I would suggest that you find a good behavioral therapist, one who could teach you the proper punishments and rewards and competing behaviors. It is highly unlikely that your daughter has some deep seated problem that causes her to do this. It is probably just a behavior that has probably been reinforced by the feeling of comfort and as such, is very deeply ingrained. Many children suck their thumb and many adults bite their fingernails or pick their cuticles, all of which they find to be comforting in a very basic way. Most likely some simple behavior modification will cure your daughter’s problems. I would find a good behavioral therapist who would help with this. Good luck.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on June 19, 2005.