My son chews on his fingers untill they bleed and hes not even aware hes doing it. How do I get him to stop?

Susanne - posted on 08/15/2011 ( 10 moms have responded )

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I've tried putting the bad tasting nail polish on but that doesn't work because hes chewing the skin at the pads or sides of his fingers. Plus he liked the taste of it. I try correcting him on it but he's 5 now and I can't watch him every minute, and he can't go more than a minute or two without chewing. I need help!

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Danielle - posted on 10/24/2011

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Hi there. I am having this sort of problem with my 18 month old. He has been biting his hands so hard that he has made them bleed. He has moved to his wrists, pointer finger and thumb as well as his toes. Did you find any relief? I am going to have a Sensory Processing Disorder test done on him because he is in therapy due to his Infantile Spasms. Any help will ease my mind.

THANKS!

Tara - posted on 08/16/2011

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Maybe get him a worry bracelet or pin? My mom had one that I got her when she developed agoraphobia and it helped her nervous tension loads.

All he has to do is just rub the bracelet/pin when he feels stressed, instead of chewing his fingers. That way, he still has an outlet for whatever is stressing him enough to chew his fingers, but you can avoid damage to his hands.

Susanne - posted on 10/27/2011

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Danielle you have my sympathy, you must be a very strong woman to be able to deal with your sons issues. Whatever you do, don't give up. If what your doctors say doesn't feel right, get a second opinion. You can help your son by making sure he gets the right treatment. You know him better than any doctor can and you will find a solution. Stay stong, and I really hope thoes answers come sooner rather than later. And feel free to talk to me whenever!

Susanne - posted on 08/16/2011

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@ Tara - I doubt that he has any kind of disorder because this behavior is new and he has had no other repetitve behavior prior to this. But if it worsens I might just get him checked.

@ Louise - I thought about the gloves but his chewing is so bad that he would have to wear them all the time, and I can't find any that are small enough that he would still be able to use a pen or play with his lego. I tried band-aids but they just fall off. I just cant think of anything else to put on his hands. Any ideas?

Louise - posted on 08/16/2011

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My brother was the same growing up it is purely nervous tension and is a habit rather than anything else. Try buying him some cotton gloves to wear whilst watching tv as this will gently break him out of the habit. The more you tell him to stop the more stressed he will get so give him some gloves and then you have no need to tell him off. Also giving him the gloves will make him realise he is doing it. He really does not have a clue he is doing it, just like my brother. My brother is 42 now and he still bites his nails when stressed. See how the gloves work it might just be enough to stop him.

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Carol - posted on 08/22/2014

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thanks for this site, really helped me cause my son also bites his fingers till the skin grows dry and black in colour, at first he use to suck his thumb.

Danielle - posted on 10/26/2011

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Susanne, today Kai pulled his hair so hard that he pulled some it out. His head isn't bleeding, but I know it had to of hurt. I have his Therapist and Pediatricians helping me with locating a doctor that can help in his situation. I just do not know what to do. I do not know if his slow development has anything to do with it. I have looked all over the internet and so far nothing.

Susanne - posted on 10/26/2011

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@ Sherri - I've tried calling him on it but he just ignores me. I do think it has something to do with worry/stress/nervousness or pent up energy.

@ Danielle - His behavior has lessened since he started school, it hasn't gone away but I'm finding hes doing it less. I'm still working on finding out what it is, but he's no longer chewing until he bleeds so I'm just letting it go and waiting to see what happens next. Maybe he'll just stop one day. Hope you get some answers with your little guy, it sounds much worse than my sons.

Sherri - posted on 10/24/2011

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It sounds simply like a habit and the only thing to stop it is to call him on it as soon as you see it each and every time.

Tara - posted on 08/16/2011

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Have you had him evaluated for a sensory processing disorder? Sometimes constant chewing (or picking at things, tapping, fidgeting, etc) are signs of children having difficulty processing all the things they see/hear/do in a day.

If it is bad enough that he is chewing his fingers until they bleed I would recommend having him checked out. There are a lot of things they can do with cognitive therapy and there are special "chewy toys" that apparently help.

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