Could More Involved Parenting Attribute to Less Thumb Sucking?

learning how to stop thumb sucking

When a child sucks his or her thumb, it’s usually attributed to the sensation of feeling safe and secure. What was once a reflex as an infant can easily turn into a habit for promoting this feeling. However, not every child turns into a thumb sucker. Could a more involved method of parenting attribute to less of this debilitating habit? Perhaps some children are more apt to being thumb suckers than others.

Investigative Parenting – None of my children, nor the children of my family, turned to their thumbs for any reason. Coincidentally, none of these children had pacifiers either. Instead of demonstrating to the child that sucking random objects is equal to security, we found other ways to comfort them. Personally, I spent time figuring out what the child’s problem was in the first place. All too often, parents are ready to hand over the pacifier without investigating the situation. This becomes a learned behavior and the child will quickly understand that discomfort equals sucking. Instead, try to find out why the child is experiencing the discomfort. A child doesn’t cry for the sake of crying.

New Circumstances – To an infant, the world is a new and scary place. Every experience is a first-timer for him or her. You need to understand that this little life form is relying on you for protection, security and guidance. Even situations we take for granted such as various sounds, textures and tastes are a new experience. In the event a child should become distraught, you can either demonstrate how the situation is a normal part of life or provide comfort. If you choose to provide comfort, hold the child next to you during the situation. The warmth of your body, your heartbeat and your voice can provide more solace that a rubberized sucking tool. Your child could grow to be more affectionate as well.

Less Commercialism, More Interaction – Technology has brought a great deal of useful tools that can make anyone more efficient in work and personal life. Unfortunately, a lot of these efficient tools can also take away from the experience of parenting. It can be too easy to simply place the child in a rocker for hours on end only picking them up to change a diaper or two. Parents should live for their children, not with them. What’s the point of spending all of your time at work if your children don’t know the person you are? Instead of buying various products for efficiency or diversion, spend more quality time at your child’s side and demonstrate that the world isn’t as scary as he or she might think.

It’s Not Spoiling – Being an involved parent doesn’t mean that you need to spend every waking minute with your child. However, more time is always better for his or her development. Instead of viewing the situation like your spoiling the child, understand that you are teaching him or her not to be afraid of certain circumstances.

As each method of parenting is unique, I am only able to report what I have witnessed for myself. As I am incredibly active in the development of my children, they have never needed to suck on thumbs or pacifiers. Instead, we face everything head-on to overcome problems and situations. My children know that I will always be there to offer guidance throughout their lives thanks to the time I spend with them as they grow and develop.

Ken Myers is a father of three and passionate about great childcare. He’s always looking for ways to help families find the support they need to live fuller, richer lives. Find out more about expert childcare by checking out @go_nannies on Twitter..