Last week I found myself clenching my jaws while reading a post on Twitter.
The author was talking about the perks of "sleep training." It had clearly worked for her and she wanted to share her "tips and tricks" so that other parents could get the "8-hour-long-periods of sleep" she'd been able to get since the early days of becoming a mom.
One particular sentence she used deeply hurt me.
😔 "You never negotiate with a terrorist." 😔
No matter what kind of a tongue-in-cheek tone this statement had, it hurt me.
It hurt me because I immediately found myself in the shoes of her baby.
It hurt me because the baby doesn't get to have a say.
A baby deserves to have a say, so I choose to reflect a mirror on our 30-million-year-long social mammalian history to explain why sleep training is painful for babies.
In the extensive piece that I wrote on sleep training, we go through:
👐 What sleep training is
👈 Where it originates from
✋ Why you should avoid it
I have been against sleep training ever since I set my foot on the expecting-a-baby territory, because, to me, it embodied the exact opposite of the parenthood I wanted to offer.
So the perks were of no interest to me. After all, babyhood is a blur. 2 years of sleeplessness was a price I was willing to pay instead of forcing my baby to a behavior "I" thought was appropriate, risking their mental health and our relationship along the way.
Also, sleep disruptions can open the gates for a richer parenting experience as I recently shared in a personal story.
It's not just a gut feeling. My research turned clear results. Sleep training is against the 30-million-year social mammalian parenting patterns (and why this kind of parenting must exist for our brains to fully develop).
Sleep training has only been around for the last 200 years. Its popularity peaked during the industrial revolution. And many cultures in the world still avoid it.
Feynman and his dad
This morning as we were chatting, my husband showed me this video of Richard Feynman, Nobel prize-winning American theoretical physicist who is seen as the most brilliant and influential figure in his field.
I find it too heart-warming to keep it to myself. This short story is such a great showcase of how parental affection and attention can make a child's destiny. Engaging with our children is so easy that a book and a lap can do wonders–if we can remove the invisible barriers and speak their language.
🥄 Weekly nurture
Why you shouldn't sleep train: Sleep training has NOT been designed to put your child's developmental needs first. Here's the origin of sleep training and why you should avoid it.
How to praise children: Praise the ability or the effort? There seem to be contradicting opinions but the science is clear. I summarized the relevant studies for you in a Twitter thread.
🦉 Weekly wisdom
“Because children grow up, we think a child’s purpose is to grow up. But a child’s purpose is to be a child.
Nature doesn’t disdain what only lives for a day. It pours the whole of itself into each moment… Life’s bounty is in its flow, later is too late.”
—Alexander Herzen, Russian philosopher
👁️ Weekly visual
That's it for today! ❤️
This week I spiced things up a bit.
What do you think? Send me your thoughts!
I'm on Twitter and love seeing a DM in my inbox. You can also hit reply or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next Saturday!
Love, Basak (founder of Apparent)