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How to stop nail biters?!

By October 13, 2008 - 1:55pm
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Does anyone have nailbiters in their homes??

How do I nicely discourage this habit? Thanks!

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We did the bitter stuff on the fingers bit with our kids, and that seemed to help. But, I felt as though we were turning our kids into Pavlov's dogs!

October 15, 2008 - 6:31pm

Celtic thunder, you didn't say how old your nail-biters are. Are they elementary school age? Pre-teen? Teenager?

Would something as simple as nail polish help (even a few coats of clear) simply because it makes the nail thicker and harder to chew? (Not to mention pretty, which might be a help as well.)

One article on nail-biting says this:

"Nail biting is the most common of the so-called "nervous habits," which include thumb sucking, nose picking, hair twisting or tugging, and tooth grinding, and is the most likely to continue into adulthood. About a third of grade-schoolers and half of adolescents bite their nails, and between a quarter and a third of college students admit to still gnawing on theirs.

"Nail biting is often a way of relieving the intense but transient tensions of childhood. All children get anxious. Learning something new in school or feeling shy at a party or on the playground are common triggers."

Here is the article, which includes some tips on what to do:


Here's another article, which points out that 60 percent of 10-year-olds bite their nails. It discusses such solutions as painting a bitter substance on the nails (which calls the child's attention consciously to the habit), a gold-star system, or having the child help you figure out how they can stop:


October 14, 2008 - 9:04am
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