Advice! My son bites his nails.

Krystyn - posted on 11/30/2011 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I cant get him to stop, either he picks at them or bites them. he started it a few months ago but now i cant get him to stop. i noticed hes started biting his toe nails as well. any advice to get him to stop? hes only four!

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Amiela - posted on 12/11/2011

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my son bit his fingernails and toenails when he was 3. it took me a long time to realize that he does this when he has nothing to do. like when he is watching tv. what i dod was i started giving him exercises that will keep his hands busy like providing him with crayons and drawings to color, encourage him to draw, any activity that will keep him busy. then he stopped.

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Sandy - posted on 12/11/2011

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Our daughter has been biting her nails since she had teeth. Before that, she'd put her fingers and toes in her mouth. At three and a half years old, daddy started her on "the socks and gloves (bandages when we didn't have gloves) of shame." She thought it was funny, but has curbed most of her nail biting and hangnail/skin picking. Sometimes, she bites her nails or skin to the point of bleeding. We put ointment and bandages on what we can, but the pain and blood have also helped to curb her biting. However, she now goes for a bandage every time she has a hangnail or cuticle fray. Sigh.

Heidi - posted on 12/11/2011

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We're not nail biters, but my son started around 3.5yrs and we tried the nail polish, but it would only work for a few minutes. The biting was compulsive and often he seemed unaware of it. We consistently said "fingers out of your mouth!" and it felt like we were just a broken record - for a long time. Then, last month, I was making breakfast and said "you've got dirty nails" ... then realized "hey! you HAVE nails to get dirty!" (He's 5 now.) We made a big deal out of telling Grammie and Grampie how proud we were of him, and it seems an occasional/rare issue now. His little sister (3) is now starting, and I'm sure it's related to losing her binkie (soother) as she was very attached to it and has a bit of a thing with putting things in her mouth. We're trying to remind her everytime we see it, too, and while it hasn't gotten too bad (yet) we're just keeping our fingers crossed! Good luck!!

Anna - posted on 12/06/2011

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I used to do that as a child myself and I remember that one day my dad told me biting nails causes ringworms and I stopped cold turkey right after that.

Marthie - posted on 12/06/2011

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I know people say it is a learned habit, but I have one of the rare occasions where it isn't. I don't bite my nails, and neither does my husband. My son has started biting his nails since he started teething. Eversince then I had noticed that there are never any nails on his fingers to cut, no matter how often I try. We had tied his fingers together with bandaid, we have covered it in all sorts of fluids available to help stop this habit, and still, at age 4 he bites his nails. There is always a nailclipper available, in fact he knows where it is, and when he sees me cutting my nails asks me to cut his too. Of course he gets very upset because there are no nails on is fingers to cut. I have tried any an all advice I receive (even chilli sauce on his nails while he sleeps, I am ashamed to say) but he still does it. So I too would appreciate some advice on this - nothing else worked.

I had an uncle who had this same compulsion, because it is more a compulsion than a habit with my son, and the uncle did this until the day he died. It would be interesting to know if it is hereditary. I flick my son's fingers whenever I catch him with his hand near his mouth, so now he hides away to bite his nails. At least he hasn't started biting his toe nails yet! Small blessings!

Lynda - posted on 12/05/2011

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My son, now 4 1/2 went through this and he probably did it because I do. Yes, he even tried to bite his toenails too. When I would tell him to stop, he would say "But you do it Mommy" and to that I would respond "But Mommy should not do it either". He continued for a while, maybe a month or so and I tried not to bite my nails around him and he gradually stopped. Try seeing if something is bothering him and if he's doing it for that reason. Most likely, it will hopefully stop on it's own. My nail biting is stress induced, so if there has been a stressor in his life, that might be it. Try keeping his nails cut short and see if that helps.

Tina - posted on 12/04/2011

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All I have to say is good luck. I'm 33 and I still bite my nails. It's such a bad habit and I now get fake nails put on so o don't bite them. Sorry I'm such a downer but it is a hard habbit to break. do u or your spouse bite your nails around him? Why I ask is because I believe it is a learned behavior that they sew someone else doing. My mom did it and now I do it. Maybe with him only being 4 you can start early at getting on him to stop. Good luck

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I keep my daughter's nails short. When I see her starting to bite them, I ask her if she'd like them clipped. Most of the time she runs to the bathroom for the clippers. I started at about 4/5 years old because I hated having dirt under my nails. So I try to make sure that my daughter's are clean between clippings. It has cut her biting down to a rarity (it also helped that she's seen me really work on not biting my own).

Alisha - posted on 11/30/2011

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well they have that nail polish at wal-mart that taste bad. or you could put tape on his nails that puts a layer between his nails and teeth that can bug him a bit which can make him frustrated and he can give up. but that's all i can really give my daughter hasn't gone through this yet but its the best i can do hope it helps some

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