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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I have a 4 year old boy who still sucks his thumb.


I am trying to wean him off of it, i even gave him a pacifier at night just so I can introduce him to a new thing to suck at night. But he refuses.

any tips. Should I leave him alone or what? I tell him hes a not a baby
: but a big boy. Daddy doesnt suck his thumb, Mommy doesnt either, I say your a big boy.

Any thoughts?
 

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i would ask that he remove the thumb when talking to me...but other than that, i wouldnt worry about it...he will be done when he is done...and its serving some kind of suck need that he has... *shrug*

peace...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hes Starting Pre-K in Sept, and I am worried other kids will make fun of him. He is small for his age. He doesnt look 4

Plus I am concerned he will pick up virus's and infections
:
: at school! He has a hard time washing his hands without my help. The teachers dont help him pump out the soap.

I am just a worried mommy.
:
 

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I would leave it. My 3yo still sucks her thumb. I sucked my thumb until I was 11. My brother did until he was a teen. My SIL did until her 20s, and my MIL did for a long time too. All perfect teeth, perfect health. I much prefer a thumb to a pacifier.

If you are worried about school, just explain that he should do it at home.

Neither me nor my relatives ever did it at school/
 

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I worked for a dentist for a long time and he always suggested to praise children when you dont see them with the thumb in the mouth. He also suggested a reward chart. 1 day gets X 3 days gets X so on...
He never even got excited until the perm teeth started to come in. ( 5 or 6). You can try a band aide on the thumb to "remind" him because sometimes they arent aware they are sucking it is a habit and comfort.
My opinion is just start with the positive reenforcement when he is not sucking his thumb
 

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i think he needs to own the weaning. if you make it into a power struggle, you push that possibility farther into the future. i really wouldn't worry about it with a 4 y.o. whatever gives him comfort! at least he knows how to soothe himself.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by melissad View Post
Hes Starting Pre-K in Sept, and I am worried other kids will make fun of him. He is small for his age. He doesnt look 4

Plus I am concerned he will pick up virus's and infections
:
: at school! He has a hard time washing his hands without my help. The teachers dont help him pump out the soap.

I am just a worried mommy.
:
My DD is 3.5 and is in daycare. Sucking her thumb hasn't given her any more sicknesses than anyone else. They don't help with hand washing either but she does it frequently. As far as weaning I sucked the middle two fingers of my right hand until I was 11. Before Kindergarten my mom told me I couldn't turn 5 unless I stopped. It worked for a bit but once I entered the 1st grade I had a really mean teacher and started again. I used to hide and sneak it because I wasn't supposed to do it. Eventually I only did it in my sleep. I finally stopped because I got poison oak on my hand.

Personally I wouldn't try to force weaning because I think kids need their comforts. DD knows she can't do it when she is talking etc but mostly she does it when she is bored sad or tired.
 

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My dd1 was my only thumb sucker and she continued until 2nd grade. She never did it at school though. She stopped on her own. As she got older, 5+, I did pull her thumb out of her mouth once she fell asleep at night and it stayed out. And when she would watch tv I gave her a straw to chew on - this seemed to take care of the oral fix she needed.

Our dentist gave out a special prize to patients when they stopped sucking thier thumbs. Obviously it was the honor system but she said once the child had stopped for two full weeks then the habit was probably gone. DD was excited to pick out a special beanie baby.
 

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I stopped when I was...um...quite a bit older than 4. I never sucked my thumb at school; I remember being shocked at a fellow kindergartener sucking her thumb in school, though I was never told NOT to. I was always conscious of keeping my thumb clean. To this day, if I have to handle something icky, I sub-consciously keep my left thumb away from it. And thirdly, thumb-sucking never affected my teeth, though I've been told it depends on whether or not you're pulling on your teeth when you're doing it. I obviously wasn't, but my brother was and needed a retainer briefly to pull them back into place.

I'd let him suck his thumb to his heart's content. I'd tell him that it's more of an at-home thing, but he'll learn that soon enough if he gets picked on, and he'll probably stop sucking his thumb in public altogether. As for teeth problems, what does his dentist say?
 

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Honestly, as a former thumb sucker, there's absolutely NOTHING you can do about it if he doesn't want to stop. And I was QUITE a bit older than 12 when I stopped. There's a girl in our son's Kindergarten class who sucks her thumb. I don't think the other kids actually notice.

If he stops sucking his thumb, that won't shield him from other kids forever. One of the things about sending kids away from home is that you lose control over who they interact with. Not all of his interactions will be pleasant, but most of them will be fine. Are you perhaps anxious about his going to pre-K and focusing your attention on this?

The kids in our daycare can do the soap just fine starting at 12-18 months. Really. I'm assuming the teachers don't just abandon them to the bathroom? He will LEARN to do the soap.

Please, for you son's mental health QUIT telling him that he's not a baby any more and should quit for that reason. It's not working and it might make him quite a bit more anxious about growing up. Comparing him to mom and dad won't help either, because he can clearly see that you are much bigger, stronger and wiser than he is.

If you feel the need to talk about it, then tell him the truth: You're worried that he'll get sick from germs that might be on his hands, and that as he gets older, sucking his thumb might make his teeth crooked. But, at his age, don't expect this to do any good. Our dd will scratch her bottom with one hand, wipe it off with the other and then tell me that she's gotten rid of the germs! "I don't need to wash my hand mom, I got my germs off with the other hand!" Perfect toddler logic. If you can't see them, why not just wipe them off with your clean hand?

You're better off giving him things to do with his hands so that he isn't able to suck his thumb. I wouldn't actually introduce a pacifier, as that picks up just as many (if not more) germs, isn't any better for his teeth as he gets older, and he can use it while doing things with his hands. At least with thumb sucking if you want to play or build, you've got to take your thumb out of your mouth.
 

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Honestly, I'd leave him alone. If it is causing any physical (dental/jaw) changes then it would be prudent to gently work on it before he gets permanent teeth (6-7) but otherwise I'd let it be. It doesn't universally cause dental problems fwiw. Your dentist would likely be able to see some changes now if he sucks his thumb in such a way that it would cause damage, and most of that damage will correct itself with the forces of permanent teeth erupting. You can work on helping him find another comfort object (not a pacifier, but maybe an animal or blanket) and give him some time. Honestly most kids stop on their own by the time they start school. I would stop implying that the behavior is babyish or comparing him to anyone. There is no reason he needs to feel ashamed of something that comforts him.
 

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I sucked my thumb for a really, really long time. My parents tried everything before deciding to leave me alone about it. They figured there were worse things I could do.
They did, however, manage to convince me that it was something to be done at home only. I think that, when I was 5 or so, I quit doing it in public (school included) and made it my home thing. That made it less of a taboo, and more of a comfort, something I could come home to after a long day, kwim?
Maybe something like this would work for your ds?
 
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