The Washington Post recently featured an article titled "Parents, stop 'training' your children." The piece is centered around a set of parents looking for guidance given the difficulty of their two-year-old sleeping in her own bed. The article initially looks at the topic of staying in bed at night, but shifts to a deeper issue of making our children feel safe and the anxiety this child is exhibiting with regards to separation from her parents. Regardless of your stance on the advice, the article presents some thought-provoking points on how best to support this particular family.
While the article highlights a family at an extreme point in their sleep journey, the factors that led to this juncture are familiar to many parents. In my mind, this is why the piece highlights an equally important issue, which is how quickly we judge one another's parenting choices. Some of the comments posted in response to the feature are critical, unkind, and even derogatory towards other commenters. It is difficult to understand why we are quick to judge and why it is so difficult to have a healthy discourse about parenting choices. Society labels or categorizes parents against one another (for example, the breastfeeding parent or the working parent) instead of remaining focused on the larger fact that we are all parents.
There is not a 'one size fits all approach' to parenting and, while there are guidelines, what works for one family might not be the same for another. We can learn a lot from considering the situation of another or by reading about how other parents cope with similar issues, but in the end our choices are dependent on circumstances (such a the temperament of a child) that are not easily transferred from situation to situation.
Regardless of whether you choose to co-sleep or let your child cry it out we need to recognize all children will navigate separation in their own way. As we consider this larger parenting challenge, there are a few strategies we have utilized in our house along the way.
StrongTots was created for parents as a positive network to collaborate and share strategies for navigating toddlerhood and the preschool years. I hope every parent will find support in whatever parenting challenges they encounter and that we can encourage one another through each and every adventure along the way.
ABOUT CHRISSY K
I am mom to three boys (one with several life-threatening food allergies) who will never own too many picture books or create Pinterest-worthy snacks. Simply Chrissy K is a place to find helpful tips on parenting that stem from my work with families as an educational consultant and parenting coach.
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