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Thumb-sucking Debate

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
My middle child, Sophia, will turn 5 next month. My DH wants her to stop sucking her thumb. I sucked my thumb at night until almost 12 & my mother always respected that & never interfered. She said, "when she doesn't need to do it anymore, she won't", and that was true indeed. We actually argue about it because I don't want him to say anything to her & he insists that it can be done GENTLY. I think braces are less important than her emotional well being, but he can't be swayed...any advice or good articles ro read on either side of the argument??
post #2 of 13
I sucked my thumb at night until I was 8 years old. (I never sucked it during the day.) No one ever made a huge issue of it, but my mom did subtly suggest I stop, and I remember my grandmother trying to bribe me with $ to quit. I did get braces at age 8, and my orthodontist told me if I didn't quit then, I might cut my finger on the braces at night. I quit the very first day I had my braces! My siblings, neither of whom sucked their thumbs, both wore braces too, by the way. I would suggest allowing her the security of thumb sucking. There is no major issue I could think of which would b big enough or problematic enough to force her to stop.

Edited to add: I just realized this doesn't help your argument because it isn't documentation. Sorry!
post #3 of 13
No documents here either, just have to say what I always do - I sucked my thumb until I was 10 and have always had perfectly straight teeth, the straightest in my family. All my non-thumb-sucking siblings had to have braces. I wonder if thumb sucking actually helped me?

And yes, I agree that giving up the thumb is just like giving up the breast or diapers - the time will come when it does, but interference is likely to make the child cling to it more.
post #4 of 13
I think you should at least talk to your DD about it. When my daughter was 5, I asked her how she felt about her thumb sucking. She told me she wanted to try to stop. She helped come up with a plan to stop. (She only sucked at night and chose to wear cotton socks on her hands to remind her not to suck.) After about 2 months she was done with the sucking and really happy with herself.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
I never thought of it like that...I never considered that she may want to stop. I was worried that puting focus on it might make her self conscious. Maybe not!
post #6 of 13
My mother told me she would put something on my thumb that would make blisters break out in my mouth if i sucked my thumb. I was hysterical, and still think about that threat now, almost 30 years later. I don't even know if such a thing exists, but it certainly existed in my nightmares for many years. So, my only moral of this story is to please not put yucky stuff on her thumb

btw, I think the need for braces might just be genetic, but I've never researched it... you could probably do a google search on it and find some info.
post #7 of 13
We are going throught he same thing now, but with a freaking binky. My dd just turned 4 a couple weeks ago and still LOVES her binky at night. I am trying to do some gentle encouragement, while consulting with her on a plan.
post #8 of 13
Another long-term thumbsucker (until 6) with straight teeth. I thought I had read that they'd ruled out the thumb-sucking crooked teeth connection?

post #9 of 13
Uhhh....I have everyone beat on the long term thumb sucker issue - 35 and still working on it. I find now it completely unconscious, occasionally I wake up in the middle of the night, drool all over my pillow (yuck) and my thumb near the mouth. Right hand only, please! Usually when I'm really stressed - went for about two weeks straight after my grandma died suddenly. (Yeah - let talk regressing there). My dh says he always knows when I'm really stressed out - I'll fall alseep, and without waking the thumb pop into the mouth.

I also have straight teeth. Wore braces for 8 months, only becuase there was not enough room for all my teeth (including wisdom) so out came 4 and everything moved forward. Orthodonitst couldn't believe I was a thumb sucker. He nearly fell over when at 16 I told him I still occasionally was. Oh, I also hooked my index finger over my nose - no long term damage there either.

My mom never made an issue of it, mostly becuase it was only at night when I went to sleep. I would lie down, grab my blankie with the silk on top and pop in the thumb.

I completely agree with some of the other ladies here - it will come when it comes. Don't push her - its her security. She'll stop eventually (unlikely she'll continue to 35 - I'm just strange!)

Hey, I want a thumb sucking smiley!
post #10 of 13
I also did the nose-hooking thing! And that was what people teased me about - thumb sucking was all right, but not that weird nose hooking.

I think it's wrong to tamper with a child's body by putting tabasco sauce on her thumb and things like that. I wouldn't like it if someone tampered with my body to try and get me to stop my numerous annoying habits - nail chewing, itch scratching, lip biting, eyebrow twitching, etc.

post #11 of 13
T Greaseball - does that make us hookers?
post #12 of 13
I sucked my thumb, too, until 5 or 6 - some kids just have a strong need to suck for a long time.

My dad made comments about it that made me feel bad, but he made lots of comments about lots of things that made me feel bad - shame as a motivator. sigh.

However! I think asking her and letting her come up with the desire & the plan to quit would be so empowering!

Just don't use shaming. Not that you would.
post #13 of 13
Thanks Stacey31 for this thread! I have a 11 month old who sucks her thumb and am appreciative of this advice to keep tucked away til the future if it becomes an issue.
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