According to my mom, my nail biting started at the ripe age of 3. I never stopped since then. I guess that qualifies as an addiction. Through my teenage years, I looked for deeper cause of nail biting. For a while, I believed that I have survived a childhood trauma of some kind that no one has told me about. All the while, I kept biting them. After a while, I realized that my dad bites his nails, too. So does my older brother. To this day, I am not sure whether it has anything to do with genetics. Now, after years of biting my nails, sometimes so bad my cuticles bleed (I know, that IS awful), I would say that it is a habit I picked up from people around me.
When I became a mom, and my daughter was around two years old, she started doing the same thing. Talking about guilt and passing on bad habits! Thankfully, my constant nagging helped and she stopped. But I continued.
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- Ground pepper
My mom was losing faith in her parenting abilities after she had tried every possible measure to defer me from the habit. After a while, a friend advised her to dip my fingertips in ground pepper. It actually worked for a while. This nail biting remedy works the same as the stop nail biting nail polishers. Their taste is disgusting enough to stop you from putting fingers in your mouth.
- Acrylic nails
I tried them once. And had them on for a month or so. And they looked beautiful. The downside was my inability to use my hands because I was not used to having nails. Then, I decided to try and cut them a bit, which cracked one nail down the middle. All my frustration focused on removing the nail. I did so, with my teeth. I actually went ahead and bit them all off and continued biting my semi-recovered nails. So, that did not work for me, but I know people who say it does. It is a mental barrier, you can not get to them easily so you decide to leave them alone.
- Nail polisher
A nail polisher works on the same principle. What a difference - our nails look nice for a change. It would be a good idea to apply a really pricey nail polisher; the price might help prevent you from nail biting.
- Deciding to stop
There are people who wake up one day and decide to stop biting their nails. It requires determination, because it is a persistent habit, like all habits are. My friend Carol knew my pain. She used to bite her nails so bad, it was not unusual to see her fingers wrapped up in band aid. One day, she stopped. Simply decided so. She tried to do something every time she had an urge to bite her nails. She would wash the dishes, put nail polisher on… anything to distract her from the thought. And it worked, she now has beautiful, long nails. Not a trace of the old habit.
- Nag, nag, nag
The last resort. Find someone who will constantly remind you not to bite your nails, someone who will slap your fingers when you reach for your mouth. It may seem like a drastic measure, but it might help.
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