Your Baby Is Not Trying To Manipulate You

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A crying baby is ridiculously annoying, but contrary to what you have been told, your baby is not out to destroy you. You may do everything in your power to get your crying baby to stop, but the sad truth is that most of the time, it’s not going to work. Just because your baby is crying to get your attention doesn’t mean that it is trying to manipulate you.

Some parents have a different opinion:

Hi, I have a 6.5 months old son and I have an argument with some relatives and families about how to be tough with my son. They said that babies can use cry to manipulate you. My child health nurse said that you can’t use control crying technique to babies under 6 months old. Well sometimes he cries because he was frustrated, he can’t sit up prooperly yet. My husband then wanted me not to pick him up frequently, he wanted him to play himself, in his cot or rug, etc. He mainly cried when he was overtired and around late afternoon during his nap (witching hour) which I usually just gave him a rub or pat on his back or bottom and if it didn’t work so I picked him up for about 5 – 10 minutes in case he got wind pain and put him back to sleep (works 95%). After a phone call from last night from his brother who said that we had to be tough with him, my husband changed his attitude and wanted to apply control crying.

Well she layed her 5 month old on my living room floor and said she was gonna go smoke a cig. I offered to keep an eye on her baby. Well of course she started to cry and scream so I picked her up and put h er pacifier in her mouth. Then my “friend” comes in and is like ” I am gonna change her diaper” So my friend proceeds to change this crying babies diaper and then smacks her baby on the butt… HARD, i mean I heard a skin to skin SLAP……I was like ” whatd you do that for?” She said ” She needs to learn, not to cry all the time” Of course the baby is SCREAMING by this point and my friend is just flinging the babies legs around and getting frustrated with the baby.

I have to say that I am a little disturbed by what I read. Family members encouraging parents to be “tough” with their baby have no idea what they are talking about. I’m not in these situations, and I’m sure that many parents have the best intentions. I also have to qualify by saying that I am a big supporter of controlled crying for five minutes or so to help a baby learn how to self-soothe. But I definitely don’t consider this to be discipline. I’m also not a proponent of the belief that you need to be tough with a baby so that you don’t spoil them.

I’m not an attachment parent per se, but even I know that a baby is a baby. A baby is simply looking for food, comfort, or even attention. It’s hardly a novel concept. I didn’t love it when my babies screamed their heads off, but I normally dealt with it in one of two ways.

First, I would give them what they needed to see if that did the trick. Bottle in mouth? Check. Quiet baby? I’m such a pro. In other situations, like bedtime, I let my babies cry for a few minutes so that they could self-soothe. I really believe that this helped my children to feel comfortable in their cribs, and it worked for our family.

Disciplining a baby for doing what it is hardwired to do is borderline cruel. I hope the parents in the example above don’t listen to their “well-meaning” relatives. Your baby isn’t out to get you.

(Image: jurasy/Shutterstock)