Most people shame kids over a certain age for sucking their thumb. But how old is too old? And is it really THAT unusual for kids over 3 to suck their thumb?
Christina Organ's 10-year-old son still sucks his thumb, and she naturally had some concerns.
"I worried about whether he would be teased by his friends. I worried whether he was causing permanent damage to his teeth. I worried that I was being a bad parent for not being more concerned about his blankie-and-thumb-sucking habit and putting my foot down."
But she wasn't worried enough to actually have him stop. It's not like he was acting out. If this helps him sleep, why would she stop it?
Organ took her then-8-year-old to see the orthodontist one day, and that's when she realized people were extremely judgmental.
"What would your friends say if they knew you sucked your thumb?" he asked.
"They wouldn't say anything…because they're my friends," replied her son.
This interaction prompted Christine to find a new orthodontist, and also speak out about shaming kids who still suck their thumb past the "acceptable" age.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says, "[it's important to remember that thumb or finger sucking is a normal, natural way for a young child to comfort himself."
Their website also states that by forcing your child to stop sucking their thumb before they're ready, it could actually cause some emotional damage.
Christine's advice? Let your kid be a kid.
"True friends will accept our quirks and idiosyncrasies as long we accept their quirks as well. True friends don't care if someone sucks their thumb or wets the bed or needs a parent to lie down with them at night. Kids know this; it's we adults who forget."
So what do you think? Is there an age where you should stop your child from sucking their thumb?