Learn about three effective ways to stop your child from thumb sucking. Avoid the consequences and let that bad habit reach adulthood.
Putting the thumb in the mouth is usually normal for babies even before they are born. They usually do it to fall asleep, satisfy themselves, or out of boredom.
Thumb sucking is related to the tranquility, security and calm that the mother’s breast provides; in psychology it is known as an unconscious defense mechanism, since babies are in search of affective attachment. This habit or mania usually disappears when children enter preschool.
However, when it is repetitive and the habit is maintained, it can last until adulthood, generating consequences in social and family relationships; Besides that they cause bad formations in the teeth, it is a sign of immaturity, insecurity or depression. When adolescents or adults do it, it is due to the lack of emotional identification with a parent, stress, anxiety or a way to defend themselves when they face a problem.
To prevent your child from reaching adulthood with this habit, you need to learn to stop that habit as soon as possible.
1. Observe why does he suck his thumb?
If you can identify the moments when your child does it, you can implement strategies by substituting the finger or pacifier for another healthier option that does not generate consequences.
For example: if he only does it to be able to fall asleep, you can replace his finger or pacifier with an object that is his favorite such as a stuffed toy or a blanket, this way you will create a stimulus that manages to comfort him.
Your child can also do it when he is insecure or nervous about a situation that he thinks he cannot solve. In these cases you can work on their self-esteem by strengthening their confidence, motivational phrases, physical contact such as a hug may be an option.
Another factor why your child may suck his thumb is boredom, so motivate your child to do different activities such as sports or art.
Or it only does it to attract attention, if so, you should ignore it for a while, you will notice that thumb sucking will stop.
Remember that it is a process that must be carried out constantly, explain to your child that thumb sucking can damage his teeth and that each time he does it, he introduces millions of bacteria that cause diseases into his mouth.
2. Motivates and urges
You should encourage your child when you notice that he does not suck his thumb. Some parents make a table where they stick stickers for good behavior, so when you get about five you can give him a gift or let him play longer than normal.
3. Try other means
The help of a specialist may be an option for your child to achieve his goal. In addition, you can support yourself with remedies that grandmothers used such as washing your hands with vinegar or some homemade ingredient such as lemon or chili, so that when you insert your finger, it leaves a bad taste, consequently a bad experience.
You can also buy a thumb guard, so through the game you will get him to use it frequently.
I share with you: Is it normal for my son to suck his finger?
The problem is not that he sucks his finger, but the consequences that this bad habit entails, such as bad teeth, social and family rejection, in addition to keeping his self-esteem low and insecurity.
Read: Inappropriate behaviors in children