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Methods to Stop Your Child from Thumb Sucking

by My Journey to Millions

When your child has picked up the bad habit of thumb sucking, you might think “what’s the problem?” The truth is, though, it is quite bad for them. There are physical and emotional consequences. Not only can it make issues in the near future, it can even cause problems into adulthood. To make sure that your child is developing at a proper emotional rate, you need to utilize the methods at your disposal to help them stop this bad habit.

Physical Consequences

When your child continues sucking their thumb passed the time they should, there are physical consequences. First if the child has teeth and sucks their thumbs, it can lead to malocclusion. This can be an open bite, which means that both rows of teeth are directed outward and misaligned. The front teeth will not touch, even if the child’s mouth is closed completely.

An overbite malocclusion is when the upper row teeth are misaligned with the bottom teeth, causing an overbite that can change the shape of the face and smile. It can even lead to the need for headgear or alternative metal braces. In addition to the teeth, thumb sucking can cause problems for the skin that lead to cracking, bleeding, and infection. It can even warp the thumbnail and cause ingrowth. Finally, all of this can lead to speech problems that will need to be worked on in the future.

Emotional Consequences

The first emotional consequence that can come from thumb sucking is being teased by their peers. While they may be ridiculed for thumb sucking longer than the other children, the speech issues can cause teasing. Furthermore, thumb sucking is one of the first coping skills children learn. It is important for kids to stop the habit and learn new coping mechanisms. Thumb sucking can also be a sign of addictive behavior. It can stunt the child’s development or is a symptom of it.

Methods to Stop it

When the child is young, you can begin by using a pacifier to wean them off thumb sucking. Some parents also put socks over their children’s hands at night so they don’t suck on their thumbs or fingers. Another tool is a thumb guard, which is essentially a plastic pacifier that attaches to the hand. This can bore the child and get them to stop on their own. It also removes the skin irritation or thumb nail ingrowth.

A combination between a thumb guard and a sock is a thumbsie. This is a cloth that goes over the thumb and attaches at the wrist. It isn’t as satisfying as sucking your thumb and removes the physical element. It still may harm the teeth, however. These tools should be used as a way to stop your child from sucking on their thumbs.

There also programs to help kids stop sucking their thumbs when it becomes a real problem. You can even use a program that coincides with a product that prohibits them from doing it. It is important to reinforce positivity when the child does the right thing and stops the behavior. As the parent you need to stay diligent and gradually stop the habit.

If it becomes dire, you can even use specially-designed nail polish that doesn’t taste good. It is bitter, which will get your child to stop sucking their fingers and thumbs. However, when your child continues sucking their thumb beyond the age of 8 you should probably take them in for a psychological evaluation to make sure they are developing at a reasonable rate.

Thumb sucking is a bigger problem than you might expect. It causes physical and emotional problems. While it may appear innocuous, thumb sucking is a horrible habit that children need to kick at an early age. It is important to make sure of this. You don’t want to be hands-off when it comes to thumb sucking. You need to be proactive. It isn’t always easy to break your children’s bad habits, but it will improve their life in their future. Ensure that they have a fruitful adulthood by reigning in bad habits. Your kids might not like you in the moment, but you will be doing the right thing for them and their future.

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