Thursday, November 8, 2012

on controversial parenting techniques

Ya'll know what I'm talking about. A particular blog reader cloaked by anonymity decided to call me out in the comments on my post about how we have begun sleep training Elden. To say this anonymous mother is displeased with our parenting choice would probably be an understatement.

The ironic thing is that said mother mentions how she cosleeps with her kids, an equally controversial parenting technique as crying it out or sleep training. Don't get me wrong--I am in no way offended by this person's comments/concerns. I welcome the discussion because it has thus far been pretty constructive. Feel free to chime in and tell either one of us (or both of us) just how wrong we are.

Here's the thing, folks. Every. single. parenting technique has advocates and adversaries. There are scores of studies that demonstrate a particular technique will destroy your child forever should you employ it while other studies say your kid will be nothing but stable and successful if you use it. I don't understand why becoming a parent makes us think we're entitled to dole out parenting advice to every person we encounter. Ask my opinion and sure I'll share it / what works / what doesn't work for us. But these are pretty much the only times I will tell you you're doing something wrong:

1) you abuse your kid in any way - spiritual, sexual, physical, emotional
2) you are severely neglectful / abandon your child for days, weeks, or their lifetime
3) you feed your kid every few days
4) you never show your kid any form of affection whatsoever
5) you enter your (unwilling) kid in beauty pageants 

Regardless of what you believe to be true about any particular technique, as parents we need to find what works best for us and each of our children. Sleep training and crying it out don't seem to be having a negative impact on Elden. His pediatrician hasn't told us that letting him cry it out isn't recommended. In fact, he has said to us multiple times that "crying has never hurt a baby." If his pediatrician ever so much as hinted against it we would abandon ship. But we know Elden's cries. His hunger, exhaustion, fear, and pain cries are really quite distinct. We know when we need to get him and would never let him cry an entire night because that would be incredibly uncharacteristic of him and we know that would indicate something was wrong. And while sleep training/letting him cry it out every now and again seems to be working for him, that doesn't mean it will work for each of our subsequent children. So does this look like the face of an emotionally scarred kiddo to you?:

1 comment:

  1. Good for you. Sleep training gets a bad rap because people assume it means you neglect your child. It fails to recognize that you go in to check on them, that you're listening to what kind of cry it is, that you're helping your baby set up a schedule they can count on and to get the rest they need. It doesn't mean inflexibility for when the child is having a growth spurt, teething, or sick. It does mean that you're not at the beck and call of your baby. I'm with you, Danielle. Keep doing it!

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