"A child without rules is like a fish out of water. "

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

Concerned Over Thumbsucking

Posted on 7/11/2020

My amost 4 years old, born Oct 28, 2016 is sucking her two fingers especially at night. This is causing injury to her fingers and may affect her teeth. I can't get her to stop. She does it to...

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How to Stop Thumb Sucking

Posted on 5/13/2020

Our 4 1/2 year old still sucks his thumb when he's tired or bored. We call him out on it when we see it. I've looked online, but all the advice is pretty much 'feed and reward them', 'discuss it...

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Hold Me! Never Let Me Go!

Posted on 1/8/2020

My daughter (age 2) demands to be held an excessive amount. By "excessive amount", I mean hours in a row. The more holding I give her, the more she demands. She gets furious when put down before...

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Ignoring Bad Habits

Posted on 11/25/2019

My 9-year-old daughter still puts things in her mouth and chews on them like a toddler: Lego pieces, wrappers, etc. It seems like she has an oral fixation and always needs to be chewing or sucking...

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"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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