There are many factors underlying the habit of nail biting in children. We touched on all the factors that are considered as the cause of nail biting in children, from parental behavior to school anxiety, and solutions!
Why do children eat nails?
Nail biting is a condition that is usually seen at the age of 3-4 years and is much more common in girls than boys. Especially with the transition to adolescence, there can be a serious increase in the habit of nail biting. So much so that there are many people who continue this habit into adulthood.
Child Health and Diseases Nail biting is more common in children who are under the influence of overly oppressive parents or a harsh teacher. Just like the thumb sucking habit, psychological problems often lie behind this situation. We can list the causes of nail biting in children as follows:
- stress and anxiety disorders,
- Low self esteem,
- Having someone who bites nails in the family or in the immediate environment (Children can imitate these people),
- Behavioral errors of parents,
- Domestic violence and incompatibility,
- Anxiety that arises at school age.
What are the causes of nail biting in school-age children?
With school, new rules and responsibilities enter the child’s life. Being separated from the mother, the duties and homework given at school can put pressure on the child. In addition, when the family exhibits a perfectionist attitude, the child starts biting nails in order to relieve the tension and pressure on him. the child;
- not self-confident,
- fear of failure,
- Having problems in friendship relations,
- Having a success-oriented parent profile,
- Having educational problems due to attention deficit or learning difficulties,
- Having problems with school and teachers can lead to nail biting.
How to prevent a child from biting nails?
- “Ignoring” may be the most effective method as a nail biting solution for children aged 3-4 years. However, if the habit continues for a long time, you should consider the underlying causes and seek expert support if necessary.
- The support of parents is extremely important to prevent nail biting in children. If this is due to a lack of love and interest, you should spend more frequent and quality time with your child.
- You should not be angry, pressure or punish your child for biting nails. “Take your hand off your mouth.” “You are acting like a baby.” Instead of warnings like this, you should direct your child’s attention to activities that will please him. Painting, playing with play dough can be effective methods to keep his hands busy.
- You can explain the harms of nail biting to your child. But you shouldn’t do it by scaring him. Fear will not be a solution to this problem, and it can also cause problems in the emotional world of your child.
- Nail biting habit can become more common in children towards adolescence. Experts say that this may be due to lack of approval from the environment. As much as possible, you should engage in behaviors that will reinforce your child’s self-confidence.
- You can put a light glove on your child before going to sleep so that they don’t bite their nails at night.
- Deep cutting of nails can work in some cases. You can buy a nail care kit for your child to do their own nail care.
- You may wonder if nail biting in children will go away with nail polish by using bitter nail polish during the day, the child can be reminded not to bite their nails. He is of the opinion that certain liquids, which are bitter but harmless, make the child abandon this behavior.
- On the other hand, says that instead of behaving like applying hot nail polish or hot pepper to the child who bites nails, the pressure of the parents on the child should be removed. That is, because of the nail biting behavior, the problem is not in the child; you have to call yourself.
In which situations should a child’s nail biting be taken seriously?
Although nail biting is a condition that goes away on its own as children get older, it sometimes needs to be taken seriously. In such cases, the treatment of the child who bites nails should be done by a specialist.
- The hands of a child who eats nails excessively may begin to bleed after a while. This can even lead to the child biting their toenails and biting their cuticles. If you observe such a situation in your child, you should definitely consult a specialist.
- Nail biting habit, although rare, can indicate an anxiety disorder in children. You should contact a child psychologist so that both the anxieties and the symptoms they cause disappear.