Different Strokes

This blog will definitely not become an article review source, but I did come across an article my brain will not let go. Here's what it has to say:

Coddle or let the kid cry? New research awakens the sleep-training debate.

Tralee Pearce
From Monday's Globe and Mail
“If you leave a baby crying long enough, it will go to sleep and after crying enough nights in a row it will eventually not bother,” she says. “Leaving aside the toxicity of stress hormones, it’s hard to believe that people really want to teach babies not to bother to communicate.”
Many parents, however, feel they have no other choice but to try some form of controlled crying.
First-time Ottawa father Mike Reynolds and his wife successfully used a form of sleep training – the book The Sleepeasy Solution, by Jill Spivack, a psychotherapist and pediatric sleep consultant, and Jennifer Waldburger. He wrote about it on his blog, Puzzlingposts.
“We were prepared to listen to up to an hour of crying with only sporadic check-ins at our disposal. She did cry for the first five minutes, then we checked and then she cried for a few more and went quiet,” he says in an e-mail interview.
Although the method worked for them and their daughter, now eight months old, Mr. Reynolds is reluctant to discuss it with all the parents he knows.
“With some friends, we don’t really bring it up, as there is a lot of criticism out there.”
Toronto mom Carolyn Weaver is so pleased with how sleep-training worked for her, she jumps in to support friends when they want to try cry-it-out, even offering to stay on the phone with them while their baby cries.
“It’s gotten so controversial,” she says. “People who are opposed truly believe that you are torturing and tormenting your child.”
My first reaction from this article was pretty intense. I felt very irritated that, by using CIO, I was an "emotionally unavailable" mother. I spent an hour reading all 110 comments and one encapsulated my thoughts exactly:
"As a parent who employs controlled 'crying it out', I actually find the assumptions/conclusions taken by some of these researchers quite insulting. Abandoning my child? I'm not as emotionally available? I'm damaging my kid's development? An indication of my parenting competence??? Here's what's missing from the research: What happens to these kids who are coddled when they are 2 or 3 years old? The answer: Many are still not sleeping throught the night, or only do so in their parents' beds. My wife and I hear LOTS of stories from friends/co-workers who have either themselves coddled or who have friends who coddled their infants, and many are 2 years old or more and still will not sleep through the night without being coddled at least once. So, unless there's a whole other part of the study that looked at the long-term trends generated by one method vs. the other which the Star simply didn't print, then I guess I'll just stick with my own method of shaky parenting.

I love research that only looks at one side of the coin. -SDN"
I think that parents can spend way too much time judging other's parenting choices. I think, unless it's truly harmful to the child, that it is toxic to think your way is the only way. I think the author was dramatic and made far too many assumptions. Parents that do choose CIO, do it on different levels. We never chose to leave Declan screaming for an hour in his crib. For us, 15 minutes was max. Also, for us, it's a tool we no longer need to utilize. Declan is nearly 2 (how did that happen?) and so if he cries, there is often a reason and we go ask what it is. Last night Mark went in there to further remind Declan it was bed time and Decs just wanted a hug. Mark hugged and rocked him a bit and he went back down (fully awake) and went to sleep. CIO parents aren't evil, heartless, emotionally detached people. My son still comes to me for comfort. We're bonded more than I could have ever hoped for. And, yet, he was a CIO baby. He sleeps fabulously and has for awhile. What's the issue?!
On the flip side- I have several friends that couldn't dream about letting their child cry for even a minute. Do I judge them? Hell no. It's there prerogative. I do still see a correlation with no CIO = bad sleepers, but hey, that's the parent's issue not mine.
Why the judgey judgey, author? Why the judgey, judgey fellow parents? Where is it getting us?! I think there should be more articles about parents who endanger their child or who ignore and isolate them. Parents who could care less about providing their child's basic needs. Or how about this for a thought- why not more articles about children waiting for families? Families that would love to have the opportunity to parent and talk about CIO vs no CIO? Articles about children who don't have families to decide whether they will be home schooled or not. Why not more articles about the outrageous cost of adoption or articles about the mental/physical problems kids face in orphanages, Dr. Teti?
Now, I could rant on that forever. My biggest point of all is that parents should spend less time "high horsing" about what they believe to be best and start enjoying the community of motherhood more. Open your mind- you might learn a little. And, Miss Author- I'm VERY emotionally available for my son thankyouverymuch. 


Ben said...

Know that I absolutely love your heart Ash. I love your line, "My biggest point of all is that parents should spend less time "high horsing" about what they believe to be best and start enjoying the community of motherhood more."

So true. On so many levels. And so relevant to so much of life, even beyond parenting.

Thanks for sharing.

Beck said...

I definitely agree with you Ashley, there are methods of CIO that are appropriate and there is always a time and place to help your child sleep better- as my favorite Dr. Sears quote says "if it's not working for you, change it." It is almost always the extreme side of each that seems to cause the most problems and controversy. I feel the most important thing to remember is to respond to your child when you feel they need you-not just blindly following a method, tool, or advice. By reposting the article I didn't mean to say that I agree with every aspect of Non-CIO vs. CIO camps. Every child/parent is different and needs to be treated accordingly. You are an amazing mom and I am proud to have you for advice and as a friend! :-) Thanks for all the advice along the way.
Love to you! Beck

jesshustad said...

wow. that might be the most offensive article i have ever read. my daughter is 8 months old and i have NEVER voiced my parenting opinion via facebook/blogs/etc. this is the first time. but i am so mad right now. this article is beyond bogus. i am an EXCELLENT mother and i love my child to pieces. and she is also an amazing sleeper. to say that i am emotionally unavailable b/c i have let her CIO disgusts me. absolutely disgusts me.

when i saw this article on facebook today i literally screamed out loud. i am so exhausted watching parents judge the way others parent. erik & i vowed we would NEVER tell people how to parent. we have stuck to that. mind your own fricken business people.

Simply Complex said...

You are right on.

I hate that there is so much information out there that is twisted around to make me second guess the choices we are making for our family and our kids. We let G cry it out a bit too and that child SLEEPS LIKE A CHAMP. I do see/hear more problems with co-sleeping (or call them coddled if you would like) children and that's just not for me. I need and want my sleep. G needs his too. And G sleeps like a log - we have only had to get up with him twice in the past 18 months.

I can hardly believe, as I feel the author was suggesting, that just because we have let him cry for more than one minute less than a dozen times, we have ruined his brain development. Even more absurd is to suggest that loving him, playing with him, and exploring new things with him has been overshadowed by a couple minutes of nighttime crying.

People need to have enough confidence in themselves to know that what they choose to do in their homes is the right choice. It may be different than your neighbors choice, but each family does what is RIGHT for them. And that's a good thing!

Jess said...


I totally agree....people need to let other families do what's best for their families as long as it's safe for the children.

We did some EXTENSIVE cio with Ethan until we finally bought a crib vibrator and soother deal. Of course, this wasn't when he was a baby, either, he was already walking and everything (and of course NOW we know it was a big stinking load of sensory issues). I don't agree with cio for small babies, but I also don't think a little crying hurts a kid either...and the article doesn't take into account people with kids with issues or who have multiples! Are all those kids doomed??

Please!! Geesh, people! :p

Rebekah said...

I hate judgment.In all arenas. It's never right.

The crying out method never worked for us in the beginning. Ty was that newborn that refused to nap unless I was holding him or wearing him in the sling. Eventually 6 months was the golden age, everything changed and he's never given so much as a peep when he lays down for bed, since.

But, like you, I would never look at what you (or anyone else was doing) with the CIO method and label it wrong.

None of us know what we're doing. If we follow our heart, lean on God's understanding, and move in love, we can't go wrong.

You are most definitely not wrong. It's clear as day that Declan is full in every area of his.

Love you, girl!

Anonymous said...

Wow. My feelings are hurt! We do some CIO with Riley. Her sitter does A LOT of CIO (a little too much, but what are her options?). It is really absurd. I can see if he were speaking to those that let their children cry for hours on end, but ONE minute? Sheesh! I also like the commenter.
Before a month or so ago, we would put Riley in her crib and she would go right to sleep. Then she got sick and the CIO started again. It was bad. We only let her cry for a max of 15 minutes and then we would go in and calm her down and try again. Sometimes it would take 3 or 4 times of that. I would try rocking her in the middle and nothing seemed to work. The worst part was, she would wake up screaming just like she had gone to sleep and I would feel like she had been upset all night long. After two weeks I had to try something else. Now, after we read, we rock and cuddle for less than five minutes and I put her to bed fully awake. I haven’t had more than 60 seconds of crying in weeks and my girl wakes up happy as can be! Whew! Who knew just that little bit of extra cuddle time would help so much? --- which goes to show again that it isn’t that cut and dry.

TXMom2B said...

Amen! Hate the mom wars.

Liz said...

I think your point, Ash, about the long-term effects not being analyzed is a good one. Also, this is one study on a select group of children that hasn't been duplicated in other studies. Finally, how does Dr. Teti define "emotionally available" and since babies are not capable of clearly articulating their exact emotions, how do we know that they've stopped crying because they somehow realize the futility of their attempts to communicate? Seems to make a lot of emotional assumptions on the part of the baby that are unable to truly be documented or proven.

as i'm getting ready to deal with all of these "controversial" issues that people seem to get very up in arms about, I keep thinking "trust in the Lord and He will keep your paths straight." Parents who are seeking to honor God and truly love their child will of course make mistakes, but they won't ruin a child or turn him into a distanced, rebellious, victimized adult just because they let him cry it out when he was a baby.