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When to worry about nail biting

My son is 3 1/2 years old and has been biting his nails since he was 2. Doctor said that he would get over it but 1 1/2 year later he's still doing it and he's biting it to the point where he barely has any nails left. I have tried the nasty nail polish too and that did not help at all. He's a good kid, I don't see a reason why he should be "nervous" about anything. Do you think I should leave him be or consider seeing another doctor?

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Asked by alleyaces at 3:17 PM on Oct. 14, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 3 (16 Credits)
Answers (6)
  • Leave him be. At least you don't have to worry about cutting them. Sometimes I wish my kids would bite theirs!

    Answer by mompam at 3:18 PM on Oct. 14, 2010

  • there are adults who still bite their nails. If it isn't a health concern, I'd let it go

    Answer by peanutsmommy1 at 3:19 PM on Oct. 14, 2010

  • I was the same way. I Started biting my nails when I was like 1 or 2 and I JUST STOPPED this year. (I'm 28!!) I would bite them till they were just about gone. Sometimes I would even make them bleed. When I quit smoking (for some reason) I also quit biting my nails. It wasn't planned it just happened. I don't think it is as much of a nervous thing as much as it just becomes habit. (Over time) My suggestion is to break that habit now. Or at least keep him aware that YOU don't like it. I have a similar issue with my daughter and her thumb. Dr.'s have also told me to not worry about it and that it'll pass. IMO they are full of poo and just don't know what to tell me!! I sucked my thumb way older than I should have been and it caused me major problems with my teeth.

    Answer by Dorothy24 at 3:37 PM on Oct. 14, 2010

  • I bit my nails until I was grown. My mother tried absolutely everything to get me to stop and all to no avail. I don't know why I did it, but I finally gave it up when I chose to. It's not that big of a deal, so I would stop trying to make him stop.

    Answer by NannyB. at 5:02 PM on Oct. 14, 2010

  • I've worked with many parents who have children that are nail biters. That bad tasting polish didn't work for any of them! If they want to bite their nails, they just get used to the taste! For a few days watch it to see when it is happening more frequently. Then you may try something that's a distractor. Most kids aren't biting on their nails when they're playing (i.e. building with lego's, racing their cars). More of the children I've seen do it more during idle times. Most arent' even conscious that they're doing it! It's hard to know if it's stress related because I don't know your child, but that could have been the cause of the beginning of it. It also may have just started because he had a tiny piece of broken nail and bit it off then started biting. After awhile, it just becomes a habit. Most do it at idel times (watching tv). Give him a rubber stress ball to squeeze. That often is a good distractor.

    Answer by AlisonAstair at 1:00 PM on Oct. 15, 2010

  • AlisonAstair is right. As a former nail bitter myself (who quit last year, lol). Most of us aren't aware we even do it until it's already done. Distractions are the best thing to focus on. After a while our subconscious will stop focusing on our nails as a way to "keep busy" or stop a nervous habit, etc. Keeping my nails manicured weekly help me, because I like to keep them "pretty looking" although for a boy that's not going to work as well, lol. You could try things like kid bandages to put on his fingers so he can't bit them. It will make him have to reprogram this behavior and focus it elsewhere.

    Answer by xxhazeldovexx at 11:23 PM on Oct. 15, 2010

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