During the oral phase of infancy, babies explore the world using their mouths. It is natural for children to put things in their mouths to experience sensations such as hot and cold, soft and hard, rough and smooth, and so on. This exploration is beneficial for their personal development and enriches their sensory experiences.

Some mothers may feel that many things, including their child's fingers, are too dirty and continuously force their child to stop sucking their fingers or eating other objects.

This behavior can disrupt the child's innate ability to explore the world and impede their ongoing development. The instinctual need to be compelled from outside to stop can cause significant confusion for the little one!

Children who are forcibly corrected for finger-sucking behavior, tend to resume the habit during adolescence, and it becomes difficult to correct! There are far too many examples of this happening, and I witness a few cases every year in the classrooms I teach. Some children never need to trim their fingernails because they have bitten them all off!

During the growth period of infancy, any missing stage of behavioral development will inevitably resurface at a later stage in a way that parents never hope for. It is because, subconsciously, the child seeks to fulfill their own growth!

Therefore, it is not advisable to break the habit of finger-sucking, as it either occurs during the period of sensory growth through the mouth or serves as compensation for missing stages of behavioral development.

Frequent reminders and expectations for the child to correct themselves after repeated reminders are also not recommended. This will only reinforce the behavior of finger-sucking and create a continuous sense of frustration for the child.

Instead, it may be worth considering washing the things the child wants to put in their mouth to ensure cleanliness. Under the supervision of adults, allow them to fully "taste" this world of ours.

Labels: Parenting