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O.K, I admit it my son sucks and the really weird thing about it is that people don't mind. In fact most people say he will just grow out of it. When?? When will this happen? When his little teeth are so buck tooth that he can't bite into an apple? When his bite is so out that even when he has his teeth clenched there is still a gap? Too late, this has already happened. Yes, I know at two and a half that they are only baby teeth but I don't see how this can't possibly effect the way his little mouth forms. So what do you do about it??

Well, I have looked at multiple solutions, I would like to say with varying degrees of success but in truth, nothing has made the slightest dent to his addiction to his thumb. I have been told not to make a big deal of it in front of him, mostly by adults who also sucked and still harbour resentment to their parents for embarrassing them about something they enjoyed so much. So I casually remark as I walk past, "take your thumb out" and variations of this. He does for a moment and then pops it straight back in. So, off I went to the chemist in search of a cure and all of the products I was offered were for adult nail biters and had alcohol in them - which I am not going to give to my child. There seems to be nothing available on the mainstream market, so I headed to the health food shop in search of an answer. Again I was left with an assistant scratching their head and not being able to offer one. In fact one health food shop suggested putting lemon juice on his thumb. But seeing that we had spent the previous day making lemonade and he had spent a good part of it sucking on each lemon, I failed to see how that was going to make any significant impact on my problem.

So I am left with a delema in search of an answer. There must be someone out there with an answer. Anyone?

Cheers,

Lee

 


12/04/2012 8:57pm

Hi Lee,

No easy answers for thumb sucking... but here are a few suggestions that might help change his behaviour.

1. Thumb sucking is a soothing behaviour, which means sucking his thumb just feels really really good. So whatever you do, you need to find something that feels just as good, and is just as easy. (that's just about impossible, which is why its a hard habit to change!)

2. saying take your thumb out is a good start, because you are telling him what to do - but you could try also giving him something else to do instead - something that will keep his hands busy. Actually, try just giving him something else to do, and ignore the sucking all together...

3. Noticing when he is not sucking his thumb, and praise him then. This is a good time to try a reward chart - reward him for NOT sucking, and ignore him sucking his thumb altogether. You could link the rewards to something he really wants - eg 10 stickers gets a small reward, and 5 small rewards = a really big reward. You could cut up a picture of the big reward into 5 pieces, and give him one when he gets the small reward, so he can see how far he has to go.

I know of another type of reward system that is even more powerful - but I'll have to try and remember all of it - it's got a few more steps.

Good luck with it!

Gail

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Lee
12/05/2012 3:12am

Thanks _ I will give the reward chart a try.

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Dee
12/04/2012 8:59pm

Toothpaste? As in adult real pepperminty toothpaste?

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Lee
12/05/2012 3:09am

Wouldn't work - he loves toothpaste!! Loves brushing his teeth!

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Nicole
12/04/2012 11:20pm

Elijah was a chronic Finger sucker... The index and middle fingers from birth until about 4. I found a natural remedy.. i have no idea of the name, but you know ill google it and find it for you. It tasted absolutely revolting.. I think it was aloe or cactus.. no idea really. But it worked a treat. :)

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Lee
12/05/2012 3:10am

Please let me know what it is if you find out! I haven't been able to find anything online - except this contraption that blocks of your thumb - but it looks like an instrument of torture!

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