My little thumb sucker
Sometimes doing the right thing also means doing the hard thing. This is especially true when you are a parent raising children. Teaching our kids the difference between right and wrong is so important. Doing what you know is right in the long run can be hard to explain to a child when they can’t see past tomorrow.
For a couple of years now, my husband and I have known that we need to do something to help our youngest daughter stop sucking her thumb. She is the only one of our four daughters who has had this habit. My husband and I were both thumb suckers as children, so we both know how comforting it is and we also how hard of a habit it is to break. We both also wanted her to quit before she lost her two top teeth to avoid her permanent teeth from growing in crooked.
We have been putting off this task for two reasons:
1) We know how much comfort and soothing it gives her.
2) We really thought (hoped) she would outgrow it and stop this on her own.
Do your kids have a bad habit that needs to be stopped so no future damage will be had? Maybe it’s thumb sucking, nail biting, using a pacifier, picking their nose, licking their lips, or something else. These habits can also include back talking, being disrespectful, and general behavior problems that need to be corrected before becoming a bigger problem. I think we all deal with some sort of habit that we need to help our children break. This is not an easy thing to do, because we want our kids to be happy, yet we know if we do nothing to help them stop this habit, that they will experience more hardships in the future as a result.
Parenting is hard…
So is breaking a habit!
So last week, I began to research online as to the best way to help stop thumb sucking. I read a lot of different theories and I watched many videos with different philosophies and tactics. I decided to try one method that made sense. This strategy begins with night time thumb sucking: I had to put long socks on her arms, and then her sock-lined-arms were covered with long sleeved jammies. The socks and jammie top were safety pinned together at the elbow creases. The safety pins are placed there, so that if she goes to suck her thumb in the night, the cold safety pins will feel uncomfortable in her elbow creases. Also, this way the socks will stay on. This will train her on a subconscious level. She will not be able to take the socks off her arms, and she will not be able to suck her sock-covered thumbs.
Having a great attitude about kicking the habit!
Before we did this the first night, my sweet little girl began crying as I told her we needed to do this. She was so sad. It broke my heart. She’s been sucking her thumb since she was in my womb, and now I am taking that comfort away from her! I could have so easily told her, “Never mind, you go ahead and have your thumb tonight.”…but I knew I had to do what was right for her in the long run. I knew that this was the best thing for her, although it broke my heart to see her so sad and confused. She told me, “I don’t know why we have to do this!”
Have you ever had to do the right thing, even though it would be so much easier to do the easy thing? I think this is the hardest thing a parent has to do…because we want our kids to be happy and comfortable. Kids don’t understand long-term consequences. They only understand instant gratification. It is our job to help them along with this. Sometimes we have to be “The Bad Guy” to be “The Good Guy”.
Take Action: This week and moving forward, let’s do the right thing even if it is the hard thing. Let’s do it with loving kindness and grace. Let’s look to the overall good of the future instead of protecting in the name of instant gratification…for our children and for ourselves!
Because Together is Better,