My 7 and 11 Year Olds Still Sucking Thumbs

Updated on February 24, 2008
D.B. asks from San Jose, CA
9 answers

Does anyone know how to get older kids to stop sucking their thumbs/fingers? My 7 year old sucks two fingers all day long. My 11 year old still sucks his thumb in private, but not in public. Both have "buck" teeth. Their doctor says to just try to persuade them to stop. Their dentist just says they have to stop, but nobody can tell me how to get them to stop. Does anyone know of a method that will work? I don't want to do braces until they stop, and the dentist says that if they do stop they may not need braces. Being a single mom on a low income, I would really like to avoid the braces!

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.C.

answers from San Francisco on

My little brother sucked his thumb until 1st grade. Everything we tried didn't work, plus 5 other classmates also sucked their thumbs, so he saw it as normal. My mom worked for an orthodontist, so they installed an "orthodontic appliance" (http://www.staggersorthodontics.com/whenshouldchildhaveor...) attached to his upper teeth. The applicance prevented him from sucking his thumb. Habit gone.

More Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.P.

answers from San Francisco on

I used to suck my thumb. Putting a bandaid on it helped me stop very quickly. Good luck

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.W.

answers from San Francisco on

Yes, see an orthodontist--they can put in what's called a habit reminder. It's a glued in appliance that doesn't cost too much, and some insurances will cover it. Some dentists also provide that service. In any case, they are both too young for braces--braces shouldn't be put on until all permanent teeth are in, approximately age 12 or 13, if needed. If they do manage to stop, you can have a "going away" party for their thumbs!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.C.

answers from San Francisco on

My little brother sucked his thumb until 1st grade. Everything we tried didn't work, plus 5 other classmates also sucked their thumbs, so he saw it as normal. My mom worked for an orthodontist, so they installed an "orthodontic appliance" (http://www.staggersorthodontics.com/whenshouldchildhaveor...) attached to his upper teeth. The applicance prevented him from sucking his thumb. Habit gone.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.S.

answers from San Francisco on

My niece sucked her thumb until she was at least 7 and what finally worked for her is some contraption that they sell- it's like a plastic glove that goes over their hand and they can't get to their thumb. I'm not sure what it's called- a quick search online shows a bunch of information- including http://stopthumbsucking.net/?gclid=CNutjIeV3ZECFRsbYQodmR...

There is also some information about thumb sucking being an emotional need for older children and that trying to get to the root of that would help resolve the issue.

Good luck and I hope this helps!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.M.

answers from San Francisco on

It might be an insecurity issue, and they are finding comfort in sucking their thumb/fingers. Until that is resloved, it will be hard to 'talk them' out of it.
M

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.B.

answers from San Francisco on

One thing to find out is to ask them why they suck there thumbs. They are old enough to understand what it is doing to there teeth. Telling them what it going to happen if they don't stop. If they don't do this in pubic so they need to stop all together. I know my daughter didn't go that old but yes she need to get braces. Two times in 3 and 4 grade and in High school. Work though talking to them so they under stand. I hope this helped you alittle. Yes, It is costly. Glad I had incs. I'm a grandma now! D.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.U.

answers from San Francisco on

My 11 year still sucks his thumb too. He does it everywhere. Let me know if you get any good advice. I've tried a thumb contraption and bitter apple, but neither has worked.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.E.

answers from San Francisco on

7 and 11 are getting a little old to be sucking fingers or thumbs. What began as an infant or toddler comfort has become a habit, just as biting ones fingernails. I'd watch to see if there are specific times or things happening when they do this.
I am sure you have tried the reward system. Coins in a jar for each. Every time you catch them they have to take out a coin.Make light of it. it's important they are the one to remove the coin. At the end of the week, they get to spend the money on what ever they want. Also a little chili oil will wake them up to the fact their fingers are in the mouth.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.J.

answers from San Francisco on

I also agree that it's likely related to a feeling of insecurity. I would recommend that you go through their schools and ask to have an occupational therapist or child psychologist give them each an evaluation. They should be able to help.

Next question: How Do I Get My 5 Year Old to Stop Suckingher Thumb?