What to do when your child wants to suck on toes?

As your child grows out of the toddler phase, you will start to notice that the fascination with feet will move from simply wanting to play with them to wanting to put them in his/her mouth. This happened for my son around 6 years old. While giving my wife a foot massage one day, he started sucking on her toes. My wife and I weren’t sure what to do or how to react. We suspected that it was harmless curiosity of a little child, but we wondered if it was potentially harmful for him to get used to sucking on his mother’s toes.

Answer we found: After talking to a child therapist, we discovered there was nothing to worry about at that young of an age. That said, my wife an I didn’t want him to get used to sucking on her toes because we thought it could cause issues in the future, so she only let him do it on special occasions (Christmas, Birthday, etc).

A couple years later (son was about 8), we became friends with parents of one of our sons soccer teammates (lets call them Bob and Sue). Since our son liked feet, it didn’t take us long to notice that his new teammate (Jason) also liked feet. We would constantly see him looking at feet and a couple times caught he and my son sucking each other’s toes. Again we were concerned about that, but again the therapist told us not too worry. Our son was just acting out his curious and at that age it was in no way sexual. Even so, my wife and I decided to tell Bob and Sue that we caught the boys sucking each others toes and to share what we learned from the therapist. Bob and Sue, while not surprised, were also concerned. It turns out they had been going through a lot of similar issues with their son. They told us that Jason had a history of sucking on his mother’ and his aunt’s toes too and how much it worried them that he was so interested in the feet of family members. We told them what the therapist told us, ‘it’s not an issue to be interested in the feet of family members at a young age… pre-puberty.’

That said, we all realized that our sons were getting older and we wanted to move them away from sucking on the toes of family members before they hit puberty. So, we created a plan and sat down together to talk to both of the boys. As always, we told them it was okay that they liked feet, but because they were getting older they needed to stop sucking on family members’ toes. Instead, my wife offered to let the other boy suck on her toes and Sue offered to let our son suck on her toes. We told the boys the offer was only good when they were together (i.e. both my wife and Sue were together watching the boys). That way it limited the number of times they asked to suck on their toes. I know that may sound a little weird, but it made us feel better that our sons were no longer sucking family member’s toes. So that plan went on for a couple more years, until the boys were about 10. Eventually, Jason and my son were placed on different teams and they stopped hanging out that much. After that,  our son never tried to suck on my wife of his aunt’s toes again, so we assume the plan worked.

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One Response to What to do when your child wants to suck on toes?

  1. Ravinder Tulsiani (Parent Central: Advice & Tips Blog for Parents)…

    [...]What to do when your child wants to suck on toes? « Askzack[...]…

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