Five Reasons to Help Your Child Stop Thumb Sucking

Interestingly, it seems that continuing the habit of thumb sucking beyond the ages of four or five is not advisable. Initially, thumb sucking serves as a soothing strategy for children who have not yet mastered communication skills. While perfectly normal in infancy, if this behavior persists past early childhood, it could become an issue. Assisting your child in ceasing thumb sucking sooner rather than later is crucial for several reasons. Below are the top five worrisome consequences of extended thumb sucking.

Teeth Malocclusion

When a child sucks their thumbs for a long period of time, it can lead to malocclusion of the teeth. Malocclusion is when either one row or both rows of the teeth are directed outwards. Not only is this cosmetically unappealing, it can cause real and significant damage to your child’s teeth. Malocclusion will require professional dental work, which may be costly and obtrusive. Thumb sucking can even cause speech problems and oral infections. The simple act of thumb sucking can actually result in some bad teeth damage.

Skin Irritation

Another thing that happens when your child sucks their thumbs for too long is that their skin becomes cracked and irritated. Moisture from their mouth gets on the skin and causes rashes, callousing, ingrown nails, and other problems. It can get infected and lead to some painful consequences for your child’s skin and hand. It’s only natural that prolonged moisture will lead to skin irritation of all kinds. It can be very painful and cause other skin complications. When your child continues to suck their thumbs, more problems will result.

Failure to Develop Coping Mechanisms

Thumb sucking is, in a sense, the first emotional coping mechanism. Since a baby cannot communicate yet, they suck their thumbs to comfort themselves and deal with pain. While this is a good thing in the beginning, calming the baby and creating a method to cope with the world around them, if the child continues the habit it can get in the way of their development. Not only does a child need to learn how to communicate themselves, their brain will need to shift. They will need to develop coping skills and be able to comfort themselves in new ways. It won’t help that if they use thumb sucking to cope, they may be made fun of by their peers.

Ridicule from Peers

The bad habit of thumb sucking will result in ridicule from their peers. When they begin going to school and are still sucking their thumbs, other children will make fun of them. Students may call them a baby or other names. It won’t feel good for children to call your child names or ridicule them for sucking their thumbs. While a little hazing may not have a big impact on your child, if your kid continues the bad habit the ridicule might begin to affect them greatly.

Other Psychological Issues

If the child is rewarded for thumb sucking, it can lead to other psychological issues. Some psychologists even say that thumb sucking is the first addiction and can be a sign of future addictive behaviors. All kinds of issues may result from thumb sucking. Since it is an early coping mechanism, if the habit doesn’t stop their overall emotional development can be hindered. There are a wide variety of issues that can result from this. It is imperative to help them put an end to the habit.

With plenty of reasons to stop thumb sucking, you should help your child. You can buy them a plastic thumb guard or cloth thumbpiece. These products wrap around the wrist and cover the thumb, prohibiting them from sucking on their thumbs. Another option is to buy specialized nail polish that taste bitter and discourages the child from sucking their thumbs. There is even an elbow guard that stops the child from bringing their hand up to their mouth. If all else fails, you should take your child to see a professional who can help you analyze the situation and what you can do to help them stop. You won’t regret facilitating the process of emotional growth

Krystal Morrison

I create this blog to share my daily tips about home improvement, children, pets, food, health, and ways to be frugal while maintaining a natural lifestyle. Interested to be a Guest Blogger on my website? Please email me at: [email protected]

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