Nail biting - hereditary or learned? And, is it dangerous?

Filed under: Development/Milestones: Babies, Health & Safety: Babies

biting nails - will it be a lifelong problem?For the first time this week, I realized that my 2-year-old son was biting his nails. I've always disliked this habit, and immediately wondered - where could he have developed it? I never bit my nails, and I started to wonder if my husband had as a child. My younger sister, who has spent a lot of time with Everett, is a nailbiter.

I looked it up. It turns out that some experts suggest nail biting is hereditary. More worrisome, nail biting has been linked to lower IQs, possibly because lead that leached into soil and from paint dust (yep, we live in a 1912 house that certainly contains lots of lead paint) is more easily absorbed from chewing those dirty fingernails.

I cut his fingernails to the quick immediately, and I'm going to keep a sharper eye on their length and cleanliness from now on. But I'd be interested to hear from our readers: did you or your children have a nail biting problem? Where did it come from?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.