Sunday, April 30, 2023

My child is biting his nails. What do I do about it? When is nail biting harmful?

Nail biting is a bad habit:

Many children bite their nails for a variety of reasons, such as boredom, stress relief, a bad habit, or imitating others. Nail biting is one of the most common bad habits in children, as is thumb sucking or teeth grinding.

If this habit is not dealt with, it can continue into adulthood. Therefore, if you notice that your child is unconsciously biting his nails in response to certain situations, such as watching TV or studying, this means that this habit is a way to deal with stress and anxiety.

What do I do if my child bites his nails?

Here are some tips to deal with the habit of biting nails in children:

Address your child's fears:

The first step that most parents take to prevent their children from biting their nails is to prevent them from doing so, but this is not a way to solve the problem, because the habit of nail biting is a child's behavior to express anxiety and fear.

To solve this problem, we have to find a way to make the child less anxious and afraid. We have to help the child overcome the things that worry him, such as instability in the family, school anxiety, or anything else that causes him stress. Once these concerns are addressed, nail biting behavior can decrease.

Do not punish or scold the child:

Nail biting is usually done unconsciously. That is, the child does not do this of his own free will. That is why he should not be punished or forced to leave the habit by scolding him. Even adults have habits that they may unconsciously do that they can't control.

In general, as long as your child doesn't hurt himself and doesn't seem too nervous, the advice is to cut the child's nails well and not focus attention on him when he's biting his nails. Because watching him and pressuring him to stop will increase the state of stress and stress and promote nail biting behavior.

Do not use drugstore polish as a first-line solution to prevent nail biting. This polish has a bad taste and applying it to the nails will prevent the child from biting them. But for you, it will be a punishment for the child rather than a cure for the problem, and it may lead to pushing him to follow another bad habit.

Help him become aware of this habit:

Most children bite their nails unconsciously. You have to discuss, talk to and encourage them in order to realize how bad this habit is. A child can become aware of this habit by using something that reminds them of it, such as tying tape or an adhesive bandage on their finger to remember each time they bite their nails.

Submit an alternative:

Suggest an alternative activity for the child such as playing. Have him play at times when he usually bites his nails, such as at bedtime or before going to school.

Teach him some relaxation techniques:

In order to relieve anxiety and stress, the child can be taught relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or clenching and releasing their fists.

Make sure he has plenty of opportunities to play and run around indoors and outdoors in order to burn off energy and relieve his stress.

Learning skills such as handicrafts or playing a musical instrument can relieve anxiety. But learning this should not be a necessary task, but rather a hobby that he does whenever he wants.

Keep trying:

Do not despair if you do not succeed in stopping your child from biting his nails, this is a bad habit that is ingrained and he needs some time to stop it. You have to try many solutions to help him quit the habit.

Try bitter nail polish as a last resort:

In the end, if the child cannot stop biting his nails, the last option he recommends is to use bitter nail polish. Don't use this polish as a first choice to prevent nail biting, use it as a last resort.

When is nail biting harmful?

Intense nail biting for a long time or all the time indicates severe anxiety from the child. In this case, the child may feel pain or injure his fingers. Such behaviors are a cause for concern and you should consult a doctor to deal with them.