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Biting Nails

How can I stop my 5 year old son from biting his nails? He doesn't even realize that he's doing it, until I tell him to stop. He has bitten one so bad, that it was bleeding. I can't find the nail polish that tastes really bad to stop him from biting his nails, so is there anything I can do that is homemade? Any help at all would be appreciated!


Melanie from Ontario, Canada

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December 19, 20060 found this helpful

You could try putting hot sauce on his nails but you'd have to be careful he didn't rub his eyes. You might try vinegar. Maybe wearing gloves would work.

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December 20, 20060 found this helpful

Before you dip/paint his fingers, after trimming nails, take a new fine emory board and file downwards at the same time as OUTwards towards the tip of every nail, and from each corner INward, being careful not to OVER file them. Feel each one carefully for snags and missed places. Inform the child that should he feel them catch on fabrics, or get dry or long, to notify you immediately, purposing in your own heart to act quickly to relieve the child's


Then make a point to check the nails each week, doing the same thing for your child with the filing, BECAUSE most nail biting habits begin because the nails were too long, or the cuticles loose/ripped/dry, or the parent(s) won't take the time to oversee the child's nails. Use a good hand cream/lotion OR chap stick on each finger DAILY. Show the child what you expect of them and how to apply to each one, explaining that it needs about 15 min. to soak in and/or soften the fingertips.

Then, if this doesn't help a great deal, try harder to reduce the stress of the child. Next, make certain

the soap the child is using is liquid and for soft hands.

Most of the time nailbiting comes because something

is loose, brittle, broken, irregular, inflammed, and

neglected on children's nails, as well as the hand soaps are often too harsh, not helping the situation!

Try to analyze the possibilities before scolding or criticizing them, letting the chemicals be a last resort,

BECAUSE, even with chemicals, the OTHER original

reasons may still remain in place. Buy them special

hand lotion and place it besides their hand soaps,

instructing/permitting them to use a few drops AFTER

drying hands well when wet/clean.

As an avid nail biter when a child, teen, I can attest

also to the fact that my health was not the best. I needed regular children's chewable vitamins/minerals ("Complete" formula) DAILY. Watch that the child doesn't wear a lot of knits, woolens, and loose weave cloth or socks.

Often times the parents don't place enough value on this simple problem which then turns into a habit.

Most nailbiters can be helped early on.

These are important lessons to help the child to develop good hygeine and grooming for all of his life. It can be a good and quality time of togetherness. Be sure to reassure, respect them for telling you of their need, and talk positively along with the lesson.

Good luck, Merry Messiahmas/Christmas, and God bless you as you steward your child. : )

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December 20, 20060 found this helpful

Good luck with your son. I bit my nails when I was a child and no matter what my parents did I could not stop. They tried bribing me, embarrassing me, painting my nails with that awful stuff and even red nail polish so I'd notice my nails but nothing helped. When I was in my late teens I met someone that I cared a great deal about and he used to play with my nails as we held hands. I didn't want him to notice my ugly nails so I just quit biting them. It was easy to quit because I wanted to, not someone else making me stop. You have to find a way to make your son want to stop for himself. Oh by the way, I married that wonderful man 29 years ago.

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December 20, 20060 found this helpful

My daughter used to bite her nails when she was little. The way I got her to stop was to allow her to bite nine nails and leave one untouched[she could pick the nail not to bite] then eight, then seven and so on, she is now all grown up with nails that everyone admires

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December 20, 20060 found this helpful

I am glad this subject was posted as my 6 1/2 yr old son bites his nails very badly. He was adopted from Russia and was born quite premature. He has sensory problems and delays. He's always liked putting things in his mouth and has a need to chew on things so it didn't surprise me he started chewing his fingernails. I've also seen him bite his toenails as well! His fingernails look so bad and are just down to the quick and sometimes bleed. I'm not sure if he will understand if I try to explain why he shouldn't do it. I thought of doing the hot sauce but it would be terrible then if he rubbed his eyes so I'd better not try it.

I will read all the posts better and hope someone might have more answers.

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December 21, 20060 found this helpful

Plain rubbing alcohol tastes really vile. You just need to reapply after each handwashing. But, the bottom line is-does he want to stop?

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December 29, 20060 found this helpful

First figure out why he's biting them. Is it just a habit or does he do it as a coping mechanism. If it is to cope when he's stressed, help him with other options or he could develop a worse habit. If it's just a bad habit, I like some of the ideas that are a little more gentle.

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January 11, 20070 found this helpful

Break and rub a bird's eye chilli over his nails. You will need to do this several times a day, especially if he washes his hands a lot.

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