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  #1  
Old 03-11-2008, 03:23 PM
Can Handle the Truth Can Handle the Truth is offline
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Thumb-sucking among teen girls?

Since I've been substituting, I've noticed a lot of middle school girls who suck their thumbs in class, especially when working on an assignment. Some also do it after I get on their case for talking or goofing off. I'd say I see it about once a week. Is this some kind of new trend? When I was in middle school, anyone who sucked their thumb would have been ridiculed mercilessly.
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  #2  
Old 03-11-2008, 03:25 PM
Cat Fight Cat Fight is offline
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Sounds like one of those silly micro-trends that occur in schools. Or they're all on Ecstasy.
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  #3  
Old 03-11-2008, 03:38 PM
Omega Glory Omega Glory is offline
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I remember it happening when I was in middle school. Some of the teen girls went through a "toddler" phase. Thumb-sucking, baby talk, and even carrying around pacifiers in a few cases. It wasn't done all the time, though.

Last edited by Omega Glory; 03-11-2008 at 03:39 PM..
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  #4  
Old 03-11-2008, 03:42 PM
Edward The Head Edward The Head is offline
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My aunt told me that she sucked her thumb until she was 12 or so. My wife also told me she was just told that someone she knows husband sucks his while he's asleep. Though if you're seeing it from different girls it could be some new thing going on.
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  #5  
Old 03-11-2008, 03:55 PM
Mahna Mahna Mahna Mahna is offline
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Behold the product of a generation of permissive parents. The girls probably started sucking their thumbs as toddlers, and never lost the habit because mom and dad couldn't discipline it out of them.

One of my friends in grade school sucked her thumb all the way through to our gr 8 graduation. In fact, she apparently didn't stop until she got to high school, likely because she finally had incentive to stop (ie. she couldn't get dates).
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  #6  
Old 03-11-2008, 03:59 PM
Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa is offline
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Or it's an affectation, suggestive of extreme orality, directed towards the (likely clueless) boys in their vicinity.
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  #7  
Old 03-11-2008, 03:59 PM
Ephemera Ephemera is offline
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My almost eighteen year old cousin has sucked her thumb (and twirled her hair) since she was an infant, though she's the only one I've ever noticed the habit in.
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  #8  
Old 03-11-2008, 04:06 PM
Blaster Master Blaster Master is offline
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This is not a new trend. There were number of girls who did the toddler sort of behavior back when I was in high school. IME, it tended to be drug related (primarily the ecstasy and rave scene), but it may have evolved since then into just a general sort of trend.
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  #9  
Old 03-11-2008, 04:16 PM
Omega Glory Omega Glory is offline
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Another thought: CHTT, are you a man? The girls who do this after getting scolded could be trying out the doe-eyed, sweet and pout-y routine to get out of trouble.
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  #10  
Old 03-11-2008, 04:20 PM
3waygeek 3waygeek is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tabula Rasa
Or it's an affectation, suggestive of extreme orality, directed towards the (likely clueless) boys in their vicinity.
Given that 1 in 4 teenage girls has a STD, I'd say the boys aren't as clueless as you think.
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  #11  
Old 03-11-2008, 04:44 PM
Tabula Rasa Tabula Rasa is offline
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Originally Posted by 3waygeek
Given that 1 in 4 teenage girls has a STD, I'd say the boys aren't as clueless as you think.
Given that 1 in 4 teenage girls has an STD, I'd say the boys are plenty clueless.
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  #12  
Old 03-11-2008, 05:55 PM
Arabella Flynn Arabella Flynn is offline
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Sucking your thumb doesn't ruin your nail polish as fast as chewing on your nails. Chewing on your hair gives you fuzzy split ends.

Why all the teenage girls around you are suddenly sporting nervous habits, I dunno. But they probably think thumb-sucking is more ladylike and cute than the common alternatives.
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  #13  
Old 03-11-2008, 06:09 PM
Bricker Bricker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahna Mahna
In fact, she apparently didn't stop until she got to high school, likely because she finally had incentive to stop (ie. she couldn't get dates).
I would think that under the right circumstances, it might be an INCENTI....


...err, never mind.
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  #14  
Old 03-11-2008, 09:26 PM
Gatopescado Gatopescado is offline
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If the girls had done this when I went to school, I'd probably be homeless now.
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  #15  
Old 03-11-2008, 09:52 PM
EmAnJ EmAnJ is offline
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It's a fad, and they're trying to be cool.

I remember in Grade 8 I brought my toothbrush to school, in my mouth. I chewed on it all day. The next day, my BFF brought hers. I had started a fad! Soon, many of the more popular girls started doing the same, just chewing on the toothbrush all day.

It actually lasted a couple of years as a fad.
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  #16  
Old 03-12-2008, 12:58 AM
cmyk cmyk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmAnJ
It's a fad, and they're trying to be cool.

I remember in Grade 8 I brought my toothbrush to school, in my mouth. I chewed on it all day. The next day, my BFF brought hers. I had started a fad! Soon, many of the more popular girls started doing the same, just chewing on the toothbrush all day.

It actually lasted a couple of years as a fad.
That was YOU?!

::sheepishly pulls out ancient, frayed toothbrush from mouth::
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  #17  
Old 03-12-2008, 01:31 AM
Cisco Cisco is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omega Glory
I remember it happening when I was in middle school. Some of the teen girls went through a "toddler" phase. Thumb-sucking, baby talk, and even carrying around pacifiers in a few cases. It wasn't done all the time, though.
Same here. Middle school was '91-'95. They're just trying to be cute and/or cool.
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  #18  
Old 03-12-2008, 01:34 AM
Cisco Cisco is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmAnJ
I remember in Grade 8 I brought my toothbrush to school, in my mouth. I chewed on it all day. The next day, my BFF brought hers. I had started a fad! Soon, many of the more popular girls started doing the same, just chewing on the toothbrush all day.

It actually lasted a couple of years as a fad.
People did the toothbrush thing at my school, too. One guy wore a towel over his shoulder every day and people eventually started imitating him. He apparently got tired of it because he dropped the towel and started carrying a roll of toilet paper everywhere instead. That one never caught on. I'm not sure if he was happy about that or not.
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  #19  
Old 03-12-2008, 02:11 AM
pkbites pkbites is offline
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Understand That

This is coming from a law enforcement background and training, and may not be the answer to the OP.

But thumbsucking and pacifier use among teens has been known to signify ecstasy and/or meth use.
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  #20  
Old 03-12-2008, 02:51 AM
Sierra Indigo Sierra Indigo is offline
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Originally Posted by Aesiron
My almost eighteen year old cousin has sucked her thumb (and twirled her hair) since she was an infant, though she's the only one I've ever noticed the habit in.
Why am I admitting this?

I'm 24 and I suck my finger (forefinger, left hand). Have done since I was a baby. It's attached to a stroking reflex that occurs whenever I touch anything soft and silky/satiny (eg. Satin clothing, cat fur, rabbit fur, chenille cloth etc.). I do it subconsciously now, and even do it in my sleep. And my mother tried to discipline me out of it, believe me. Smacking my hand, painting that "no nail biting" stuff all over my finger, telling me only babies sucked their fingers. Nothing she did stopped it, and after doing it my whole life it's so far ingrained I don't know that I can stop it any more.

As for why these girls do it, I don't know.
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  #21  
Old 03-12-2008, 06:56 AM
Lust4Life Lust4Life is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward The Head
My aunt told me that she sucked her thumb until she was 12 or so. My wife also told me she was just told that someone she knows husband sucks his while he's asleep. .
His THUMB right?
He sucks his thumb while he's asleep?
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  #22  
Old 03-12-2008, 04:36 PM
Sal Ammoniac Sal Ammoniac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkbites
This is coming from a law enforcement background and training, and may not be the answer to the OP.

But thumbsucking and pacifier use among teens has been known to signify ecstasy and/or meth use.
Why is that?
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  #23  
Old 03-12-2008, 05:43 PM
pkbites pkbites is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sal Ammoniac
Why is that?

Some "club drugs" cause the users to clench their teeth tightly which causes discomfort. The pacifier or even thumb sucking helps eliminate this discomfort.
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  #24  
Old 03-12-2008, 09:29 PM
Sal Ammoniac Sal Ammoniac is offline
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God! As if being a meth addict wasn't indignity enough.
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  #25  
Old 03-12-2008, 09:48 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierra Indigo
Why am I admitting this?
Lifelong thumbsucker here. Esp. when I'm tired or reading. I can manage to not do it in front of my kids, but I suspect my husband's caught me once or twice. We don't mention it.

You'd be surprised how teased I wasn't in school. The grown-ups always said I would be, and used that as justification for some pretty horrible aversion therapies (which all failed - except that I can no longer suck my right thumb, only my left), but the kids never mentioned it except to express genuine and gentle concern for my well-being. ("Are you sad?", most commonly.) I think I stopped doing it at school in about fourth grade anyway.

For those saying it's a "fad", do you mean it's a popular thing to do, or it's a phase a lot of middle schoolers go through? Do you have any articles or news reports or anything that discusses this fad?
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  #26  
Old 03-12-2008, 10:08 PM
Charger Charger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahna Mahna
Behold the product of a generation of permissive parents. The girls probably started sucking their thumbs as toddlers, and never lost the habit because mom and dad couldn't discipline it out of them.
A-freakin'-men! I have a niece who suffers from that problem, for that reason.

What ever happened to the good old days? Back in my day, the "cool" middle schoolers picked their noses. The only excuse for inserting one's thumb into one's mouth was to make the booger disappear. Damn kids. Get offa my lawn! Saliva-covered thumbs--ewwww!
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  #27  
Old 03-13-2008, 01:09 PM
Can Handle the Truth Can Handle the Truth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omega Glory
Another thought: CHTT, are you a man? The girls who do this after getting scolded could be trying out the doe-eyed, sweet and pout-y routine to get out of trouble.
Yes, I'm a man, and having subbed for about two years now, I know the doe-eyed, sweet-and-pouty routine very well. The thumb-sucking in these cases (after a reprimand) appears not to be part of that routine, but a personal comforting/reassurance thing.
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  #28  
Old 03-13-2008, 01:16 PM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahna Mahna
Behold the product of a generation of permissive parents. The girls probably started sucking their thumbs as toddlers, and never lost the habit because mom and dad couldn't discipline it out of them.
I'm not sure it's that simple.

This slate.com article (granted, it's fingernail biting, but an equally difficult to cure compulsion) suggests it's harder than you think to just "discipline" someone out of an oral fixation.
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  #29  
Old 03-13-2008, 03:32 PM
Captain Socks Captain Socks is offline
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I'm actually in middle school, and I must say, what are you guys talking about? I've never seen any of this. Thumbsucking, toddler stuff, none of it.
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  #30  
Old 03-13-2008, 06:04 PM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tabula Rasa
Given that 1 in 4 teenage girls has an STD, I'd say the boys are plenty clueless.

Sounds to me like the girls might be sucking on more than just thumb
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