4 Year Old Contantly Ripping Nails Off

Updated on February 26, 2007
A.A. asks from Ooltewah, TN
8 answers

My daughter is picking her finger nails and toe nails all day long. When she's bored, sad, talking on the phone, upset, anything. I can't get her to stop. I feel it is something going on inside of her that is making her do this. She especially does it at bedtime. I try to distract her, but she continues doing it. Any ideas, because she is really hurting herself and causing infected and bleeding nails. Always wearing a bandaid. Please help!

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answers from Nashville on

You may already do this, but have you tried painting her nails with pretty colors and designs? Or using that as a reward? If she can go "x" number of days then she can go get her nails done at a "big girl" salon and then take her to get her nails done. Feeling pretty and seeing her nails looking pretty may be enough to have her think twice.



answers from Biloxi on

Hi A., My niece used to chew her nails tell they would bleed, we would just keep telling her how pretty they would be she is 12 now and has long pretty nails. maybe its just out of habit my sister made sure when she was a baby she never chewed her nails off she always cut them with clippers so she wouldnt learn to chew them but she did anyway not much help but maybe your daughter will be the same way



answers from Jackson on

The paint her nails idea is great, but also try giving her 10 pennies(or 10 coins of any denomination) at the begining of the day. For every nail she has NOT bitten/picked by bedtime, she gets to keep a coin, and you take away coins for nail that have been bitten/picked. Good luck! I wish my parents had stepped in and done something, I bit my nails until I got married and my husband got onto me. LOL



answers from Nashville on

I say this as a 26 year old that still compulsively bites her nails, get a handle on this now! The previous suggestion was really good, especially if she loves her nails painted and wouldn't want to mess them up. Another option is, and it sounds horrible but I've heard it works, is a polish you can put on her nails that either tastes horrible or will actually burn her mouth like Tabasco when she nibbles on her nails. By the time my family realized that I had a problem with this it was too late for anything to work. Good luck!



answers from Nashville on

Try this stuff called THUM you can get from Wal-Mart (may have to ask for it). It has a bitter & hot taste to it. Good luck!!



answers from Memphis on


This is going to sound really harsh....but you may want to go online and get a picture of a pinworm and show it to her and explain that biting her nails will cause the pinworms to come out of her behind if she keeps biting them. A friend of mine her daughter got them and her son immediately quit biting his nails because he was afraid he would get them too.

Good Luck

When we were kids it was "put some hot sauce on there" so I guess this way is not as harsh as that.



answers from Birmingham on

Hello A., I also have a 4 year old daughter that is in the same boat. She is always bitting or picking at them, I have not had much luck, with getting her to stop either. I have tried everything from timeouts, to trying to reward her when she doesn't mess with them and nothing works. Good luck and let me know if you get some good ideas!



answers from Chattanooga on

Try painting her nails her favorite color. My daughter was a huge thumbsucker and this worked like a charm! She wanted to keep her nails pretty to show grandma.

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