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Those that don't know I have two daugters ages 8 & 11. Well, dentist visits were today and the dentist told Amelia (age 8) that she needs to give up sucking her thumb--it's wrecking her teeth. AND (and this is even worse) she needs to give up blankie too because basically the two go hand in hand. I know I should have done this a few years ago...but she is so in love with her blankie...I just can't bring myself to do it now. We had a long talk (and not the first talk on the topic, mind you) and she was just sobbing over the thought of giving up blankie. We talked about her keeping blankie but not sucking and she said she won't do it :(

Call me a softie--I'm really not. I'm pretty fair on just about everything. I've always picked my battles. I've always believed that she would give it up when she was ready. They are putting braces on kids earlier and earlier these days I don't feel like that is always necessary. My 11 yr old has a snoopy dog, but never sucked her thumb but she would take snoopy EVERYWHERE but when she was around 9 she sort of just started to naturally outgrow him. Now she just sleeps with him.

The dentist was pretty firm about putting an end to this before Amelia's next appt in 6 months. I don't see it happening, nor do I want to force it. Am I being stupid?? I just don't know what to do!! I can't imagine she'll be sucking her thumb forever! Mind you, Amelia is a "young" 8--I kept her back a year in school b/c of some early-on learning probs. What to do??
 

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We went thru the thumb sucking when my son was younger and it was a bear to stop. But i do think it was wrecking his bite. He was able to give it up at an earlier age than your daughter especially with the start of school. As I recall, peer pressure had a lot to do with it. He suddenly didn't want to be seen as a baby around the other kids and some were doing sleepovers etc. I think that I ended up going the bribery route. I can't remember what is was that he wanted very badly but I was able to get him to give up the thumb for the gift. And I recall his attachment to rolly (as we called it-- it was the rolled up receiving blanket they put behind his back) by cutting a small piece off it and letting him have it so he could keep it with him surreptitiously. I was afraid he'd take it to his college dorm.:w00t: Good luck!! Braces are a nightmare and so darned expensive.
 

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I know how hard it is to try and force it on her because you want her to feel as safe and secure as possible and her blankie does that for her. At her age (even as a "young" 8 year old) she knows better, really, not to suck her thumb. My older sister sucked her thumb at home occasionally (never around her friends) until she entered high school -- she is now 27 and has teeth problems because of it.

As a parent, you must take on the good, the bad, and the ugly, and always do what is best for your child. In this case, she really does need to stop sucking her thumb. She is old enough to just be told to stop, but she may need encouragement. If she only sucks her thumb when she has her blankie, the blankie needs to go. If she does it at other times, encourage her to suck on a lollipop, have a hard candy, etc when she feels the urge to do it. Or, you can offer a reward for not sucking her thumb...take her to her favorite restaurant, water park, sleepover, etc when she shows you that she can stop.

I used a pacifier until I was 4, and my parents should have taken that away looooong before that. Yes, I would have cried and thrown a tantrum, but it was for my own good and it was their responsibility to do it.

If you really think the blankie needs to go, I would suggest doing one of two things: 1) Tell her that the blankie must remain in her bedroom at all times, or 2) Help her understand that she doesn't need her blankie to comfort her and frame it in a shadow box and hang it on her bedroom wall, or have it cut up into pieces and made into a large bed quilt.
 

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It isn't easy, and my older daughter had the same situation. We told her we had to take the blanket away. We still have it, btw. She wasn't as old as your daughter, but sometimes you have to do it for their own good. Does she use it when she has a friend spend the night?

It won't be easy, but it won't be easy to tell her that she can't date the guy down the street because you know he's a druggie, either, or that she can't go out on Friday night when she becomes a teen because she's grounded for some other reason. Sometimes, things aren't easy. As parents, we have to do what's right. Good luck.
 

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My advice......honestly....the blankie has to go and the thumb sucking has to stop....She's 8 years old !!!
The blankie thing is not so bad but the thumb sucking is. The dentist is right it will ruin her teeth. Does she do this a school? Around friends? I think you just need to be firm with her and seriously tell her that it is not good for her and her teeth.
 

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I don’t know much about children, but I do know that a child develops a "bond" of sorts with an item - be it a blanket, a toy, etc.

This is my experience.

When my nephew was born, I went to meet him straight away at the hospital. Upon arriving at the hospital, there was a gift shop - although I had a gift for him - I decided to take a quick look about. I found a plush rabbit, he was a cute rabbit, he was white and wore a blue overalls.

My nephew grew to love that rabbit and properly name him "bun-buns" - he carried that rabbit around wherever he went - it was interesting to watch him with "bun-buns" - because there were times when he would be playing with other children he would stop suddenly, as if he were in a panic - he would go very quickly and retrieve his rabbit and continue on with whatever he was doing.

There were many calls made to different relatives as to the whereabouts of "bun-buns" - we all knew who "bun-buns" was and thankfully, we always found him.

To make a long story short - 17 years later my nephew's mother was moving to a new home - she had most of the items packed when my husband and I arrived to help her - so we helped load items that she didn’t want onto a truck headed to Goodwill.
I
notice an ear sticking out of one of the black bags intended for the recycling center - I somehow knew that it was "bun-buns" - I said nothing and placed him in our car.

When my nephew came to visit me many years later, after he graduated from college - I remembered that I packed "bun-buns" away - when I brought "bun-buns" out and held him up - I asked "do you know who this is" - it wasn’t what he said it was the look in his eyes - I will never forget that look.

I, personally, would never take an item away from a child, they will know when the time has come to let go - yet I don’t think that they ever forget the connection . . .

Allie
 

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We had a similar issue with my daughter. She didn't suck her thumb, but she sucked on a pacifier and had the hardest time giving it up. We thought we had it licked around age 5 or so only to find out much later in life that she had kept a pacifier hidden and would suck on it when she got home from school and when no one was looking. She later told me that she kept at it until it fell apart and she said it lasted a LONG time.

She did have to have extensive orthodontia work and I mean thousands of dollars worth. She had to have her pallet broken which was a very painful and drawn out process. When I had initially asked the orthodontist how much it was all going to cost he said he would name his new office complex after her. Oh, and the thousands of dollars was after a 50% family/friend discount!!!!

I would say this is definitely a battle that if I could have gone back that I would have fought harder and earlier.
 

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Wow that seems old to me. But who am I to know, I'm only 26 with no kids haha. Does she do this just like at night before bed? I mean she doesn't do it like out in public and stuff does she still?

And why does she have to suck her thumb and have a blankie? Like at nighttime? Like why do they have to go hand in hand, why can't it just be the blankie? I remember I had a blankie for a really long time, Ijust slept with it. Like for some reason it was this really thin COOL material, and I just kept it in my bed like around my legs and stuff at night. To be honest I just found it in my moms cedar chest the other day and was so excited because I thought it was long gone!!! So I see nothing wrong with blankies or stuffed animals at like nighttime. I sleep with my dear Andy's favorite stuffed squeaky toy too, it lays on my bed/pillow every night.

But I do know thumb sucking messes up teeth. Unfortunately I needed braces, not from that. But I did suck my fingers when I was little, never my thumb. And the doctor had told my mom that was better. Either the pointer and middle, or middle and ring, not sure...obviously I don't remember haha. But that is what I was told I sucked. I guess it doesn't mess up teeth that way? But I don't think I did it very long either. I also used to wrap my hair around my fingers and suck on that too!!! Extremely weird child I was :HistericalSmiley: :HistericalSmiley: To the point I had to have a boy's like bob cut at age 2 hahhahaa. I would actually wrap it so tight my fingers would turn red.

Can you suggest her try that with the other fingers maybe to atleast get away from it? Start out slowly, not get rig of EVERYTHING at once?
 

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I completely agree about chosing your battles but this is one battle you should fight. I think you already know this too! Otherwise you wouldn't have asked for advice here.

I think you are letting your daughter dictate the outcome here. At 8 years old, she is old enough to 'give' this up and if it were me, i would be forcing it. This is ruining her teeth, it's not just a 'bad habit' anymore.

I know this is easy for me to say but since you asked, I think you need to do a bit of tough love and get her through this. She'll probably thank you later! (that's what I always tell my kids and they hate it, hahaha.)
 

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I completely agree about chosing your battles but this is one battle you should fight. I think you already know this too! Otherwise you wouldn't have asked for advice here.

I think you are letting your daughter dictate the outcome here. At 8 years old, she is old enough to 'give' this up and if it were me, i would be forcing it. This is ruining her teeth, it's not just a 'bad habit' anymore.

I know this is easy for me to say but since you asked, I think you need to do a bit of tough love and get her through this. She'll probably thank you later! (that's what I always tell my kids and they hate it, hahaha.)
Very well put.:goodpost:
 

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We had a similar issue with my daughter. She didn't suck her thumb, but she sucked on a pacifier and had the hardest time giving it up. We thought we had it licked around age 5 or so only to find out much later in life that she had kept a pacifier hidden and would suck on it when she got home from school and when no one was looking. She later told me that she kept at it until it fell apart and she said it lasted a LONG time.

She did have to have extensive orthodontia work and I mean thousands of dollars worth. She had to have her pallet broken which was a very painful and drawn out process. When I had initially asked the orthodontist how much it was all going to cost he said he would name his new office complex after her. Oh, and the thousands of dollars was after a 50% family/friend discount!!!!

I would say this is definitely a battle that if I could have gone back that I would have fought harder and earlier.
Yup. $7,500 here and we were getting a huge deal because of our health insurance.:smpullhair:
 

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Pam, I know my advice is going to be different ... But, my gut feeling tells me that, if it were me, I would seek professional advice on this. I think it might help both you and your daughter if a therapist could help you work this out. I'm not implying in any way that you are doing anything wrong. I just think because it is two things that are happening at once, I would want to make sure that I am going in the right direction, especially if your daughter is feeling insecure about something. I think eight years of age is not that old.

Hugs for you and your daughter.
 

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I really don't think it has to be that difficult. I think it has become a comforting habit. But she is old enough to choose to quit. But it has to be her choice, and she has to want to. So, you have to make this pretty attractive for her. What is something really big and important that she would want to "earn" by quitting her "habit"? She has to be on board or you are going to be fighting a loosing battle. The harder you push, the harder she will cling to it. She needs to be on board!
 

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Been there...done that!! My niece Tracie (9 yrs old) came to live with me and my husband many years ago...she had a very hard life before coming to my home. She sucked her thumb until it bled (daily). For whatever reason it filled a void that nothing else could...according to the doctor...about the same as an adult smoking. I see several have advised you to force her to stop...what are you going to do...cut her thumb off??? I think not. It is hard and probably just a frustrating for her as for you. My Tracie wanted her ears pierced worst of all...so we told her when she stopped sucking her thumb she could have them done...no more arguing...begging...crying...simply...it was her choice and she made it. It took exactly two weeks. I enjoyed purchasing every pair of earrings she got because they represented a huge milestone in her life. I would find something she really wants...it doesn't have to be something expensive...just something that will make her feel special and give her a chance...she might surprise you. As for the blankie...I would not take it from her, I would require that it not leave her room. I am 59 yrs. old and the monkey that I slept with my entire childhood is still in the attic...when I visit him he still makes me smile:)
Good luck!
Linda
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks, everyone.

Yeah, Amelia only does it when she's tired--like at bedtime or resting or when she brings blankie in the car. She's at the age where she is embarrassed by it and knows that it's not something that "big girls" do.

I think I have a plan: we are going to start limiting blankie time--first will restrict her to keeping him (blankie, lol) in the house only. Then to her room only. And we'll take it from there. If she's still doing it at bedtime then I will look into an orthodontic appliance to prohibit the sucking (there is such a thing).

My other daughter toted around a Snoopy dog (no thumb sucking, though) until she was around 9ish. This is also the age when they move to a bigger school with "big kids." I think it really hits them then that they are too old for that sort of thing.

I can't take away blankie. I just can't do it. IT's really one of the most important things in her whole life--she's that attached. And she's such a trooper in so many other ways and has been through a lot in her little life (hip condition, delayed gross motor and fine motor skills).

SO....we'll see how the plan goes. Will update you. Thank you SO much for all the replies because they helped me to think about a lot of things I probably hadn't and helped me to formulate my thoughts. :ThankYou:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
P.S. BTW, my other daughter, 11 1/2 has braces--mostly for a severe overbite which can (and is in this case) hereditary. She never sucked her thumb. I had the severe overbite as well and braces also. So....I know all about the expenses of braces :)
 

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I don’t know much about children, but I do know that a child develops a "bond" of sorts with an item - be it a blanket, a toy, etc.

This is my experience.

When my nephew was born, I went to meet him straight away at the hospital. Upon arriving at the hospital, there was a gift shop - although I had a gift for him - I decided to take a quick look about. I found a plush rabbit, he was a cute rabbit, he was white and wore a blue overalls.

My nephew grew to love that rabbit and properly name him "bun-buns" - he carried that rabbit around wherever he went - it was interesting to watch him with "bun-buns" - because there were times when he would be playing with other children he would stop suddenly, as if he were in a panic - he would go very quickly and retrieve his rabbit and continue on with whatever he was doing.

There were many calls made to different relatives as to the whereabouts of "bun-buns" - we all knew who "bun-buns" was and thankfully, we always found him.

To make a long story short - 17 years later my nephew's mother was moving to a new home - she had most of the items packed when my husband and I arrived to help her - so we helped load items that she didn’t want onto a truck headed to Goodwill.
I
notice an ear sticking out of one of the black bags intended for the recycling center - I somehow knew that it was "bun-buns" - I said nothing and placed him in our car.

When my nephew came to visit me many years later, after he graduated from college - I remembered that I packed "bun-buns" away - when I brought "bun-buns" out and held him up - I asked "do you know who this is" - it wasn’t what he said it was the look in his eyes - I will never forget that look.

I, personally, would never take an item away from a child, they will know when the time has come to let go - yet I don’t think that they ever forget the connection . . .

Allie

That's so sweet, I can just imagine that look. I gave my first nephew my own "Puff" that my brother gave me when I was about 10. Puff was renamed Polly. Polly is still safe and sound at my sister's although I'm not sure when she was given up, my nephew is 28 now. Polly is a stuffed toy polar bear, who wouldn't love a white fluff ball with dark eyes? Polly was part of the family really.

But...back to little Amelia...I've heard of the cut down blankey and carrying a square of it around with her and the idea of making it into quilts. My sister sucked her thumb and needed braces but so did my other brother and sister, who didn't suck their thumbs. I don't know maybe weaning her off it is an idea, only while watching tv ? it has to stay in the car if on a longer drive ? maybe make up a new routine of where it is ok and a special place to store it until you get home or to get later on ? cold turkey seems harsh to me.
 

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My daughter didn't suck her thumb, but did bite her nails, and looked like Linus with her boppy. When she was 6ish she wanted pierced ears. Ok, you quit biting, you can get pierced ears. It worked. I sort of liked the blankie it came in handy for a cover for a nap, nose wiper, etc . She took it to all day kdg, the next year was no more. She still has it and now her kids have their own
 

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I would trade the blankie for the thumb sucking. Perhaps she will agree to stop the thumb sucking in order to keep her blankie. No one really notices the blankie but thumb sucking is noticeable. As a second grade teacher I would not allow thumb sucking. This habit can be dangerous because she will be spreading germs all over the place. Kids touch a lot of the same things and if your daughter is not passing germs to the children around her she could very well be picking up germs by touching and putting her thumb in her mouth.
For my thumb sucking 2nd graders I would walk over and tell them to stop. Eventually just sending secret signal from me to remind the child that they're sucking hie/her thumb . No public embarrassment allowed that also includes other children from making fun of anyone sucking their thumb.
A lot of children do this out of habit when tired, stressed, bored etc. often they don't even know they are sucking their thumbs. If she was my child I would try using one the thumbing sucking products that taste nasty. That would be a quick reminder not to pit her thumb in her mouth.
Good Luck in solving this problem.
 
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