DEAR ABBY: I'm a 10-year-old girl who lives in McHenry, Ill. I read your column as often as I can. I think you're the best. Now I need your help.
I bite my nails all the time, but mostly when I'm nervous. I hate it. My nails are so short you can't even see them. I have tried to stop but I just can't.
One of the rules in my tae kwon do class is no nail-biting, but I still do it at home.
What should I do? Please help me. -- NERVOUS NAIL-CHEWER
DEAR NERVOUS NAIL-CHEWER: As a former nail-biter, I offer several suggestions. First, you and your mother should visit the pharmacy and ask if it sells a harmless but bitter product you can put on your fingers, so that putting them into your mouth will be less appealing. Second, instead of chewing your nails, substitute crunchy vegetables like carrot sticks, celery sticks and radishes.
Third, put light-colored polish on your nails. It will protect them, and within weeks, as they begin to grow, they will look better and better. (Perhaps your mother would reward you with a professional manicure at the end of the month if you can refrain from biting.) And last, if you can't completely kick the habit, choose ONE nail that you can chew while sparing the rest.