Biting His Own Hand

Updated on February 04, 2011
J.S. asks from Cooper, TX
5 answers

My son is 9 years old and has had the habit of biting the back of his own hand when hes excited or concentrating on something for years it seems. Even little things, like putting the cat outside, he will try to do it one handed while the other is in his mouth. He has huge callouses on the left hand and doesnt even seem to notice hes doing it. Does anyone has a similiar situation, What can I do?

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So What Happened?

I never thought to ask his permission to give him the "secret sign" that he's doing it. That's great and allows him to have some control over the situation too. We are a Christian family also and he is the oldest of 4, my 3rd child is a thumb sucker too but its more of a soothing thing at night only, I will definitely try the squishy balls. Something in his hand will probably help. He is just a social butterfly and some of his friends are asking me why he does that and it kinda embarrasses him, I dont want him to be self conscious about it but I need to correct the behavior before he chews his hand off! lol, Thank you very much for the advice.

Cc C.
That is very comforting to know that this is not an isolated problem, i bit my nails and my husband pulls the collar of his shirt into his mouth sometimes when he concentrates so the poor child was doomed to have something! lol. Thanks for the comment.

More Answers



answers from Austin on

My child sucked her thumb until she was 7, think she started before she was born...I see this as a similar problem. Start by talking to him and encouraging him to have the desire to stop the habit. Help him to see how others may see the problem...maybe video tape. Express true concern for don't want him to hurt himself and talk about how when habits start they are hard to break and tell him you are afraid that this might be one that will be hard for him. We are Christians so we prayed about the thumb sucking, and asked that God would help her overcome it, and I asked her permission to bring it to her attention when she was doing it (I'd give her a "secret sign" to remind her that she'd stuck her thumb in her mouth.) Give him something that he can do while concentrating...maybe one of those squeezy things they give elderly folks to strengthen their hand muscles. If you see him biting his hand, hand him the soft toy. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Hi J., believe it or not my 42 yr old husband has that habit till this day.
I notice he does it when he is mad or even happy. He bites his hand before he says anything, almost to calm himself. He does have a callous also. My husband isnt overly nervous or prone to anger, its just a habit like thimb sucking that seems to comfort him somehow. I dont thik its harmfull unless your child is drawing blood from his bite. You can ask your doctor is it gets worse. Otherwise, just keep an eye on him. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Also try giving him more crunchy and chewy foods throughout the day to give him an alternate way to receive that oral stimulation. Carrots, celery, hard pretzels, etc. Work these foods into his regular meal and snack times. Put a triangle rubber pencil gripper at the eraser end of pencils so he can chew on it (a socially acceptable alternative to chewing on his hand at school). Sugar-free gum to chew at other times. Good luck!


answers from Dallas on

I thought I was the only person in the world who did this! I have had this exact habit since I can remember. However, the difference I have is that I never bit it to the point of having calluses.

I'm almost 40 now and still, on occasion find myself biting/nibbling the back of my left hand. It has gone from that to pushing up my lefthand fingers using my right hand and rubbing the loose skin with my right thumb. I find that I do this when I'm particularly nervous or anxious. I guess it's almost like a soothing ritual. I have no idea. But I remember my mom telling me to stop biting my hand. She always knew when i was under stress....not to hard to miss! LOL

Otherwise, I suppose I'm pretty normal. Or at least that's what my friends tell me. LOL It has never truly interferred with my life.



answers from Seattle on

My 29 year old son bites his hand when he's frustrated or angry. When he was younger he would wrap his arm around his brother''s neck and then bite his own hand. He has 2 big callouses on his forefinger from doing this. My son is of normal intelligence or above, but does have Asperger's syndrome . I don't think this is related to needing chewy foods or chewing gum,

I hope you find a way to stop your son before he gets older.