controlled crying tyrant

Success! at least four hours in a row and an hours nap this afternoon, whoop whoop. My mind is a little less fuzzy and tea is in the oven. I am ready to re-rant.

Which brings me round to controlled crying. Essentially leaving your child to cry – oh the inhumanity.

I couldn’t tag my parenting style. I know I haven’t lifted it wholesale from a book, it’s very unlikely I could break my conditioning to do this for anything (My dad once reduced my history teacher to tears at a parents evening with his relentless questioning of the syllabus, reading materials and indeed, as she tearfully confided to me the next day, history as a recorded narrative.)

I know I don’t get it right always but I know that I always do my best and have only love and the very best intentions behind my actions. I can see that every child is different and will need different approaches. Ideally this would be possible within the education system but can I can see why it isn’t but am sure it should be possible within parenting.

I recently had Oliver James’s weekend Guardian column concerning the long-term effects of cortisone drenching on developing brains shoved into my face by a friend of a friend who seemed to regard it as evidence of her status as sainthood parent and mine as the native who needed converting. During this battering (metaphorical, but she came very close to  a black eye) I had to impress a few things on her.

1) Just because it is in the Guardian it is not the ONLY TRUTH 

2) study – all a bit vague, what are the details behind these statistics, how many? how long? who was it funded by?  Need I remind us of the MMR fiasco.

3) The actual column stated the need to examine the context ie 10 mins crying set within a loving and supportive family framework does not compare to the studies on the negative outcomes from Bosnian orphanages.

4) That my partner and I had not in fact invited her, queen mummy, to assess and judge our parenting choices.

I know plenty of people within my own social circle and in the wider world who are joyfully “attached parenting”  their content and outstanding children and have a wonderful friend who runs a Gina Ford household which is well organised and happy. Surely any parent who cares enough to question their choices, who picks up a parenting book , any parenting book is doing a great job? I’ll tell you what really raises my hackles; hearing the phrase “well I just wouldn’t do controlled crying, I simply could not choose to leave my child to cry”

Yeah what kind of monster would choose this?  Well I did. Twice. 

The first time was when I returned to full-time to work when Zeph was six months. I quickly realised that either we sorted out bedtime and sleeping or I ran the risk of running amok with a machete and making the tabloid  front pages. So I read a lot, asked advice from a shedload of people and thrashed a plan out with Steve which worked in two days. Since then, hand on heart we’ve never had a problem with Z, apart from his recent sleepwalking rambles up and down the corridor rearranging toys. He even used to come in for a cuddle then put himself back to bed after a nightmare.

We applied the same plan with Ida when I had to quickly wean her off my habit of breastfeeding her to sleep (I defy anyone NOT to slip into this habit!) Bath, story, cuddle, familiar phrase, tuck up – out the door then leave 2 mins, then 5 mins then 10 mins then 10 min intervals until settled.  I never left them more than 10 mins, and never cuddled – just retucked, kissed murmured and left again. I wanted them to know I would come but now was time for sleeping, not playing,singing or cuddling and that their cot and the dark was a safe cosy place I knew they were safe in. It only took a couple of nights and no more than a few of the 10 mins and I swear to god – the crying never felt agonised. This means I was really lucky and it suited my kids. If it hadn’t of worked I would have had to try something else. I totally understand that techniques have to suit parent and child but resent the implication that since leaving your child to cry doesn’t suit you, if it does suit me then I’m bloody Pol Pot.

Basically I’m a try that, try this, muddle along, hope I don’t bugger it up, these two children are the best thing I ever did in my life – kind of mummy. So there are no winners and losers because basically it’s all Swings and Roundabouts. (seriously considering writing a self-help book or starting a cult under this name...)

Disclaimers to todays blog….

I do realise that the hackle rising to the above statement is, in part, projection of my own insecurities – PARTLY.

Obviously all bets are off when they’re ill – I’ve got Ida on my shoulder at first whimper at the moment..usually I’ve covered the two steps to her cot before I’ve even woken.

Nadia – If you’re reading this – I wouldn’t of actually punched you but it is true that I  dislike you now more than ever. Just thought I’d make that clear. Even sisterhood has its limits.

Todays beautiful thing, cutting gingham with sharp pinking shears for bunting, that crisp swish of the blades.

3 responses to “controlled crying tyrant

  1. In Australia they call it sleep training – perfect.
    Frankly, who remembers being 6 months old? no one? was my child any different after – yes, he was happier because he was sleeping better, and I was happier for the same reason – my goodness that equals a positive.

  2. love love love this post!
    “there is no excuse for smugness in parenting!” Kate evans

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