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Support...and condoning things you really cannot support

(100 Posts)
SophiePen Mon 17-Aug-15 20:57:01

I know this is controversial. It's about 'sleep training' as it's known. My personal position on it isn't totally relevant though I'll state now that I don't believe in anything that overrides the comforting instinct in a parent, or makes a child cry in the cause of totally undisturbed nights.

There are other forms I find far less concerning - no cry sleep solution, that sort of thing.

That's my views out of the way. The issue I am having is this. MN is a site intended to provide support to parents, but where do we draw the line?

It is different, of course, but not so long ago it was considered fine to smack a child in the cause of 'good behaviour' - now it is very much more frowned upon in a social sense and also illegal to some degree, depending on how hard you want to hit them.

I don't feel that being supportive of a parent who wishes to smack their child as some sort of plan to make them behave, would be in the interests of the child or the parent concerned.

I also feel this way about people leaving children to cry, or not lifting them up when they cry, and it makes me very uncomfortable indeed to see threads about CC and even occasionally CIO where people are offering support for this sort of system.

I am NOT someone who posts about child abuse on these threads. I try and stay polite, supportive in any way I can (though not saying I think it is right) and often just hide and try and forget I read it.

It's very painful to read that sort of thing, to me - I remember crying in the night for hours, many many times and no one coming.

I hope one day that our society will move on from not listening to infants when they cry and realise that it is good for them and for us to not ignore feelings in this way, however for the time being, is there any sort of sense of right or wrong in this area, on the part of MNHQ - shouldn't we be encouraging people to respond to their babies, not to do something that makes them cry, and so on?

A lot of people seem to think they have to sleep train, that they are failing in their parenting if they don't. Sometimes they are relieved to be told that they don't have to ignore their instincts and it's alright to pick up the baby and won't 'make a rod for their back'.

What I'm trying to say is that I don't know if there is a place for support with these methods on here. I honestly feel so sick when I read another thread about a chil crying for hours and people saying 'well done' to the person fighting every mothering bone in their body not to pick them up.

To me, it's like people saying 'yay! You need to teach them not to behave like that - it's for their own good, they will forget about it by tomorrow' when a poster is documenting their physical chastisement of a small child.

That would not happen on here. I guess people see it differently, but to me, the pain in reading about it feels very very similar indeed. And I know I'm not the only one.

I hope this doesn't piss people off too much. I know how awful it is not to sleep but I feel that the adult is the one who needs to adapt, not the infant, and you're more likely to get a result that way too.

Thanks if anyone got this far.

SophiePen Mon 17-Aug-15 20:59:01

I mean in terms of support - I would willingly go round and HOLD someone's baby, wake in the night for them rather than see them do CC. I will talk about co sleeping, other things you can do, how to manage all that till the cows come home. I'll even send people chocolate smile if they want to help them stay awake...anything really.

Supporting CC as a method? I can't do that.

Sparklingbrook Mon 17-Aug-15 21:01:04

Can you put into a nutshell the response you are hoping for from MNHQ?

SophiePen Mon 17-Aug-15 21:04:40

I suppose, Sparkling, that I want it acknowledged that some of us find it extremely painful to read threads supporting those who want to leave children to cry, sometimes for hours at a time, not picking them up, though they want to, and being encouraged to continue.

I don't want to see these parents punished or reprimanded but I would very much like a change in the culture on here to reflect the fact that for some of us, these methods do not sit right at all, and also encouraging the more gentle methods of trying to get your baby to sleep.

I don't know how this can be achieved. It is perhaps an extremely slow process and may not happen at all.

I just could not keep quiet about it any longer I suppose.

Whiskwarrior Mon 17-Aug-15 21:09:47

Are you asking HQ to remove threads and posts referring to CC?

If it's not that, what is it you're asking for?

Whiskwarrior Mon 17-Aug-15 21:10:22

You could hide the threads?

Sparklingbrook Mon 17-Aug-15 21:10:41

I don't know how this can be achieved

Me neither. I have many topics hidden and wouldn't click on a thread about CC (Mother of teens so not my area).
There are many, many things on MN I don't agree with or want to read about so I just hide the threads as I go.

Obviously CC threads may be a huge problem to a lot of Mumsnetters though and I wouldn't know about that.

hobnobsaremyfave Mon 17-Aug-15 21:10:53

Erm don't read those threads
Dear God can't people accept that the whole world does not revolve around them.

Hypotenuse Mon 17-Aug-15 21:12:14

I know how you feel but I don't know that you can ask MNHQ to fight this fight. By being the voice on these threads that says 'it's ok to hold your baby at nighttime, parenting is 24 hours, trust your instincts and cuddle baby when you feel that pull to comfort your child'... You are being part of the slow process of the solution to getting CC CIO out of mainstream parenting.

SophiePen Mon 17-Aug-15 21:13:02

No, not at all.

I think, I am just comparing it in my mind to how something like smacking might be dealt with - people recommend other things, they go into great depth about how people can deal with their children's behaviour without resorting to corporal punishment.

That is what I want to be able to do, without being told off by others for being 'unsupportive' of CC or CIO. At the moment often people wanting to suggest alternatives are shouted down and told to bugger off if they don't want to help.

I understand that it is controversial whether these methods do any damage to a child. Much as it used to be with smacking, I think. But the very strong instinct that many of us appear to feel when reading about it is something I think that ought to be listened to, in turn.

SophiePen Mon 17-Aug-15 21:15:36

Sorry, that was to Whisk. Thank you for not jumping down my throat. I honestly mean no offence. I feel very sorry for parents doing CC. It sounds very difficult indeed and I often wish they could or would consider an alternative but saying so seems to be unwelcome sometimes.

GenevaMaybe Mon 17-Aug-15 21:15:58

I think you are being totally ridiculous. You know some of those parents are at the end of their tether. The babies are at the end of their tether. Everybody is really fucking exhausted in their houses.

So they are trying to instil good sleeping habits and they need support. That is all. It is not child abuse and it is not the same as being abandoned or ignored for hours.

Stop projecting your own issues and hide the threads and topics that are triggering for you.

Whiskwarrior Mon 17-Aug-15 21:16:53

That comes across a little like 'our feelings are more important than theirs', tbh, Sophie.

I think you just need to hide the threads.

dickiedavisthunderthighs Mon 17-Aug-15 21:17:01

Sophie, I am so so sorry you went through that as a child. At the same time I don't think you can draw parallels between the CC method with a baby who has no long term recall, and what you went through which sounds like neglect.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Mon 17-Aug-15 21:17:26

Why does a change in culture need to be achieved though? And why should it be a change to your particular parenting style?

People parent differently for a variety of different reasons. Mumsnet IMO is here to support all of them, mostly it does it very well. If want to post on those threads and give struggling patents an alternative option, then I'm sure you will be welcome. But really it is up to you to make sure you are not giving more than you can afford to give emotionally. If the threads are upsetting you, then the only thing you can do is hide them.

SophiePen Mon 17-Aug-15 21:18:40

I don't think MNHQ can do this single handedly either btw.

I think they may be able to assist in some ways. I don't expect them to leave the posts that say 'this is child abuse - you should be ashamed' because even on a smacking thread, those posts would be unlikely to achieve much.

I do want to be allowed to offer alternative ideas without being jumped on. I do want the general trend to be towards following our instincts - aby led sleeping, if you like smile

and ways to help people manage when they feel at the end of their tether, that don't involve a knee jerk, 'let them cry' solution. iyswim

dickiedavisthunderthighs Mon 17-Aug-15 21:19:13

Meant to add; often CC is a last resort for parents who have tried everything else. Very few parents can bear hearing their child cry but if it's the choice between that and sanity I know what I'd choose.

hobnobsaremyfave Mon 17-Aug-15 21:21:44

Controlled crying is not illegal and as such you have no more right to ban threads about it than any other method of parenting
Personally I would find cosleeping akin to hell on earth and actually think it is positively dangerous in some circumstances.
I wouldn't dream of demanding that every tread that recommend it be banned.

SophiePen Mon 17-Aug-15 21:24:56

Would you say these things about a parent using smacking as discipline? That they are at the end of their tether and need to do it for everyone's sake?

For a start, often CC doesn't even work, or work permanently. Much like smacking is now acknowledged widely not to achieve anything.

I do care how these parents feel, very much so. I have been there, I am still there! I think attitude can alter an experience one way or another, a great deal, and expectation and so on - society seems to have an expectation of babies being able to sleep through earlier and earlier and thanks to the proliferation of sleep training books, it's filtered through the idea that something is wrong if you're not actively trying to achieve a fully nocturnally sleeping baby before they are a year old, or sometimes earlier.

I would wish to counter this assertion and encourage parents to stop thinking their child is broken, or that their instincts to pick up a baby are somehow wrong and encouraging bad habits.

It can be very hard to do that on here. Their situation is paramount; not my feelings about it - that is why I continue to post on threads about this when I possibly can bear to do so.

I feel it is important in many ways, to try and help them solve the problem with as little stress and pain to them and their baby as possible.

I am sure most people's goal is the same but something or someone needs to counter the culture of 'sleep-training-as-ideal' which is so prolific now.

dickiedavisthunderthighs Mon 17-Aug-15 21:25:09

Sophie, do you have children yet?

SophiePen Mon 17-Aug-15 21:25:51

I do not want threads about CC banned. What would that achieve? The people doing it need help, of whatever kind.

GGabcd Mon 17-Aug-15 21:25:59

So you want Mumsnet to what? Ban anyone who jumps on you for offering an alternative?

Is this suddenly SophiePen net?

What makes you such an expert?

SophiePen Mon 17-Aug-15 21:26:44

Yes, Dickie. Several smile

SophiePen Mon 17-Aug-15 21:27:27

I'm not an expert.

hobnobsaremyfave Mon 17-Aug-15 21:28:28

These people need help

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