"To be an effective disciplinarian, you must be a model of self-discipline. "

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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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

"Mouthy" 5 y/o

Posted on 7/1/2018

My daughter is 5 1/2 years old. She will be starting kindergarten in the fall. She has always put things in her mouth (fingers, toys, pens) - anything she has in her hands she puts in her mouth....

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If it Feels Good...

Posted on 6/8/2018

I am a stay at home mom who has 4 kids, ages 5, 4, 2, and 6 months. My 4 year old daughter started masturbating or "rolling," as we call it, around 2.5 years old. She seems to do this just when...

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3 year old boy should keep his lovie

Posted on 10/15/2017

I have read "The Well Behaved Child" and I have been implementing the ticket system for three days with my three year old son. Today he lost all of his tickets after a complete melt-down at...

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Cry Baby 3 year old

Posted on 7/25/2017

Hi, I have a 3 and a half year old boy that I need help with. He has always been more sensitive than your average child (I also have a 5 and 2 year old girls so I do have a comparison of what...

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21 month old - Potty Training Continued

Posted on 6/2/2017

In another post, we explained our issue with potty training our 21 month old and received a response which clarified our issue, however we are still confused about how to proceed. In a nutshell,...

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Hard Rocker

Posted on 5/9/2017

Our 5 year old adopted child was born drug addicted, had a trach and gtube for first 4 years of her life. In NICU for first 6 months. To comfort herself she rocks back and forth, slams her back...

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Ending a soothing bad habit

Posted on 4/4/2017

My son has had a habit of chewing on his knuckle fairly regularly (and has a big callus on his middle finger to show for it), but recently it's become more frequently and has extended to other...

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Weaning From the Pacifier

Posted on 3/6/2017

On the recommendation of her doctor, we're trying to reduce dependence on, and eventually get rid of, our daughter's paci. She is 2 months from her second birthday and very, very attached, a...

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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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