Onychophagia, the technical term for the common disease of nail biting is prevalent amongst 30% of children aged between 7 to 10 years. However, how does this addictive habit of nail biting start? What causes children to continuously bite their nails? Is there a way to prevent this from turning into a habit at a very early age?
Reasons Behind the Compulsive Disorder
One of the ways of preventing nail biting is to apply bitter-tasting nail polish over the nails. This will naturally repel the child and he or she will own his or her own stop compulsively biting the nails. There are a number of reasons that cause the Onychophagia or the nail biting syndrome. Reasons such as boredom, stress, imitation and sometimes, mere habit attribute to compulsive nail biting.
Do Not Punish your Child for this
There are numerous ways of stopping this habit. However, you must first figure out why it is that your child is indulging in this habit. If it is mere imitation, you will have to explain it to the child that it is a bad habit and he or she should also ask the friend to stop doing it. If need be, talk to the friend as well. You should not be punishing him or her for this habit because it isn’t something the child does on purpose. Most of the time, he or she is unconsciously indulging into it.
Address the Cause Behind the Cause
Hence, address the reason rather than addressing the cause. If he or she is stressed, try to figure out the reason behind the stress. Talk to the child about things that are a part of his or her daily routine. See if he or she is going through untoward. If so, address the problem and chances are that the nail biting habit will vanish on its own.
Provide Other Alternatives
However, if the indulgence is due to boredom then, first and foremost, explain to the child that it is a bad habit and he or she should not be doing it. In order to break the habit, provide the child with other alternatives such as silly putty, a book to read, a tri-cycle or any other kind of distraction that will keep his or her hands busy.
Resort to Extreme Measures only if Nothing Else Works
Only if necessity bids, turn to extreme measures such as hypnotherapy or a foul tasting nail polish. For these foul tasting liquids aren’t a very healthy remedy, sometimes, you may feel compelled to use them. Comparatively, hypnotherapy is a better idea. However, even this one isn’t safe unless you have found a qualified hypnotist to indulge into it.
Or, Use these fake nails techniques for nail bitters.
Councillor is your Best Bet
However, before indulging into these practices, one must definitely knock the door of a psychological councillor. He or she may be able to track down the reason behind your child’s compulsive habit. Again, make sure that you go to a well qualified and experienced councillor.