Posted by: muffin | 2007/05/16


Hi doc,
not sure how much you deal with child psychology?
My daughter is 3 yrs 7 months. She has always been a finger-sucker, no thumb or dummy for her! This was from about 9 months. Then she started playing with her hair too while sucking her fingers, or anyone elses hair for that matter, now especially her little brother (1), she sucks her 2 fingers of her left hand and plays with his hair with the right hand. She seems to be doing this so much now. She is at pre-school, started this year, the teachers tell me she is very happy there, she seems to be a normal happy little girl, and used to just suck the fingers when watching Tv or going to sleep, she seems to be doing it more often now, I wonder if it's just become a habit or she is insecure or something? How do I stop her or do i leave it?
thank you

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Our expert says:
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These are quite common bad habits among otherwise happy kids. These behaviours generally seem to enhance their sense of security and comfort. Finger sucking can be discouraged by putting lemon juice or several unpleasant tasting liquids on the fingers to make that experience unpleasant --- and perhaps by offering an alternative, like a dummy. The kids tend to stop on their own. The socks on hands might be worth trying.
Distraction at such times can help, with praise for NOT sucking / tiwlring being more effective than anger when she does either of these two things

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Our users say:
Posted by: Echelle | 2007/05/16

Do you try stopping her from doing it? Maybe you should stop making an issue out of it, usually toddlers will do exactly what you don't want them to do. My little boy sucked his thumb for a month or two until I made him used to a NUK dummy, have you tried giving her a dummy to replace the finger sucking? Put something on her finger that tastes terrible and something that she hates.

Reply to Echelle
Posted by: Cool | 2007/05/16

sorry Muffin, my brother is 30 years (still suck the thumb and scratches the corner of his coller) and has a 2 year old son who started sucking his thumb at 3 weeks at birth but his grandmother from his mother's side put the stop to it by putting socks on his little hands everytime he went to bed because that is when he started sucking so everytime he tries to suck his thumb he will get a sock, i am not sure if this is going to work for your daughter seeing that she is already 3yrs old.
Good Luck!!!!!!!!!!

Reply to Cool
Posted by: muffin | 2007/05/16

oh no Shae!!! not what I wanted to hear -lol!

Reply to muffin
Posted by: Shae | 2007/05/16

My cousin is 23 and still sucks her left hand index finger.......while playing with her hair. She curls her hair around her fingers. She's been doing this since infancy and at one stage the finger became so infested we thought it was gonna fall off. The finger is now somewhat deformed and rather grotesque. My aunt tried everything from putting all sorts of stuff on it to buying toy agfter toy to try and get her attention away from it. Clearly nothing has worked. She stopped for a while when she was 13, AND STARTED SMOKING.

Even doctors were clueless about what to try next. I always thought it was some form of comforting herself but it could just be a habit, like twitching i suppose.

Good Luck

Reply to Shae

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