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Baby Crying? 20 Strategies for Soothing Your #ColickyBaby

Baby Crying? 20 Strategies for Soothing Your #ColickyBaby

Parenting, mercy, what a challenge! Do you have a newborn baby? Will the baby crying ever stop? If that baby doesn’t stop crying, I don’t know what I’m going to do!!!!

What is colic and what does a colicky baby do? According to the Mayo Clinic, “Colic is a frustrating condition marked by predictable periods of significant distress in an otherwise well-fed, healthy baby. Babies with colic often cry more than three hours a day, three days a week, for three weeks or longer.” If you don’t get it, please practice some empathy with that new mommy and daddy because this precious newborn is still just as “perfect” as yours.  As one of my favorite people has said, “there are no perfect parents, and you’re not going to be the first.”

The Mayo Clinic tells us that there is no way to soothe your colicky baby. Well, doctors don’t know everything. They still don’t know what causes colic. Perhaps it’s less about soothing your baby and more about making you stronger. Let’s find out!

P.S. Dearest new mommy, according to kidshealth.org, 40% of newborns are colicky babies. So guess what? You’re not alone. All that baby crying will stop. That’s wonderful news!  Reach out to another mommy to talk to about it because odds are she’s managing the stress too. Now, not only are you humble enough to seek comfort, you’re also a leader. You rock!

1. Utilize your options.

Are you a mommy or daddy that reads books on parenting pre-pregnancy? If so, what does it have to say on this issue?  Chances are it is addressed. Good sleepers are not born ready to conform to your schedule. So, you may need to help that beautiful child along. You can follow advice offered in the book, or you can call a friend for advice. If you talk with your mom regularly, she might be a great place to start.

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2. Recognize that this is just a parenting milestone.

Are you a single, working mommy? Oh, my heart aches for you, and at the same time you are just as much the miracle your child is. This crying stuff may be nothing to you, but I suspect it’s driving you crazy even though you’ve already been through a lot. This may be that first parenting milestone that you have to overcome.

3. Walk and rock.

Turn on some music, put your earbuds in, and find some soothing music. Now, pick up those baby blues or caramel browns and slowly walk or rock your baby to sleep.

4. Find some swings or go for a drive.

I always enjoyed swinging as a baby and even still today. It is a resting exercise. Maybe it’s the rhythm to it or maybe it throws your equilibrium off enough to make you sleep? I couldn’t find any research about the why, but it seems to help babies fall asleep. Also, going for a drive with your baby may help. I’ve heard stories from friends that said this was the only way they could get their children to go to sleep early on. So, hopefully a short drive will help you—just be sure to buckle up!

5. Focus on the positive. :)

According to kidshealth.org, “Colicky babies have a healthy sucking reflex and a good appetite and are otherwise healthy and growing well.” Also, “Colicky babies may spit up from time to time just as non-colicky babies do.”  Finally, “colicky babies typically have normal stools (poop). If your baby has diarrhea or blood in the stool, call your doctor.”

6. Use more music therapy.

Sometimes, turning on some music will help your baby sleep. Some children need extra stimulation. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them; remember, you are just trying to get past this parenting milestone.

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7. Consult a professional dietitian or nutritionist.

Mommy, if you’re like me you want to know if there is anything you can do personally to make things easier.  Research shows that diet may play a role in this.  If you breastfeed, consult a dietitian. They know more about nutrition than your doctor.  Tis true!

8. Make sure you’re not forgetting anything.

According to emedicine.medscape, an inexperienced parent may forget to burp your baby enough. It seems simple enough, but with the amount of new crazy going on in your life, perfect peace isn’t going to happen overnight.

9. Check the baby’s hair.

What if something else is wrong? Check to make sure there isn’t hair in your child’s eye or eyes.  It could be your hair or their own.

10. Take a break.

Do you have a friend? Ask them to take babysit for a couple hours. Does grandma or grandpa live nearby?  This is a great chance to patch up that relationship if necessary, and if that’s not necessary, your family will see and be empathetic to what you are going through. They will be supportive.

11. Pray.

I know. I know. Maybe this is your last resort, but whoever you pray to, ask for some grace and mercy and for some love and some hope.  Hold onto grace.

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12. Address your introversion.

There are tons of articles on lifehack.org about how bright introverts are. It’s true—we are. It’s important, however, for us to work our way out of our comfort zone. The same goes for you extroverts. You can help guide us in the right direction. Find a parental support group. They can be found in your community. Call around. There are mommies’ mornings out and other programs that will help you with your mental stability. If you work, that may be your sanctuary.  Don’t feel bad about working; you’re getting the job done. Keep at it!

13. Ask your partner for help.

If you’re raising your child with a partner, kudos. Make sure to ask your partner to step up and help out.

14. Work together.

Parents, it’s time for you two to realize you are a team and that your world has radically changed. Chances are, you’ve already realized that, but maybe this is happening so that you can put that teamwork into action.

15. Remember that this is only temporary.

Babies crying like this will end with patience, but it’s got to be overwhelming when all your emotions are in a state of flux.  You probably just want to walk out the door. That’s not an option in this case. Maybe seeing a counselor makes sense?

16. Try turning out the lights.

Going back to kidshealth.org, “some babies need decreased stimulation. Babies 2 months and younger may do well swaddled in a darkened room.”

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17. Adjust your diet.

You know the cliche “you are what you eat.”  Well, your baby is profoundly affected by what you eat. If you are breastfeeding and if you are using supplements with your baby, you may need to alter the program. Cut out dairy and/or soy.

18. Be patient—it’s probably just a phase.

For some kids, this is simply a phase of growth. It may help to generate more structure in his or her life.

19. Don’t blame yourself or your child.

Don’t forget: it’s not your fault and it’s not your baby’s fault. It just is. You are so loved, and the support you need is out there.

20. Research the issue.

Here’s another great resource: www.parenting.com Also, here’s a great slideshow: www.webmd.com

Whatever you do, take some form of action. Most importantly, however: make sure your mental health is in good condition. If you’re not in good health, how can you expect your baby to be?

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Published on December 20, 2019

Is Authoritarian Parenting Good or Bad for Your Child?

Is Authoritarian Parenting Good or Bad for Your Child?

Kate sits down to the dinner table and is eager to be a good girl and eat her dinner like her Mom and Dad want her to do. She is a sweet girl who wants the approval of her parents very much. It is not always easy though. During dinner, she stands up and starts to leave the table because she has to use the bathroom. Her Dad yells at her to sit back down. He tells her “we don’t just get up from the dinner table, we wait and ask to be excused after everyone is finished eating.” She begins to protest, wanting to explain that she needs to use the bathroom. Her father becomes more upset with her and yells at her that she is now talking back and she is not allowed to say another word at the dinner table until everyone is finished eating and then she can be excused.

Unfortunately for Kate, she can’t hold it, and she has a little accident because she is too fearful to say a word to her Dad. She doesn’t want to get yelled at anymore. She also knows that in her home, kids don’t have a say. What Mom and Dad say is like words carved into stone. They are strict beyond reason and they will not bend their rules. Therefore, Kate felt that she had no choice in the matter and when she could no longer hold it. There was nothing she could do about it.

Kate’s parents are an example of authoritarian parenting. They are strict, they are not emotionally engaged with their children, and they have very high expectations for their children. This type of parenting style leaves children feeling disconnected from their parents.

Kate wanted to communicate to her parents that she had to use the restroom, but she couldn’t even get her words out because her parents have such strict rules and demands of her. They did not care to hear what she had to say, because upholding their rules was more important to them. In their household, a child’s opinions and feelings do not matter.

This kind of strict parenting is not helpful for children. It can damage a child and leave them with low self-esteem, mental health issues, and doing poor academically among other problems cited by research in Parenting Science.[1]

What Does Authoritarian Parenting Look Like?

In the 1960’s, a researcher and theorist by the name of Baumrind established the well known theory of parenting styles. Those four parenting styles, which are well known today, are authoritarian, authoritative, passive, and neglectful. For proactive parents that are trying hard to be good parents, they will usually lean toward either authoritarian or authoritative.

Authoritarian parenting involves strict parenting and high expectations for children. This can sound reasonable and even like good parenting. However, the strict parenting is often characterized by lack of compassion toward the child, little to no flexibility in rules, and complete control sought over the child’s behavior.

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Parents who use this parenting style believe it is their job to control the will and behavior of their children. An article in Psychology Today explains how authoritarian parents operate:[2]

Authoritarian parents believe that children are, by nature, strong-willed and self-indulgent. They value obedience to higher authority as a virtue unto itself. Authoritarian parents see their primary job to be bending the will of the child to that of authority—the parent, the church, the teacher. Willfulness is seen to be the root of unhappiness, bad behavior, and sin. Thus, a loving parent is one who tries to break the will of the child.

For example, Jake has authoritarian parents. He wants to stay out past curfew on a school night because he has an opportunity to play in a jazz ensemble. He has been playing the saxophone for years and his ambition is to play in a college jazz ensemble.

With Jake still being in high school, his parents have a curfew. On school nights, it is 8:00 pm. This rule is instituted because his parents believe they need to ensure that Jake gets his school work done each night and that he needs to be well rested for school the next day. However, they don’t explain the why of their rules to him, they simply tell him that those are their rules. The jazz ensemble is practicing at 8:00 pm on a Thursday night and they have invited Jake to come play with them. It is a well known group and a huge opportunity for Jake.

Unfortunately, his parents say no. Their authoritarian parenting style is unwavering. He wants to discuss the opportunity and its importance, but his parents will not even entertain the conversation. They stop him mid-sentence and go over their rules again. There is no flexibility.

If Jake’s parents had been authoritative, they would have taken the time to hear out his case and would likely have granted him a later curfew for that one instance. They would see that, although they have a curfew, there are some instances when an opportunity is worth bending the rules. They would ask that he has his homework done before going to play with the group, and that he come home as soon as the practice was finished.

Authoritative parents have rules, but they are also flexible based on reasonable requests for exceptions. The authoritative parents are interested in how their children are thinking and feeling. Conversely, authoritarian parents are not likely to be interested in hearing their child’s thoughts and feelings, because they want to control the will of their child, not come to some middle ground.

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Here are some characteristics of authoritarian parenting:

  • They have strict rules that are unyielding and unwavering. This is often called “heavy handed parenting.”
  • They do not want input from the child about rules. They also feel that the child’s opinion does not matter, because they are the parent thus are the supreme authority over the child.
  • There are severe punishments when rules are broken.
  • There is an emotional disconnection between parent and child, because the parent is not interested in what the child thinks or feels. They are more interested in controlling the behavior of the child and having the child be compliant to their rules.
  • Children are expected to listen to their parents and follow the rules, there are no exceptions. A child that voices their objections will likely be punished for doing so.
  • The parents have high expectations, especially when it comes to compliance of their rules.
  • Parents expect that their child will be obedient and they do not need to explain the “why” of their rules and expectations. Compliance is expected out of sheer obedience, not because the child understands the reasons why the rules are set. Parents do not feel the need to explain why they set their rules.
  • There is a failure to have attached relationships between parent and child because of the overly dominant nature of authoritarian parents and their unwillingness to allow their children to have their own voice or free will.

Authoritarian parents are driven by a belief that they need to control their children. This means controlling their children’s behavior to an extreme. They are inflexible and don’t take into account the child’s desires, emotions, or well-being as being as important to enforcing rules to get the desired outcome. Authoritative parents on the other hand, seek to guide and direct their children instead of control. There is a distinction.

The Problems of Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritarian parenting has many negative consequences to children. Children who are raised in homes with extreme authoritarian parenting are more likely to become dependent on drugs and alcohol, have lower academic performance, and increased mental health issues according to Parenting for Brain.[3] Children who are raised with authoritarian parents are also more likely to have lower self esteem, inability to make decisive choices, and have social skills that are lacking.

When a child is raised to be taught day in and day out that their voice does not matter, then that child will likely be ingrained with that belief. They will not value their own opinions because they have been taught that what they think does not matter and is of no value. This leads to poor self-esteem and low self-worth.

If a child doesn’t believe that their thoughts matter, then what they think about themselves overall is going to be affected. They will not think highly of themselves or believe that what they think, say, or do is of value. This will contribute to low self-esteem long term.

Social skills will suffer because a child who comes from an authoritarian home will be trained to believe that nobody wants to hear their opinion and that relationships are based on compliance.

For example, Judy is raised in an authoritarian home. She is now 18 years old and has her first boyfriend. Anytime that he asks something of her, even if she internally disagrees, she feels that she is supposed to comply and do what he says in order for him to like her and continue wanting to be with her.

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He wants to have sex. She does not feel that she is ready, but she will not voice this to her boyfriend because she doesn’t think that her opinion will matter or that he will want to listen to what she is feeling. She goes along with sex in their relationship to be compliant. She doesn’t want to be punished by disagreeing with not having sex. He says that they are ready for that next step in the relationship and she fears that the consequence of saying no would be that he ends the relationship.

Therefore, she doesn’t even voice her thoughts or feelings on the situation because she doesn’t think they have value or will be heard anyway.

She has been taught by her parents that her opinions and feelings don’t matter. She has learned from the past 18 years with her parents that what matters most is that she is compliant. She gets along with her parents best when she is doing exactly what they want her to do. This is why she feels the need to do the same with her boyfriend.

Going along with his decisions, being compliant, and not voicing her feelings will keep the relationship going and avoid conflict or punishment. The ultimate punishment in her mind would be that he ends the relationship.

With her opinions never being valued by those who she has loved the most (her parents), she has learned that she should not voice her opinion if she wants to keep the other person in the relationship happy. In her mind, because of how she has been raised, compliance overrides all else, and her opinion is meaningless.

However, her boyfriend is not her parents. He is understanding and would want to know how she feels. He wants a long term relationship with her and he loves her so much. His true desire is for her to be happy. He would never want her to have sex if she wasn’t feeling the same way that he was feeling. He would gladly wait and would want to hear what she thinks and feels about taking their relationship to the next level.

Authoritarian parenting methods can inflict great harm on a child. The child becomes emotionally damaged because they grow up believing that their opinions, thoughts, and feelings do not matter. Instead they are taught that compliance and being obedient supersedes all else.

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The Solution

The solution is to move from authoritarian parenting methods to authoritative parenting practices.

Authoritative parenting has been deemed as the best parenting method by researchers, according to Psychology Today. Parents who use authoritative parenting methods have rules for their children, but they are not looking for blind compliance. They recognize that having a relationship with their child is of great importance and therefore valuing the child’s voice, opinions, and thoughts is important.

Authoritative parents seek to guide and direct their children, but they do not seek to control the will of their child.

Parenting Coach Plan explains the foundation of authoritative parenting as the following:[4]

Authoritative parenting can be described as a style of parenting that combines firm limits and clear boundaries with fair and consistent discipline. Authoritative parents are also nurturing, highly-involved, and willing to speak openly with their child regarding expectations and the consequences for failing to meet those expectations. Rules are enforced and fair consequences are put in place for when those rules are broken.

Children raised in authoritative homes follow the rules because they understand the “why” of the rules. They are also bonded to their parents because they are able to talk to their parents openly. This bond helps nurture a positive home environment and a two-way relationship that can last a lifetime.

To learn more about how to be an authoritative parent and how to discipline a child using this parenting method, check out my article:

How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

Reference

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