This post was going to have a different angle; and angle that came from the misrepresentation of what Controlled Crying actually is.
I am, and have been for a while, an advocate of Controlled Crying.
At least, I really, genuinely thought I was. Now I’m not sure sure.
Not because I’ve been persuaded by the ‘experts’ who are blatantly and vehemently anti-controlled crying, who use emotive manipulation to get people to sign up to whatever their latest sing-uppy thing is, or to get you to buy their latest book, or whatever. Let’s face it, these people are, first and foremost, business people with a product to sell, and will use whatever means available to them to sell them.
If this means putting a little doubt into your mind about your parenting skills and abilities to lead you to believe that you are going to psychologically damage your child for life, then that is what they will do.
I don’t mean to discredit them; many of them are extremely passionate about what they teach and tell, it comes from their hearts and with the intent to help, and they each have a considerably amount of experience, and have done a considerable amount of research. Their opinions are valid.
Oh, and before anyone gets narky at me, this also applies to those who are pro-controlled crying or whatever the hell the other end of the spectrum is. Both ‘sides’ do it, because their income is slightly more important than your wellbeing, even if they are extremely and exceptionally passionate about what they are teaching/writing about/signing you up to, and really believe in what they are teaching.
What it was going to be about was the unrelenting and, in my opinion, misleading information about how ‘bad’ controlled crying is and the overuse of using the terms ‘controlled crying’ and ‘crying it out’ synonymously.
This makes my blood boil, because, firstly and as far as I’ve always been concerned, the two are completely different things. Crying it out is not controlled crying. My major concern with the persistent use of this using the terms interchangeably, particularly by some parties, is that for parents who do not sit well with ‘comfort settling’ or whatever other ‘opposite’ of controlled crying there is believe that crying it out is the only other option available to them. They don’t realise there is a middle ground, a vast expanse of middle ground, and kind of go “Oh, well, I don’t like that method, so this other method must be all that’s available” – because crying it out is so overly discussed and (inadvertently) promoted, albeit with the best of intentions, that confusion reigns.
However, things have changed somewhat since I first got narky about this topic. I had a rant – as I am wont to do when I have no paper and pens on me and need to get stuff out of my head – to a friend about it. She got very defensive and said a few things about controlled crying that were not quite so far down the path as crying it out, but were also further down the path than my understanding of what controlled crying was.
I spoke to another friend, and there was a different interpretation again. I spoke to my sister-in-law, a maternal and child health nurse, and she had a different story again. Interesting, this was a different version to one she spoke with me about when my second was younger.
I began to realise that the definition of Controlled Crying various considerably between people. I understand – although do not quite accept – that those who are very much anti the idea (for whatever reason) like to believe that controlled crying and crying out out are the same thing. I don’t agree with this, but can see how some like to think of it.
Over the last few years, between my second and third, another ‘method’ was introduced. Or perhaps Controlled Crying was just renamed. “Responsive Settling” was introduced by a well renowned sleep school in Melbourne. I had utilised some of the more minor services of this particular facility when my second was a bub, and, to be honest, there seemed little difference between what I was told all those years ago and that which was being touted at the time this new term was introduced.
It seems like it was more a stigma about the term ‘controlled crying’, calling for a name change, than an actual problem with controlled crying.
So blurred, however, have the lines become that I’m not exactly sure that anyone is fully clear on what controlled crying is.
If anyone asked me if I used other methods, more commonly referred to as ‘comfort settling’ and a plethora of others, so many that I have forgotten the terminology of them all but do know they consist of much nicer calmer sounding words (another, awesome marketing idea), then I would honestly, from my own understandings, interpretations and perceptions say “no, I used controlled crying”.
Delving into discussion further and explaining how I did what I did, the method in my madness and all that, and depending on who I am speaking to at the time, some would tutt and shake their head, and yet others would say “um, not, that’s not controlled crying, that’s comfort settling”.
Then I was more confused than before.
Which is why I get so cross with high profile parenting experts not only mixing the terms controlled crying and crying it out, because it just adds more dirt to an already muddy interpretation. Particularly when so much emotive and catastrophic language is included in the mix.
(Causing me even more confusion is my complete and utter understanding that this type of emotive language is essential for increasing sales; so I forgive them a little for using it).
Again, quite the same is true of Comfort Settling – which I use in this instance as a specific term/method, like Controlled Crying is used. The lines are so blurred as to what it actually is; ranging, based on my discussions with others, from putting babies to sleep on the boob, rocking them to sleep, sitting in the same room as them till they settle but walk out before they’re actually asleep, sleeping with them …. argh! So many more interpretations.
Just as some parenting experts confuse terms in relation to controlled crying, so to do others in relation to comfort settling and co-sleeping. They, too, use horrific, emotive terminology to suggest all manner of psychological and emotional damage to the developing brain should you resort to Comfort Settling your child. Or co-sleeping.
Whilst I highly resent those using such language for the mere benefit of selling a book, and, at times, would like to suggest boycotting them, with the exception of fanatical extremists, they’re all correct.
What they all neglect to state – and yet another con of whichever method you like to go with – is that parents have differing values, beliefs and personalities, all of which will impact upon their acceptance and/or tolerance of the various methods. Some like one, other sit better with another. And that’s cool.
Not only that, but … wait for it, this will shock you! …. children also have different personalities and will respond, at least once they hit around the 6 month mark (we’re not necessarily talking newborns here now) to different methods differently, too.
Not all methods suit each parent, nor each child, and that’s okay.
It’s the con of blatantly advising of all the wrong doing you’re inflicting on your poor, defenceless child in order to suck you in to purchasing something that makes me really angry.
Suckered right in to something because someone knows just the right thing to say to mums.
If the method sits well with you, if you feel comfortable and connected to what is being promoted to you, from whichever side, then I say go for it!
If you’re getting your back up, feeling guilty or uncomfortable, then it’s not for you and that is very okay!
Happy mum makes for more of a happy bub than most other things, and if you’re stressed out trying to settle them because the method you’re using is stressing you out, well … I think it’s pretty self explanatory, but on the chance you’re stressed and sleep deprived, it’s not going to make you happy, nor help your bub to settle and sleep … a vicious cycle.
Mostly, watch out for the sleazy sales pitch.