In a long term or severe situation, the nose will appear to be tipped up. Some babies seem to need to suck a lot more than others. A positive and individualized program is utilized to help eliminate the noxious pattern. If they respond in a positive manner, we advise them of a method where they are in control of the situation. This is not to say that sucking a finger or thumb indicates the child is under excess stress, but that stress may simply cause the child to suck more than if there were not a stressful environment.
If there is disruption in the family, the stress of that situation will precipitate a sucking habit even in older children. Why worry about it? It is not for a well adjusted, healthy nine year old, or older child to have a regular sucking habit.