild electric shocks every time they do it… and no I'm not seriously suggesting this!) is to distract them when you see them do it. Ask them to do something else with their hands or mouth, like a song you could sing with accompanying hand gestures, or counting on their fingers, or simply sipping some water instead.

    Sorry for the long post!

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    debsch  (22-03-2014),HLE  (22-03-2014)

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    Sorry this isn't very helpful OP, but the only thing that broke my nail biting habit was when I got braces & they told me I would ruin them if I continued. I didn't want to get in trouble with the orthodontist so I stopped & never looked back!
    Does your DS actually want to stop doing it? Because if he likes chewing on his nails, he's just going to keep doing it no matter what you do.

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    HLE  (22-03-2014)

  11. #8
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    I think at that age your going to have to keep reminding him not to do it. Tell him it's yucky, and germs live under his nails etc...the nail biting stuff is like a clear nail polish and it burns your lips/mouth a bit like Vicks would.

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  13. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by deku View Post
    I started around this age, and still do it at 27.
    So I guess I could suggest what doesn't work?
    The bitter nail polish (while I think is worth a try) I found isn't nearly bitter enough to put me off, and it doesn't last very long. Once you've bitten/sucked a couple of times, it's all licked away. Maybe if you constantly reapply?
    Maybe I was just a pedantic, literal child but I also found the language my parents used completely ineffective. Like "Stop eating your fingernails" when I wasn't "eating" them, I was just chewing them.
    I was also never given a convincing reason why I should stop doing it, so if your child is old enough to be reasoned with I'd definitely suggest this. I know that doesn't help with toddlers though, sorry.
    The only reasons I remember are "you'll lick germs and get sick", but I never did, I actually still rarely get sick and seem to have a great immune system (maybe from all those germs I licked as a child)
    Or that it just looks bad and makes your nails look bad but I didn't get why people would place so much judgement on something as trivial as my fingernails, or why it would apparently bother other people.
    (Mind you, as an adult, I'm well aware that it looks unprofessional and would never do it at work, or in front of customers or if I've been handling chemicals or animals, etc…)
    Slapping the hand away every time you see it might work for a younger child where the behaviour isn't as established, but it didn't stop me from doing it when my parents weren't looking, and just tended to make me feel bad about myself.
    Giving a substitute to bite was a good idea, I've tried this too - but it really doesn't feel as good. And it does feel good, or comforting, or something, I'm not exactly sure but if you can find out what makes it so appealing then it might help you find a solution.

    The only other thing I can think of (besides giving mild electric shocks every time they do it… and no I'm not seriously suggesting this!) is to distract them when you see them do it. Ask them to do something else with their hands or mouth, like a song you could sing with accompanying hand gestures, or counting on their fingers, or simply sipping some water instead.

    Sorry for the long post!
    Thanks very much for your post ! It gave me a lot of insight into the behavior. he just started a few months ago, so may be it is a good time if I act now. It seems like he bites his nail more when he is anxious or nervous, at first I thought it might be just a phase, but now I can see its getting worse. The other day he saw me clipping my fingernail and asked to have his nail clipped. I showed him his fingernail and said there isn't any nail left to be clipped. And I told him if he want to clip his nail like mummy, he needs to let his nail grow and if he bites them, they won't grow. After that every time when he bit his nail, I asked him if he wanted them to grow or not. This worked for a limited of time and after that nothing can stop him biting. I offered him things to bite instead, but they must don't feel as good as biting nails. He found his toenails are still intact and started biting them too, so I put his socks on most of the time so that he can't see them.

    I might try that nail polish as a next step and see how it works. Seems like I have to act earlier than later

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  14. #10
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    My 4yo dd does this too. I said to her yesterday that if she can grow all her fingers with white on them then is paint her fingernails any colour she wants. She's always banging on about getting her nails painted and I've always said no. It's actually a pet hate of mine but I'd do anything to get her to stop biting them.

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