Saturday, December 25, 2004

Crying in the Night

Amid all the conventional parenting books and family sleep therapy and whatever else middle class parents are turning to to try to get a good night's sleep, one important piece of information seems to slip through the net.

A child does not cry to inconvenience hir parents. Se is attempting to communicate with them but does not have the words or gestures in that moment to make hir meaning clear.

This is why controlled crying is so wrong wrong wrong. Instead of watching one's clock from outside the nursery to see if it is time to check that the child has not broken hir arm between the cot bars in hir rage, fear and frustration, the parent of a crying chld should be trying to work out what the problem is.

Here's a likely list: hungry, thirsty, cold, hot, lonely, uncomfortable, in pain, sick, teething pain, frightened, alert and bored, a nightmare.

How exactly is leaving a child alone in a quiet room going to help them solve their problem, or learn anything except that when things get tough, noone will help them? :-(

PS if a parent sleeps in the same bed as hir child, it is often possible to solve the problem before either person is fully conscious, thereby facilitating those glorious hours of sleep for which the parents yearn.


Anonymous said...

Parents who let their children CIO are not trying to solve their child's problems, but their own--namely, how to get some peace, how to establish their authority with their child, how to not let the child get the upper hand.

Just some ideas from a former 'streamer. . . :-(


alice said...

I had to spend a night in hospital with a nursing bed-sharing child once. Luckily we were in a room with a bed for a parent.

Nurse: "Well, I suppose we can allow it, but you'll never get any sleep..."

We slept about 12 hours, till 10am, missed breakfast.