Stop Thumb Sucking

How to stop thumb sucking and the earliest addiction

When children are born they have no habits, it’s us the parents that create the habits, by placing the thumb of your baby in its mouth, or by adding a pacifier.  And then a couple years later we see the pediatric dentist who says we need a plan on how to stop thumb sucking. We are the creators of habit for our children. We watch our parents bite their nails and children follow suit, I can go on and on. Habits are a continuous cycle and we create the habits and then take them away. We see our parents chewing on a pencil and then our children follow suit.

Children are not blank slates or empty hard-drives, they arrive in this world with their own hard-wired, intrinsic temperament traits in the same way that they arrive in this world as male or female.  Their inborn intelligence potential, their inborn temperament, and their own unique set of experiences growing up in their native environment combine to create the individual’s personality and character.  Learning how to quit thumb sucking can be the biggest challenge of a child.  The sooner you start the better.

Its nature AND nurture combined, not just one or just the other, that make a person who and what they are.

Newborns even have some instinctive behaviors, such as the sucking reflex, a walking-motion reflex when held upright on a level surface, and they have a specific newborn reaction to being startled: they fling their arms and legs out in a specific way that older babies don’t do; these behaviors are not taught to them. Why do they start thumb sucking and how they stop thumb sucking develops over time.  Some instinctive behaviors disappear in a few weeks after birth, other instincts stay with us longer. Although children ARE naturally very imitative, which is how a child learns the language their parents are speaking, not ALL behaviors are learned. Some are instinctive and some are self-taught.logo thumbs up

Neither of my parents were nail-biters, or thumb suckers.  So they did not need to learn or teach me how to stop thumb sucking or nail biting.  Their lack of this habit s one reason they were appalled by my extreme nail-biting habit. It never occurred to them that it was a desperate self-soothing technique I discovered for myself. Nobody “taught” me to masturbate, either; that was another self-soothing tactic I discovered on my own. Also, children are not shown or taught to bang their heads against the wall or floor and they are not taught to fall on the floor and scream in temper tantrums, these are inherent self-soothing behaviors or nervous-overload behaviors caused by too much stress, fear, or even terror, or by being too frustrated by an inability to achieve a desired goal (like getting a cookie on request) or inability to verbalize a problem, or by an immature nervous system, by over-tiredness, etc. Children aren’t shown how to do these things, they discover them on their own.

It is nature/nurture that will teach how to stop thumb sucking.  My kid is a thumbsucker and all on his own placed his thumb in his mouth, nor did I give him a pacifier (I’m not against pacifiers, he just prefers his thumb).  Aside from my own experience, research in development has shown that the sucking reflex is one that babies are born with and that it is their first soothing/regulating action. While I tend to favor the “nurture” side of the nature/nurture debate, we know that humans are not born a blank slate.

I am actually regarded as the one with extremely good ability to cope with stress and the one sought after to help others. I have had my good share of stress in childhood and coping came natural, i didn’t run in a corner to suck my thumb when things got hard, the sucking wasn’t the main or only coping mechanism. And the stress I am referring to is one from a civil war tearing my country when I was 8, and my entire family getting chased out of our homes into perpetual refugee status around the world. We moved to 4 different countries before I was 14. But before I was 8 and happily sucking away I had a storybook childhood some kids only dream of.  When I was very young it never crossed my mind that I should learn how to stop thumb sucking.  It was only until later that adult thumb sucking scared me into action.

We as people seem to think in ways that to understand things we like to group and classify things and it puzzles us when something doesn’t fit the mold. So we classify addition and self-destructive behaviors and then we like to draw connections and make up cause-effect relationships that fit perfectly and logically. But we must be cautious about this because people, perhaps especially parents who are trying to do right by their children and ensure their best future, are prone to panic. A mother reads something like this and thinks oh my! I have to get my child to stop or he/she will become socially unacceptable!

Understanding and putting into practice the best products and methods to stop thumb sucking is not an impediment, or a problem parents should overly dwell on – unless they care about their child’s teeth.  Then they better learn a way to quit thumb sucking, using both the right product and motivation. Sure, be careful of teeth development, but I don’t think that psychologically it has as big of an impact as we may think. I believe our personality is not affected by it so much. I think we grow up into who we are regardless of the thumb sucking and it certainly does not mean that just because a kid is sucking his/her thumb that it will have a propensity to addictive behavior further in life.  Know how to stop thumb sucking by first teaching yourself, then motivate your child, save money and develop skills to break habits early in life.

How to stop thumb sucking the earliest addiction
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How to stop thumb sucking the earliest addiction
Know how to stop thumb sucking, learn yourself, motivate your child, save money, find the right product, and develop skills to break habits early in life
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