Monday, May 10, 2010

Nail Biting in Children

Nail Biting in Children

Many children suddenly develop the habit of biting their nails and as parents it becomes a difficult task to make them get rid of this habit. While this is more common with the school going children, yet many toddlers and preschoolers might also develop the habit of nail biting.
So, if your child has started the habit of nail biting, then you should be rightfully concerned. It is unhygienic and can lead to various infections. A child might develop this habit for various reasons. He might be tensed, internally depressed or might even be imitating a friend. Therefore it is also important for you to address the cause, before you impose external means to get rid of this habit.
Here is a list of the few ways in which you can help your child get rid of this habit.
If your child is capable of understanding the situation or is old enough for conversation, you might talk to him or her about the bad effects of nail biting. It is certainly not enough to say that it is a bad habit, and therefore you want him to stop. If he understands the ill effects and the pain this habit might cause him later, he might try to stop. And in this case, it is important that you make it a point to acknowledge his effort and praise him if he manages to discontinue biting his nails.
If your child has developed this habit, you cannot possibly stop him by punishing him. In certain cases punishment has produced the opposite effect. It has made the child more adamant, and immune to reproaches. Punishing him for something which he cannot control will not make him get rid of the habit, and will only contribute in making him a difficult child.
It is important for you to trim his nails and keep them short so that it becomes difficult for him to bite his nails.
If your child is still a toddler, try to keep his hands engaged with toys or other things. This will divert his attention and he will probably no longer be interested in biting his nails.
Peer pressure can work wonders for school going children and reactions from the schoolmates can automatically put a stop to this habit.
If your child persists with this habit, and it becomes destructive, then taking professional medical help might be a good idea.
Getting your child to stop the habit of nail biting might be a difficult task, but these steps will help you achieve the result in a quick and effective manner.
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Parents should really be concerned if their children gets the habit of nail biting. Unhealthy habit such as nail biting should be stopped before it becomes a hard habit to break.

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