7 Ways To Get Your Teen To Cut Her Nails

Parenting is a journey of smart thinking and outmaneuvering

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Don’t judge me yet! I am not against nails. I love nicely manicured and painted nails. I am a fan of nail art. However, I like nails to be of a reasonable length. By reasonable, I mean below the danger line. When they start growing longer than kitchen knife blades, I have to take action.

A simple, ‘cut your nails, darling’ stopped working as soon as the kid hit 13!

Nowadays any instruction demands a lot of thinking and planning and strategizing. And cartloads of patience!! Nail cutting is no different.

The Obvious One

Expound the evils of long nails. Tell her it will collect dirt and germs. Tell her that if she eats using her hands (which happens with a lot of snacks and gooey chocolate), chances of ingesting unwanted creatures are high.

I have to admit that this one stopped working a while ago. It was good while it lasted. Still, it might work for you.

The Emotional Black Mail

When she comes close (in a rare display of emotion), and nicks some part of your body, scream loudly and rant that she is out to kill you. This involves a lot of theatrics and drama. Hope you are up to displaying all the skills collected during your high school theater sessions.

Downside: She may decide that she’d rather stay away from you than cut her nails.

The School Rule

If you are lucky enough the school she goes to has rules around nail cultivation. In this case, tell her that classes may be online, but teachers can still see the nails over video.

If you have access to teachers, you may even liaise with them beforehand to make sure they notice and provide a stern comment about the perils of long nails.

This one did work for a bit. Until she figured out how to position her video such that nails are never visible to the teacher.

The Sneaky One

Innocently tell her that one of her plants needs some TLC and seems to be dying. She will rush off to tend to the plant.

If you are lucky, she will come back with grimy hands and mud-filled nails. She will gross herself out with this and cut those nails off herself.

This is the winner this time around for me. I guess I can’t use it again for a while.

The Painful Reminder

Reminder her of the time when she was a wee kid and she had slightly long nails. She crashed her hand into a wall, the nail folded back and broke causing lots of pain, tears, and wailing. Throw in bloodshed too.

This may or may not have happened. But if you craft the story convincingly, she may buy it and cut her nails out of fear.

The Guilt Tripping

Nails almost as long as the tiny hamster. Pic by Anu Anniah

If you have a pet at home, use this method. We have a hamster. He is super tiny. So I keep repeating that she might inadvertently hurt the poor hamster’s eyes or something since her nails are longer than the entire hamster.

Every time I bring this up, I see a tiny flicker of hesitation. I am sure this will work one day.

The Negative One

Point out that all evil characters in movies and television serials usually have ultra-long nails. Long nails symbolize evil. Worse if they are painted in dark colors.

However, use this one carefully. If she is going through a phase where dark grays and blacks and goth looks are in, your advice may be counterproductive. It may convince her not to cut her nails at all.

This one is a ‘use at your own risk’ idea.


Most young girls love to grow their nails and paint them too. Heck! I’d have long painted nails too if I didn’t have to wash dishes!

However, it is truly a hazard to have excessively long and sharp nails. Parents must keep an eye out for over the top nail cultivation.

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