April 29, 2008


I have two thumb suckers. Well, I take that back. I only have one now, but my daughter didn’t give it up until she was 7. And that felt like an eternity. I kept having nightmares of her walking down the aisle and me, hollering from the front row, “Allegra, take that thumb out your mouth!”

But Malachi is nearing the age of 8 and he hasn’t even remotely been successful at breaking the habit. And now his two front teeth are growing in kind of funky and it’s making we sweat.

And sweat’s not pretty on me.

Today I was on my way to the store and I heard a radio interview and Mandisa was on. (Oh Cindy, forgive me if you didn’t already know this.)

And beautiful, glowing Mandisa fessed up that until 8 years ago, she was still sucking her thumb.


Have you ever been around a thumb sucker? They smell like spit. Their thumbs are dried and cracked. It’s not very pretty. So the fact that this gorgeous woman still sucked her thumb until she was around 16 did little for my hopes.

I’m not real fond of the thought of taking Malachi’s graduation picture with his thumb in his mouth.

And a boy is just different. I can’t ply him with pretty fingernail polish or trips to get manicures as incentive. So, what in the world can I do to get this boy to keep his thumb out of his mouth.

Any help out there, bloggy ones?


Melanie said...

Have you tried the nasty tasting stuff that you paint on like nail polish? Or just bandaids? Bandaids is what worked my daughter, but she was only 2 at the time. And she had actual cracks in her skin, so she literally needed them!

My husband says his mom got him to give up sucking his thumb by promising him a watch when he stopped. (That was something he really wanted, so that appealed to him. Other kids would want other things.) I don't believe in using a reward system for every little thing, but we have used it successfully on occasion for big things like potty training. You just have to set a fairly steep limit (about 20 days with/without the desired/undesired behavior) to reinforce the new habit before they earn the reward.

Best of luck - I'd be pulling out my hair if mine had kept on sucking her fingers at this age!

Anonymous said...

maybe you could make one of these


UnlikelySecretary said...

My uncle used to put spicy mustard on my cousin's thumb... (something he didn't like). For me, when I was younger- I asked my mother what she would like for her birthday and she told me it would make her birthday very special if I gave up my thumbsucking.

...I think I felt I owed it to her. It was emotional, but it worked!

Anonymous said...

I have two thumb suckers and the oldest is 10. I sucked my thumb until I was 13. Honestly i wouldn't worry about it. He will stop when he is good and ready to do it on his own. And believe me, he won't be sucking his thumb when he is walking down the aisle and there is a good chance it will be before that.

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

But what else did Mandisa say???

duckygirl said...

You could try having someone other than a family member talk to him...Jim told Amanda she'd have to get braces and they'd hurt and she stopped cold turkey!


p.s. I'm having my very first contest, want to come play?

Halfmoon Girl said...

I don't have any great advice- what about a reward chart with the reward being something he REALLY wants? Habits stink- they are so tough to break!

Randi said...

When my son was younger, I put socks on his hands at night and he stopped very quickly because of it. During the day, thumb-sucking was confined to his room and I think he just got tired of being alone just to suck his thumb!

Don't worry to much, he WILL grow out of it at some point!

Gayle said...

Ok, Gayle-friend. I will put down my PRIDE here...for you. ~Deep breath~
I sucked my thumb until I was 12 years old and it was a STRUGGLE to quit, but sorta like an alcoholic, nothing my Mom did was going to make me stop (and believe me, she tried ev-er-y-thing).
I finally got to the place that I was embarrassed to spend the night at my friends house...and that's what made me quit...on my own.
The good side of it is that my teeth kinda did the funky thing, but they went completely normal after awhile...and I've never had braces or anything.

MaryLu said...

Oh the thumbsuckers thumb may be wrinkled and wet and withered and white as the snow,
But the taste of a thumb is the sweetest taste yet, as only we thumbsuckers know.
Shel Silverstein

Ok, I know that's not much help, I was athumbsucker till I was 14 and I raised, (am still raising) a 10 year old who sucked her thumb until she was about 7 or 8. I still catch her with it sometimes when she's bored or upset.
With most habits like this it is usually emotional and very little of the coercing, "painting" covering ever works to get the child to stop. I found when we left her alone and stopped bugging her about it, she stopped on her own, we praised the more grown up things she was doing and rarely, (but in very grown up talks) let her know that sucking one's thumb was not something that big girls did. We did not nag, or scold.
She actually stopped while Daddy was deployed to Iraq, and ironically he was the one most grossed out by her behavior. Maybe that had something to do with it as well.
Praying that you get it figured out.

Scott said...

Buy a jar of jalapeno peppers.
The juice they're soaking in can be applied to thumbs with a small paint brush or cotton swab.

a) it tastes nasty to bite or suck on.
b) be careful if the skin is cracked.
c) take photos of sour faces when the jalapeno thumb is sucked.

Tina www.the-miles.org said...

I sucked my thumb until 3rd grade or so. Nothing stopped me...until I got a cold or allergies so bad that I couldn't breath throughy my nose at night.

Don't worry, his picture won't have his thumb in his mouth, he'll learn to only do it at home/in bed as he gets older! ;-) (But that doesn't help with the teeth as much.)

EEEEMommy said...

I feel your pain, truly I do!
I tried everything until one year on New Year's Eve, I looked at my 8 1/2 year old son and said, "Your New Year's Resolution is to stop sucking your thumb." Period. I don't know why it worked when nothing else did, but he took me seriously and quit then. So did my then 5 year old, cold turkey. Unfortunately, she started again with the upheaval of our move and she's still at it. She'll be 7 in two days, and I'm hoping and praying I can get her to quit. My other daughter sucked her fingers until her 8th birthday last July. She got an American doll and quit.

EEEEMommy said...

One more thing I've learned they have to want to stop and even then it's a struggle.

EE said...

My sister was a thumb sucker. The orthodontist told them to wrap that arm/wrist (between thumb and index finger) with an ace bandage every night before bed. He said that the thumb would fall out of the mouth earlier and earlier each night. It totally worked when nothing else did.
Good luck!!!

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