Thumb Sucking Psychology


A baby thumb sucking inside his or her mother’s womb is a common image that people see in books and when surfing the internet about something that relates to it. It is also a usual hobby that babies and toddlers do. Thus, one would think that sucking one’s thumb is just a normal thing. However, in psychology, thumb sucking has another meaning. So, what is thumb sucking psychology about then?

Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a common behavior that humans, chimpanzees and other primates do. It involves placing one’s thumb inside the mouth and performing a rhythmical sucking of the thumb for a long time. However, it can also be done and accomplished with the use of any piece of skin that is within one’s reach. Individuals do this because of its therapeutic and soothing effect.

The Thumb Sucking Psychology: Babies

As mentioned, thumb sucking is a common habit for both babies and toddlers. The habit will start as soon as the baby’s birth. As a habit, babies perform it as a reflex. Babies usually just place and suck any object that they place inside their mouth. Thus, it can be said that for babies, when it comes to thumb sucking psychology, it simply shows their sucking reflex that is responsible for breastfeeding. The good thing about the habit is it only lasts for a few months. Thus, it is not a behavior purely based on instinct. As for those photos that are commonly seen showing babies sucking their thumbs inside their mother’s womb, its cause is not something that is conclusive.

Thumb Sucking Psychology: Children

If you are going to take a look at your family’s photo albums, it is natural that you would at least see a couple of pictures that show you sucking your thumb. However, did you ever wonder why even at that age you were still thumb sucking? Same with babies, this habit is also natural for young children. To explain the thumb sucking psychology relating to young children, it is a reflex action they do to sooth their selves. The longer the child performs the habit, the more possible it is for them to have their favorite finger that they could suck. It can be related to how a child develops their favorite hand they use in writing. In any case, it is said that both of these have an effect in a child’s handedness.

Thumb Sucking Psychology: Why do People Develop this Habit?

The primary reason why people suck their thumbs is because it becomes a habit. As a child, thumb sucking serves as something that provides pleasure. As a result, it gives satisfaction to do the habit. It can also possibly serve as a compensation for the less nurturance that the child gets. However, as a child grows older, it is when it slowly develops as a habit. The child also learns to associate it with the comforting needs that people should experience. As a result, it helps in relieving psychological stress. It also becomes useful in several circumstances like when trying to sleep in different a variety of moods and conditions. It helps in achieving relaxation, which becomes helpful when it comes to concentrating.

However, the thumb sucking psychology is not all about its usefulness. Thumb sucking is also a factor in the kid’s dental problems. That is why thumb sucking prevention becomes necessary.

-Flow Psychology Editor