the new teenage rebellion… thumb sucking?

I take the bus to work from Acre Lane in Brixton. More than twice I’ve seen a teenage girl (approx 14 or 15) in school uniform with what must be her brother. Every time she’s been constantly sucking her thumb. Quite startling to see from a young adult. She doesn’t seem to be mentally deficient. Her brother behaves as if it’s completely normal. She doesn’t look particularly defiant or anything, but I can’t help but think – is this the new teenage rebellion?

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16 Responses to “the new teenage rebellion… thumb sucking?”


  1. 1 Gregory Cross May 7, 2014 at 3:15 am

    also when I get around a baby girl or boy with a pacifier I get real jealous and real babyish and nervous it takes a lot for me not to embarrass myself and you know suck my thumb or you know something just real stupid and I don’t know what does that to me but I only thought girls had soft sides I guess I’m the only boy with one

  2. 3 Gregory Cross May 7, 2014 at 3:07 am

    what about pacifiers I’m 22 and I’m from Louisiana and I have a problem with pacifiers I don’t do it in public but only in my room when I’m sleepy or upset or bored and I just want to know if there are any people out there like me any girls like me I rather it be a girl because girls are easy to communicate with

  3. 4 Kathleen June 5, 2012 at 2:27 am

    I’m in my late 20’s and have been a thumb sucker most of my life. My teeth are pushed forward in the shape of my thumb but I don’t mind since it just makes it more comfy. I suck my thumb whenever I want and most people just ignore it, some stare, some comment but it’s my habit and it doesn’t affect anyone.

    • 5 ebonysmusic June 7, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      Thanks for your comment Kathleen. It doesn’t affect anyone else, but do you find it affects what happens to you in your personal relationships and at work?

      • 6 Kathleen March 28, 2016 at 4:15 am

        They’ve all gotten used to it and don’t usually notice. Sometimes I get some light jokes about it but that’s about it.

  4. 7 Freya Gardener August 11, 2011 at 8:54 am

    I’m 14 and i’ve sucked my thumb all my life, i never do it in public as i find it quite embarassing but it helps me sleep and calm down, it’s just something i’ve always done so i guess it’s a habit, i’m a bit ashamed of it but i don’t plant to stop

  5. 9 monstatofu August 17, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I’m a 16 year old teenage girl and I’ve been a thumb sucker all my life.
    Reading all the posts on here, I saw that no one was actually a thumb sucker, so I thought I’d just quickly speak from my point of view.
    It doesn’t really affect me or my life at all. I’ve heard that it is a kind of insecurity and I agree with that a bit.
    I only suck my thumb at home or when I’m sleeping. I never do it when I’m at school or around town or anything, I barely think about it.
    I feel that I am quite lucky because, besides having an overbite, my teeth and jaws are fine.
    I want to stop but it’s pretty much just a part of my life that I’m used to, so I never really think about it.

  6. 10 jeditaz March 11, 2009 at 2:00 am

    I am an 8th grade teacher, and I have noticed this behavior among several of my students. While it is a behavior that is not harmful as others, such as drugs, alcohol, and gang-related activities, it is still a disturbing one. I’ve been teaching for more than 10 years, and I have never observed this behavior until this school year.

    • 11 ebonysmusic March 11, 2009 at 11:00 am

      Thanks for your comment jeditaz. I’d like to get to grips with why we find it disturbing, what’s behind that deep sense of unease. There used to be such a sense of shame about it, after a certain age it was so inappropriate to suck your thumb (part of the necessary separation process of mother/parent and child). The inference now is that parents no longer give a toss about it – what else don’t they give a toss about? Or are parents so intent on their kids being able to be children they forget about teaching them how to grow up?

      You make a good point though about never seeing it till this year. Something has shifted so it’s now out in the open instead of hidden. Seems unlikely teens have just decided to take it up as a fad – possible though.

      Haven’t come across it yet in Melbourne.

  7. 12 ebonysmusic August 28, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    And today’s variation was a double pram, toddler in one seat and much older girl in the other, maybe 7 or 8 years old. It was a packed train so I didn’t think too much of that. This variation was the index and ring fingers in the mouth. Problem was the toddler did exactly the same once the older girl started. Learned emulation, not comfort at all. Their mother was more interested in her phonecall.

  8. 13 ebonysmusic June 30, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Spotted another one on Friday evening waiting for the bus in Wandsworth. She looked about 15, in uniform with other students, all looking very nonchalant.

  9. 14 H December 14, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    There’s nothing wrong with thumb sucking. In fact, there’s everything right about it. Just compare it with the things you list, not to mention most of the alternatives that people have as habits (drinking, gambling, smoking…, ok, exercising (but at least you can exercise and still suck your thumb)).

  10. 15 ebonysmusic September 23, 2007 at 12:20 am

    I was tempted at the time but thought it would have been pretty rude – didn’t feel like a showdown on Acre Lane first thing in the morning! I haven’t seen her again since…

    I’ve noticed the regular hits on this post and have done a little surfing on the subject. Very surprised to learn adult thumb sucking is supposedly more prevalent that one would first think – and becoming more visible around the world ie for some reason thumb suckers are ‘coming out’. But then I guess we’re all putting up with a lot more than we ever used to – huge increases in ‘anti-social’ behaviours, young people stabbing/shooting eachother, adults being attacked for sticking up for themselves or their children, drug addicts nodding off on the high streets of the UK, teenage pregnancies for the sake of welfare benefits, the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer, etc etc etc. So often people just pretend much worse things aren’t happening right next to them, so what’s the harm of a bit of thumb sucking in the scheme of things?

  11. 16 vertigo September 17, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    maybe.. u can make photo about it so we can open a complete article


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