My 5 year old daughter has an extreme case of biting her fingernails. She hardly has any fingernails left and is now biting her fingertips until she bleeds. We have 3 of her fingers covered in bandaids because of the pain and fear of infection.
She wants to stop but she says she can't. She cries about not being able to stop. She comes from a two parent loving home environment. She has a strict Kindergarten teacher at school that demands perfection. She likes school and her teacher and she does well. We don't know what could be causing her anxiety and stress. She is an active, outgoing loveable child.
My husband thinks we should contact a child psychologist but I feel if we make to much out it it might cause her to think something is wrong with her.
I should tell you the nail biting has been going on for 2 years and the fingertip biting about 5 months. Nothing significant in her life has gone on in that time period.
With the persistence of these symptoms, it would indeed be wise to consult with a mental health professional. Your daughter will not be scarred by such an experience. Something is wrong, if you will. It's the behavior, which is injurious to your daughter, that deserves some focus. This will not imply that something is wrong, or inadequate, in her. With such a young child, such behaviors are often meant to reduce tension, though the child may be quite unaware of what is producing the tension. Some children are temperamentally inclined to respond in this manner, even when there are no significant stressors from an objective standpoint.
I would try to get her in therapy. My daughter began tugging on some of her hair when she was 2 1/2, and then did not do it again until she was in the 2nd grade. Then whenever she gets stressed, or anxious, she scratches her head, or tugs on her har.
Some of her hair began falling out. Now she is in third grade, and had begun pulling her eyelashes out. It sounds as if your daughter probably bites her nails and fingertips when she is nervous or anxious, then it became a habit.
The earlier you begin therapy the better, we have been in and out of it with our daughter, and in hindsight, I wish we would have kept it up long term. Now that my daughter is older, she is more aware of going to counseling etc., and I think she is somewhat self consious of it. I wish you the best of luck.
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