• Fri, May 30 - 8:00 am ET

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.

huggies.com.au

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.

babygaga.com

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)

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  • The Actual Devil

    Spanking babies is awful. HITTING a little BABY to make them shut up is really, really not okay.

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Kay_Sue

      When the Devil says it is bad, you *know* it is bad.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Hahahah

    • Jennie Blair

      Seriously, wtf? Isn’t smacking a child in England child abuse? Almost all of Europe has laws out right banning spanking, but it’s a baby you twat. It cries because it can’t communicate in any other way.

    • mediocrity511

      No, I don’t believe it is in England. But if it’s too hard, or leaves a mark, then it is illegal. Every so often we have campaigns about banning it, but then the traditionalists come out asserting their right to chastise their child in the name of discipline.

  • JenH1986

    As a non parent even I know smacking a 5 month old is absolutely insane. I’m an advocate of kids learning how to play solo and self soothe etc. But maybe when they are old enough to comprehend such things? Yeesh!

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      I think 5-month-olds are capable of just enjoying themselves and watching their mobile or whatever, but I don’t understand parents who teach their babies about independent play by leaving them in a room to cry. Independent play is supposed to be fun, it’s called “independent PLAY” for a reason :(

    • Spongeworthy

      Yea, at that age I’d have no problem putting the kid on a blanket under his baby gym and let him play, but I’d still be in the room. Just on the couch or something.

    • JenH1986

      I was reading about the blanket training thing on another post and was horrified that someone does this…and this smacking a baby to not cry thing at 5 months makes me think of that. I do think babies can be entertained by toes etc. when they are young but I don’t get the smacking them (ever really, though I grew up in a spanking household) before they can really even understand what is going on.

  • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Kay_Sue

    I am…disgusted by these scenarios. I think I may need a shower.

    I agree, babies use crying to manipulate. I don’t know why everyone places such a negative connotation on the idea of manipulation. Manipulation is just getting things to do what you want or need them to do. Manipulation in and of itself is not a negative thing–it’s morally neutral. I’m manipulating my fingers to type this post right now.

    Of course babies cry to manipulate you. They need you to feed them. They need you to change them. They need you to make sure they warm enough or cool enough. They need you to laugh and smile at them, and interact with them. And they have no other way to get you to do that, except through crying. They have no concept of priorities, because when your life is measured in days and weeks and months, you have no concept of a larger scale, so of course, everything is a crisis, so to speak. And they need you to fix it, because you are Mom or Dad and that’s your job, in their limited experience.

    I can understand giving your child a set amount of time to attempt to self-soothe, but the idea of just letting them cry indefinitely, or smacking them for it, is completely repugnant.

    • Tinyfaeri

      Well said. :)

    • K.

      I am totally the type to believe in self-soothing, so I mean…if you’ve got someone watching the baby and you REALLY need 5 minutes to smoke a cigarette, then go outside and smoke your damn cigarette, take a deep breath, come back and then change the baby. 5 minutes of crying is not going to hurt the baby but a mom who’s aggressive because she’s pissed off about not getting her smoke break can be.

      I am NOT excusing that mother–I’m just saying that I’m the mother that didn’t have a problem putting her screaming baby in the crib so I could walk away and soothe MYSELF first. She could have done the same thing, if she wasn’t in the headspace to handle the crying immediately.

      Slapping the baby because it doesn’t do stuff on *your* time is unbelievably stupid. As in, not just “that’s a dumb idea” as in, you must be profoundly stupid. As in, low IQ, bumfuck stupid. What’d you think? The baby wasn’t going to affect your life and make demands on your time? The baby was going to say, “Oh–oh, you’re making a sandwich for yourself? That’s cool. I’ll wait.” Fuck, TEENAGERS don’t even do that.

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Kay_Sue

      Oh, I totally get walking away. And sometimes it was not even something I justified by telling myself I was letting them self-soothe. Sometimes, you just need to fucking walk away for a moment and collect yourself and come back fresh. I get that. It’s everything after that that was…insane…

    • whiteroses

      My son is two and I still put him in his crib and walk away. I mean, it’s better than getting massively frustrated, imho.

      I don’t buy this idea that babies and toddlers manipulate either. I’ll be honest- my two year old is smart, but he didn’t have the capability at six months to think, “If I yell really loudly they’ll do what I want.” He’s reaching the point where he pitches fits on the regular, but there’s something I always ask myself- Who’s the adult in this situation? And how am I supposed to teach my son how to control himself if I can’t?

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Kay_Sue

      Everyone manipulates. It’s human nature. Devious conniving manipulation, no. But they definitely attempt to make what they want to happen actually happen. I don’t argue with the idea that they manipulate, but I greatly contest the idea that they do so in a negative way. They’re just influencing their environment and figuring out how it will react to them. That’s completely natural. It’s up to us to shape it in positive directions. ;)

    • whiteroses

      Oh, I agree. I should have qualified to say that I don’t believe babies and toddlers have the wherewithal to do things for the sole purpose of pissing us off. I have never met a baby or a toddler who cries just to make its mom mad.

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Kay_Sue

      Yeah, unless you’re raising the next evil mastermind, I agree–none of them are trying to piss anyone off. They just want what they want and they want you to know what that is. It’s kind of a roundabout sign of the faith they have in us to be able to do anything.

      I just put a spin on it. *feels accomplished*

    • whiteroses

      I agree. My son is absolutely fearless. He will climb anything, run over anything, jump as high as he can, crawl under things that he physically shouldn’t be able to crawl under… you name it, he does it. He gives me a heart attack every single day. But part of me is inordinately proud of that, because he feels safe enough to be fearless. Does that make sense?

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Kay_Sue

      I completely agree. Our neighbors are foster parents, and they had a placement of a six month old who was totally disconnected. She would lay in a dirty diaper without complaining…she didn’t make any noise to let you know she was hungry…she didn’t cry out to be held. It was heartbreaking and incredibly disconcerting.

    • Psych Student

      Walking away is a great tool. It’s one that is recommended for parents who struggle with borderline abusive/abusive behaviors towards their children. It can be difficult to listen to babies and children scream, cry, fight, yell, anything, but walking away and taking a few minutes can do wonders to help calm a parent and help them react from a place of calm, not a place of anger.

    • brebay

      Okay, if I’d scrolled down first, I could have saved myself the last 10 minutes…you already made my point!

  • Ursi

    Who would spank a baby? I don’t have a baby and this seems like a no-brainer. A 5 month old is too young to learn anything except to be afraid when discipline is applied. When your child becomes afraid to cry when they need to they’re on the path towards psychological dysfunction. Infants don’t have to remember being spanked to have a bad pattern laid down in the brain that will haunt them the rest of their lives.

    • Psych Student

      My other thought was, won’t that just make the baby cry more? How can that possibly accomplish the goal?

  • DouglasKWheeler

    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. http://goo.gl/aJaVRF

  • Valerie

    Remember a few weeks ago when I texted you that a mom at the Verizon store was swatting her baby and snapping at him to stop his whining? He was maybe 8 months old. :-( People suck.

    • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Kay_Sue

      People suck so much.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Oh yeah!!! So freaking terrible.

    • Kitsune

      I watched stuff like this happen when I worked in retail all the time. So upsetting. It’s not like I enjoy it when me son gets whiny either, especially if I have a migraine, but he’s 6 months old and has no words yet, snapping and swatting is not the way to handle it. People do in fact suck.

  • Jennifer Freeman

    These people can’t really exist. :(

  • Guest

    While I certainly don’t agree with hitting an infant for crying, I have a problem with being judged for letting a baby cry it out. I hate this assumption that parents who do this are lazy or have failed to try any kind of alternative solution(s) beforehand. What parent says to themselves “Hey, I know something ‘fun’ I can do – how about I let my child cry?” Of course not! My child wanted to be held ALL. DAY. LONG. and would howl and scream the second I put him down. I tried putting him in swings, exersaucers, lying on a shirt with my scent on it, me lying or sitting beside him to play with him or comfort him, long walks in a stroller, letting him cry for just a few minutes at a time,etc…. Nothing worked. He wasn’t hungry, he didn’t need a diaper change, he wasn’t even sick (I even asked my doctor to check him out and there was nothing wrong with him). He simply wanted to be in my arms, period. He wouldn’t even nap unless he was held. I’d spend all day with my ass glued to a rocking chair watching TV, making sure that he could at least sleep for a 1-2hr stretch. Sounds fun at first but try it for a few months and see whether it’s so great. I tried to take it all in stride and go along with it, telling myself that it would get better and he’d grow out of it, but after 6 months of this, I could not take it anymore. And if I had to listen to one more person tell me about the benefits of babywearing, I would have punched them in the face. I was not only depressed, but my back and shoulders were killing me, to the point that I was seeing both a chiropractor & massage therapist 2x a week for it. So yes, I eventually had to sit him in his pack ‘n play or his crib and let him cry it out (and no, he didn’t cry for hours on end – I’m not as cruel as some proponents might want to portray me). It was either that or throw myself out the window. After a couple of days, I could finally put him down for his naps and I could leave him on the floor or exersaucer for at least 10 minutes at a time. It was the first time in several months I could actually make myself a sandwich without listening to him cry the whole time. Some might say that it’s not healthy for a baby to do that, but I felt he was a much happier baby afterwards because he was finally getting enough sleep, he was smiling and laughing much more than he used to, he could develop proper motor skills (rolling, sitting, crawling), and learned to explore the world around him rather than constantly seeking me out every second of the day. He’s still a very clingy baby but at least I can live with it. People can wag their fingers and call me a terrible mother but unless they’ve dealt with MY child specifically and everything I went through since he was born, they are in no position to judge or give me their advice on what I should or shouldn’t have done with him.

    • Spongeworthy

      Ignore those people. Seriously. Anyone who says they have a one-size-fits-all approach to babies is a moron. There’s a difference between trying to teach your kid a little independence and leaving them screaming in a crib for hours. And at 6 months your kiddo is ready, and like you said you saw him do well afterwards.
      Also, your health and well being is just as important as the baby’s. Glad you found something g that worked for both of you.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I have done CIO moderately, as I described. I’m totally with you.

    • JenH1986

      Huge difference between CIO and neglect. What you did? Not neglect or abuse.

    • Guest

      The thing is that for a lot of people, CIO and neglect/abuse are one and the same. They don’t care about the circumstances. You can’t imagine the amount of anxiety it caused me (and still does), reading so many nasty comments about how people are so horrible for letting their babies cry. You are always left wondering why other people can put their babies down for a nap and they sleep, why theirs can lie on the floor and play with their toys and yours can’t. What are you doing wrong? What are you continuing to do wrong? How did you fuck up as a parent? It’s the worst feeling in the world and then on top of that to have people tell you that you “abused” your child by letting them CIO, it’s like pouring salt all over the wound.

    • JenH1986

      I’ve found that parent or not…really…most people suck. And judge the hell out of you. I was 30 before we married. We had been together 5 years before we got married, as far as others knew/know we are waiting to have kids (we aren’t sharing that we’ve been trying for over a year, because I’m not trying to hear “any news yet?”) and we get the “You’ll be so OLD”. Hell we even get the “you’ll have to get rid of your animals if you get pregnant you know that, right?” Some of it hurts me (the “why aren’t you having a baby now” mostly) and some of it is dumb (the animal thing) but I’m of the “if I’m not hurting anyone, mind your own” mindset. I’m glad you found something that worked finally!

    • Guest

      My spouse and I were together for 7 years before we had our child (in our case, trying to get our careers and finances in order), so I totally get it. So many people see a child (or lack thereof) as an open invitation to stick their nose in your business. Fuck ‘em.

    • Spongeworthy

      I was 32 when we got married. I heard at my wedding that we’d better hurry up and get to baby-making. And not 2 weeks after my son was born people were asking when we’d have another. Do you think I can stop wearing this giant pad in my underwear before we can start trying for another kid? Thanks.

    • JenH1986

      Most people have to judge to feel better about their life decision “Can you believe Jen doesn’t have kids, yet? OMG!” to make up for the fact that at 31 they have 4 kids and hate life. “They had SUCH a long engagement, I bet they had problems” When they got married in less than 3 months after meeting. Judge away, I don’t have linebacker shoulders for nothing!

    • Spongeworthy

      Yea. I’ve found a lot of the time the more judgey a person is about stuff like that, the less content they are with their lot in life. You do you!

    • Surly Canuck

      Ugh I was 3 months pregnant when people started asking about our next one. Can I expel this child first before you quiz me on our timeline?

    • Spongeworthy

      I mean, couldn’t you just stick another one in there?? I’m sure it would fit.

    • Allyson_et_al

      Seriously. You could have at least had twins. How inconsiderate of you.

    • Surly Canuck

      lol I know! Incidentally, people kept insisting I must have twins in there. Since we did IUI and I had a handful of ultrasound pictures already, I was confident we only had one. I just smiled and willed them to disappear.

    • whiteroses

      My son was three weeks old when my mother in law asked me when we were having another one. I started laughing hysterically, then realized she wasn’t kidding.

    • Surly Canuck

      Ugh. Can’t grandparents just play with the baby and be happy? We found out we’re having a little girl this week. My in-laws’ reaction was to say “It’s a shame it isn’t a boy to pass on the family name”. Really? Sorry I couldn’t make all your dreams come true. ~still fuming~

    • whiteroses

      Remind them that it’s their son’s defective sperm that DARED to produce one of those worthless, pointless girls../end sarcasm.

      I liked to look people square in the eye and say, “Oh, you don’t like his name/gender/eye color? Too bad he’s not your kid.” That shut em up pretty fast.

    • Melissa

      Ugh. I was also 32 when I got married. My father-in-law actually gave a toast at our wedding reception that casually mentioned how we better get on with the baby-making.

    • Allyson_et_al

      Ick. My father-in-law started asking me about kids before my husband and I were even engaged. We weren’t even living together yet. It was weird, to say the least.

    • Surly Canuck

      3 months after our wedding, my FIL said that at our age he had 3 kids and a house. Sure we’d been able to travel and experience more of the world, but now it was time to settle down and make some babies. Unfortunately that wasn’t our most awkward easter dinner ever. That has to go to dinner with extended family and my father while FIL describes the most beautiful naked woman he’d ever seen… incidentally not his wife who sat beside him. #lovemyfamily #blessed

    • Melissa

      That is awful/hilarious! Sometimes I appreciate having in-laws who say weird and inappropriate things because they provide such great entertainment at family gatherings.

    • Surly Canuck

      Yeah, I have some real colourful stories. My dad got a real kick out of it, too. He asked to join our next family dinner.

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    • Allyson_et_al

      Yeah, if they’re bugging you before you’re even medically allowed to have sex again, they should back the hell off.
      You have an awesome user name, by the way.

    • the_ether

      Good plan on not telling anyone. We took a year to conceive, and I eventually wound up telling my mum so I had someone to talk to about it, and then only told people who wouldn’t stop bugging me about when was I going to finally have a kid (turns out a Facebook PM telling someone how hard it is to listen to their lighthearted nosiness when you’re already at the point of crying in the bathroom any time you visit family members who are pregnant/have new babies is a pretty effective way of getting them to back off)

    • JenH1986

      Grad school kept the worst of it at bay. But now its a free for all. Not even my mom knows we have been trying. I talk about it a lot on Here and it helps tremendously and I have one friend who struggled as well and she is a great support, took 10 years but now she has 2. She tells me I am not allowed to worry until year 11. Lol

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      In my experience, the only people who are assholes about sleep training are parents of young babies/toddlers. Sure, fine, I abused my baby by letting him learn to sleep on his own. Maybe one year of constant night waking and nursing around the clock hasn’t made you suicidal, but let’s talk when you’re still sleeping on your 3-year-old’s bedroom floor because he can’t be alone for 10 minutes or connect his sleep cycles on his own. I really think these people (usually) mean well, but they should probably learn a bit about the science of sleep, biological rhythms and the health benefits of a full night’s sleep before they run their mouths. I know so many AP moms who practically brag about how many times they still wake up with their toddlers and idk, to me that is wildly out of balance and very unhealthy for everyone in the family. Just know that you did the right thing for your family! 6-month-olds are totally capable of learning good or terrible sleep habits, the benefits of healthy sleep habits FAR outweigh the pain of listening to your baby cry a bit for a few days.

    • Ms. Anne

      I had the opposite experience. I tried CIO because everyone was on my
      case (including my son’s father). I think the problem I had was that so many people (including my
      pediatrician) insisted that I was just being weak and if I toughed it
      out my kid would sleep beautifully. After 7 nights I gave up because
      it was HORRIBLE. I learned that my 1 year old could cry ALL NIGHT LONG,
      with little restless whimpering 15-20 minute half-naps in between, for nights on end.
      And I thought to myself “Oh, it took
      3 whole nights? And your kid cried for 3 whole hours one night? That’s adorable.”
      At about 20 months he started sleeping through the night on his own and
      is an amazing sleeper now.

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      That’s really shitty :( I was only criticized for not running to my son every time he whimpered, but being pressured either way blows. I’ve heard similar stories from a couple of friends who tried to implement CIO too late…like one friend started trying when her son was just over a year old and he cried all night for a month, sometimes so hard he would vomit. I don’t think I would have been able to deal with that. I was really lucky in that I had been working as a nanny for 7 years before I had my son so I had already sleep trained a few babies and I knew when/how to start. I had one especially amazing boss with 5 kids and she is basically my parenting role model, lol. I think I would have been lost without that experience. I’m glad your son figured it out on his own eventually!

    • Ms. Anne

      My kid was a challenge! :) He was also colicky for the first four months + and would scream for up to 12 hours a day, and rarely slept more than 40 minutes without waking up crying for the first 8 weeks or so, so cry it out happened whether we were holding him or not :( I am constantly amazed by how easygoing and happy he has been since he hit about one year old. It was like a light switch flipped! Now he tells ME when it is bedtime and sleeps like a little log through any kind of noise. My mom said my sister and I also “resisted” sleep training, so I guess we’re just genetically stubborn!

    • Melissa

      I can so identify with this! My first was so colicky from birth to 4 months old. She would start screaming in late afternoon and not let up until about 3 a.m. every night. It was torture for my husband and I taking turns pacing the floor with a baby that just couldn’t be soothed. Then at around 6 mo. old she suddenly started sleeping through the night and now at 20 months old she still sleeps 12 hours through the night with no problem and takes at least a 2-hour afternoon nap. It is heavenly! I have a theory that colicky babies become good sleepers as toddlers–maybe they’re making up for the giant sleep deficit from the first few months of their lives?

    • Ms. Anne

      Isn’t it just amazing when they start SLEEPING? I am still in awe of my 3 year old’s ability to just pass out and sleep soundly through all noise. And the switch from screaming infant to happy kid is just wonderful. I was so scared it would go on forever– especially after my friends with (not colicky) kids would tell me “it doesn’t get easier, the challenges just change!” BULLSHIT. It got so much easier once he stopped the constant screaming and not sleeping! I’ve read on Dr. Google that colicky babies tend to become really good-natured kids. As you said, making up for it!

    • Allyson_et_al

      Oh, that SUCKS. I really don’t understand why people need to have an opinion about other people’s babies’ sleeping. I mean, it affects them not at all, so why is it their business? My daughter was a terrible sleeper, and I finally Ferberized her at 9 months, and it was fantastic. But you know what? That worked for MY kid. It doesn’t mean it will work for your kid. I’m so sorry you had to deal with annoying people giving you shit on top of the exhaustion of dealing with a bad sleeper. I’m sending you internet hugs and a big cup of coffee.

    • K.

      For me it wasn’t that I did CIO as a technique, it was literally we were so tired we could not summon up the strength to go to him in the middle of the night anymore. And I also found that me doing that was making him *less* safe in the daytime because I was half-asleep. So we inadvertently let him cry it out and voila! Slept through the very next night and has been doing so ever since. We didn’t do it as some sort of philosophical expression.

      The competition over baby sleep is ridiculous to me. It’s not like you get points for your baby sleeping through the night OR for your virtue in getting up 3x per night. Whatever works, folks!

    • Guest

      The strange thing was that in my case, the problem wasn’t at night. He always went to bed around the same time without fussing, would wake up 1-2x a night which was totally fine with me given his age, and would finally wake up at a reasonable time. It was the daytime that was a complete nightmare, like some kind of flip inside his brain would get switched and he suddenly couldn’t be without me for even a second. It was weird. I had to let him CIO so that he’d take a nap in the afternoon or let him CIO in his pack ‘n play while I did some cooking or chores in the same room because otherwise he just wouldn’t let up. Maybe the reason he slept so well at night was precisely because he was so exhausted from spending all day without sleeping, obsessed with clinging to me at every waking moment. I’ll never know.

    • Kitsune

      My pediatrician actually recommended Dr Ferber’s method to me when my son who’d been a fantastic sleeper started waking about all hours. I had been trying to nurse him back to sleep but my son, my husband and I were all miserable from lack of sleep. The book, I have the new revised edition, was really reassuring. The first night sucked but now he sleeps and we’re all happier. Sleep is hugely important to infant development and adult’s sanity . It sounds like you made the right choice for your family, which should be all that matters.

  • Spongeworthy

    When I was in the hospital after having my son, we had this one crusty old nurse who was awesome. You could tell she’d seen it all and so it was nice having her around. Anyway, I’ll never forget that first day when we were in the room she told me and my husband to not listen to anyone who told us that we would “spoil” our kid by holding him too much. She had no patience for anyone who thought a week-old baby was being manipulative. That lady was awesome.

  • Nica

    Who the F spanks a baby? I can’t even get past that to comment on anything else in this article… :-( The thought of that just about breaks my heart.

  • http://fakegeekmom.com Aimee Ogden

    All hitting a tiny baby is going to teach them is that they cannot count on you for what they need – including their physical and emotional well-being. I’m so disgusted by that story that it overshadows my dislike of the first one. Crying to say “I love you, where are you, please come back to me, I can’t do this without you” is gross and manipulative when it comes from, say, an abuser to an escaped abused partner, but for a young baby who needs something, it is pretty much the only option he has. If you aren’t okay with your baby needing things from you, please re-evaluate your life immediately.

    • http://fakegeekmom.com Aimee Ogden

      I should edit this to say, this is not to be critical of CIO, but it sounds like the dad in the first story thinks “just ignore him” is somehow the best option instead of checking the baby’s diaper/putting him down for his nap when he’s exhausted/if he ever wants any attention. My kids are about the same age and I let them play on their blankets or in their baby gyms by themselves plenty during the day (so I can do the laundry/get work done/drink a precious, precious cup of coffee) but I don’t expect them to entertain themselves all day long. They’re 6 months old and “OMG, I HAVE TOES” is pretty fun, but it isn’t enough for 10 hours of amusement.

    • K.

      Right…CIO is a technique that is used to help a baby (SOME babies, not all will take to it) learn how to self-soothe and to reduce anxiety surrounding bedtime in the long run.

      It’s not a technique to “toughen the baby up.” WTF??

    • http://fakegeekmom.com Aimee Ogden

      Yeah, I wasn’t sure I was clear in my first post about the difference between “sometimes it’s okay/better to let the baby cry for a little while” and “ignoring your baby while they cry all day is a legit parenting style”, and I wanted to make sure it didn’t sound like I was criticizing all baby crying!

      I wonder how much of this “toughen the baby up” crap is because the baby is a boy and the dad has macho feelings about what’s appropriate “masculine” behavior even from 6 month olds? :/ Either way it sounds pretty sad.

    • Spongeworthy

      I hate the idea that you have to ignore your kid to “toughen them up”. My sister loved to tell me that my son was going to be a sissy boy (her actual words, ugh) because he would cry when I left the room when he was little. Well yea, he’s a baby, and we were visiting my parents who live 4 states away, so it’s a new environment for him. It would piss me off so much. Fast forward to a year later when she has a baby boy and she’ll pick him up whenever he cries. When I reminded her of the crap she used to give me for that, she responded “that was different. MY son probably just needs something.” Mmm hmmm.

    • Kendra

      It makes it SO MUCH WORSE than she couldn’t just admit that she had been wrong.

    • Spongeworthy

      It was unsurprising. She’s the type to have selective amnesia when it suits her. Ah well.

    • K.

      Well, AP will give your kid the sissy gay, donchakno.

      That, and ‘girl’ diapers. And soy.

    • Spongeworthy

      Ah crap. Guess it’s time to send him into the woods to kill a wolf with his bare hands. Maybe that wil reverse the damage.

    • Erin Murphy

      We’ve inherited a handful of “girl” toys and my husband gets all google eyed when our son plays with them. I just assure him that they aren’t gender or sexuality altering devices.

    • Guest

      I don’t think if I was her sibling I could ever be in the same room. Holy jesus that put me from 0-rage in .5 seconds.

    • Spongeworthy

      Eh. I’m so used to comments like that by now that I just roll my eyes and move on. No point in getting all riled up, ya know?

  • keetakat

    Getting “tough” with a baby. Striking a baby. A baby. I — what the —- ….I’d like to get tough and spank someone but not an innocent baby. I know, I know…I can’t beat violence with violence but….fffarrrghh!

  • Kimberly

    Spanking an infant, on a bare bottom? Unbelievably stupid and crazy in my mind. What exactly can an infant do that they understand is wrong? Ummm, nothing! This is cray cray. Now “burping” or “patting” a child on a diapered bottom (as an infant) isn’t such a big deal. And crying for five minutes won’t kill them. But hitting a kid for crying has NEVER worked…and it’s just cray cray stupid.

    • Kimberly

      And technically, biologically, babies have these skills to manipulate humans into feeding them. We wouldn’t survive as a species if we didn’t have that mechanism. People who think that is “manipulation” that should be stopped are idiotic.

  • sweetgotham

    Who spanks a baby? People who use the ‘train up a child’ method who advocates for baby spanking after 6 months. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/02/carefully-scripted-lives-my-concerns-about-the-duggars.html

    “Blanket training” my ass.

  • Dramatic Anti-Climax

    I’m a fan of CIO when it concerns bedtime, but even that has its guidelines (I think, right?). This is just ridiculous.

  • CW

    My babies can definitely be manipulative but not at only 6 mos. old. It’s more like around 9 mos. or so. My oldest used to try to pull one over on me by dropping something on the floor and while I was picking it up, she’d grab whatever it was that she wanted that I wasn’t allowing her to have. Nice try, kid.

    • Allyson_et_al

      We have a saying in my house: Dumb kids are easier. Sorry, but I think you’re screwed. :-)

  • SA

    There is a difference between teaching self-soothing and getting a BABY to “toughen” up. What I hate about those types of attitudes is parents become so concerned with ignoring the child they will overlook when something is actually wrong. I’ve definitely let my kid cry for a bit when I simply could not hold her and nothing else was wrong, but I don’t make it such a habit that I immediately assume she is manipulating me.

    I also hate using the word manipulation. I don’t think they (infants) are purposely manipulating, rather discovering how we react to their actions. Like “Oh wow, if I make this sound mommy will come” and not “I’m going to make this sound so mommy can’t wash dishes and sits next to me all day”, if that makes any sense.

  • K2

    Insane. Of course babies cry, they can’t tell you what they need, and plenty of things could be bothering them! Hitting a baby.. that is despicable.

  • K2

    Insane. Of course babies cry, they can’t tell you what they need, and plenty of things could be bothering them! Hitting a baby.. that is despicable.

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  • brebay

    Manipulation is one of those words like “argument” that has been so misused for so long no one knows what it means anymore. Raising kids is all about manipulation by its pure definition. It just means using effective means for the purpose of achieving a desired outcome. You want your kids to be decent, responsible, alive. So you figure out what is of value to them and then use it to incentivize the behavior you want. You talk to them about what can happen if they: dive into shallow water, drive and text, vote Republican, or whatever, to scare them into not behaving foolishly. It’s not “conniving” anymore than an argument is a “fight,” rather than a set of premises and a conclusion. If babies didn’t manipulate, they’d die of starvation, or fever, or anything else the scream to get us to pay attention to.

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