There are no medals given out to the parent who has suffered or endured horrible sleepless nights to deal with their child's night waking- or perhaps to avoid dealing with it.
Are you one of the parents who is caught in a vicious cycle of not wanting your child to fuss or cry when they go to bed or in the middle of the night? Resulting in you helping your child by continually going to them and assisting, but you find yourself raging in the night at your child, or you are so tired and exhausted in the day that your frustration tolerance and the ability to be the kind of parent you want to be is totally compromised because you are so exhausted?
If this sounds like you, is the fear of your child's crying or dealing with sleep really to the benefit of the child, you or your family? Probably not, perhaps you need to evaluate your decision and reconsider how you got to this spot in the first place. Addressing sleep issues is often the very first parenting issue parents faced, quickly followed by potty training, leaving your child at daycare or school and so on.
Many parents unconsciously create a competition for themselves on who can be the best parent by enduring sleep deprivation to avoid dealing with their child's sleep issue or really their child not getting what they want resulting in crying. People often misunderstand child's need. Children know what they want but they do not know if it is good for them or the rest of the family. A life lesson is that it is not traumatic not getting what we want and the reality is children have to start learning this at a young age. A tough parenting dilemma is learning to evaluate what does your child need vs. what is good for them and also what is good for the whole family or the adult. There is a lot of mixed and often ill-informed information labeled as "attachment" parenting that confuses these issues. As a result this personal parenting competition is often borne out of very misguided and inaccurate information about how sleep works, ineffective sleep training methods and a lot of junk -science talk about attachment that has no roots in the clinical understanding of attachment.
As a mental health worker with my Master of Science Degree and specialized training in child development, trauma and attachment, I encounter many parents who have been white knuckling it through their parenting experience of their child's first 0 to 2 years because they are paralyzed by how to effectively deal with their child's sleep issue. Many parents get junk science on attachment that are misguided at beset and harmful at their worse. Other parents make decisions on how to parent prior to knowing what kind of child they will have. They are desperate to stick to their original parenting decision, even though it is not working or is not realistic based on their own abilities or that of their child’s needs/temperament.
A sleep deprived parent’s own decision making capabilities gets reduced and impaired and this is what makes it harder for people to look at the situation with some distance and perspective. The research on the negative effects of sleep deprivation are astounding. Being sleep deprived has the same effect as being drunk. A sleep deprived mother is at greater risk for postnatal depression and anxiety when they are not able to get the 6 consolidated hours of sleep at a minimum. Postnatal depression/anxiety are clinically known to be harmful to the mother child bond and do affect child development and attachment, much more than any correctly implemented sleep solution that lasts 20 minutes. So again, is really avoiding dealing with your child’s sleep in the child’s or mother’s best interest? Probably not.
People's fear and misunderstanding keep them trapped in an endless cycle of poor sleep, lowered frustration, anger and rage at their child or the partner. This results in parents feeling guilty and then to address the guilt the parents can often become over indulgent and this cycle keeps going.
Parents who feel they have no choices or will be bad parents if they let their child cry are chronically exhausted from sleep deprivation are more likely to physically shake or harm their babies out sheer exhaustion and frustration. Most of the information they are basing their decision on is misguided, not clinical and found by “someone who said” or some free website. Again, because so many people are implementing INCORRECTLY sleep correction programs when they are tired contribute to the horror stories. But when I meet with parents I find that the sleep training methods are fine, it is the incorrect implementations ie parenting error that makes it bad.
With the access of easy information, people are not paying as much attention to quality of information. Bad information about sleep, attachment and trauma from non-clinical places risks people making mis-informed parenting choices. Any good clinical research or information will not be given away for free on the internet. Research is expensive and small 5 page articles cost between $35-$55US. So if you are reading free information you want to be highly skeptical, not believe just because it confirms your own belief or preferred parenting choice.
Parents who are really struggling from parenting issues or sleep issues that have no medical basis should consider seeking guidance from a trained Master Degree level mental health counsellor. Professionals are trained in child development and have access to latest clinical practices clinical research that most lay people do not. Free information on the internet is not necessarily quality information.
Seeing a mental health professional instead of your pediatrician is also preferred for behavioral problems because that is the area of expertise for mental health workers. Pediatricians are medical doctors trained in the body, not behavior. Seeking out our pediatrician for a behavior issues may result in them giving you their personal opinion instead of a clinical one. Mental health professionals spend 50 minutes each session assessing and educating you on you and our child’s issues instead of 10-15 minutes. Behavioral issues require a different approach than what a medical doctor can give. Mental health professionals receive training in child development and behavior and ours has training in attachment and trauma. Getting help from a mental professional can make short work of behavioral problems
If you are struggling with your child's sleep and letting the fear of crying put you off but yet you are struggling with issues own sleep deprivation, your child's sleep deprivation and marital issues, these are more harmful than any properly implemented sleep program.
Contact us at 90307239 to learn how we can help you with sleep issues, or any other relationship issues such as parent-child or husband-wife.