Skip to main content Skip to header navigation

RHOC’s Meghan King Gives Son a Thumb-Sucking Guard — Is This Something Kids Need?

To be honest, we are getting so used to stories about random people shaming mothers for whatever they’re doing to raise their kids, that it’s actually more shocking to see that mom Meghan King’s most recent update on her son Hart has received no such shaming. Well, not that we know of, anyway, since she’s just shared it on Instagram Stories. The possibly controversial-but-shouldn’t-be parenting issue? Thumb-sucking, and how to stop it.

The Real Housewives of Orange County alum shared a series of videos showing 2-year-old Hart sporting a TGuard, a special device sometimes recommended by dentists and orthodontists to break the habit of thumb-sucking.

Now, it’s totally OK for most 2-year-olds to suck their thumb. Experts recognize it as one of the methods babies come up with on their own for self-soothing, and some continue to suck their thumbs later as a way to comfort themselves. One study even showed that adults who had sucked their thumbs, bit their nails, or had some other similar oral habit had fewer allergies when they grew up. But the American Dental Association says that parents should try to discourage the habit if it appears to be changing their child’s teeth.

That’s what’s been happening to Hart, but not to his twin brother Hayes.

“I decided to implement that anti-thumb-sucking thing, because Hart’s palate is starting to get messed up,” King explained. “It’s starting to get raised. He must suck his thumb really hard, because Hayes sucks his thumb as well, but it hasn’t changed his teeth or his palate or anything like that. Hart’s is kind of raised and his teeth are crowded because when he pushes up on the palate, it narrows his jaw up here or whatever and now his teeth are getting crowded, so we gotta cut that out.”

Based on her brief video on Instagram, it looks like the device works well. We kind of feel sorry for Hart if his brother gets to keep on with the habit while he can’t, but we trust that as a mom of three, King knows how to deal with differences among her children. It’s been just a couple of weeks since she told followers that Hart was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and he’s been going through intense physical therapy his whole life. Just read one of King’s blogs or social media posts about him and you know this is one mama who is on top of her kids’ health.

View this post on Instagram

Today, my blog post announced that Hart was officially diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy yesterday, and as fate would have it, today is World Cerebral Palsy Day so I felt called to share his experience and my experience with you all in order to hopefully normalize this diagnosis. Something I’ve learned is that a diagnosis isn’t limiting, people are.  We are all born beautiful and perfect and then we learn we are too fat, too short, too ugly, too inept, too… everything.  We place others in boxes dependent on their labels and we unconsciously allow ourselves to live within those boxes: woman, college graduate, high-school dropout, professional athlete, Cerebral Palsy.  I am choosing to celebrate what makes Hart different and raise my children with the encouragement to live their lives out loud and to never let their differences limit or define them. So today we CELEBRATE World Cerebral Palsy Day. ❤️

A post shared by Meghan King (@meghanking) on

So, King has this under control, but if you are concerned about whether or how you should be helping your child to stop thumb sucking, we’ll recap some of what the experts say.

The ADA recommends trying positive reinforcement (praising for the times they don’t suck) and looking for any underlying causes of anxiety first, especially if this is a regression. If they’re old enough to understand, you can involve them in choosing how to help them stop. You can also get your dentist to help out, first by explaining why they need to stop sucking their thumb and then to recommend other methods, such as bitter medication to make the thumb taste bad and appliances for the mouth or thumb.

Dr. Laura Markman of AHA! Parenting has some other advice for parents of children who with oral habits.

“Notice when she bites her nails, and give her something else at those times to hold and fidget with,” she wrote for a parent with a nail-biting child. “For instance, is it in the car? Then keep a little toy or ball in the car that is pliable, fun to squish and mold and fidget with.”

She also suggested the mom replace the habit with other movements: “When you feel like biting your nails, clasp your hands like this and wiggle your fingers.”

That latter method worked with my son when he was 6 and wouldn’t stop sucking on his shirt. I challenged him to learn how to snap instead, and now he’s better at it than me.

But again, we say, check with your child’s dentist, not with randos on the internet (not even us!).

Read about how Heidi Klum, Angelina Jolie, and more celebrity parents co-sleep with their kids.

celebrity moms

Leave a Comment