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3 year old biting nails to the quick! What can I do?

(15 Posts)
loisandluce Sun 05-Oct-08 21:30:41

I know this is kind of a minor thing, but my daughter is biting her finger nails right down. I'm feeling guilty about it as I bite my nails and I know she's copying my behaviour. I've told her that she's going to make her fingers sore and to stop, but it seems to be a habit now and even though she promises not to do it, she still does (or at least, I haven't had to cut her nails for months!).
Has anyone else had this problem? What did you do? Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance...

MorocconOil Sun 05-Oct-08 21:35:29

My 3 year old DD is doing it too. I'm trying to ignore it, in the hope it's a phase she'll grow out of. The one time I told her not to do it she did it more.

Have no advice but will watch your thread with interest and hope.

loisandluce Mon 06-Oct-08 16:06:11

Has anyone tried that paint on nail varnish like stuff that's supposed to put you off nail biting? Is it safe for young children?

duckyfuzz Mon 06-Oct-08 16:29:19

my 4yo DTD2 has done this for as long as I can remember. I did manage to stop it over the summer with bribery blush but she's started again since going to school

MorocconOil Mon 06-Oct-08 21:53:29

Haven't tried the nail varnish. I remember using 'stop and grow' as a child. It didn't work.

Do you think they do it because they are anxious?sad

jessia Tue 07-Oct-08 10:04:24

My 5yo DD does it. She is the "nervous disposition" type, a worrier, perfectionist, general lack of self-confidence, so the anxiety thing fits. She also sucks her thumb.
I have decided I'm not going to do anything about it because I think anything I will do will just increase her stress levels and cause her to start doing something else similar. I feel it's a symptom not a problem in itself so by eliminating it I am not eliminating the problem IYSWIM.
FWIW I did all of the above: thumbsucker till my teens, bit finger nails, and even now if I'm stressed I bite the skin around my fingernails, sometimes till they bleed (sorry if TMI) though I hope she doesn't progress to that.

loisandluce Tue 07-Oct-08 18:53:09

I am a bit worried that she's anxious - she's a bit of a perfectionist, likes things just so (but don't many 3 year olds?)... but on the other hand she's outgoing, very tallkative and really articulate. She tends to tell me if she's worried about anything. I think she's seen me do it (I nibble my fingers without thinking a lot) and is emulating it. I can't bare to think that I'm passing on this horrible habbit to her - especially as she's making her fingers sore sad.

Chocolatedays Tue 07-Oct-08 19:12:59

Hi there
This may put me in the bonkers corner but ... I chewed my nails until about 3 years ago. Two things sorted it. One was having regular manicures (I appreciate this completely crazy for a 3 yr old!) I would bite any rough bit so somehow clipping any hangnails may help. The other was improving my zinc intake - this improved the quality if my nails and possibly reduced my urge to chew.

hope this helps

barnsleybelle Tue 07-Oct-08 19:24:37

I think jessia put it right when she said it's a symptom and not the problem.

Ds is now 6 and still bites his nails and sometimes the skin around them. He is a perfectionist too and a bit on the nervous side at times. He plays football for our local team and i can hear the coach shouting "Zak, Stop nibbling your nails and watch the ball"!!!!!

he knows i don't like it, but i just ignore it now as much as i can.

MorocconOil Tue 07-Oct-08 20:58:48

Just had a thought from Choc's post about manicure helping. I might try and make a fuss of DD having 'nice nails' and may spend some time with her putting on nail varnish. I don't like make-up on little girls, but could be worth a try.

What do others think?

barnsleybelle Tue 07-Oct-08 22:06:52

If i'm being perfectly honest, i don't like to see manicure/nail polish etc on one so young.. I think it's too young to start focusing on appearances etc etc.. can of worms and all that.

Having said that my dd is only 13 months so maybe i will change!!!

I would ignore it..

MorocconOil Tue 07-Oct-08 22:12:03

Yes I agree barnsley. There is so much pressure on girls to look good these days, you don't want to be starting it at 3. I'm just going to ignore my DD's nail biting.

barnsleybelle Tue 07-Oct-08 22:16:13

mimizan... hope it works! As i posted earlier ds is still nail biting at 6. Having said that i've nagged/moaned/bribed in the past and he got worse!!! The ignoring started about 3 months ago, so time will tell!!!!!

jessia Wed 08-Oct-08 10:14:03

<<goes off to look up what foods have zinc in them... and hopes to God it's something that DD will eat>> Nice thought, chocdays, will give it a try. Thanks smile

loisandluce Wed 08-Oct-08 18:35:53

Thanks Chocolatedays and Mimizan - I'm definitely going to try zinc (as, like you, my nail biting is more about dealing with chipped and flaking nails than biting for biting's sake) and I'll see what zinc rich food I can give DD.
Mimizan, I understand what you're getting at - trying to show DD that her nails are something she can look after and which can look nice. I don't think you were suggesting a full on visit to the nail bar! I don't like nail varnish on little girls either, but I think it might be worth a shot just to have a mum and daughter play - I can take it off after an hour or so... she wouldn't have to go out of the house in it!
I know this makes it sound as though I'm making a big deal over a very minor thing - don't worry, I know it's not really a big deal! Just wondered if anyone had had the same 'problem'.

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