Nail biting


I was reading a story to Caleb last night and I noticed that he had his hands in his mouth a lot. He had been doing to for a few days. I finally got to have a look at his hands which I should have done earlier, but I have the never quite valid enough excuse, of being busy and distracted. I noticed that he had chewed all his nails off, the one finger he had even started chewing the skin.

I nearly burst into tears. I have never biten my nails and have never had siblings or kids do it before and I have this preconceived idea that it a manifestation of stress and worry. That sometimes kids don’t even know that things bother them but they do and they show in things like nail bitting.

So I need some help here. Am I right? Is it a sign of something going on or were they just annoying him. He said that I had not cut them and he was worried they would get too long. He knows I always cut them and if I might have forgotten he could just come and tell me that they are a bit long and I would cut them.

My heart bleeds that he might even subconsciously be worried about the appointment tomorrow. Poor thing. I have been very calm but will be glad to have the appointment and be on the way to finding out what it is.

Did you bite your nails?
Do your kids bite their nails?
Should I be worried or am I over reacting?

11 thoughts on “Nail biting

  1. Madelaine started biting her nails at a very young age. It started when we had issues with the nusery she was in at that stage. She haven’t stopped biting, tried all the bitter stuff to put on to stop her from doing it, but no success. Now she is just doing it, out of habbit.

  2. I bit my nails my whole life. About two years ago I decided I didn’t want broken nails anymore and i stopped. It never affected me badly or was a sign of anxiety. It was just an absent minded thing. Yeah, it’s an unpleasant habit, but one many people have. I don’t think you need to stress – while at the same time it would of course make most sense for you to nip it in the bud now.

  3. I’ve bitten my nails for as long as I can remember. Hey I might have deep seated issues… or it’s just a random habit.

    I think the first time that I can recall biting them was because they were a little long and I was playing sports. Kinda got in the way I guess.

    It may seem horribly obvious, but have you asked him why he’s doing that? Might get a very simple answer… and if he’s not sure perhaps then it is a sign of stress.

  4. I used to bite my nails as a child. Don’t think it was an anxiety thing. It probably started off as getting rid of them when they were too long, and then developed into a habit. My mother tried everything to get me to stop, but I just used to lick that awful nail stop stuff off and carry on. One day in my teens I decided it was time to stop, and I’ve never looked back. I wouldn’t assume it’s anxiety related, but probably worth checking if he can say why he does it, and like others have said…if you can nip it in the bud now, great. Otherwise, it seems to only work if the person biting decides to stop when they’re ready. Good luck!

  5. I bit my nails until I was 15… no idea why. It was just a habit. Neither of my boys do tough. But many of my friend’s kids do.
    I am very intrigued and interested as to why some kids do though and how/when/why they start…

    I am not convinced it is stress, since my kids hardly have calm stable lives, and some of those that do bite seem to have very loving and happy stable homes…

  6. Christopher is also biting his nails. I’ve been using that stop bite nail stuff and so far so good.
    I was a nailbiter. Not from stress as a child, and no issues that made me start. I just did it, mostly when I was bored. I wouldn’t stress Sal.

  7. I was a nail biter and this was purely due to the fact that I was bored sometimes. And with this boredom and nail biting going along, it became a habit. A nasty one that is.
    The only way that I stopped this in it’s tracks, is when I became an adult and did my nails (acrylic.) Now when I do rest my nails for 3 months or so, I do not bite my nails anymore due to the fact that the acrylic helped me to stop. I know that this is not something you can do for your son, so I hope that someone else have some advice for you.

  8. Ohhhhhhhhh, I’m a nail biter and I have been for much of my life. This is going to sound weird, but the best I can explain it is that I like the way it feels. When I bite my nail off, the skin that was under the nail is all soft and tender and sensitive and it feels nice to touch it. The problem is that then it becomes a habit and I do it without thinking about it, and then I bite the nails down too far and they bleed. I don’t purposely make them bleed, it’s more like I miscalculated how much more I could chew them. Sigh. Anyway, the point of all this is that it’s entirely possible that it’s not an anxiety-driven behavior for your boy 🙂

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