46 answers

8 Year Old STILL Sucking Thumb!

Yes, that's right my 8 y.o. son is still sucking him thumb! He doesn't do it at school but as soon as he gets in the car it starts. Also while watching T.V., sleeping, walking in the house, ALL THE TIME! When he was youger the Pedatrician said "he'll stop when he goes to school , because the kids will make fun of him." Well, he has enough control not to do it at school. His teeth of course are starting to protrude. We tried bribbing him and with with a high interest item which he seems excited about initially then the thumb right back in the mouth. I've also tried that yucky tasting THUM stuff you paint on, he licks it right off. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My daughter now is 9yrs old. I was having trouble with her sucking her thumb, only in the car, sleeping in bed & in the house. I tried everything, hot sauce etc. Finally took her to the orthodonist and had to put in *retainer* this solved the problem. Hopefully this may work for you.

1 mom found this helpful

I too tried all the "tried and true" ways to stop my son from sucking his thumb. All to no avail. He didn't suck it at school, but always in front of the TV or before going to bed. He didn't care if anyone knew either. I finally left him alone and it stopped when he was ready which was around 11 or 12 years old. Once he stopped, he never did it again. I guess he needed it for comfort. My best advice would be to stop commenting on it and let him be. He will stop when he's ready and you won't waste precious time upset about it. I always worried that he wouldn't ever stop, but he did just like everyone told me he would.

1 mom found this helpful

I have to admit I sucked my thumb until I was 12. It was a soothing thing for me. My family also tried everything, but I didn't stop until I was ready. Good luck! ~S.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

My friends had an effective and clever solution for their daughter's thumb-sucking: whenever she wanted to suck her thumb, she had to go to her room. Not as a punishment, but they explained that if she needed to suck her thumb, she was probably tired and needed a little rest. After a couple of months, she stopped, because it was pretty boring in her room. They made it clear that it was NOT A PUNISHMENT (thumb sucking is not a negative behaviour) but rather that it was something to do alone for self-comfort. It's kind of like my 2 1/2 year old who's a toenail biter. I told her that's only for in the bathtub when her toes are clean, but since the bath is so much fun, she doesn't even bother to do it. For your son, it might be so dull and boring in his room (if you and his sibling leave him alone) that he'll get what he needs from a moment or two of downtime/thumbsucking by himself in his room, and then come out and join you again.
Good luck.
K. in EC

3 moms found this helpful

Thumb sucking is a self soothing act that children sometimes do to comfort themselves. In order to change the behavior it is important not focus on the thumbs sucking as much as working on finding new ways to help him feel more secure and help to re-channel his anxious energy. Placing a device on his thumb or in his mouth will only make his anxiety worsen and he may develop a different behavior to try and self sooth that in the end may actually be more maladaptive.
My suggestion to you is to give himself something else he can do with his hands such as putting him in an after school art class, allowing him to play an age appropriate video game for while after school,having him use his hands in the kitchen helping you make dinner,anything that will help him re-channel his energy and build confidence. As for bedtime,help him re-create a ritual that he enjoys before going to sleep (reading a great book series or comic collection he might enjoy for example) listening to some of his CD's before bed while drawing, things like that.
Also with every transition in behavior, patience is needed and him knowing that you will continue to love him just the way he is.
Hope you find this helpful,
-M. R

2 moms found this helpful

I had the same problem with my daughter, so when I took her to the doctor one day regarding a cold, I said to the doctor, "oh, doctor, I've been telling my daughter that if she doesn't stop sucking her thumb, that you will need to perform an operation on her thumb from all the sucking" (as I said all this, I winked at the doctor, and she caught on and replied "yes, that is true. "You shouldn't suck your thumb anymore or you will get an operation, so don't suck your thumb anymore." My daughter, 6 years old at the time, looked at the doctor and she nodded and said "o.k." From that day forward, she never sucked her thumb again! Not even once! She was afraid of an operation and the blood thing, that she quit cold turkey. I know it was a fib, but It scared her enough to stop. This worked!! Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

My niece did the same thing up til 7 or 8. The two items that worked best for her were putting a sock/mitten on her hand during the times that were appropriate (sleeping, watching TV) and getting a "bitenator" (I think that's what it's called), a retainer with spikes in the top to detour them from sucking their thumb. You can get them at an orthodotist's office. Hope this is helpful.

2 moms found this helpful

I remember my brother being a thumb sucker until 8 years old. My mom too tried everything, but to no avail. My brother would suck his thumb until it was raw, cracked & bleeding. When it healed, it was back in his mouth! The only thing that cured it was a trip to the orthodontist where he received a palet expander. Basically it is a metal contraption that went across the roof of the mouth. It was there to correct the problem of his protruding teeth & caved roof (the first step in his years of braces), but also, it didn't allow him to get any suction if he tried to suck his thumb. By the time the palet expander came out, he was over the thumb sucking. My advice - go see a dentist.

2 moms found this helpful

What finally broke my daughter of the habit while awake was someone she sat next to on a plane ride explaining that all the germs from everything she touched were going in her mouth, stomach, etc. She had lots of stomach aches too so this got her attention. The lady talked of the grossness of all this and it made her think. Still did it in her sleep but that lessened over time. (I'd pull from her mouth at night and remind her if she woke up.) Incentive too was sleep overs - not to get caught. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I personally sucked my thumb until I was about 12 or 13 while I was at home. I have an over bite but nothing too bad. My parents and grandparents tried everything to get me (and my brother and my cousins) to stop sucking our fingers. When he is ready he will stop. I am not sure how to stop it. He needs the comfort I would assume.

1 mom found this helpful

I sucked my thumb until I was 9 (I'm nearly 50 now). I could wash off the bad tasting stuff when I was 4. I didn't suck it at school either (I think. I don't remember getting teased) but at home I didn't care about my older brother and sister teasing me. They'd say "Does that thumb taste good?" and I'd say "Yes, it does." I stopped because my oldest brother was coming home from the Air Force after having been gone for 4 years and my mother told me that I wouldn't want him to see me still sucking my thumb. So I stopped. I guess what I'm saying is that at some point your son will stop too.

1 mom found this helpful

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.