Thumb sucking

@shizuoka (352)
United States
April 14, 2008 3:38pm CST
My youngest daughter will be 4 years old in June. She still sucks her thumb. My husband and I have suggested to her that she's getting a little old for that, but it is a firmly entrenched habit and a strong form of comfort. We're getting worried about her teeth. I've heard of foul-tasting stuff you can put on their thumb to discourage them but that seems so mean. Does anyone know if thumb sucking is a big problem and how we might kindly encourage her to give it up?
2 people like this
13 responses
@kezabelle (2985)
14 Apr 08
My mum used that stuff to stop me biting my nails it worked as seriously it is disgusting! I was about 8 though! My eldest is 4 and until recently used a dummy she just woke up one morning and told me it had to go in the bin we did reward her for being such a big girl with a present. Maybe you could discuss how sucking her thumb wont be good for it as it will get sore etc maybe discuss a star chart and tick off days she doesnt suck it and at the end she could have a day out just the two of you something really grown up! It must be hard though as you cant remove her thumb or moniter it at night, I could at least throw all the dummies in the bin lol!
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@shizuoka (352)
• United States
14 Apr 08
Thank you for the good suggestions. I'm guessing that a dummy is a pacifier? That would be easier as it isn't attached to her person. She only sucks her thumb when she is awake and tired. After she falls asleep it falls out.
@kezabelle (2985)
14 Apr 08
Yes sorry a dummy is a pacifier, if she doesnt suck it at night then I think thats the biggest part solved, I allowed my daughter to have her dummy until she wanted to part with it and when she was ready she did it and it was easy better than just taking it from her. Sucking her thumb wont really hurt her if you cant get her to stop I dont think anything good ever comes out of forcing a child to do something they dont want too. Im sure she will soon decide that sucking her thumb is no longer something she wants to do xxxx
1 person likes this
15 Apr 08
I have not read all the responses you've gotten... BUT my 2nd daughter started to suck her thumb around the age of 2. Thinking back on it, I should have given her a pacifier... she had one and I'd taken it away but do not remember the time in between taking the pacifer and her starting to suck her thumb. She is going to be 12 in August... and she STILL sucks her thumb. Her teeth are messed up because of it... and I have no idea how to get her to stop. Maybe you should give her a pacifer... maybe I should give my 11 yr old one as well... I honstly don't know, I just wanted to comment because I did see some comments that she'd grow out of it, don't worry about it.. but that's not always true unfortunately. Good luck. Julie
@shizuoka (352)
• United States
15 Apr 08
Thank you Jukiebird. That is rough about your daughter. One of the responses above talked about weaning a child off her thumb with the help of a dentist. YorkieBear has suggested a sticker reward system, which would work better for a younger child of course.
15 Apr 08
Yes unfortunately that will definately NOT work with mine. I told her I'd have her nails done if she quit... she's getting worse about it too... drives me nuts... and it's to the point where when someone threatens to tell everyone like say in school she does it first and then is like if you have a problem with it, too bad... I have 3 other daughters younger than her, and now if she gets caught sucking her thumb anywhere in the house other than her bed when she's sleeping, she has to go to bed immediately. I've had it, but there isn't anything I can really do about it. :( Julie
@shizuoka (352)
• United States
15 Apr 08
I don't know if you will find it useful, but I did a search and found a couple of websites that contain information on thumb sucking. Here are the links: http://www.essortment.com/all/stopthumbsucki_rhxo.htm http://www.questdiagnostics.com/kbase/as/tp23120/how.htm I had a little chat with my daughter and told her it might be time to stop sucking her thumb. She said, "no-o-o." So I suggested that she wanted to have pretty teeth and be a big girl, right? She agreed, so I told her that I would give her a sticker three times a day if she didn't suck her thumb for a certain amount of time and that after a week, she could get a prize. I gave her one of the plastic handles you use to make juice popsicles to chew on. It worked until it was almost nap time. We'll keep working on it.
@emeraldisle (13145)
• United States
15 Apr 08
Until the permanent teeth come in it's not a problem. Even after the permanent teeth it isn't always a problem either but it can cause issues then. I sucked my thumb and so did my brother. He had perfectly straight teeth while my other brother who never sucked his needed braces. I needed braces due to having too small of a mouth for my teeth. My mom specifically asked the ortho on whether my teeth was caused by my thumb sucking and he stated it was an old wives tale that it caused buck teeth. It can cause teeth seperation but not buck teeth. Children will stop on their own and usually by the time they get to school. I wouldn't worry too much at this point.
@shizuoka (352)
• United States
15 Apr 08
Thank you for the encouragement. I'm starting to feel better about it now.
1 person likes this
@emeraldisle (13145)
• United States
16 Apr 08
You're very welcome. I'm sure things will work out in time on it. Like I said most children do stop on their own and yours will to once they are ready.
• India
15 Apr 08
Hey Shizuoka thumb sucking is not so bad as you are thinking of it.Do not take it so seriously it is just a habit ,but please do not apply tricks such as foul-tasting stuff. I personally suggest you to engage her into some work or games or anything else which she likes.This trick might take long time to solve problem but problem will be solved permanently.
1 person likes this
@shizuoka (352)
• United States
15 Apr 08
Thank you very much. The use of 'foul-tasting stuff' seems really mean to me. She likes playing games on the computer and can't suck her thumb when she's doing that. Also, playing at the park. Her main problem is when she's tired and sitting in the car or watching TV. I've given her the plastic popsicle base to chew on today, after having a little pep talk with her, and she is currently walking around with it, occasionally chewing on it. It is bright pink and seems to be reminding her about not sucking on her thumb. I can see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel and am very glad I posted this discussion. I think you're probably right, she's at a fairly reasonable age and amenable to suggestions.
@moneyandgc (3430)
• United States
15 Apr 08
I sucked my thumb until I was 8 years old and then just suddenly stopped. I have no idea why. Nobody said anything to me or tried to persuade me to stop. My teeth are perfectly straight too. My niece sucked her thumb and her Aunt (her mom's sister) jokingly told her that if she didn't stop that her thumb would fall off. She was around 4 or 5 at the time. She never sucked her thumb again. Then her baby brother was born. He is a thumb sucker too. My niece freaked out when she saw him sucking his thumb. "Cade's thumb is going to fall off!" she yelled. They had to tell her that her Aunt was just kidding with her and her brother would be fine.
1 person likes this
@shizuoka (352)
• United States
15 Apr 08
That's pretty good. I don't think she'd buy it though.:)
@yoj118 (329)
• Philippines
15 Apr 08
my eldest daughter was 4 yrs old now and turning 5 on November..She's still sucks her thumb every time she feels sleepy, that's her habit... We want her to outgrow it because we know it could affect her teeth as well as her pallet.. She used to suck a pacifier when she's still a baby until she gets asleep, and as I've noticed it, it might be the reason why she's still thumb sucking.. That's why when I had my second child, I tried not to use a pacifier anymore so he won't get used to it..and it works!! He doesn't thumbsuck at all unlike her sister...
@tessah (6621)
• United States
14 Apr 08
i personally see no harm in it.. theyll outgrow it on their own eventually. the teeth she has atm are baby teeth that will fall out anyways.. and there arent alot of kids graduating from high school that still suck their thumbs. id say let her be, and allow her to have this harmless form of self comfort.
1 person likes this
@shizuoka (352)
• United States
14 Apr 08
Yes. Thank you for that. I'm sure she will be outgrowing it sometime soon and it does seem a big comfort when she is feeling upset or sleepy.
• United States
15 Apr 08
Well good luck with that. My sister who is now 13 is still sucking her finger. My mother has tried to get her away from doing that but it's no use. it's kind of nasty because she does things and she doesn't even wash her hands. And then I tell her are you going to be sucking your finger when you go to a job interview or something? So it's hard to see her still doing that and she is 13. But I've heard that there are still some grownups that still do that. Good luck with getting your daughter to stop doing that.
@shizuoka (352)
• United States
15 Apr 08
Oh, dear. That doesn't sound encouraging.
• United States
15 Apr 08
I know i'm sorry but it'll probably be different with you. All the luck.
15 Apr 08
If she only does it for comfort and when shes tired, I would let her grow out of it at her own time. If she does it all through the day I would tell her to take her thumb out of her mouth as she is getting a big girl now and doesnt need her thumb in all day. There isnt alot you can do as she will suck her thumb as that is what she is used to!!!
@shizuoka (352)
• United States
15 Apr 08
Yes. Perhaps if I just remind her more often...
• Ireland
15 Apr 08
i think its summit ull just to wait 4 er to grow out off .... thumb suckin is common in smaall children my little brother did it tell he was 4 n a half but it quickly stopped wen he started skool... these are just er baby teeth so wont be long damage ... i agree wit oppinion of the "foul-tasting" stuff and think da best cure is to jus let dis phaze run its course......... hope dis is a help to u... xx
@shizuoka (352)
• United States
15 Apr 08
Perhaps you are right. On her first birthday she suddenly decided to walk and slightly before her third birthday she suddenly decided to use the potty. She seems to have her own little schedule. :)
@nengs10 (3188)
• Philippines
15 Apr 08
I have known few friends who this. They still practice this kind of thing until now that we are grown ups already as young adults. I don't understand them that much. I think the best way to stop this is to give the people who do this food or other things to suck with.
@shizuoka (352)
• United States
15 Apr 08
Thank you for your comment. We do want to avoid creating a weight problem, though. So far suckers, etc. only help while she's eating them.
• China
31 May 08
Don't worry about it!Thumb sucking is not a big problem! First ,you could tell her the thumb has so much bacilli,you could draw a picture which will help to explain to your daughter. second ,I think you could tell her ,if she don't suck the thumb, you could gift which she like! Third, you could make games with her who will forget sucking the thumb!
@c_holeva (15)
• United States
15 Apr 08
Two of my cousins used to do that when they were little. The one sucked her thumb till she was about 5 and the other sucked on a binky till she was about 4. They just grew out of it. So I wouldn't worry to much about it. As far as the teeth are concerned, she would have to be sucking really hard and doing it all the time and I mean all the time. Her teeth would hurt and she would quit doing it so much just from that alone if not all together.