What do you think about my ten year old's self comforting methods

Beth - posted on 10/18/2011 ( 100 moms have responded )

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My daughter has just turned ten and still enjoys cuddling up to me while sucking her thumb and holding my breast. This is something she has done since she was tiny and has obviously drastically decreased in occurrence as she grown older. She used to tweak my nipple while she was doing it but at a certain age it made feel uncomfortable so I explained this and she stopped. She now only rests her hand there. Is this okay, I feel that she is growing out of the behaviour and believe it is healthier for her to do it in her own time but I'm not sure I would still feel comfortable in a year or so. What do you think?

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Sharon - posted on 10/19/2011

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I am saddend too by many of the replies. If you are both still comfortable with this then carry on. I am also very shocked that many of you feel that her daughter need some sort of therapy (maybe that's a UK to US difference). She is just doing what she has always done to comfort herself and feel close to her mum and there is NOTHING WRONG with that at all. However, if either of you start to feel uncomfortable with the way she touches your breasts then you could try addressing the situation in a loving caring way. Children don't see breasts as sexual objects like we do unless they are taught that they are.

As for the poor lady that couldn't breastfeed because you think of breasts as purely sexual I feel very sorry for you.

Mommy - posted on 10/19/2011

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You can't just tell her to stop, you need to help her find a different, more age appropriate way, of bonding with you. The cuddling is so nice, but the thumb sucking not so much. I liked the idea of the hand holding instead. And therapy??? Seriously people? I AM a therapist, and I wouldn't see a child for this. There would definitely need to be other factors/issues.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/20/2011

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Samantha, you are completely missing what I am saying. I am not saying to hold your opinion on this, I am saying there is a way to give your opinion without name calling and insulting everyone. HUGE difference. Of course she should expect all sorts of opinions on this matter, but does she need to be called names? Or anyone else need to be called names that are trying to be supportive?

I am sorry about your past, and I can understand your anguish. But, this child is not being sexually molested or abused. Your message is important to get out there though.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/20/2011

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WOWZA! Some people needs to take a step back and take their judgmental mom hats off.

Nicola - posted on 10/18/2011

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maybe next time she does it you could slip your hand into hers and hold her hand as a gentle way of removing it. might just speed up the stopping process slightly and then if she needs comfort she can just snuggle up and hold your hand. might be helpful for when you are out and she needs comfort if you can change it from breast to hand.

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Mommy - posted on 10/20/2011

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Laurelai, that sounds so sweet. I don't think that is inappropriate. What a nice memory you have about your dad. :)

Merry - posted on 10/20/2011

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Until I was growing breasts at age 13 my dad had a night time ritual with me where I'd lay on my belly and he would run hus fingers lightly on my back, it felt wonderfully calming and it had been a routine before bed since I was a baby.
Once I started wearing a bra it stopped but at 10 it was still part of my nighttime routine.
Inappropriate? Some I'm sure would say so. But to me it was soothing comforting and safe to have my dad love me and help me fall asleep.

Mommy - posted on 10/20/2011

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It's a shame that we can't have differing opinions without attacking each other.

Merry - posted on 10/20/2011

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I don't think my breasts are 'private' from my kids. My breasts are FOR their nourishment and since the high end for self weaning is 7 years old, ten years is still within the relm of recent weaning.

Now, idk why no one has asked, but is she placing her hand under your shirt? Under the bra? On the nipple?

If it on top of the shirt I'd have NO problem.

Under the shirt on the top of the breast that's not covered by the bra- no problem, but only in our house.

Under the bra or on the nipple I'd move her hand to one of the other places.



Thumb sucking I feel should be given up when the child is ready. Ten seems old IMO to still be sucking thumbs but my son is 2 so we will see when he gives it up. I'm not judging! It could be me in years wondering when he will quit.



So. Beth I'm sorry this got so out of control but so many women think breasts are sexual that they can't get their heads out of sex land to realize breasts are solely designed for our children.



And as for the molestation thing? She's the mom. That's completely different then anyone else. This girl I doubt would ever consider doing this with anyone else.

Mom and child have a special bond and kids know the difference between mom and uncle Freds man boobs.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/20/2011

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Hmmmmm.....I am definitely NOT the only one being rude, even though I feel I am not.

Amy - posted on 10/20/2011

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Once again, you are they one being rude. I am not being snarky, nor do I need to settle down. I only asked you to be polite, which is what you are asking of others.

And I guess I need to clarify that inappropriate does not always equal sexually inappropriate. NOBODY in this thread thinks there is anything sexual in nature in the behavior. By inappropriate I mean it seems like at 10 she shouldn't be touching mom's breast, in any fashion, nor should she's be sucking her thumb. And sylvia, I agree with you; though beth says she's ok w it, one some level she must not be since she's is questioning it.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/20/2011

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Mods, can we lock this thread please? I think Beth has gotten her answers, and the rest is becoming obsolete.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/20/2011

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Actually Amy, no need to be so damned snarky. You need to settle down. It was a suggestion because you both obviously have a lot of info to share. It was a suggestion to let others be aware. There is no need to be so defensive and argumentative about everything! And if you read my posts, it was about name calling that I was addressing and being so judgmental.

Samantha - posted on 10/20/2011

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What part of innapropiate behavior is not being understood. No one is saying the child is being molested or that it is sexual. We are saying at her age she needs to be taught what is and isn't appropriate behavior.

Samantha - posted on 10/20/2011

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Amy, the only thing I am going to add is that because of your awareness, and your good sence. Will not have a child who is a victim of child abuse. Just like mine, who are now, 23, 22, 20 and a 9 yr old. Because, I was the same way. Educated! Unfornately, mine was the hard way!! Peace. : )

Sylvia - posted on 10/20/2011

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From what you describe, it sounds to me like she's growing out of her baby/toddler comfort habits at her own pace. She's not still doing exactly what she did when she was two, or four, or seven; what she does now, she won't still be doing when she's sixteen. And it's a good thing that her comfort object is a human being -- that is, that she takes comfort in her relationship with you. If she were 10 and clinging to you constantly, that would be one thing, but that she does this occasionally? Growing up is a variable process, one step forward and two steps back a lot of the time.

If it works for her and doesn't bother you, I don't see the problem. But obviously it's bothering you enough that you're thinking about it and whether it might be a problem, so ...

I strongly disagree that there's anything sexual about your daughter's relationship with your breasts, or the rest of you. The thumbsucking seems like more of a problem to me, honestly, because of the possible effects on tooth alignment (although I'm not a dentist; if her dentist doesn't see a problem developing, then there likely isn't one).

Bottom line, if you're not comfortable with something, it's okay to change it! It's just not okay to do that in a way that traumatizes your daughter or makes her feel like there's something wrong with her ... so gradual substitution seems like the way to go.

Amy - posted on 10/20/2011

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Wow, you didn't see the "side note" part, did you? Nowhere in my posts did I say the girl was being abused. I was just adding an aside to samantha's comment. For someone who is demanding respect in this thread, you really aren't playing by your own rules, are you? If you want people to stay on topic, simply ask. It is much more polite.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/20/2011

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Maybe you should both start a different thread on molesting and sex offenders awareness.

Samantha - posted on 10/20/2011

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AMEN!!!!!!! well said!!!!! It makes me feel so much better to here someone say, "this is not age appropriate !" I know marina, that the key to ending child abuse, is to Educate. My methods may be over the top, but when I heard one mother after another ( thank god not all) but saying what a beautiful thing it was that her and the child were that close. I'm sorry , I panicked!!! I'm thinking, this 10 yr old child is getting breast of her own. Someone needs to tell her that touching them is not allowed!!!

Amy - posted on 10/20/2011

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Samantha: on a side note, I worked at a private school with both offenders and victims of sexual abuse (children). Most offenders begin offending when they are adolescents, and public bathrooms are an area where it occurs between older offenders/younger victims. My son keeps asking me when I am going to stop standing guard outside of mens rooms lol; I tell him when he is 6'3" and 200 lbs :-)
My point is before that job I only worried about adult offenders...so, it is always a good idea to monitor they bathrooms or any other place like that if you can. And if your child is hanging out w older children, you can't be too careful. I don't mean to be scary, but my job made me just a tad hyper vigilant ;-)

Amy - posted on 10/20/2011

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I understand the difference between fondling and resting her hand on mom's breast, I am not a moron. I also understand the difference between a 10 yr old exhibiting age appropriate behaviors and one who doesn't. Yes, I get that she's never stopped doing these behaviors, but my questions for mom are: does she suck her thumb in school? If so, is she feeling any backlash from classmates due to it? It is a "babyish" behavior, and kids can be mean, all the more reason for you to get her to stop. Is she aware of her body? At 8, my son is very much aware of his, the difs between girls and boys, and that you don't look at or touch anyone else's private parts, and he understands why. If she's not aware of her body, she should at least be made aware of yours. Cuddling is awesome, but the very young behavior your daughter is continuing should be replaced with more age appropriate, equally affectionate ones. And I don't care if it is considered fondling, groping or any other verb...at 10, it is inappropriate and needs to be clearly defined as such.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/20/2011

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But, you do understand this child is not being molested right?

Samantha - posted on 10/20/2011

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And might I add that very very few cases are strangers molesting your children. Most the time it is by a relative or close family friend. Yes!! Someone you trusted!! So that is why I say, the mother should not only explain to her why she should not be touching her, "private parts" and no one should be touching hers. And I will shut up with that. !! Sorry if I offended anyone. But then again, if it makes one mother stop and think and keep one child from going through that never reversible HEll. Then I don't apologize after all.

Kelina - posted on 10/20/2011

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Amy there is a difference between opinion and personal attack. telling someone you don't think it's right and telling someone they're mental are two TOTALLY different things. and like Daniela has pointed out there is also a difference between groping on fondling which would indicate a crossed boundary, and simply resting her hand there which is a form of comfort. Sometime within the next few years this little girl is going to become more aware of her body and then she'll probably not do this anymore. I was about ten when I no longer wanted to be picked up for the same reason. And Beth has also been given some great advice on how to handle it if she DOES become uncomfortable with it.

Samantha - posted on 10/20/2011

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Yes, yes REAL ISSUES!! ones I would like see help or educate so the cycle does not continue. 9 out of 10 women I talk to, has as a child been the victim of child molestation. Because parents are afraid to confront and talk about these isssues. And Children are taught at a young age to be a victim. There told, " you give your UNCLE/ grandpa a hug and kiss good bye, shame on you!! Your gonna hurt their feelings. " INSTEAD, mothers please, please, teach your children that affection is something to be given out when they chose that it's okay, not because their made to. Teach them their bodies belong to them. And no one , should be made to give or receive afffection.

Samantha - posted on 10/20/2011

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Thank you AMY!! and MARINA, I am sorry if I took this so personal and offended anyone, but I was a victim of child abuse. And I think we as parents have a duty, an obligation to educate our children about the what are private parts. And why it is important for mother to explain, that no one, not mom, not dad, not grandpa , not uncle John, no matter how much they tell you it's a form of love. Is allowed to touch you in those private parts. And nor you touch them!!!!!!!

[deleted account]

Ahem, the child is not groping or fondling the mother's private parts but merely resting her hand on her breast. Resting, like younger children do. Sometimes the people who shout loudest are the ones with the real issues...

Amy - posted on 10/20/2011

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Mariana: now who is being judgmental? She asked for peoples opinions and that is exactly what she's getting. Most people agree cuddling is fine, and hope at 10 their own kids are still doing it-I certainly hope mine is- it is the issue of the breast fondling which seems to have most of us baffled. I know if my son continued to try to do that past, well, infancy to be honest, I would have puts a stop to it by setting CLEAR boundaries. When someone asks for an opinion, they should be prepared for ALL opinions, not just ones they want to hear. And, again, the only thing that qualifies us to answer her is that we are moms, which is why I suggested she ask a qualified person, like a counselor, if the behavior is "normal". All we can offer are opinions.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/20/2011

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See, saying that instead of calling names and trying to make someone feel bad is different. Do you see that? That would have been a fine post instead of your insults.

Samantha - posted on 10/20/2011

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Being close to your child is cuddling, hugging, kissing, talking, not fondeling ones private parts. By this age the mother should have already disgust what "private parts " are. And let her know, that under no circumstances are anyone allowed to touch her private parts nor she touch theirs!!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/20/2011

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Take a step off of your ever so high horse...it might be a different view from down here. Other people have different parenting styles. This is not a forum to just bash everyone cause you have a different perspective. This forum can get intense with debates, but if you cannot control yourself and are going to T.H.U.M.P everyone, maybe this is not the place for you.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/20/2011

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REALLY? You are calling everyone "weird" and "insane" for her being close with her daughter? I really don't think anyone has said "hey yeah, that is awesome..she should TOTALLY be groping your breasts still at that age". We are all trying to be encouraging of a mother with a different parenting style, and offering advice on how to change it. Not insulting her and calling people names.

Oh yeah, lets not forget that you are calling the mother "mental" for asking for help to see if this is the norm and how to change it. Yeah...not judgmental on your part at all.

Samantha - posted on 10/20/2011

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I don't think a sensible person needs to ask advice on wheather or not its appropriate for her 10 year old daughter to sit on her lap, sucking her thumb, while at the same time groping her breast. To me that's just common sence to have told that child by 3 tops!! No, no!! And as someone else suggested take and hold her hand instead.

Amy - posted on 10/20/2011

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Ok, there is a big difference between going for long term therapy and seeing a counselor a few times to ask for advice; and to the woman whose family has so many problems, I am truly sorry, and I am not trying to minimize the need for therapy. However, beth asked for advice because she didn't know if the breast issue, and the thumb sucking, at age 10 is normal. All I meant to say is asking a qualified person for that answer might be a good idea, and they may be able to offer replacement behaviors. I do nit meant her daughter needs long term therapy. But, for those of you who think there is nothing wrong with the breast issue, let me ask you this: if it were a 10 yr old boy doing the same thing would your answers be them same, even on seeking them advice of a counselor?

Sharlene - posted on 10/20/2011

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Thank you ,I just suggest that maybe in the near futuer this effect this girl but what saying is that probably going be the last oppoion ;and they have be paying me out all day about gee thanks

[deleted account]

I think like a lot of the other girls do. It's sweet that you still have such a close bond with your daughter. My son is only four and I can already feel him pulling away from me in some ways. Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable with it but maybe for ME that's because I wasn't able to breast feed for long so my boobs have been back to being mine for awhile now lol I DEFINITELY DON'T THINK YOUR DAUGHTER NEEDS THERAPY!
@ Julianne ~ You're right....IF it was something that had stopped long ago and then restarted out of the blue. Clearly, it didn't ever stop, only slowed.

As for the thumb sucking thing....I do think that's something that needs to be addressed and stopped, purely because it's unsanitary and will more than likely damage her teeth.

Some kids need more soothing than others. For these kids, it doesn't change as they grow into adults. Don't you know someone who twirls their hair or has some other obviously self-soothing habit? To this day, if I lay my head on my husband's lap and he begins to run his fingers through my hair, I get drowsy. It's my kryptonite lol

Sharon - posted on 10/19/2011

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We saw a therapist when our son was struggling at school with ADHD, we saw a therapist to help my husband adjust to an instant family and the ongoing issues related, we saw a therapist when my husband realised his bad temper was affecting our family's relationships, and when I had cancer and ultimately, once when my son tried to hang himself. Those are real issues. Not thumb sucking, not hand on the breast (unless, as someone mentioned, it's a new or reverted thing which could point to other problems). I'm with Mommy A!

Shannon - posted on 10/19/2011

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As children get older, they generally find age-appropriate ways to seek comfort. Your daughter may benefit from talking about her fears, concerns, etc. with a qualified therapist. Seeing a therapist doesn't need to be a scary, intimidating, or stigmatizing experience for her...there may be some things your daughter is finding difficult to express in words. In the meantime, you may want to have a discussion with her about respecting your body and others' bodies, and explain to her that you feel uncomfortable when she touches your breast. Good luck.

Sharlene - posted on 10/19/2011

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Age 4 is okay shes still a little girl but the 10 yr I think like a few mums have said get her hand and hold or cuddle her. And as well talking to her telling her making it appropriate for her to understand .

Kelly - posted on 10/19/2011

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Thank you Amy Redmond!!!!! Thats what im talking about. I do not think that this little 10 year old needs therapy. She is just wanting some attention from mom.But as I said in my earlier post. If the breast touching made her mom feel uncomfortable, then she needed to move her hand away,and the thumb sucking should be addressed if she felt that her daughter was too old for that.

Amy - posted on 10/19/2011

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Just let me clarify: seeking counseling does not mean there is anything wrong with whomever is seeking help. All it means is that they want help or advice with something they don't know how to deal with in their own; kind of like asking for advice in a forum... if every kid in counseling had something "wrong" with them, as one woman puts it, the mainstream classes would be empty and the behavioral programs would be wait listed.

Teresa - posted on 10/19/2011

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In my opinion the cuddling is fine but the thumbsucking and breast holding needs to be addressed.

Sharlene - posted on 10/19/2011

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I hope she grows out of it but if she still doing that at the age of 11 to 12 then prob ably look at theraphy and I did not mention medication.all the best

[deleted account]

I think it's quite lovely that the two of you have such a close relationship and that you havn't made her feel bad about those habits which obviously give her comfort and security. You said yourself that she is slowly outgrowing it, so I wouldn't worry. If you are uncomfortable, I'm sure you can just talk to her about it and gently help her to find other ways. Mum's breast is so much more than just a food source for a breastfed child. It's warmth, safety, feeling the heartbeat. I'd see it just as a leftover from those times that will slowly fade away.

Kelina - posted on 10/19/2011

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Julianne I'm assuming you're referring to my post in which I said I was appalled that someone mentioned medication! I'm not appalled that people have mentioned therapy although I do think that it's extreme and not necessary in this particular case and I was surprised at the sheer number of moms who seemed to think this little girl needs therapy. Some kids just grow out of things slower than others that doesn't mean there's something wrong with them!

Kerri - posted on 10/19/2011

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BTW the Pediatrician told me if we tried to stop her(thumb sucking) and "get on" her for it, it would just backfire. Same philosophy as all kid's milestones..it will come in time! I am sure she learned to talk, walk and potty all on her own time..this isn't any different.

Kerri - posted on 10/19/2011

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My daughter sucked her thumb until around 10 or 11. The older she got she just did it when she was tired or upset. She eventually grew out of it. My Pediatrician had no problem with it. He said some kids are more oral then others, some self soothe longer. Why sweat it? It is not harming anything. I personally would have stop the breast thing awhile ago. That would have grated on my nerves a tad. If you aren't bothered by it and it doesn't happen in public..who cares! Enjoy it while you can!

Angelica - posted on 10/19/2011

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Breast fed children tend to fondle their mother's breast. Its a habit that can be stopped the same way a mother weans her child. The covering of her hand and moving it is a good idea. There is nothing wrong with the cuddling. The thumb sucking is a hard habit to break especially since she is older. You will have to be on top her to stop.. There is something you can paint on her nails to help discourage it. Just remind her to taje her hand out of her mouth every time she does it. I do not think there is anything wrong/ abnormal with your child. Like with anything you want fr your child to pick up, just be paitent and follow through. Good luck.

Angelica - posted on 10/19/2011

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Breast fed children tend to fondle their mother's breast. Its a habit that can be stopped the same way a mother weans her child. The covering of her hand and moving it is a good idea. There is nothing wrong with the cuddling. The thumb sucking is a hard habit to break especially since she is older. You will have to be on top her to stop.. There is something you can paint on her nails to help discourage it. Just remind her to taje her hand out of her mouth every time she does it. I do not think there is anything wrong/ abnormal with your child. Like with anything you want fr your child to pick up, just be paitent and follow through. Good luck.

Sharlene - posted on 10/19/2011

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We recommended for the mother to probably take her child to see a thraptyist maybe that childs going through emotional issues that maybe with effect her later on cuddle and find other methods to comfort like the girls are suggestion.Best of luck

Mommy - posted on 10/19/2011

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Ok Julianne...what I said was I would not see a child for that reason only. There would need to be other factors. Because simply using one poor coping skill is not indicative of needing therapy.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/19/2011

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You would be right if it was a new thing, and therapy would not be out of line for spontaneous thumb sucking and breast holding, yeah...that could be a sign of stress....but beings that it is not new, it is just a matter of breaking old habits and finding new comforts.

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