Parenting Story

Parenting Story

Monday, January 3, 2011

Breaking the thumbsucking habit

Reese has made huge strides in breaking her thumbsucking habit. Around Thanksgiving we were visiting my mom and she suggested that we put a band-aid on Reese's finger to remind her to quit sucking her thumb. We had been reminding Reese for a few weeks to get her thumb out of her mouth whenever we saw her with it, but she had gotten to the point where she would no longer acknowledge the reminder and continue to suck her thumb. Mom pulled out the band-aids and wrapped one on Reese's finger despite her protests. She screamed and cried for quite awhile afterward, so I put her to bed to relax and calm down. After a few minutes she calmed down and I let her get back up. Though she continually asked to take the band-aid off, she would not put her thumb in her mouth with the band-aid on. To our suprise, she never tried her other thumb or pulled the band-aid off on her own. After about a week, the band-aid was pretty gross looking, so we removed it and reinforced to Reese that she was a big girl now and did not need to suck her thumb. Unfortunately, she went immediately back to sucking her thumb, so we placed a new band-aid on her thumb for about another week. This time when we removed the band-aid, she was a lot better at keeping her thumb out of her mouth. She still sucks her thumb when she is sleeping at night, and I will catch her occassionally while watching tv or relaxing, but if we remind her, she will promptly take her thumb out of her mouth. Though I was temporarily mad at my mom for taking control of the situation, I am glad that the thumb sucking stopped before she started school and faced any teasing about it. I was especially glad after seeing an episode of "My Strange Addiction" on TLC featuring a 20 something young woman who still sucks her thumb in public! Most of all I love that I can see my baby girls beautiful face when I take her picture now!

A relative of mine used paper towel tubes wrapped around her daughter's arm so as to prevent her from being able to bend her arm to her mouth to suck her thumb. We had tried reading the book, "Berenstain Bears and the Bad Habit", about sister bears nail biting habit, substituting thumbsucking where necessary. We also tried keeping her nails painted as I was unable to find the nail biter polish which has a terrible taste. What methods did you use to stop a bad habit?

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