Communicating; not manipulating

How often have you heard those in the sleep training industry tout the idea that parents shouldn’t respond to a baby’s cries, because the baby is just “manipulating” them?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Has a well meaning grandparent told you that your baby has you “wrapped around their little finger”?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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I’m here to tell you that this is all BS. Babies do not have the emotional capability to manipulate. Babies, especially those under 9 months of age, do not have a sense of agency. This means that they do not have an understanding of cause and effect when it comes to their needs, and tears are not a way of them getting what they 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭, it’s a way of them getting what they 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Babies 𝐝𝐨 cry to get you to do what they want. But this is because crying is the only tool they have to communicate their needs, and it is not a manipulative tool. Babies 𝐝𝐨 𝐧𝐨𝐭, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐜𝐚𝐧𝐧𝐨𝐭 fake cry. This is just not a thing, and people (Ahem, sleep training advocates) need to stop telling parents to pause, see if it’s a “real” cry, or worse – ignore their child’s cries – in an attempt to avoid being ‘manipulated’. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Our jobs, as parents, is to be responsive to our children’s needs. As they get older, it is also our job to hold boundaries and loving limits that teach our children about the values of patience and resiliency. But the time to teach these important lessons are NOT when our children are infants. The most important lesson we can teach our babies is that they can rely on us; they can rest in our presence, and they can communicate their needs without fear of separation.

Cayla

Cayla

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