Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Anna the Ex-Nailbiter

We've had a bit of a dilemma with Anna for the past six months or so. She has been a TERRIBLE nailbiter. Gross, I tell you. And no matter what we tried, it didn't seem to deter her. We yelled, we bargained, we threatened. Nothing worked. I told her that nothing is so ugly (yes, I even used the family bad word "ugly") as a little girl who has bitten down all her nails. Didn't work.

This past week, I picked up some of that polish that tastes terrible to put on her nails so when she put her fingers in her mouth, she would be reminded not to bite. It worked, until she managed to pick off all the dried polish with her non-existent fingernails. Hum. Tony told her that if she didn't stop, she would have to go to the doctor and get a shot. Scared her to death, but she still didn't stop chewing.

I finally remembered a "Dr. Philism" about how to change unwanted behavior in your child...find their "currency." Well, everyone who knows our Anna knows how much she loves Bunny.


So, we sat Anna down and told her that if I caught her biting her nails, Bunny had to sleep with me. If she didn't bite her nails during the day, Bunny could sleep with her. Hitting below the belt? Probably. Did it work? Hell, yes.


As a reward for 3 days of not biting her nails, we painted them pretty today. And she couldn't decide which color, so we did them all different.

I'm so proud of her.

16 comments:

Marisa said...

Way to go Anna (and mom). No nail biters here, we are really lucky!!! Love the multicolored nails, Savannah would be jealous.

Garrett Gang said...

Woo Hoo for Anna!! I need to find the "currency" for one of my kids, too! However, I don't think he'll be interested in painting them afterward; and if he is, we've got problems!!

Rosanne said...

Thank you, thank you for posting this! I needed some advice on the SAME EXACT thing for Hayley. She's a bad nail bitter too. I'll have to try something like this.
Good Job Anna - your nails look beautiful!

Now, any advice on how to get my almost 2-year-old to stop sucking her thumb (that is all red, blistered, broken skin, etc.)?? :)

Motherhood for Dummies said...

well glad to hear that it worked :)

Anonymous said...

Anna,
BEAUTIFUL nails! I am so proud of
you!

Amber,
Way to go--you were wise to know
just what would work. Bunny
comes to the rescue-bless her
shabby little heart.

the mom (the grandma)

Albanie said...

I love it! I totally hit below the belt too! Hey, whatever works. I had a problem sucking my thumb up until I was 9-10 (I know, horrible!). My mom tried the same nail-biting polish and even taped socks to my hand. Finally I was sucking my thumb so much that it was going raw. I had this horrible experience at the dr. and that was the end of that. At least it isn't sucking her thumb I guess is my point. :)

Amber M. said...

Albanie and Rosanne...I have NO idea what I would do with a thumb sucker. A thumb is kinda...well...permanent. And if one of my kids showed up with a thumb cut off...well...people might talk. And then throw my butt in jail.

Scribbit said...

Wow, I've never seen you as Dirty Harry. I'm in awe :)

kathleener said...

that's exactly what we do with emily too (not the nail-biting thing, although maybe i need a lesson in that) but whenever we want a behavior change--her "currency" is her Dolly (like Bunny) or bribing her with trips to the park, DQ, etc...Good thinking on your part and good job anna!

just jamie said...

Okay, first of all, she is DARLING! Truly. Oh my goodness.

Second, good thinking. Tell Anna there are people out there who are very proud of her.

Walkers said...

I have to agree with the "currency" thing too. We have done it a few times in our house as well, it works wonders. Good job to Anna!

Cheri said...

Positive reinforcement works every time! Good job.

Bonnie B. said...

Yeah!! Score one for Mom! And Anna. And Dr Phil. We have the same problem with Jake. He just chews until it hurts. I need to find his currency.
BTW- she is so cute.

Liz said...

Way to go! Glad it worked

Ashlee said...

Below the belt? Is there such a thing when it comes to stuff like this? :0) I'm just kidding...
Though your plan was obviously brilliant because it worked. :0)

My Ice Cream Diary said...

My two boys used to bite their nails till they bled. One has finally stopped and we are still working with the other. His only currency is knives and he laready isn't allwoed to have them. Hmmmm.