Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers/nail biting


My 2.5yr old daughter has been biting her nails- hands & at times even her legs, since~ 7mths.I have tried counselling, threathening & punishing- but no she bites her nails when i am not nearby...Please guide me on what to do?

Hello Rashmi,

Before I can suggest any approaches, I need more information about your daughter.
 1. How frequently does she bite her nails? Once an hour? One a day? Etc.
 2. Tell me about how she bites her hands and legs.
 3. When does her biting usually occur? Does it happen when she is playing? When she is going to sleep? When she has awakened and is laying in her bed? When she is with other people? Etc.
 4. What do you say to her when you want her to stop biting her nails? Does it cause her to stop -- at least for the moment?
 5. Does she have other habits, such as sucking her thumb or other fingers?
 6. Is she developing well in most areas of her life?

 If you could answer these questions, then I can suggest some things you can do.


James Windell


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


James Windell


I can answer questions related to normal child development, disturbed behavior and how to provide appropriate guidance and discipline.


I've been a clinical psychologist in a juvenile court, worked in school settings, been a child psychotherapist in a private psychiatric clinic and consulted with schools, courts, hospitals and daycare centers.

American Psychological Association
Michigan Psychological Association

I have been a columnist with the Oakland Press (Oakland County, MI) for 21 years writing a weekly column called Coping With Kids, which is also published weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been a mental health columnist with the Detroit Free Press and a columnist for Working Mother Magazine. In addition, I have published articles in professional journals. I have published 16 books, among them are "8 Weeks to a Well-Behaved Child" (IDG Books), "Discipline: A Sourcebook of 50 Failsafe Techniques for Parents" (IDG Books); "Children Who Say No When You Want Them to Say Yes" (IDG Books), "What You Need to Know About Ritalin" (Bantam Books) "6 Steps to an Emotionally Intelligent Teenagers" (John Wiley & Sons), "The Fatherstyle Advantage" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) and "Defusing High Conflict Divorce" (Impact Publishers). My latest parenting book (2012) is "The Everything Child Psychology and Development Book." Articles about my work with parents has appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Sun Times, the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. My website at includes more information about me, my books and includes many columns I've written.

B.A. in Psychology from Wayne State University
M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University

Awards and Honors
Best Educational Program by Juvenile and Family Court Judges Association (National award for the development of a parent training program for parents of delinquent teenagers. Beth Clark Service Award from the Michigan Psychological Association.

©2017 All rights reserved.