My kids were rather radically different one from another and learning to parent each individual has certainly had it challenges. It is a particular challenge for those of us whose vocations include parenting to find advice that works for our families.
I heartily recommend the book by T. Berry Brazelton titled, INFANTS AND MOTHERS. His book Toddlers and Parents is another excellent book. The best part about his books is that he recognizes that not all children are the same and not all children need the same things from their parents.
Sadly the paperback version is out of print but it is available for the Kindle at the link I gave.
In this book the author posits that infants come already somewhat programmed for personality and that this should be adapted to by the parents. His advice is practical. I have used it on three children so far and it has been GOOD for us!
A case in point: my son fit the profile in Brazelton’s book for a child who could only unwind by crying and he would save it up all day long and at the end of the day he NEEDED to be allowed to cry it out.
If I insisted on holding and comforting him the result was that HE COULD NOT SLEEP. He would not nurse. He would fuss and cry and fuss and cry all night and everyone would be miserable.
But when I took Brazelton’s advice and sat on my hands, did deep breathing to control my anxiety and LET HIM CRY– the result was 30 minutes of torture for me, followed by an infant who contentedly slept for 6 hours, ate a hearty meal, burped well, and slept another 6 hours waking happy and eager to interact.
SECOND example: The Little Tiger is not the same!! This child needs mommy and daddy to settle down in one place. This child needs to be snuggled, played with, focused on, and otherwise given loving attention by BOTH parents in the evening. IF we do this, this child goes to sleep happy and sleeps well.
If we don’t spend 30 minutes to an hour as a family unit snuggling and interacting, this child will fuss and fight sleep and be totally miserable.
VERY different!! My children are all different but I think my two examples show how totally different siblings can be.
Which is why I do not agree with those who insist ALL children need the same physical contact all the time. The attachment parenting works fabulously well for some children but NOT ALL.
So when someone tells you that you MUST let the child cry, or that you MUST NEVER let the child cry it out, crying and fussing loudly, THEY ARE WRONG. There isn’t a blanket right way for every infant. Individuals from conception, a parent’s challenge is to figure out who they have in their arms and what that person needs from them.
Lets finish with a wonderful children’s song. I like this song for so many reasons. First, it is easy for children to learn. It helps children internalize that Jesus loves them. It helps them internalize that this love is for persons of ALL races. It is also good as a metaphor for all the different personalities we meet. A happy little tune: enjoy!
Saint of the Day: St. Andre Bessette.
And one last Epiphany article.