The most primal cry

A Baby’s Urge to Be Heard | Psychology Today.

I came across this article today thanks to Janet Lansbury and her wonderful blog.  I felt it was worth sharing.

1-This is Psycology today.  Meaning unbiased truth about how our brains develop from birth.

2-There is a long standing debate in the world of ‘parenting education’ regarding ‘Cry-it-out’ that, in my humble opinion, deserves more than just a passing mention.

Now, a little editorializing…

Decade after decade there have been new and ‘proper’ ways to raise your chlid.  There will always be well meaning friends, relatives or strangers who deeply believe that what they tell you about child rearing is the best.  This is most likely because it is how they were raised or how they raised their children.  I understand these paradigms are hard to escape.

However, there is a reality to how our brains develop. The more we learn about how to build cars, the better the cars are.  As time goes on we have gone from room sized computers to idevices in every pocket.  Why then wouldn’t we use that same growing wealth of knowledge to help guide our precious little humans into the most secure, healthy and loved people they can be?

As the article states crying isn’t brought on by cognitively based manipulative thoughts.  To the contrary hormones within your baby’s brain cause them to cry out of a need for YOU.  For your comfort, your food, your touch and the reassurance that they are not being left, quite literally, for the wolves.  Being left in a dark room crying doesn’t teach a baby anything except to give up on you.

This article is not meant to anger anyone. Though I am sure it will. I understand deeply how confusing and painful it can be to try to do the right thing for your family and child when your little baby just will not sleep. I offer no judgement. I also do not propose a completly cry-less life for your child.  To the contrary I believe that emotional expression should be allowed to develop fully along the broad spectrum of human feeling.

What I hope for is a broader debate.  Freedom from guilt ridden ‘sleep training’.  What if as parents we grew to understand more developmentally appropriate sleep patterens? What if we talked more openly about how hard it can be to stay calm, gentle and helpful to our darling babes at 3am?

What do you think? This article serves as just a beginning to what I hope will be an ongoing dialogue.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vanessa
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 08:16:40

    Another great topic. I so agree that this should be on the forefront of parenting topics. It makes me ill to be around a parent that insists their baby should just cry it out in another room. How terrifying for that baby ? All that does is form mistrust within the child. Funny tho, my mom NEVER let me cry for a demi second she says .., yet when I was little I had the craziest anxiety about being abandoned … Then again, our dispositions seems to come with us as we enter the world.


    • melissacady
      Oct 25, 2011 @ 03:58:00

      Yes, and if our dispositions are such a deep part of who we are (after all we are born as full people, not just blank canvasses) then how could any ‘one size fits all’ approach ever work? I know I need to tread lightly as I delve further into this subject, as many more moms ascribe to some type of ‘training’ than not. I just wish the debate was more honest and about how really we all have a kid who is an awesome sleeper some or most nights and we all have nights that suck. When the first question people ask about a new baby is ‘how is he sleeping?’ that just belies a totally misunderstanding about how frequently a child should be waking up at any given age.


  2. kim
    Oct 29, 2011 @ 06:58:40

    As a mother of 2 very strong willed young women I feel the need to chime in on what “worked” for me. I am a fond believer on “what ever works for your family” .
    I was never the parent that put my children to bed and let them cry it out…but there were times when I would try to comfort, feed, change, sing, lay, hold, cuddle, rock, etc. It just never seemed to be what she wanted. Sometimes they might just need to work it out for themselves. I know my children knew I was still there and of course it broke my heart to hear them cry for how ever long they laid in their crib weather it was those few minutes that felt like hours, or however long they were there. As you said, they are not blank canvasses, but full people. We are “teaching” them about life, independence, courage, love, strength, skills…whatever it is you want to teach your child….but the most important thing to me is patience….and sometimes i might need to lay you down and let you cry to gain mine back….


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