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May 17, 2010

Tip of the Day: Fear of the Unknown

Image: Flickr/John Spade

Image: Flickr/John Spade

I was talking to a woman the other day who had huge bags under her eyes. She was pale and worn thin from a lack of sleep. Her seven month old baby took an hour to be put to sleep, and then he was waking 3-4 times a night. He would only nap if she held him, and even then, only for 20-30 minutes. He cried every time she tried to get him to sleep.  

Both mother and child were miserable from this pattern, yet the mother wasn’t sure that she was ready to teach her child to go to sleep on his own. Her reason? “I just don’t know how he’ll react.” Ummm…He’ll probably cry at first, but how is that any worse than what she’s going through now?  

If you’re in a pattern with your child that you don’t like, make a decision to stop complaining and do something about it. Do some hard thinking about what your child really needs in the situation, then jump right in. You won’t always do things perfectly, but that’s ok. Kids are resilient. What isn’t good for them is a long suffering parent too afraid to take chances with something new.

4 thoughts on “Tip of the Day: Fear of the Unknown

  1. Just found this blog, because I loved Scream-Free Parenting. Thanks for maintaining sensitivity about the wide range of approaches to sleep. We chose not to sleep train our children and neither of them has any issues with sleep, now, at preschool age. They sleep full nights and are well-rested children. I agree that each family has to determine what works for them, and we were happy with the approach we chose.

  2. That is quite a span Nikki! More power to you.

    I know that there’s a lot of controversy surrounding sleep issues with babies, so I want to be sensitive here. I also want to be careful not to tell someone what they should have done – that usually isn’t helpful.

    But with that stated, I agree with you. Some version of that is what we did with our two and they have been wonderful sleepers ever since without a shred of attachment issues or confidence problems.

    Anyone who finds themselves in this situation, remember – this too shall pass.

  3. I am a 43 year old mother of 5. My oldest is almost 22 and my youngest is now only 6 months old. You should have taught this child to fall asleep on his own from the beginning…But it can be fixed. There are many ways to do this. Start by putting your child down when he/she is still awake but sleepy. They might cry….after about 5 minutes of crying..go….touch..but do NOT pick up….after a few times will get easier. You are not hurting this child….you are teaching him something that NEEDS to be learned.

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