Published: 06/01/2012 - Updated: 09/04/2018
Author: S.M. Aiquipa
Do you want to know what to do to make your child leaves the habit of nail biting?, Are you all the time behind to scold him or her?, With these attitudes you will only strengthen your child's obsession and lengthen the habit, which may accompany him/her through adolescence, and maybe adulthood.
As indicated by pediatricians, it is common for children to begin this habit, at the two or three years of age, either by tension, nervousness, curiosity or another type of anxiety. Through biting they relieve, relax, and cope with stress and just like one day they learned to do it, another day they will forget it.
It is proved that all children experience anxiety when they learn something new, when they are changed to another school or are embarrassed to approach other children at a party or in the park. The key is that parents achieve a rapprochement with their children to discover, naturally without forcing, the cause that leads them to hurt their fingers and nails.
Until you discover or recognize the problems of the situation, do not scold your child, this is an unconscious habit as well as a nervous tic. Even the child doesn’t know what he/she is doing. Punishing or scolding, won’t help you, you will only achieve a child that becomes unsafe for blame.
Change with Love
What you must do is to find a friendly dialogue with your child, explaining the damage that can cause nail biting. Saying that you love him/her very much and you do not like the idea of him or her getting hurt.
Each time your children try to nail biting, tell them to be aware, but not as a sermon. When your child tells you that the activity has been controlled for a long lapse of time, praise him or her. If it’s a girl, you can encourage her with something, if she manages to grow normally her tiny fingernails, you can paint her nails in the weekend with color she wants. If you have a boy, you could announce him that you will buy a nice story book with stickers that he could paste by himself.
Some people recommend that if it’s a hard situation you could apply a harmless enamel unpalatable to break this habit, however your child could take it as a punishment and there will be regression in progress, this will depend on the degree of confidence you have with him or her.
A specific technique will work with each child. As parents, it’s our responsibility to choose the right one, but remember not to criticize or ridicule your child’s habit of onychophagia, as is also called the action of biting nails.
Do not forget that your child is not the only one, it is estimated that approximately 40 to 45 percent of children bite their nails and most overcome this habit while growing.
You should make an analysis of how your child is growing, if your home is providing the entire understanding and attention he/she requires. Many times the problem is not them, but the behavior of parents and how they are treated. If there is child with fears, because he sees his parents fighting all the time, this can trigger nail-biting and other behaviors.
Looking for help
If, finally, the years pass and your child has not been able to stop this mania and nail biting is accompanied by other habits such as pinching, pulling hair or eyelashes, it's time to talk with your pediatrician and / or seek help from a psychologist.
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