You are currently viewing How Thumb Sucking and Age Regression Are Related in Children

How Thumb Sucking and Age Regression Are Related in Children

  • Post author:
  • Post category:Blog

As a prevalent and powerful reflex, thumb sucking is a considerably primitive behavior for a young child. But what happens if the natural impulse doesn’t fade away with age? What if an older child suddenly starts or reverts to sucking their thumbs? Is the behavior still driven by instinct, or is there an alternate reason for the regressive change?

Let’s closely consider the answers to these questions with further information regarding how thumb sucking and age regression are related in children.

Childhood Regression Explained: A Stress Response

What is childhood regression? The medical experts at Verywell Health define this occurrence as the reversion of an individual to a younger state of mind. Age regression simply means moving backward in development and is a normal—and often temporary—responsive condition for children.

As children grow up, using child-like coping methods is the norm to meet everyday needs. Parents can expect impulsive behaviors until a child either outgrows them or replaces them with more emotionally mature responses. Therefore, noticeable age regression—for example, thumb sucking—is typically triggered by something new, such as traumatic events, stepping out of their comfort zone, or feeling stress or frustration.

Thumb Sucking: A Common Coping Method

As part of normal growth and development, you will find that there is no specific time frame for when children may regress. The behavior merely communicates to parents that their child is navigating a change in their world. Essentially, this is how thumb sucking and age regression relate in children. Sucking on thumbs is traditionally a behavior that helps calm infants and young kids, stimulating feelings of security, comfort, and safety.

Older children and even adults may also regress and suck their thumbs to find the same comfort and security. Either way, those over age five with the habit should be encouraged to stop, as there are healthier coping methods available. Releasing built-up physical or psychological tension through prolonged or frequent sucking can be detrimental to a child’s comprehensive health and well-being.

The Potential Cost to Health

Parents with children who experience this age regression during early childhood growth and development should be aware of the effects; the long-term effects of thumb sucking can impact oral, dental, and social health. If concerned, keep a close eye on what may be driving the prolonged habit or regressive behavior, and speak to a professional for advice. A trusted care provider can help develop an approach or recommend a treatment that stops the practice.

Consider a device to stop thumb sucking recommended by dental health professionals, such as the AeroThumb from TGuard. Most parents see positive results in a week or less. Learn more about this effective product or read reviews for yourself on our website.


Theories About Age Regression and Trauma” from Verywell Health