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Stop sucking your fingers

GENERATION NEXT
By Raychelle Mutisya | May 4th 2012

By Raychelle Mutisya

• Finger sucking is a habit common among children. Many love to suck their thumb.

• Children who suck their fingers often find themselves in trouble with their parents. Other children also view them as spoilt or soft-hearted.

• Finger sucking is a self-soothing remedy. When disturbed, hungry, angry or upset, many children seek the comfort of their fingers.

• Many of the children who suck their fingers pick the habit right from birth, just like they learn other natural reflexes like suckling their mother’s breast. Others pick the habit during teething when they suck their fingers to sooth sore gums.

• It is false to believe that children who suck their fingers do not perform well in class.

• Another misconception about finger sucking is that it helps the child to think faster. It is also not true that abrupt stopping of finger sucking could slow down or disturb a child’s mental organisation.

• Children who suck their fingers or thumbs expose themselves to many health risks. When playing, they expose themselves to germs, making them vulnerable to bacterial and fungal infections.

• Doctors have also pointed that thumb and finger sucking slow down a child’s growth and development.

• Beside the health risks, such children in school and amongst their peers suffer a lot of ridicule.

• Children must learn not to ridicule their friends who suck their fingers. Laughing at such children may make them lose their self-confidence.

• Finger sucking is also an addictive habit. Normally, many children get over it at the age of four years. But some do not and will go as far as into teenage still sucking their fingers. The earlier you train yourself to stop this habit, the easier it is for you.

• This habit may also distort the normal arrangement of your teeth especially during the growth of the front permanent teeth.

• It may also interfere with your speech development, especially the pronunciation of sounds ‘t’ and ‘th’.

• It is easier to stop the finger and thumb sucking by eliminating or avoiding those activities that distress you and make you to seek the comfort of your thumb.

• Your parents can also help you get over the habit by encouraging you or giving you sweets to suck on as you sleep.

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