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Forum -> Parenting our children -> Our Challenging Children (gifted, ADHD, sensitive, defiant)
Help! Need to stop my 5yo son from picking his nails& skin



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amother
OP


 

Post Mon, Aug 14 2023, 3:16 pm
My 5yo HFA son keeps on picking his nails and cuticles, to the point that they are bleeding and infected. He doesn't really bite them, so nail polish won't work.
The skin around his nail got infected and filled with puss, which required antibiotics.
No matter how much we bribe or threaten, he keeps on doing it. Mainly when he is in bed. We tried gloves, but he just picks the threads and makes holes in them. Tried plasters, but he just takes them off.
I know it's probably stimming, but what alternative can I offer him? He isn't into these fidget toys.
He knows he is harming himself but it's a subconscious behaviour...
Any tips appreciated!
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amother
Khaki


 

Post Mon, Aug 14 2023, 3:18 pm
I’m NT and I still occasionally catch myself picking at my cuticles
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LovesHashem




 
 
    
 

Post Mon, Aug 14 2023, 3:20 pm
Is he on any medication because it's a common side affect
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amother
DarkGray


 

Post Mon, Aug 14 2023, 3:22 pm
Excoria is a compulsive behavior thats usually caused by neurotransmitter imbalances.

The only thing that helped us with this was homeopathy.

You can also try very high dose NAC, Gaba, l theanine, magnesium, inositol.
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amother
OP


 

Post Mon, Aug 14 2023, 4:00 pm
LovesHashem wrote:
Is he on any medication because it's a common side affect

No
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amother
OP


 

Post Mon, Aug 14 2023, 4:01 pm
amother DarkGray wrote:
Excoria is a compulsive behavior thats usually caused by neurotransmitter imbalances.

The only thing that helped us with this was homeopathy.

You can also try very high dose NAC, Gaba, l theanine, magnesium, inositol.

What kind of homeopathy?
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amother
PlumPink


 

Post Mon, Aug 14 2023, 4:16 pm
Magnesium and NAC may help.

You can try Sara Chana Radcliffe's book, No More Tics. It helped my daughter with a different compulsive behavior.
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amother
DarkGray


 

Post Mon, Aug 14 2023, 5:30 pm
amother OP wrote:
What kind of homeopathy?
Constitutional
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amother
OP


 

Post Mon, Aug 14 2023, 5:50 pm
Anyone know of other methods besides supplements? Like a specific kind of glove or plaster etc.?
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sumfr00




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Nov 30 2023, 11:58 pm
Did u find a solution
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amother
Gray


 

Post Fri, Dec 01 2023, 1:26 am
3.5 yo DS just started biting fingernails and toenails. In bed but wearing socks helps (for the toes at least). It started quite suddenly. Is this a sign of something?
He tells me that the nails being there hurts him.
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myname1




 
 
    
 

Post Fri, Dec 01 2023, 2:55 am
amother Gray wrote:
3.5 yo DS just started biting fingernails and toenails. In bed but wearing socks helps (for the toes at least). It started quite suddenly. Is this a sign of something?
He tells me that the nails being there hurts him.

Are they already cut short? Can it be he has an ingrown toenail or something? If he's otherwise developing normally, I wouldn't think it's a sign of anything major. Plenty of kids bite their nails.
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amother
DarkCyan


 

Post Fri, Dec 01 2023, 3:18 am
Magnesium chelate helps me a lot. Specifically magnesium chelate and not any other type of magnesium with other things in it. I use Nature's Way which I got from a local rite aid. In the past, when I've run out I've tried other magnesiums, even fancier brands, and it never helped.

You should probably check with a doctor before giving to a kid though, but it's over the counter.

Some people use stuff like very bitter polish but for me there's nothing like magnesium chelate (esp bc my issue is lip biting).
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amother
DarkGray


 

Post Fri, Dec 01 2023, 4:48 am
amother Gray wrote:
3.5 yo DS just started biting fingernails and toenails. In bed but wearing socks helps (for the toes at least). It started quite suddenly. Is this a sign of something?
He tells me that the nails being there hurts him.
I would look for pinworms and strep
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amother
Red


 

Post Fri, Dec 01 2023, 7:48 am
Gardening gloves work better than others.

Even better is putting socks over the hands (if he won't pull them off).
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amother
Royalblue


 

Post Fri, Dec 01 2023, 9:33 am
I always threaten it's going to get infected but bh so far not. my 14 year old has been doing this for many years and still don't have a solution, he does it to his toes too. I think it's anxiety, compulsively related.

We tried charts, awareness etc.. Nothing. He's also not motivated to do anything about it.
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TwinsMommy




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Dec 06 2023, 10:37 pm
My ASD/ADHD daughter is almost 17 and it was REALLY REALLY bad at one point. We stuck with no judgement but constant reminders to stop by gently grabbing her hands. When she wouldn't listen, we'd send her out of the room. If you're going to do it, we can't watch. (that way IF it was for attention (it wasn't), we weren't rewarding it with attention. However, when she'd bleed in front of us, we'd hold kleenex to her face. Over and over. Even in public. She got super annoyed by years of this. I remember one time she picked such a sore in her lip that we watched it for an hour to see if it would need stitches. At one point she was picking toes, fingers and face. It finally got much more manageable when she left her face alone and the three acne medications she's on could start doing their job because her fingernails weren't on her face all the time.

For her it ended up being exhaustion. She's got physical issues and a lot more fatigue than others her age. We've stopped trying to use her colon (she got an ileostomy) and that's helped her a ton. Over the years we got better at realizing when she needed a nap. So we encouraged weekend naps at age 12, 13, 14, 15 ....... she got better about realizing that her bedtime is 8 or earlier no matter what typical teens do. On Friday nights she often goes to bed at 5 or 6... whenever Shabbos starts!!! It's SO strange not to have our teen at Shabbos dinner but it is what it is. No Pesach seder for her either. I WISH she could stay up in the evenings. We got better about allowing days off to stay home and nap the day away. Double checking it with her docs and psychiatrist, playing with the psych meds, keeping the ones that worked the best. She's now on a combo of adderral, buspar, geodon, metformin (for pre-diabetes), and a few acne meds (2 topical, one pill) and she finally does a round of picking just once a day or so in the evening, away from the rest of the family and not on her face. She CONSTANTLY has fidget toys with her which helps as well.
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amother
Forsythia


 

Post Thu, Dec 07 2023, 1:49 am
TwinsMommy wrote:
My ASD/ADHD daughter is almost 17 and it was REALLY REALLY bad at one point. We stuck with no judgement but constant reminders to stop by gently grabbing her hands. When she wouldn't listen, we'd send her out of the room. If you're going to do it, we can't watch. (that way IF it was for attention (it wasn't), we weren't rewarding it with attention. However, when she'd bleed in front of us, we'd hold kleenex to her face. Over and over. Even in public. She got super annoyed by years of this. I remember one time she picked such a sore in her lip that we watched it for an hour to see if it would need stitches. At one point she was picking toes, fingers and face. It finally got much more manageable when she left her face alone and the three acne medications she's on could start doing their job because her fingernails weren't on her face all the time.

For her it ended up being exhaustion. She's got physical issues and a lot more fatigue than others her age. We've stopped trying to use her colon (she got an ileostomy) and that's helped her a ton. Over the years we got better at realizing when she needed a nap. So we encouraged weekend naps at age 12, 13, 14, 15 ....... she got better about realizing that her bedtime is 8 or earlier no matter what typical teens do. On Friday nights she often goes to bed at 5 or 6... whenever Shabbos starts!!! It's SO strange not to have our teen at Shabbos dinner but it is what it is. No Pesach seder for her either. I WISH she could stay up in the evenings. We got better about allowing days off to stay home and nap the day away. Double checking it with her docs and psychiatrist, playing with the psych meds, keeping the ones that worked the best. She's now on a combo of adderral, buspar, geodon, metformin (for pre-diabetes), and a few acne meds (2 topical, one pill) and she finally does a round of picking just once a day or so in the evening, away from the rest of the family and not on her face. She CONSTANTLY has fidget toys with her which helps as well.


Wow, that's rough.
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amother
Lightyellow


 

Post Thu, Dec 07 2023, 2:20 am
Would your ds use fidget rings/bracelets or something else that will give him a similar feeling? If he has a need to pick, you need to offer something else for his fingers to fidget with.
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