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Question
Posted by: Mommy | 2010-02-02

7 Year old' s thumbsucking

My 7 year old little girl has been sucking her thumb from 3 months and has not stopped since. She has started this year with grade 1 and the thumbsucking is worse than ever - she probably feel insecure because of the bigger school and change, etc. She used to have a ' bersie'  (old satin nighty), but since last year after it got lost, she totally forgot about it. She sucked her thumb much less after she has lost the bersie. Now, since December, she has started to take a strand of her hair and rub it under her nose, while sucking her thumb - non-stop! It is is so irritating to see and I have tried everything - even promising a huge present if she can manage to stop sucking her thumb. I know it is comforting for her, but do not want permanent damage to her teeth and she is such a pretty little girl and the thumbsucking just looks awfull. I have never pressured her to not suck her thumb and have always believed that she will leave it at her own, but now it seems to get worse. I went to the phamacy to ask for something to put on her nail, but the pharmacist said I must not and it will anyway not work - they suck through the bitter stuff. He said I must just leave her. She also seems to be more clingy, especially in the evenings - does not want to go to bed alone and she is also more scared of all kinds of things: ants, musqutoes, ' burglars that my come into our house' , etc. She is not a shy child and generally loves her school. She also loves friends and is very social and still is. Can it just be the insecurity of the school change that causes all the fears and worsened thumb sucking. Must I take her to someone professional to help her deal with these insecurities?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Annoying indeed, but normal - let's see what other moms among our readers can say, based on their own experiences. Such things, especially the bersie, are wjhat we call Transitional Objects, and are used by kids as part of psychological growth and development, to comfort themselves when feeling insecure. This fits with the clingy behaviours you have noticed.
This could be related to the change of schools ( especially as you noticed a lessening of such behaviours not long before ).
There could be other factors, as well, as a kid worried about one transition as to a bigger school, can become sensitized to other worries, and even watching the news or TV shows gives anoyone many things to worry about.
If this doesn't settle in a few more weeks, it could help for her to see a child shrink for a fuller assessment, which they can do very gently, and specific advice.
Have you discussed this frankly and gently with her ? What does she think and feel about the thumb-sucking, and about her fears ?

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

3
Our users say:
Posted by: Mommy | 2010-02-03

This is exactly what I am afraid of!

Reply to Mommy
Posted by: Friend | 2010-02-02

You wont believe what i will tell you now. I' m turning 28 yrs this year and still doing it.I have tried to break from the habit without any success.I m currently working and believe me no one knows about it at work, only my family at home.It gets obtructive sometimes but i do it.My niece does it but not my children> My daugheter was doing it but stopped on her own at 10 yrs

Reply to Friend
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010-02-02

Annoying indeed, but normal - let's see what other moms among our readers can say, based on their own experiences. Such things, especially the bersie, are wjhat we call Transitional Objects, and are used by kids as part of psychological growth and development, to comfort themselves when feeling insecure. This fits with the clingy behaviours you have noticed.
This could be related to the change of schools ( especially as you noticed a lessening of such behaviours not long before ).
There could be other factors, as well, as a kid worried about one transition as to a bigger school, can become sensitized to other worries, and even watching the news or TV shows gives anoyone many things to worry about.
If this doesn't settle in a few more weeks, it could help for her to see a child shrink for a fuller assessment, which they can do very gently, and specific advice.
Have you discussed this frankly and gently with her ? What does she think and feel about the thumb-sucking, and about her fears ?

Reply to cybershrink

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