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Nail Biting

(7 Posts)
WannabeNigella Sun 14-Aug-11 10:05:30

My 4 yr old ds has been biting his nails for about a year now and no matter how many times I tell him to stop when I catch him doing it ( which he does ) I can't seem to break the habit.

I've tried painting that varnish that tastes vile on but that does nothing and now my 18 month old dd is doing it too!

Their nails are a mess, sometimes bleeding, and I just don't know what I can do to stop it.

Please help.

WannabeNigella Sun 14-Aug-11 12:22:55


RosemaryandThyme Sun 14-Aug-11 15:04:06

We have this problem.
This week we went to GP as one finger had got so bad it was infected and needed antibiotics.
The only thing we have found that he wont bite through is a green anti-bite nail varnish available on-line from Boots.
Doctor has now given us a three step plan also.
Basically if he bites again each finger will be coated in marmite for a week, if he bites again each finger will be coated in mustard, if still biting each finger will be duc-taped.
It sounds desperate but he started biting nails at four, is now six and it is horrendous.
GP also gave stern lecture and foul tasting antibiotics.
He hasn't biten them now for five days.
I don't know if any of this will help long term or help you, just wanted to say your not alone .

WannabeNigella Sun 14-Aug-11 20:11:51

God that sounds awful! I didn't consider going to Docs but am at my wits end with it and think dd has seen ds and is copying him.

All day long I'm shouting "fingers!" at one of them. It's awful!

Did you find the boots one was better than stop n grow?

When you coat the fingers how do they play? I've got visions of my Walls etc being smeared in marmite and mustard.

kittensliveupstairs Mon 15-Aug-11 06:10:45

rosemary, your GP sounds mediaeval.
My DD is a dreadful finger and toenail biter. I got some boots own brand stop nail biting stuff, and so far it seems to be doing the trick.
It really is foul tasting and DD appears to be breaking the habit.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Mon 15-Aug-11 06:19:57

What happens if he has marmite or mustard on his fingers and rubs his eyes, Rosemary? That sounds horrendously dangerous.

I have no advice, but I'm interested in hearing from others. I was a chronic nail biter as a child, I'm still a nail biter to an extent, and I have short nail beds and weak nails as a result. My husband hates it, although he realises it's nowt to do with him, and so he watches DD (almost 3) vigilantly for any signs of the habit. I don't want her to develop a complex about normal childhood fidgeting, but he thinks nip it in the bud as soon as possible. No idea who's right.

phlossie Mon 15-Aug-11 17:27:23

Argh - my DH is a horrendous nail biter, his nails are disgusting and he has horrible stubby fingers.

My 5.5 yo DS started nail biting about 6-9 months ago. I have managed to stop it with a bit of old fashioned bribery. I inspect his nails once a week, if they're long he gets a smiley face on a chart, if any of them are bitten he gets a sad face. At the end of a period of time (which is a bit vague!), if he has enough smiley faces he gets some new Top Trumps.

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