Monday, May 18, 2015

If Parents Use Common Sense....


Fans of Babywise don't like it when opponents say that Ezzo's "Infant Management System" is BAD for babies. Proponents claim that if you use common sense, everything will be fine.

The problem is that the book is usually recommended to, and read by, new parents. First-time parents are usually unsure of themselves and seek wisdom from those with more experience and common sense in parenting.

On Becoming Babywise promises them that if they follow the recommendations in  the book, they will be more confident, in their parenting, assured they are raising, a happier, healthiersmarter baby who SLEEPS! All night! It assures you that you will have such well-adjusted, secure, delightful children that people will notice and comment on on it!

But it doesn't promise, or even recommend common sense.
 Why?
Because common sense would tell most people, parents or not, that a little baby left to cry for ALMOST FIVE HOURS is PROBABLY NOT GOOD!!

Not so, for the Babywiser. The Babywising parent is told that this is perfectly normal and to be expected.
They're told that responding to a crying baby is bad parenting! 
The word "dangerous" is even used to ensure parents continue to ignore the crying baby!

What does Babywise advise for parents like the mom above?
Read the following experpt from Babywise '98 version, Chapter 12 "Principles for Starting Late," page 210
Review chapter 8, "When Your Baby Cries," and be prepared for some crying. You are moving from a high-comfort style of sleep manipulation to basic training in sleep skills. Initially your baby will not like this change, but it is necessary. In moments of parental stress, be comforted in knowing your baby won't feel abandoned because you have decided that the best thing for him is learning how to fall asleep on his own." 

Don't feel the necessity to check on your baby every five minutes while he or she is crying. If you go into your baby's room, try to do so without being seen. If necessary, move the crib so you can see the baby but the baby can't see you. If you feel you must soothe the child, go in briefly and pat him or her on the back. With a soft voice, say, "It's all right," then quietly leave. As a result, your baby will do one of two things; be comforted and fall asleep or roar even louder.
If your baby chooses the latter, don't be discouraged! The crying only means he or she has not developed the ability to settle himself or herself. That goal is precisely what you are working toward.

Be patient and consistent. For some parents, success comes after one night; for others, it comes after two weeks. The norm, however, is three to five days. [Emphasis added]

So here we see a situation that would normally be extremely upsetting for those with common sense, but Mr. Ezzo frames it as a good thing. Notice his careful choice of words used to twist reality:

  • Helping your baby fall asleep is labelled "sleep manipulation"
  • Baby's distress is portrayed as a positive thing: "Crying proves that his ability to settle himself is developing!" 
  • He claims that your baby won't feel abandoned. This is a ridiculous statement. How could a baby NOT feel abandoned when he cries and nobody comes? He tells you - twice -to make sure the baby can't even see you. But what is even more bizarre is the reason he claims your baby won't feel abandoned: "because you have decided that the best thing for him is learning how to fall asleep." How does the parent's decision nullify the baby's feelings?
  • The only comfort offered is to the distressed parent: "If you feel you must soothe the child..." but the "soothing" is only a brief pat on the back and quick exit... not something most of us would find particularly soothing if we've been abandoned during a stressful time, crying for hours.


The book infers that the goal you are trying to achieve is working! Three to five days of this persistent crying and you have attained the goal! And if it takes over two weeks of sleepless nights while you try to NOT hear the crying,why that's perfectly normal too, in Ezzo's view.

He then praises the parents who ignore their crying babies - those who "work at helping their child gain this fundamental skill":(1)
Parents who love their babies give them what they need; young children need a good night's sleep. (2)
Moms who have made the transition from sleepless nights to peaceful sleep report that their children not only gain the advantage of continuous nighttime sleep, but their daytime disposition also changes. They appear happier, more content, and definitely more manageable.
Note:
(1) Sleeping is not a "fundamental skill" to be taught. All mammals will sleep when they are tired; they don't need to be trained to do so. Ezzo's training will teach them not to cry, because they soon learn crying is ineffective. Sleep will come, of course, but not because the child has learned a "skill," but because the baby is resigned to sleep from exhaustion, boredom or despair.

(2) Parents with common sense who love their babies give them what they need. Young children need  the security they get from having parents with the compassion, empathy, and patience it takes to care for them, day AND NIGHT, in those early years to establish life-long relationships.