is nailbiting a sign of stress?

Melanie - posted on 11/02/2010 ( 4 moms have responded )

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My 5 year old daughter suddenly started biting her nails and no matter how many times I've asked her not too because it would look ugly when she's older. I started using the cutex that is supposed to taste bad, but I haven't seen any impovement yet. Maybe too soon to notice? Can it be stress related?

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Megan - posted on 11/05/2010

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I bit my nails and suck my thumb. I don't suck my thumb anymore ( the last time I was pregnant with my 2yr old.) I still bite my nails on occasion normally when I am board. This and thumb sucking run in the family. The nail polish you put on the nails didn't work for me I loved the taste. My husband has the children patting my hand when ever they see me bitting my nails as it something that neither child does and we don't want them to start.

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I started because I hated seeing the dirt under my nails. I stopped by always making sure my nails were clean and by keeping them short.

Sara - posted on 11/03/2010

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Do you or your husband bite your nails. I have a habit of picking at my cuticles and my son picks up on that and copies me so I have to stop that habit so he will stop too. Just something to consider.

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I grew up in a very stressful home and I bit my nails. I was in my late 20's before I finally stopped for good. So I would say yes, it could be stress related. It could also be that she saw another kid doing it and just copied them. Once you start doing it though, it becomes a habit and just like all other habits, can be hard to break. Maybe try making her nails pretty with a little pink polish, so that she doesn't want to mess them up? Or offer a treat (a sticker, an extra trip to the park,etc) for every day she goes without biting. I know with me, that nasty tasting nail polish didn't work, even when I was little.

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