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Leaving your 3-4 year old crying at preschool - Isn't it the same as Crying It Out? - Page 5

post #81 of 95
Meemee, is that intense attachment strategy effective at preventing all crying? Or does it run aground on colic and teething, when there's crying anyway? Is there an endpoint to it when primary caregivers in India think crying is okay?

(India is not one culture, and complaints about in-laws on parenting boards are not a complete cultural picture. I believe that the in-laws do this for cultural reasons, but not that it indicates a total cultural rejection of crying. )
post #82 of 95
I imagine that Lauren and I probably parent (or in my case, "parentED" because most of my active parenting is in the past) in very similar ways, and I agree with most of the things she said about balancing needs, the need for the parent to be the decision-maker, how a child benefits by learning to work with other people's needs, how parents are allowed to have needs met also and it benefits their children, etc. But I'd like to stress again that for at least the first 21 years or so of parenting, the needs of the child come first, most of the time and in most situations. That doesn't preclude making decisions that appear to the child or the outside world to put the mom or the dad first--the parents have a perspective that the child or nosy bystanders may not have. I 'm sure that, like all of us who love our children, Lauren has made many sacrifices for her children, so I'm not preaching to her. I just feel like so many of us in our culture are afraid to make sacrifices for our children, to put them first, etc, often because our own parents didn't put US first or hear US when we needed that. (I speak in generalities here, I was lucky to have very giving and accepting parents.) We as a society in general don't put the needs of the small and powerless in a place of priority, and we don't in general feel a responsibility to the group--we're so attached to our egos and our "needs" and don't realize that often we don't actually need what we think we need; it's always "me first". Freedom and autonomy are good things, but so are compassion and working harmoniously within a group. We also have the false idea that our children can be trained to be unselfish by having to put others' needs ahead of their own, but in truth the way to help children grow towards unselfishness over time is to listen to them and meet their needs. These attitudes are not true for most of us in this forum, but I still feel I need to get on my soapbox.

On the issue of crying in different cultures--in my travels in Africa, India, Japan, and visiting Lakota reservations in the US--yes, there were children who cried, but it wasn't seen as normal. It was seen as signalling some problem that the parents needed to deal with. There are children everywhere with colic, and in most places parents try to figure out how to help. But, not meaning to blame the moms whose children have colic (two out of four of my children had mild colic, and a dear young friend of mine recently went through the trauma of having a baby with severe colic), it's interesting to wonder why it's so much prevalent in the US, Europe, and Australia/NZ than it is elsewhere.
post #83 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornflower Blue View Post

I'm not wanting to make already-conscientious parents worry more about their children,  or to imply that we should always do anything it takes to help our children stop crying, but I do feel that nearly all crying (at least for some sensitive children) feels the same  inside the child and has the same effect of causing acute pain, raising cortisol levels, etc (though of course a three or four year old both has the basic sense of safety and trust built up over years so it won't necessarily have long-term ill effects, AND at that age can handle the pain and raised cortisol levels in a healthier manner than a newborn can.).  Just because, from our adult perspective, the crying is for an absurd reason, doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.

 

Im glad  you said this. The raised cortisol is the one of the things leaving a child to cry in any situation  has in common with CIO.

 

 
post #84 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornflower Blue View Post

I imagine that Lauren and I probably parent (or in my case, "parentED" because most of my active parenting is in the past) in very similar ways, and I agree with most of the things she said about balancing needs, the need for the parent to be the decision-maker, how a child benefits by learning to work with other people's needs, how parents are allowed to have needs met also and it benefits their children, etc. But I'd like to stress again that for at least the first 21 years or so of parenting, the needs of the child come first, most of the time and in most situations. That doesn't preclude making decisions that appear to the child or the outside world to put the mom or the dad first--the parents have a perspective that the child or nosy bystanders may not have. I 'm sure that, like all of us who love our children, Lauren has made many sacrifices for her children, so I'm not preaching to her. I just feel like so many of us in our culture are afraid to make sacrifices for our children, to put them first, etc, often because our own parents didn't put US first or hear US when we needed that. (I speak in generalities here, I was lucky to have very giving and accepting parents.) We as a society in general don't put the needs of the small and powerless in a place of priority, and we don't in general feel a responsibility to the group--we're so attached to our egos and our "needs" and don't realize that often we don't actually need what we think we need; it's always "me first". Freedom and autonomy are good things, but so are compassion and working harmoniously within a group. We also have the false idea that our children can be trained to be unselfish by having to put others' needs ahead of their own, but in truth the way to help children grow towards unselfishness over time is to listen to them and meet their needs. These attitudes are not true for most of us in this forum, but I still feel I need to get on my soapbox.

 

 Agreed.

post #85 of 95

I am not referring to stressful crying with no support. Aletha Solter says it better:

 

Many parents find it hard to understand and accept their children's tears and tantrums, and are confused by contradictory advice they have read. On one hand, much of the advice in parenting books is based on the assumption that crying and temper tantrums are behaviors that should be discouraged. Some people assume that these are indications of a "spoiled" child who is used to getting her own way, while others think of them more as immature behaviors that children must learn to control. It is generally believed that as soon as children are old enough to talk, the job of parents is to help them express their wants and feelings using words rather than tears or outbursts of rage. Even people who recognize crying as a sign of stress and frustration sometimes consider crying to be an unnecessary byproduct of stress. They assume that children will feel better once they stop crying. This belief may lead to efforts to distract children from their crying.

On the other hand, there is an increasing tendency to regard crying as a beneficial expression of feelings that has therapeutic value. Many therapists encourage children to cry, especially in situations involving loss. Therapists assume that crying is an important and necessary part of the grieving and recovery process. John Bowlby, the father of attachment theory, pointed out that failure to accept a child's painful emotions can have negative consequences. He claimed that children should be allowed to express their grief openly by crying during situations of separation or loss. He also felt that children should be allowed to express anger at their parents. The result of all this contradictory advice is that parents often wonder what to do when children cry or rage. Should they comfort, ignore, distract, punish, "give in" or listen empathically?

In my four books: The Aware Baby, Helping Young Children Flourish, Tears and Tantrums, and Raising Drug-Free Kids, I propose a stress-release theory of crying, and I recommend an accepting and nurturing attitude towards all crying in children from birth on (assuming all immediate needs have been met). Evidence from several different sources indicates that crying is an important and beneficial physiological process that helps people of all ages cope with stress.

 

From:   http://www.awareparenting.com/tantrums.htm

post #86 of 95

I agree with Lauren that crying can be therapeutic and should not be repressed.  I would definitely feel happier if my child cried or yelled at me than sat there apathetically, and I'd like to be there loving them while they feel their grief or rage even though that's not always easy on a parent.  But I don't feel there's any need to, on purpose, give our child situations that make them grieve.  They will get plenty of practice in childhood with things that make them angry or sad.  Because of our own unresolved griefs, it can be hard to leave when we ought to leave, and also hard to stay when we ought to stay.  Make your choice based on your philosophy and priorities, and love them through it the best you can.

post #87 of 95

I have to comment about the "other cultures see baby crying in [x particular way]."  That is an awfully broad statement to make.  I suspect the observers' statement says as much it not more about themselves than it does about the observed culture.

 

Second of all, I was raised in a bubble of high context culture (within a larger "mainstream" of low context culture) and I was taught to carefully observe my child in order to see what she needed and provide it before she cried.  This is a different perspective on infant crying.  I am very good at understanding a grunt or the turn of a head.  But I had a lifetime of training in anticipating the needs of everyone around me, too.  And, she still cried, because sometimes kids do just cry.  

 

It's difficult and also pointless to raise my child as to function in a high context culture when she currently lives in a low context culture.  As much as I can, I try to support her ability to code switch, but I think it's kind of silly when I hear people saying, "But they do this in [wherever]."  There isn't here.  Do you have an army of aunties and grannies and older siblings to carry your kid around all day long until the age of five?  And wash his butt?  That is way to develop a very enmeshed and group oriented personality, which may be highly valued in a culture where you have that army of relatives.  But if that is not your cultural context, you will essentially be hobbling yourself by cherry picking some one behavior as though it's a key to anything.  In arms is lovely, if you have twelve other people.  You will also be submitting to twelve other people doing as they see fit with your child, and twelve people bossing you around all day long.  You will have to give up some of your individualism and total control as a parent.  Having in arms, for instance, as an ideal for mothers in nuclear families wanting to retain their own autonomy is....well....going to be quite difficult to meet.  Not impossible but it should be thought of in the whole context of what you are gaining and what you are losing.    In my high context, baby wearing, bed sharing, extended breastfeeding, meet your baby's needs before he needs to cry mother culture, it all went hand in hand with learning to anticipate everyone's needs, including your parents' (and don't forget about the epic beat downs, we had those too!).  I have a lot of love for my mother culture but I am under no illusions that "meet your baby's needs before she needs to cry" is the ideal for me to parent by in the world that I live in today.   Or that my preschooler should never cry. 

 

Also, speaking of the Indian inlaws thread, an important thing to note is it is the grandparents who are making sure the child does not cry.  I know very little about Indian culture so I have little  to say about that but I would not be surprised if various family members besides mother and father have different roles in relating to children.  You can't just say, "But those grandparents soothe the toddler as soon as he cries so therefore in Indian culture kids are never suppose to cry."   The picture is much bigger than that.

post #88 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post

Meemee, is that intense attachment strategy effective at preventing all crying? Or does it run aground on colic and teething, when there's crying anyway? Is there an endpoint to it when primary caregivers in India think crying is okay?

(India is not one culture, and complaints about in-laws on parenting boards are not a complete cultural picture. I believe that the in-laws do this for cultural reasons, but not that it indicates a total cultural rejection of crying. )

 

Meepy i have to say my experience with different cultures is very limited.

 
its really really hard to understand a culture. 
 
one thing i have definitely seen is a difference in child rearing in individualistic cultures vs. community cultures. so sorta kinda the west vs. the east. or the developed countries vs the developing countries. 
 
i have volunteered a lot with our local hispanic and asian cultures here in my city. and in those cultures i see how much a child is 'king'. of course severe poverty changes all that. but during the first 5 years - kids there look almost spoilt by outside cultures. i also see it in the attitude with teenage pregnancies - how the community comes together to help with the baby and the young girls are not intimidated with their children. they dont look at their children as a burden to bear. and yes i see children held close to the caregiver whoever that is and they never allow the child to cry. even before i had my dd that is one thing i noticed amongst them. it stood out for me. they would do anything to stop the 0 - 5 year old child from crying. 

 

but i also must point out subcultures within our own here. like the native hawaiin cultures (i have two friends who belong to them). i havent been around babies much so cant answer the crying question, but what i find so beautiful is that i think all teh mothers sisters are treated as mothers. so a girl child has a bunch of moms and a boy has a bunch of dads. and they are all on equal footing and the children listen to all. my friend was getting a cradle and sharing with me how wonderful it was having a bunch of relative take care of her. however if the families were less harmonious - i dont quite know what happened there. 

post #89 of 95
For most kids, the crying lasts maybe a couple of minutes, then it's over. A few kids are more sensitive and need much gentler transitions than the usual dropoff. A few kids really really struggle with transitions and do not accept alternate caregivers until they're a lot older/more independent. I think that generally, in the US, we push way too hard for early independence and early separation for children and I can't help but wonder what the fallout from that is.
post #90 of 95
Exactly. They are choosing for whatever reason, their priorities. That does not make it the healthiest choice or even a harmless choice for the child. It may be the best option for that family's needs. That was not the subject of discussion. We knowingly do potentially harmful things all the time. We speed, we yell at our spouses, kids. We use bad language. We stay up late, we eat junk food.

I find it interesting the majority of commenters who feel leaving a child crying at preschool did so because they felt they had too. Perhaps they made that choice because they felt comfortable with it but comments such as below make me wonder how many want it to be okay because they felt forced to do it?

At least one commenter above complained that she didn't like when some parents stayed because she couldn't/wouldnt and then she felt it was upsetting to her child that she was unable to give the same amount of love. That's called jealousy. And it's ugly. Why should I not give my child what I think is best for them?
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalia View Post

A lot of people don't have a choice. They HAVE to go to work.

ETA: Or they have a job that they don't necessarily need but that they love. It's important for their happiness, which means in actuality they do "need" it.
post #91 of 95
Crying - I want to clarify it's not that I don't think children shouldn't cry. Crying has a purpose. I have an issue with causing a child to cry. If I know something I am going to do is going to cause distress I want to make sure there is value to that distress.
I also see this topic not about crying, but about response to crying. Specifically response to crying when child is feeling lonely/abandoned. I would have an entirely different opinion about, "Is it okay to forcibly brush your child's teeth every night even if they cry every time?"
post #92 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheepdoc View Post

At least one commenter above complained that she didn't like when some parents stayed because she couldn't/wouldnt and then she felt it was upsetting to her child that she was unable to give the same amount of love. That's called jealousy. And it's ugly. Why should I not give my child what I think is best for them?

Wow, Sheepdoc, did you study how to tap dance on the guilt buttons?  I think I'm one of the commenters you're talking about, and I'd like to unpack this a little.

 

1.  When I take my kids to daycare and preschool, I generally do have a need to leave them.  (Now and then there's a day when I could, say, either spend the day with my kids OR do something else, and the kids are contented at school and the something else is urgent in one way or another, or possibly just helpful to my sanity, in an "I did all of our Christmas shopping in the middle of a weekday when the mall wasn't crowded," kind of way, or "I took a yoga class, and no part of dinner came out of the freezer."  But by and large, we signed up for these programs because we need childcare.)

2.  I think most parents love their children a similar (large and unquantifiable) amount.  My love for my children is not less infinite then the love of the mom who comes and stays until circle time.  I don't know why that woman is staying until circle time.  Maybe she's nervous about fit with the program and this is her way of checking it out.  Maybe she or her kid has a special need.  Maybe she's volunteering in the classroom.  Maybe she's secretly the NAEYC accreditation team.  I am quite certain she doesn't love her baby more then I love mine.  And if she did?  I am not at all sure that staying with her baby at preschool longer then I stay with mine is an expression of that.

3.  My adult and rational certainty about point two does nothing for my kid, who just wants to know why I leave and that other person's mom stays, and why, at 7 in the morning, when he has clearly expressed the preference that I stay with him, I am gently prying his fingers off of the knees of my work pants and smooching him goodbye.  It just looks to him like that kid's mom is expressing less confidence in the care situation then I'm expressing, and so maybe I'm wrong.  I can think of alternative explanations, he's not so good at it.  I think it is best, as a parent, if I understand that not all the ways that other parents interact with their children are going to be the ways that I do. 

 

My kids are quite willing to put forth the notion that my love would be best expressed in ludicrous ways - if I loved them, they say, we'd go to Disneyland, we'd live in a tent in the woods, we'd be having ice cream for dinner, and they could stay up all night playing on a Nintendo DS that I would go to the store and buy them right now.  It's for me to act as a parent and a rational adult and to behave in ways that will keep them safe and healthy, and prepare them for a positive future, whether that future is tomorrow or a productive adulthood. 

 

I have not found the research about crying and cortisol to be compelling - that research was done on people in abusive situations, not on people coping with everyday stresses of a relatively comfortable life.  There is neither any way to prevent kids from reacting largely to those stresses, nor any evidence that the ordinary stresses of a comfortable life cause harm. 

post #93 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheepdoc View Post

Exactly. They are choosing for whatever reason, their priorities. That does not make it the healthiest choice or even a harmless choice for the child. It may be the best option for that family's needs. That was not the subject of discussion. We knowingly do potentially harmful things all the time. We speed, we yell at our spouses, kids. We use bad language. We stay up late, we eat junk food.

Huge eyeroll here. I have to laugh. So daycare is unhealthy and harmful? You have to be kidding me, right?

 

I had a job I LOVED. Did I financially need to do it? No, I could have been a stay at home home on DHs income. My kids could have stayed home. I would have been with them 24-7. Perfect, eh? But I would also have been angry to be giving up my dream job, incredibly frustrated about not challenging my brain, bored, and very bitter. What kind of mother would I have been to my kids? Do you think I could paste on a fake smily face all day, and they could not feel my real emotions under the surface? They would have feed off my emotions and they would have been stressed, unhappy kids. Do you think they would have felt safe and comfortable? Whatever cortisol that was released as I walked down the hall (and disappeared before I even made it to the door) was infinitesimal compared to what it could have been if my husband, society, or some other factor forced me to be a stay at home mom.

 

Kids don't need parents who do or don't send them to daycare. They need loving, supportive,happy and healthy parents, who treat each other and their children with respect, who show consistent boundaries and give them a safe environment in which to grow up to be healthy, loving, caring adults. 

post #94 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheepdoc View Post

Crying - I want to clarify it's not that I don't think children shouldn't cry. Crying has a purpose. I have an issue with causing a child to cry. If I know something I am going to do is going to cause distress I want to make sure there is value to that distress.
I also see this topic not about crying, but about response to crying. Specifically response to crying when child is feeling lonely/abandoned. I would have an entirely different opinion about, "Is it okay to forcibly brush your child's teeth every night even if they cry every time?"

 

Re: causing your child to cry: my reality is, freaking EVERYTHING makes DS2 cry. If he doesn't get what he wants, if I can't stop cooking to read him a story, if it's Daddy's turn to put him to bed (OR Mommy's...). And here's the thing: DS2 really WANTS to go to preschool, yet he cries every single time I drop him off. Then, when I pick him up, he's all smiles and can't wait to show me what he's done and talk about his new friends. So, as a parent, I am making a conscious decision to MAKE my child cry. Because even though he's shy and sensitive and wants to be with me all the time, he ALSO wants to do these new things that he really enjoys. 

 

As a parent, I realize my child has conflicting needs - and I'm helping him explore those. Even if it causes tears.

 

ETA: So really, I don't see this as a black and white issue at all.

post #95 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by gcgirl View Post
 

 

ETA: So really, I don't see this as a black and white issue at all.

Exactly! EAch of us knows our child the best, and knows how they react to situations. I can really only count on one hand the number of times each of my children cried at drop off. The predominant reaction was to wave goodbye to Mom and run off. When they did become tearful, the loving, warm, supportive preschool teacher helped each of my children to understand those feelings, to figure out what to do about them, and they felt as a result like competent strong youngsters. There was never a time when this sort of goodbye increased their anxiety or caused them to be less trusting. In fact just the opposite! They each came to trust terrific teachers who could teach them differently than mom or dad. They learned new strategies, and they learned that even though they felt sad in passing, they really were o.k.! Mom didn't have to rescue them. 

 

Also there is a huge difference between the occasional cryer, and the child that is having a difficult time overall, even after an adjustment period. The child who continues to struggle usually has some larger issues going on that need to be resolved. Because the majority of preschool age children in high quality preschools, separate just fine, have a good time, and then are glad to see their moms and dads afterwards. 

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