Posted by: Mildred's eftedmonton Blog | January 11, 2015

Helping the little thumb-sucker quit the habit.

There comes a time in a child’s life when sucking his thumb-sucking is no longer acceptable.  It looks babyish, and parents start to worry about future orthodontic bills. However to the child, sucking his* thumb makes him feel cozy and comfortable. It takes him back to that early time when he had a bottle or a breast full of warm milk and he had no worries or concerns. He was safe  and secure in his mother’s arms.

But now he may be getting his permanent teeth, and going to school, so the thumb-sucking is becoming an embarrassment, often more for the parents than the child. Plus there are those aforementioned orthodontic bills to consider. Experts suggest that even for 2-to-4 year olds, thumb-sucking can set the stage for dental problems later on. (See http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/9-ways-to-wean-a-child-off-thumb-sucking?page=2).

If your child is a thumb-sucker, start by dealing with your own fears and concerns about the issue.  Here are some suggested EFT affirmations you can use to lower your own anxiety about your child’s thumb-sucking.   Use short cut EFT techniques, tapping the side of your hand, the karate chop point, and say aloud or to yourself,

  • Even though I have these worries about my child’s thumb-sucking, I accept myself.
  • Even though I may have also sucked my thumb at the same age (or bitten my fingernails), I accept myself.
  • Even though I am frustrated or embarrassed about my child’s thumb-sucking, I accept myself.
  • Even though my spouse may have sucked his or her thumb at the same age, I accept myself.
  • Even though I worry about future dental problems and upcoming orthodontic bills, I accept myself.
  • Even though I feel helpless or inadequate as a parent over this issue, I accept myself.

Now pick one sentence above, or create your own version that encompasses your fears or resonates most with you.  Repeat that sentence  each time as you tap the top of your head, tap between the eyebrows, tap on the side of the eyes, tap under the eyes, tap under the nose, tap under the mouth, and tap the collarbone points and under the arms.  Tap about 7-10 times as you repeat your chosen sentence.  How do you feel now?   Maybe a little calmer? If not, repeat the process a couple of times with a different sentence, and you will likely find some relief. It’s important to work on your side of the issue first in order to address your child more calmly.

The next step is to go to your child and ask permission to show him a new coping skill, something to help him feel cozy and safe.   Tell him – if you haven’t already – that you are concerned about his thumb-sucking and you would like to help him quit and learn a new calming technique. Most children this age are open to new ideas and will accept this kind of suggestion from a parent.

Hold on to his hand,tapping his karate point and say for him:

  • Even though I still suck my thumb, I am a good boy, and mommy and daddy love me very much.
  • Even though I feel safe and cozy when I suck my thumb, I am a good boy.

Listen to what your child tells you at this point.  If he says, “I really, really like sucking my thumb”, then tap on him and say,

  • Even though I really, really like sucking my thumb, I am still a good boy, and mommy and daddy love me.  (If your child starts playing with his toys or runs off into another room, then consider the treatment over.)  If he lets you continue, you can tap on some of the same points you used on yourself, but beware, children are often very ticklish, so you may want to skip the collar bone and under the arm points, or just touch them lightly.
  • Even though Mommy and Daddy are worried that I will have funny teeth when I’m older, I am a good boy, and they love me very much.

You may need to wait a week or so to see results and you may need to repeat once or twice, but parents have had good results with EFT for all kinds of childhood issues, including thumb-sucking.

If you teach your child this short-cut EFT technique, you will help with any anxiety around the issue, plus give him something effective to replace his thumb-sucking habit.  If you have any difficulty using this technique, please contact me in these pages, or phone or email me.  I’d love to hear about your successes too. MT

*Throughout this article I have used the male pronoun for the child, but of course this will work with girls too.    If you need a quick intro or a refresher on the EFT points, check out this link.


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