"As children grow older, parents must give them greater freedom, including greater freedom to make mistakes. "

Pacifiers/Security Blankets/Thumbsucking

John's Most Recent Articles

A Hardly-Ever-Fails Thumb-Sucking Program

Posted on 4/12/2016

Q: Our 7-year-old son has sucked his thumb forever and more or less constantly. He has recently switched to sucking his index finger and putting his right hand down the back of his pants at the...

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Thumb Sucking - Revisited

Posted on 8/27/2013

In a recent column I said thumb-sucking is not, as was once thought, a sign of insecurity or other psychological problems. Well-adjusted children suck their thumbs and grow up to be...

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Thumb Sucking and Security Blankets

Posted on 8/13/2013

Q: My 5-year-old is going to Kindergarten soon and still sucks her thumb. We've tried everything to get her to stop, even a dental appliance, but she won't give it up. Do you have a solution for...

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7-Year-Old Son Sucking on Stuffed Animals

Posted on 7/20/2010

Sleeping with stuffed toys Q: My husband recently discovered that our 7-year-old son has been sucking on his stuffed animals when we put him to bed. He took the animals away, telling our son he...

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Use of the The Doctor to Abandon Certain Behaviors

Posted on 6/23/2009

SORRY, DEAR READER: 'THE DOCTOR' IS IN More from the mailroom: Reader Objects to My Favorite Therapist: One woman believes that I am wrong to invent "The Doctor" as a means of persuading...

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5-Year-Old Annoying Habit

Posted on 8/1/2006

TELL 5-YEAR-OLD HER HABIT ANNOYS YOU Q: My 5-year-old has been sucking her thumb since she was 2 months old. The problem is she likes to touch faces when she's doing it. She will snuggle up to...

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Discipline is Leadership

Posted on 6/14/2005

DISCIPLINE'S GOAL: ADULTS WITH CHARACTER With rare exception, today's parents believe discipline is all about the clever manipulation of reward and punishment. They think this because...

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If You Respect a Child, then You Expect a Lot of the Child

Posted on 6/24/2003

MISBEHAVIOR BY STUBBORN CHILDREN REQUIRES STUBBORN LOVE AND DISCIPLINE The following are some things I've been thinking about lately. I thought perhaps you might want to think about them, too....

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3-Year-Old Carries Around Kitchen Towels

Posted on 6/11/2002

LET THE CHILD KEEP HIS SECURITY TOWEL Q: About two years ago, our 3-year-old son developed a fondness for kitchen towels, similar to some children's attachment to security blankets. At first,...

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Pacifiers

Posted on 3/6/2001

A LITTLE COMMON SENSE YOU CAN FILE FOR LATER Good Ideas File: Responding to my recent article on pacifiers, a mother writes, "I have three children, ages 5, 7, and 9. When it came time for one...

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Recent Questions

Thumb sucking 7 year old.

Posted on 12/29/2016

My daughter is 7 and has been sucking her thumb or a finger since a toddler. I have read your advice for confining to a room and am going to try it. When she sucks her thumb, she also likes to...

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Follow-up to thumb sucking 7 year old.

Posted on 12/29/2016

Hi I want to post a brief follow-up question to Gretchen's answer about my 7 year old sucking her thumb and touching herself, which I really appreciate. We have tried many things over the...

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3 yo girl wears same shirt every day

Posted on 7/14/2016

My daughter is three and likes to wear this cute lil fox shirt. She has two of them and wears them everyday almost. She is also in preschool. The shirts are always clean when she wears them. In...

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Thumb sucking

Posted on 4/29/2016

Out of the blue, my 4 yr old daughter has started sucking her thumb. We tell her to stop, she does, but then every so often she starts back up again. What can I do?

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Thumb Sucking

Posted on 3/8/2016

My 7 year old son has sucked his thumb forever. And, this is not just sucking when tired or in bed or when riding in the car or reading or watching a movie. It has always been constant. When he...

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27 month old "Baby"

Posted on 10/6/2014

My 27 month old daughter has started wanting to pretend she is a baby. She insists I hold her like a baby, feed her from a toy bottle, burp her, put a pacifier in her mouth (she has never even...

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Please Sleep!

Posted on 9/24/2014

My 29 month old daughter wakes up consistently throughout the night. (Anywhere from 1-5x/night). We got rid of her pacifier recently (she would wake up, not find it and cry, yell or come into our...

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4 year old : thumb sucking at preschool

Posted on 6/6/2013

Our daughter is 4 and a half years old. About 9months ago she acquired the habit of sucking her thumb from a preschool classmate.Classmate is no longer in the school and she has continued the...

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picking at sores

Posted on 1/12/2011

I could not find any reference to this issue in your archives. Our 9 year old daughter picks at her sores, wherever one will appear, and has done so for several years. They will be almost...

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Thumbsucking - Advice in a Nutshell

Posted on 7/10/2008

I searched your database regarding thumbsucking. Our 4, almost 5, year old son has just started this behavior and his father and I are at a loss as to how to get him to stop. I found some...

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