Nail biting is one of the consequences of emotional neglect that I discussed earlier. The child wants love and attention and does not know how to cope when he experiences a lack. In order to reduce the anxiety caused by this deficiency, some behavioral problems and behavioral repetitions can be observed.
While there are difficult and fun parts of childcare, there is an aspect of responsibility that is not likely to be neglected, even when it is challenging. The caregiver is expected to feed the child, ensure that it is clean, and intervene and/or have it done in doubtful situations.
So, is it enough just to do these things to the child? – No
The child expects attention and love apart from all the things we have listed. A child who is not emotionally satisfied may feel inadequate and worthless. The child who has emotional problems, on the other hand, seeks to cope. These symptoms, or what we might call the bell for help, can come in many forms. The “nail biting” behavior is one of them. It can be seen not only in children but also in adults when we look around.
What are the triggers in children?
Uneasy home environment
divorce of parents
Inability to reach the expected attention and love
Loss or illness of a loved one
school vs. experiencing difficulties with friends in the environment “peer bullying etc.”
Imitating nail-biting behavior of a close friend or family member
As we have seen in most of the items above, the starting point of emotionally based behavior is anxiety.
Nail biting behavior is more common in girls than boys.
Situations that can be observed in addition to nail biting behavior are; are the behaviors of inserting external objects into the mouth, clenching or grinding teeth, sucking fingers or different objects.
How to end nail biting behavior?
The first move we need to take when ending the actions that contain and feed anxiety will be to remove the anxiety.