Delcamp: For crying out loudWritten by Chris Delcamp | | email@example.com
I am the proud father of two beautiful little girls. One is a vibrant 2-year-old, and the other is a smiling, love-filled 7-month-old.
I’ve seen numerous styles of child rearing when it comes to young infanst sleep and toddler discipline. While I won’t make the mistake of telling a friend that I think what they’re doing is inappropriate, I will express my common-sense view.
The main issue I have with parents, both new and experienced, is the old “cry it out” method. This is where, when it’s time for sleep, the parents put their child into a room, shut the door and go away. If the child should cry, they will not come to his or her aid. They won’t interfere with the child even if he or she is in full-blown screaming hysterics.
If you do this, you are probably thinking that you already know what I am going to say. But you may not know why I am going to say it. I believe this method to be totally and completely ineffective, and potentially damaging to the bond that should be established between you and your child.
Let me preface this by saying that I am no expert, other than being a father of two girls, one of whom was extremely colicky and allergy-ridden.
Back to the topic, I’ve watched it being discussed both verbally and via Facebook.
My view is that leaving small babies to cry until they have exhausted themselves to the point where they pass out is done mostly by the lazy. I watch as people ask what they should do about their baby’s lack of sleep and the fact that they aren’t sleeping. At least one response will always include, “Let them cry until they fall asleep. If you go to them now, they will be taking advantage of you for the rest of your life. Let them know your’e in charge.” Or something to that effect, but you get the point.
To this, I say, get your head on straight and pull your common sense out of the proverbial gutter.
I cannot imagine how any sane person would think that a 3-, 6-, or 9-month-old child would know, conceptually, how to take advantage of a person. They are simply in a state that requires attention, and so they cry. The crying pattern, one can assume, is always associated with symptoms of pain, hunger, or a dirty diaper.
I don’t believe that infants cry just to cry at that age. They are calling out for your help. By ignoring them, you are essentially telling them that you aren’t going to help. While people tell you that it will help them self-soothe, the fact is that you are telling them that they cannot count on you for the help they are looking for. When they finally stop crying, they have given up on the help that should have come. They may be asleep, but it is from expending all of their energy.
As for my family, we have gone to our daughters every time they cry. Not the very moment, mind you. We give them the opportunity to go to sleep, or back to sleep if already in bed, but never let them continue crying for any extended period. We certainly never let them get to a hysterical state.
I think going to them shows them they can rely on the people they should be able to rely on.
I grew up, like many, being told who is boss and being given orders with no logic behind them, only control. Subsequently, the first chance I got, I left. I made many mistakes because of my need to question everything that didn’t make logical sense, which got me in trouble more times than one.
As for my kids, they will not grow up having me as their boss. I will be their foundation on which they can build their own mansions. I will always be there to soothe them if I can, and hope they will have the confidence to know their parents will always give their support.
They may fall, and they may get hurt and they may cry; I think they should know that is a part of life, but that there are people who support them and will always help guide them, and if needed, dry their tears and rock them to sleep.
Chris Delcamp is a reporter and videojournalist for WNWO-TV. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.