Thumb sucking in older children

Cheri - posted on 07/15/2009 ( 7 moms have responded )

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My daughter is eight years old and still will not stop sucking her thumb. We have tried it all-yucky tasting stuff, mittens, duct tape at night (suggested by the dentist) and millions of other things. We have tried rewards, progress posters, etc. She really wants her ears pierced and I told her if she stops sucking her thumb I will take her. This works for a few days but then she gives up. Any suggestions? We have taken her in to have the dentist talk with her and show her pictures of mouth deformities caused by thumb sucking. She wants to stop but she says it is just too hard and she is doing it before she even knows it. We are considering a thumb crib which is a device the dentist glues into the roof of her mouth preventing her from being able to suck her thumb. Does anyone have any experience with these? Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks

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Heather - posted on 07/16/2009

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Although your thumb-sucker is 2 yrs older than my daughter; I try not to let it stress me out.

She can't do it at school; the teacher will give a polite tap on the shoulder.

She mainly does it when she is bored or sleepy.

When I catch her I just ask if she is sleepy.

She says she can't stop; "I just love my thumb too much."

I couldn't imagine "implanting" something on the roof of her mouth.

Her pediatric dentist has brought up no issues.

I believe she will stop on her own or take it down to night-time only.

There are more important things to "fight" for.

If anything the peer pressure at school might help her to stop.



Good luck!

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Jenniffer - posted on 07/26/2014

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My son is seven and started sucking his thumb when was two and half. We tried the dental crib and he was like a drug addict going through with drawls. He could not eat properly or speak correctly he finally was so frustrated that he broke one day at school he only lasted fifteen days. He still sucks his thumb his front teeth are Bucky and he has had to have a lot if dental work done caps and fillings. I am so frustrated his teeth were so nice before and his permanent teeth are a wreck. I don't think I should wait until he is older or grows ou of it. Myfamily constantly tells him to stop sucking your thumb because it bothers them. Not to mention he is a strong willed child the more we say don't the more he does.

Libby - posted on 07/15/2009

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Quoting Cheri:

Thanks. I really hate the idea of glueing something inside her mouth. My biggest concern is that her lip has a very slight deformity (at least it sticks out a little like a pout) and I don't want this to get worse. When she smiles she looks like she is missing her front teeth but she isn't. It is just the shape of her lip from the sucking.



Your welcome.  I just can't imagine glueing something in my mouth or my child's mouth.  If she is a constant thumb sucker, like when she's just sitting around watching TV or something then perhaps you could work on limiting her thumb time.  Try to get it exclusive to bed time.  Quite honestly, aside from doing something drastic like the contraption in her mouth, you can't really force her to stop.  She could fall asleep without sucking her thumb and in the middle of the night she starts by instinct.  I can't picture in my head what you're describing with her teeth and the deformity of her lip.  But perhaps just helping her limit it would be the best way to get over this.  She may break it herself like someone else said.  Also, perhaps she needs it to get into a deep enough sleep.  When I have horrible sleep periods the only thing that gets me deep enough into sleep is that.  I'd rather feel rested than miserable the next day. 

WendiLee - posted on 07/15/2009

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Trust your instincts. It sounds like for all your efforts (duct tape?) you are swimming upstream with this one. My son sucks his thumb, and while I encourage him to stop it still goes on. He is 11 now and has had emotional problems for the last year or so. His therapist told me absolutely do NOT try to make him stop. In fact, research on adult thumb suckers (yes, apparently they are out there!) showed that the one thing they all had in common was parents aggressively attempting to make them stop. I have been helping him find many other ways of self-soothing so that when he is naturally ready he has other ways to relax himself.

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I too suckedmy thumb until I was much older than your daughter is. I dont anymore - and it had nothing to do with the tactics you named above that my parents also tried with me. I just stopped needing to do that for comfort. You may find that the harder you push her to stop the more she will need to continue with it. It is unlikely to causeher much grief so maybe just let her use it when she needs some comfort and she will probably stop when she is ready to.

Cheri - posted on 07/15/2009

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Thanks. I really hate the idea of glueing something inside her mouth. My biggest concern is that her lip has a very slight deformity (at least it sticks out a little like a pout) and I don't want this to get worse. When she smiles she looks like she is missing her front teeth but she isn't. It is just the shape of her lip from the sucking.

Libby - posted on 07/15/2009

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I think that is going to the extreme. I am 29 years old and still suck my thumb when I am have trouble sleeping. I don't tell many people that, but I think that I could be a good example to you that it's really not something you need to stress about to the point where you are putting some foreign contraption in your daughter's mouth. I have never had braces but I have nice teeth and have never had any cavitities. If it is not effecting your child socially then I wouldn't worry about it. Seriously, it's not the end of the world.

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