Parenting Done Right: Self Soothing
We were somewhere around Barstow....
Parenting is a crazy ride. Don't ever let anyone tell you anything different. There are a lot of advice columns out there, many of them with lots of data to back up what they are saying, or studies that prove them right. But here is the problem with all of that: Your kid is probably one of the ones that didn't fit into the study.
See truth is that more than 50% of families today are considered "dysfunctional" so that means that scientific studies are complete bunk on parenting in this day and age. I was reading through some parental advice columns and books when my kid was still baking in my wife's belly, and realized that really the only people I ever saw published where from the new age parenting group we invented over the past few years, the ones who wear clothes made of silk that is made when you feed a caterpillar too much regret and shame. That's why I decided to write advice that doesn't teach your kid to grow up getting a trophy just cause they showed up.
What is your job as a parent?
So psychologist say that in a child's formative years that the decisions you make will determine things about the child for the rest of their life. We get bombarded with guilt trips on how kids are growing up in a soulless parentless environment, and there is no love. How a lack of touch makes kids feel antisocial and shun social interaction. There may be some truth in all of this, but lets get real for a second. Is your job as a parent to shield them from the world, and how it's going to criticize them if they are not perfect? Or prepare them for it, and give them the strength to not just survive...but thrive?
Your not dealing with a fully developed psyche yet. Children at a toddler age don't sit in their crib and wonder about the social implications of them chewing on their crib or on their binky! So let's sit down and talk about what to do when your kid starts screaming. What you do will have large impacts on how you live the rest of your life, trust me on this.
There is a time and place for everything.
Okay lets talk about some ground rules here.
I am not talking about when your child is alone and you hear a loud crash and then screaming. I am not talking about your kid is playing in a room with something electrical, you see the power flicker and turn on and off, then the child starts screaming. These are most definitely times to run into the rooms screaming "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!!" You may use more or less colorful language when you are emotionally charged, I don't care I am not here to judge, I am here to help. I am also not talking about if your child is sick. You handle being sick however you want, keep some of this in mind, but throw a lot of the tough love parts out.
This is what I am talking about. You have an infant/toddler and you just fed them, burped them, changed one of those "dear God, I have smelt worse things walking up to a bloated pig on the side of the road" diapers, and you are putting your bundle of joy/despair (matter of perspective: not judging) to take a nap, or sleep for the night.
15 minutes later it starts. They start crying, you can always tell when it's bullshit. I mean, as they get older the whimpers turn to words, but its all the same. It starts with those few mumbles that pierce through the silence that you were oh so enjoying. Like scouts surveying a site before an ambush. Then they starts with a few wails, and then they release the big guns, and they light up the night with the sounds of bloody murder.
What do you do? There are multiple schools of thought, and don't get wrong, they all have valid points. The first time I think there is a valid point in making sure that your child is okay. Let's not stand on ceremony here, there is not a rule that has to be followed every single time. But there is something that you need to make sure that your kid learns for a very important reason. They have to learn that every time they scream, they are not getting what they want.
There won't always be someone coming to make everything better.
When your kid starts screaming their little head off, its cause they want something, if their belly is full and their diaper is dry, and they are not sick, they want to be comforted. You're not always going to be there, sometimes, when your kid grows up and is an adult, they may actually be completely alone.
You might be dead, or 1,000 miles away. They might have had a fight with their spouse, or lost their job or both, and things will be dark. In their formative years, what did they learn to do when they are alone and no one is coming to help? Did they ever have to deal with it? If you left them alone, they learn at a young age, that things move on. It continues to roll along regardless of how bad you scream. Eventually they learn to only scream when something is actually wrong.
Read the boy who cried wolf to yourself before you read it to them, and teach them that lesson well before they actually are able to comprehend the words you are saying. It works. My child slept through the entire night since she was 2 months old. Some of that is luck, admittedly, the rest is this lesson in application.
Ignore what your feeling, trust what you know
You're going to feel bad, trust me, I know. Let's get something straight right off the bat here with all these lessons I am writing. There is the easy way, and the right way, and they rarely are the same way. If you can't leave your kid crying in their room when you know nothing is wrong, it's a slippery slope to not being able to leave them in jail if they break they law.
You know you think about these kind of things when you hear about parents who are constantly bailing their kids out of jail. It doesn't get easier. You have to learn to steel yourself now, these formative years are not just for them. They are going to eventually learn words, learn how inflection works, tear into your soul and make you feel horrible with hateful words. You are going to have to be tougher then them. I'm sure you figured out already that the world is a brutal unforgiving place, you need to prepare your kids for that, in a loving way, always with love.
You need to be an Iron fist, in a velvet glove.
Do you agree?
How many times do you check on your child when they start screaming before you let them just have at it?
Here is something to think about as well...
How does your toddler get exercise? How do they control themselves? They are learning how to control their bodies, and they get stir crazy just like you. They can't get up and walk around yet though, cause they really don't know they have legs yet, well infants.....some toddlers....some adults (Hey not everyone is a winner, this is just a hard truth,)
Your young bundle of joy (subjective) is getting exercise in one of the only ways they can by screaming. It's one of the only functions they have control over. You think I'm lying? Just start screaming. Go ahead I'll wait...
Gets tiring after a while don't it.
Go take a nap, we'll talk again about hard facts to deal with raising kids again soon.