Childhood Diseases

Posted by: fiona | 2011-05-02


nail biting

i need to know how i can stop my 12 yr old from biting his fingernails..

Expert's Reply



This is not easy to do in a child of this age. One important thing is not to keep on mentioning your son's nail biting as this tends to reinforce the habit. In fact it may be interesting to see if you completely ignored his habit he may stop by himself without realising it. If your son appears to be under stress try to find out if there is a reasion for this such as him possibly being bullied at school. If his habit persists beyond another 3 months and you have tried to ignore it try some positive reinforcement by using a star chart. For every day that he does not obviously bite his nails stick a gold star on that date on a calender. When he gets 7 stars in a row without any gaps in between he can get a small reward, something he really likes. Then make the periods 2 then 3 then 4 weeks before the next rewards. He will soon stop biting his nails if he can achieve a full month of no nail biting.

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