My 4 year old daughter recently started biting her nails. Not seriously short or bleeding but I never have to cut it. I've been a nail biter since I can remember but now my husband says she is biting because I bite mine. I have a 11 year old son as well and he doesn't bite his nails....I was just wondering - is this really my fault? You know...monkey see, monkey do?

  • Nail biting can be genetically influenced, it can be mimetically influenced, or it can be a completely individual choice, so there is no single answer to this question: Is this my fault? The cause of your son's nailbiting cannot be determined by any of us over the internet, but there is good advice below. Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 16:07

2 Answers 2


I think you and your husband should be careful with blaming each other. Kids will always do something you don't expect and it doesn't help your relationship if you start blaming each other.

A few things you have to consider now:

  1. Do you really mind if your daughter bites her nails? You've grown up with nail biting so is it really a problem?

  2. Try to find out why your daughter is biting her nails. My son does it because he is bored. My daughter does it out of stress. For both of them I'm trying different tactics to get them to stop nail biting (that said it's a work in progress so I have no magic bullet).

  3. It might help to talk to your daughter and see if you can stop together. Then you both try to remind the other if she forgets. That way you turn it into a game instead of being "bad" and "fault".

  • "is it really a problem?" It can be: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nail_biting
    – user20343
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 16:19
  • 1
    of course it can be, but there are many problems when dealing with kids. the OP has to decide if she really wants to work on this or leave it be because for now it's just a minor thing
    – Batavia
    Commented Mar 16, 2018 at 12:15

Well there is no 100% yes or no answer.

Children mimic their parents behavior, so it is not unlikely, that she got it from you. But they also mimic behavior from other people and develop their own habits, so she also could have gotten it from somewhere else. That your son isn't chewing his nails won't help your case though.

To get some "useful" parenting advce out of this, it is always a good idea to try to get rid of habits you don't like on yourself when becoming/being a parent and make it more unlikely that they will develop those habits. But it doesn't give a guarantee.

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