Why subjecting your baby to the Cry it Out method is a mistake, and how bedtime anarchy can be delightful.
When a constraint is imposed upon a child without her understanding, she can’t apply it in novel circumstances, or know when to ignore it, or use it to acquire some new idea. Instead, it becomes fixed in time, unable to improve, a lifeless feature of her world. What’s worse, this constraint will grate against other ideas that she has, but since the parent has resorted to coercion, she is on her own to try to resolve the conflict that this grating represents.
We are attuned to babies’ signals, we take their preferences seriously and assist them in meeting them. We empower them rather than disempoweraging them. Even newborn babies are learning something absolutely vital for their future—something so important and valuable that I cannot stress it enough: they are learning that they can have an effect on the world.
Parents interpret unwanted behaviour of their young children as an ‘ill effect’. Not because the parent is stupid or malevolent, but because all observation is theory laden, and because causation cannot be observed.
Parents often expect a solution to be found from within a small set of parent-approved options, and then they dislike what the child does, and think that that means (more) coercion is necessary.
Some ideas for sleep-deprived burnt out parents of babies who do not sleep.
Lots of practical ideas for sleep-deprived parents whose young child is wide awake 24/7 (or so it seems!), and who do not want to resort to coercing their child.
We all feel angry sometimes, but we should take great care not to act out the accompanying impulse to blame, shame, hurt or threaten the other person. We can admit to our child that we feel angry and try to make sure that the child knows that this is a fault in us and not in the child. It is vital not to make our child feel responsible for our anger. It is our own stuff, not caused by them, no matter how it seems to us in that moment.