View Poll Results: When do you recommend putting a lid on the thumb?
Don't let your kid thumbsuck ever 6 16.22%
Step in before the 1st birthday 4 10.81%
Sometime between the 1st and 2nd birthday 5 13.51%
Between the 2nd and 3rd birthday 9 24.32%
Between the 3rd and 4th birthday 5 13.51%
After the 4th birthday 8 21.62%
Voters: 37. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-28-2013, 08:15 AM   #1
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When to intervene with thumbsucking?

What age do you think is ideal to step in and remove the thumb?

I know several people who say their kids stopped on their own, but my husband and I were both committed thumbsuckers as children... As in we both sucked our respective thumbs until middle school. It has been hilarious to note the apparent genetic influence on this behavior: babe refused pacifiers and found his thumb as soon as he could, as kids I sucked my right thumb, hubby sucked his left thumb, our baby sucks both equally. It's been a fun science experiment. But I would really like to step in before things get bad.

I'm sort of thinking I should do it before he's 2 to minimize the chances he will remember... is that cruel? Should I wait longer?

How would you do it? I definitely don't want to take the "that's for babies" route, I remember being 4 and told I was too big for my thumb and I wanted to punch the person who told me that. Hearing that thumbs were for babies just made me resentful and secretive, so I don't want to do that at all.

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Old 03-28-2013, 08:30 AM   #2
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Re: When to intervene with thumbsucking?

So I don't have a thumb sucker, but I was an avid thumb sucker when I was young. You probably are not going to like this. My mom did EVERYTHING to get me to stop sucking my thumb and to this day tells people that I sucked my thumb until I was four. I sucked my thumb until I was in 5th grade....I was just smarter about it.

She did get me to stop doing it in public which was a plus! I think the earlier the better though. Maybe start discussing it now and prepare him. Say that at two big boys aren't allowed to suck their thumb anymore. Something like that? He might do it at night still but you might get him to stop doing it 24/7.

Oh and the old saying that they won't go to college sucking their thumb is 100% false. I knew two totally normal girls in college that sucked their thumb and had a blanket at night. Needless to say that they didnt get many dates .
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:35 AM   #3
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I have no idea how to get him to stop. I was also a thumb sucker, and most of the time it was completely unconscious, which was why it was so hard to quit. Even now at age 32 I still have the instinct to suck my thumb, but I don't.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:39 AM   #4
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I have a 5 year old thumb sucker. Her dentist said that if she doesn't stop before her permanent teeth come in they will intervene. We have good dental coverage and I fully expect braces to be in our future. I really haven't pushed it at all other than to reiterate what the dentist said (he told her this last visit). It brings her comfort and i don't see why i would take that from her any sooner than necessary.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:50 AM   #5
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Re: When to intervene with thumbsucking?

My dd is 5 1/2 and still sucks hers. We have been seeing an orthodontist because she has obviously done some pretty major damage to her mouth with her vigorous sucking. This summer she will be getting an appliance in her mouth to help her stop, it breaks my heart to do it.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:12 AM   #6
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Re: When to intervene with thumbsucking?

We've always made our kids stop when they were around 3. We use a product called "Mavala Stop". It's a bitter-tasting nail polish. The first time my kids taste it, they usually start gagging (I've had them puke because of it, too) but it makes them stop, and personally, I think the prolonged damage done to their teeth because of thumb sucking is harsher than a nasty taste in their mouth. I had braces when I was a teenager and I HATED it, it was painful and it lasted for years. The product says you're not supposed to use it on kids younger than 3, just because they need to understand what's going on. My ds will be 3 in June and I will be working with him on not sucking his thumb once we're done potty training (he was potty trained then got sick, and so now we're pretty much starting over). I'm hoping to have him broken of his habit by the time he turns 3. I won't start working with my dd about her thumb sucking for another year or so (she's 16 months). I've only had 2 of my kids take pacifiers, the others have all been thumb-suckers. My sister's oldest didn't become a thumb sucker until she was 2, and now she's 6 and still sucking her thumb and I feel it's ridiculous for her to be doing that. Maybe I'm just really closed-minded about it, but I just feel it's a nasty habit that needs to be broken.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:27 AM   #7
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Re: When to intervene with thumbsucking?

Quote:
Originally Posted by s@hmommy View Post
This summer she will be getting an appliance in her mouth to help her stop, it breaks my heart to do it.

I sucked my thumb until college. I had a thumb stop appliance in my mouth and still managed to suck my thumb
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s@hmommy
My dd is 5 1/2 and still sucks hers. We have been seeing an orthodontist because she has obviously done some pretty major damage to her mouth with her vigorous sucking. This summer she will be getting an appliance in her mouth to help her stop, it breaks my heart to do it.
I had this done to me at 8 and I still remember it. I cried hysterically for weeks, refused to eat, wouldn't speak to my mother... It was bad. My mom eventually took me back to the dentist and said that it wasn't worth having straight teeth if I was so distraught all the time.


I really hope your daughter can stop on her own before getting the appliance, or at least that she reacts well to it.

These memories are part of why I want to step in before he is 2. I don't want him to remember sobbing for hours over something that brings him soo much comfort and joy. And at 8 I knew full we'll that my mom and dentist had conspired to do this to me, that they physically screwed something into my mouth to take away something I loved.

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Old 03-28-2013, 10:15 AM   #9
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Re: When to intervene with thumbsucking?

So, here is the thing. I heard once that kids retain a need to suck, an oral fixation of sorts until they are 3 or 4 in some cases.

I had 2 thumb suckers (well one fingers, and one thumbs). My middle son sucked his thumb until the summer he went into 3rd grade. Then gave it up overnight. Just like that, he was done. My daughter had February vacation a bit ago (1st grade) and on a whim we created a sticker chart, where she got a sticker for not sucking during the day, and not sucking at night. That did it. She hasn't sucked it again. She was ready, I guess. It's my opinion that when they are ready to give it up, they will.
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Old 03-28-2013, 10:19 AM   #10
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Re: When to intervene with thumbsucking?

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Originally Posted by ralenth View Post
So, here is the thing. I heard once that kids retain a need to suck, an oral fixation of sorts until they are 3 or 4 in some cases.

I had 2 thumb suckers (well one fingers, and one thumbs). My middle son sucked his thumb until the summer he went into 3rd grade. Then gave it up overnight. Just like that, he was done. My daughter had February vacation a bit ago (1st grade) and on a whim we created a sticker chart, where she got a sticker for not sucking during the day, and not sucking at night. That did it. She hasn't sucked it again. She was ready, I guess. It's my opinion that when they are ready to give it up, they will.
I love that idea and am so glad it worked for your kids, but having been a teenage thumbsucker I don't trust that he'll just stop on his own before experiencing more shame, guilt and dental issues than I'd care to recall.
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