Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nail biting

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Between the ages of three and six, watch out for any signs of fingernails biting or cuticle picking as this is when nail-biting starts. Other studies say that about 40 percent of children between ages five and 18 nibble fingernails and a fraction-toenails. Both boys and girls are likely to develop the habit during the early years. But when they start to mature, its the boys who are likely to be fixated.

No matter how annoying the habit becomes, never ridicule or punish your child. Withhold your negative comments. Parents should avoid calling attention to the mannerism. Look for pressures or stresses in your child's life that you can help lessen. Also, the discomfort, bleeding, and pain from nail-biting will probably make your child stop the habit on his or her own.

Commercial preparations are available to help your child overcome nail biting. Apply these over-the-counter, bitter-tasting substances on your child's nails. Every time your child unconciously nail bites he or she will be reminded not to chew on his or her nails. This has a relatively low success rate. But if your child is really keen on beating the habit, it may be just as effective as other methods.

Allow your female child to use nail polish. In that way, she will be more conscious of good grooming and appearance. Always praise your child. Use a reward system to reinforce the new habit.

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