Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Interesting Quote

‎"When we spoil something, we deny it the conditions it requires. The real spoiling of children is not in the indulging of demands or the giving of gifts, but in the ignoring of their genuine needs." ~Dr. Gordon Neufeld

I couldn't agree with this quote more. I saw it one morning on facebook posted by the Attachment Parenting group I belong to. While I may not practice every aspect of attachment parenting, I do agree in their mission and I do follow many things that are considered 'attachment parenting' - I breastfeed my children, co-sleep, wear my babies, we don't spend long periods of time without our children, etc. I go back and forth about homeschooling our girls, but I'm just not quite sure it's for me. We'll see.

When I read the quote above, I think about those who believe you can spoil an infant by holding it too much or giving in to "its demands"...Hmmmm...I really don't think infants, especially those who are less than than 6 months of age are able to give demands. Those demands are simply their genuine needs. Babies are meant to be held and kept close. What did people do with their babies way before all these "parenting gurus" had something to say? They breastfed, held, loved and slept with their babies. I think back to our girls when they were young, and they cried. I couldn't ignore those cries. I couldn't just let them cry, especially if all they wanted was something as simple as me or Kevin picking them up, holding them close or wanting something so innocent. Even with two young children, having a small infant on top of that was a challenge at times, and the only way to handle a crying infant who wants her mommy or daddy was to wear her. I could have both of my hands to care for the older girls all while holding Clara close. Everyone was happy this way. We could still read, bake cookies, go on walks or do whatever. It makes parenting children who are close in age a lot easier and less stressful. I don't know about you, but a crying infant stresses me out. I can't handle it, especially knowing that they just want something so simple. 

Last spring, when Clara stopped sleeping well, people would tell me the only thing I could do was to let her cry it out. At 6 months of age, I couldn't do it. I just couldn't walk away and let her scream by herself. I know some people can do that, and some babies are receptive to that type of parenting, but for me, it is just impossible. It isn't until my children are closer to one where I can let them cry a bit, and even then, it's just for a very, very short period of time. I want them to trust us, I want them to learn that we will come when they need us. If our children need to sleep in our bed to feel secure, they can sleep in our bed. Right now, we use a cot in our room for the older girls when they need to feel close to us. It works for us.

At 14 months, Clara is an amazing sleeper. She goes to sleep in her crib awake, with a smile, and sleeps for a solid 12 hours straight, and wakes up with a smile on her face. I still nurse Clara before bed, and even to sleep if that is what she wants, I do the same for naps, too. Nursing them to sleep does not spoil them, it teaches them comfort. Mairead and Lilah are the same, they are great sleepers, and I am glad that they have learned to go to sleep without crying. I don't know about you, but I hate to cry, and when I do, I always feel like crap afterwards - headache, puffy eyes, and just generally feeling icky. 

So, for me, responding to my children when they need something is not spoiling them, I am just providing for them by meeting their current needs. By holding children and responding to their needs, you are teaching them to love and trust, and for me, this is the ultimate way to parent children. 


  1. Oh, I so agree! And it frusrated the life out of me when people would tell me to just let the boys cry. I'm sorry....I thought I was their mom. While I appreciated my mother in law offering to watch the boys when they were quite young, I always knew she was going to let them cry it out and it pissed me off - she'd try to calm me by telling me that her kids turned out just fine so there was obviously nothing wrong with doing it. Eventually it got to a point where I couldn't relax on our dates and I had to have John talk to her about how important it was to our parenting that she not practice CIO with our children. You're right, some kids respond to it quite well, but my kids (especially Aiden) didn't. I knew I was doing the right thing for my children, but it was frustrating to have people basically telling me I was wrong for responding to my child.

  2. I totally agree.... I could never let the girls cry it out. They were in bed with us and still get into bed with us frequently. I know they won't do it forever and I don't mind, they are only little once.

  3. I don't expect a lot out of my kids, especially the babies. I don't expect them to sleep through the night every single night. I don' can I expect them to? If kids need the comfort of their parents, then, I give it to them. Like you said, Heather, they're only little once. Soon, will be the days where I am longing for the kids to wake up in the night and need us....


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