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hands in the mouth

I am a teacher in a school that is K-8.... with all the flus and colds going around i find it amazing how many kids and even middle school students who suck their thumbs, fingers and hands... why dont we shun those behaviors like nose picking?? it is the same thing really, spreads germs, is completely gross. and i have noticed even some adults in the building who chew fingernails, etc, putting their hands in their mouths, do your kids do it? if yes, why does a parent allow it? i know babies need to suck for comfort but kids shouldn't! adults certainly shouldn't! how many illnesses would be avoided if we could all begin to shun the behavior like we do with nose picking....


Asked by AmaliaD at 10:21 AM on Sep. 24, 2009 in Kids' Health

Level 22 (12,263 Credits)
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Answers (6)
  • I yell at my 6 and 8 year olds every time I catch them with their hands in their mouth and explain why they shouldn't do it. Maybe the problem is that more parents don't do that.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:35 PM on Sep. 25, 2009

  • It's often a behavior of children that weren't breastfed or breastfed long enough.

    Answer by Gailll at 10:37 AM on Sep. 24, 2009

  • I'm sorry the rest of the world is not perfect like you. People chew their nails when they are neverous or bored. It's a hard habbit to break. My hubby and I both chew are nails when stressed out. We dont' even realize we're doing it. Thumb sucking is probably the same and it is usually shunned, but it cannot be easily controlled so the teasing only does so much.

    thumb sucking, per Web MD, is caused by anxiety so if you kids are still sucking thumbs at 8th grade, then maybe you should try to figure out why instead of complaining about it behind the kids backs.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:50 AM on Sep. 24, 2009

  • You know, nose picking actually helps build your immune system. much like vaccines as dead viruses that are trapped in the nose are injected and immunites built.

    I think we'd be better off by encouraging hand washing, not using antibactierial or hand sanatizers, and allow kids to get sick sometimes instead of trying to avoid it. I imagine, that when you first started working with kids, yuou got sick often. But after years or being htere, I bet you hardly get sick. Is that right? It's about exposure and building immunities.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:52 AM on Sep. 24, 2009

  • no one else finds it gross???? and who said i was perfect? just because something bothers me does not mean that i think i am perfect~

    Answer by AmaliaD at 12:17 PM on Sep. 24, 2009

  • I actually do find it disgusting. But I also have a daughter that sucks her fingers. Let me let you in on a secret. Shunning it makes it worse. Because of what causes children to suck fingers, doing anything to reject them actually encourages that behavior because that behavior is a comforting one. I have an issue with spit, call me silly but the smell of spit makes me gag. So when dd sucks her fingers I can't stand to have them near my face or hold the hand that she sucked on. But I have to find other excuses, like holding the shopping bag in the other hand so she has to hold my hand with her clean hand. If I make a fuss about it, the behavior worsens. It sucks, but it's true, you have to find the cause and work on that and eventually the behavior will decrease on it's own. At least that is what dd's therapist says. And her sucking has decreased quite a bit.

    Answer by Petie at 1:39 PM on Sep. 24, 2009