Customer Reviews: The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Habit
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on July 20, 2008
I gave this book five stars because, more than any other technique we've tried, it has helped my daughter stop sucking her thumb. Now four years old, she had been sucking her thumb since she was about six months old. We've tried rewards, sticker charts, threatening loss of privileges, talking with the dentist, the works. Nothing worked. This book, in three weeks, has taken my daughter's bad habit from an all-day activity to just one she does in her sleep. We're still applying the principles from the book, in hopes that it even eradicates the sleep-time habit as well. In any case, I could not be happier that we read this book together.
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on September 22, 2000
Once again Stan and Jan have made a complex issue simple for the child. I love the way they explain what a habit is and why it is hard to break. Sister's bad habit is biting her nails but we substitute whatever we want (nose picking etc.)and our children (age 2 and 6) roar with laughter as they learn that a habit isn't easy to quit...but you can do it with practice. We love this book. I even gave it to a college student who bites her nails and she loves it too.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon September 8, 2002
Bad habits are hard to break is a lesson that many adults don't even know very well. Most young children don't even have a clue what a habit is, let alone know the difference between a bad habit and a good one. This edition of The Berenstain Bears not only explains what a habit is, it also illustrates the difference between good and bad habits, and offers a helpful way how possibly to break a bad habit youngsters may have.
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on February 9, 2016
My 4 year old has had an issue with biting his nails ever since he was born, so we bought this and the sour nail polish
the nail polish has been very effective at keeping his fingers out of his mouth, and the book was very effective at explaining to him about bad habits without making him feel like he is a bad kid.
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on March 27, 2015
This was a disappointment for us. The writing was really difficult and lengthy for a 3 and 5 year old to understand. I had to add so many of my own words (like when Mama Bear has an insinuated phone conversation with Gran that is one-sided) just to have the story to make some sort of sense to kids that wouldn’t understand that kind of writing yet. Also, we’re used to learning lessons from the whole family (especially Papa Bear!), not just Sister. Lastly, I wish that the solution was not paying Sister Bear off to stop biting her nails. We did love the stickers though!
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on August 20, 2012
I and my children are very happy with this book. When I catch them doing one of their bad habits we refer back to the book and they are able to discuss the situation and compare it to the characters. We read this book often and it is one of their favorites.
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on June 29, 2016
Horrible horrible suggestive book. I got this as it was recommended to help stop thumb sucking in my three year old. Well, the theme of the book is nail biting. So, what does my incredibly intelligent thumb sucker do now when she gets nervous? Bites her nails!!!!!! And she still sucks her thumb!!!!!!! I'm so upset. Now I have two huge habits to help her break instead of one. BEWARE and STAY AWAY from this book unless you have a nail biter. It might help then. But, not sure I can endorse that since it STARTED the problem for us. Not sure how it could start AND fix it! :( I have now consulted a therapist to help us with both because she is biting her nails down to the quick and her teeth are getting messed up from the thumb sucking. . Therefore, this book will cost me hundreds of dollars in extra therapy in the end. I should mention that my daughter is adopted from China and was abandoned at birth, so she has residual and deep-set trauma... These behaviors no doubt stem from that because she is otherwise a very well-adapted and extremely happy, smiling child. She is impressionable, as most children are at this age. I would say if your child is impressionable at all and has a tendency to get nervous is new situations, this book might not be for you as it can lead to starting a new and even more awful habit than the one you are trying to break.
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on February 29, 2016
We are going through nailbiting issues with our 3.5 year old. She asks to read this book every day. Does she still bite her nails? Yes. Has this been a great way to talk about this issue? Absolutely. I feel like there may have a been a few awkward moments, like when papa bear made some rather harsh comments about yelling at her for biting her nails (for a 3 year old, this was a little upsetting). However, nothing we couldn't get passed. A little long for anything younger than her age. Maybe better suited for 4 and up.
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on October 18, 2013
I read this book with my 3 year old son yesterday and gave him a sticker from the book as a reminder not to bite his nails (he had it on his shirt all day at pre-school) and a nickel which he has to give back to me if he bites his nails today. All day today, HE DID NOT BITE HIS NAILS! It worked!!! This is first time in almost a year.

Will this continue to work and will he break his habit? I don't know. This was my last resort before painting his nails with the icky stuff, which I want to avoid since I don't want to put toxic chemicals (if any) on him that he might ingest. I was so happy to find out he didn't bite his nails and we will keep on giving him the stickers and $$. I'll post a follow up later.

follow up:
It's been about 2 months since my initial review. My son is no longer a habitual nail biter. The sticker and a nickel per day lasted a week or two and he didn't need them any more. His habit is broken! When I see him biting his nails from time to time, I trim the nails smooth so there is nothing much to bite then he stops. It's important to keep a close eye on the nail length and trim them 1-2 times a week. I am so glad I got this book for him. This method may or may not work with everyone and the result will vary heavily depending on the disposition of your child. But it won't hurt to try this book and introduce the concept of 'habit' and discuss 'bad habits' with your child.
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on January 31, 2014
I actually found this book helpful while prepping my son to lay out his fingers so I could paint some Malaka Stop -a Swiss bitter polish-- on them. The book plus polish worked together well and the book also made me realize that to put bandages or aids on my kid's thumbs during the day could potentially embarrass him at school. The way the Bears wound up solving the nail biting issue didn't work for us but the story about how awful chewing nails and thumb sucking is had an impact and the message was sent that these acts are truly a bad habit.
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