There are 7 reasons according to researchers, why you as parents are struggling with cry based sleep training.
If you are tired and thinking about sleep training, these are definitely 7 things to consider.
1. Enduring crying
Difficulty with their child crying is the biggest reason (according to researchers) why we as parents quit or don’t attempt cry based sleep training. It’s difficult to ignore, and our instinct is to stop the crying in anyway we can.
Psychologists highlight the importance of parents’ interpretation of the cry. This is where it can be helpful to have the support of a sleep consultant or friend if you are sleep training.
Interestingly researchers report that “parents who regard crying as a sign of distress typically consider ignoring it as neglectful or insensitive. For these parents, ignoring their child would lead to negative emotions such as shame, guilt, and anger; and these act as negative reinforcers against behavior change. These significant negative beliefs and emotions are connected to lowered parent efficacy and self-perceived competence, which in turn are related to poor child sleep. Thus, these negative self-beliefs and emotions and child sleep behaviors can create a self-reinforcing loop.”
(original research here)
This highlights the importance that the sleep training technique needs to align with your parenting style to leave you feeling empowered and confident, not shame, guilt and anger.
2. Practical considerations
Although crying is a big reason to quit or not start sleep training, others find the practical side of implementing cry based sleep training impossible. They might feel it will wake their partner, or older children in the house.
Work and family demands have also been cited as reasons why parents simply don’t have the practical time needed to consistently address sleep issues with sleep training.
If you are worried sleep training will wake the entire house, then gentle sleep training might be the better option. Or waiting until you have resources available to create some space at home. A professional sleep consultant can help if you feel you simply don’t have the time to put into sleep training. Let us take care of the hard work, and deliver you the results with as minimal stress as possible!
3. Fear of repercussions
Fear that extended periods of crying will hard your babies health or attachment are another common reason for parents abandoning or not attempting cry based sleep training.
“Parents are able to read summaries of the academic literature via media releases, social media and online parenting groups, thus they may make parenting decisions based on what they interpret to be evidence-based practice. However, there is limited evidence to conclusively support or deny that there are any lasting negative effects of extinction, and what exists is complicated by methodological issues such as measurement methods, participant samples and experiment protocols which most parents are unlikely to understand.”
I don’t think what is important here is whether of not CIO is appropriate as a sleep training method, but more so that if its not in alignment with your parenting style, then its not for you. Helping parents with a sleep training strategy that doesn’t compromise their parenting style is what we are about, not trying to change your style, or convince you something you don’t like is ok.
Parents are often not well informed, or misinformed about the benefits, risks, and exactly how to implement cry based sleep training. The digital age means parents get their information from social media, blogs, and social networks. A lot of these networks and blogs present a specific parenting ideology or style, so their narrative supports and validates what they believe. This can lead to misinformation if parents are looking for a clear answer on how to sleep train their children. One study can easily misinterpreted but a blog can quickly circulate providing “proof” to those looking that their ideology is supported.
This misinformation can also make families who are happy to try cry based sleep training feel their training is not working, as small regressions are normal, but these can be perserved as evidence the sleep training is not working, and lead parents to quit the process.
As sleep consultants we think critically and try to provide all our clients with information that is not biased towards one sleep training strategy. We want you to be successful, so we provide you with information, support and options! Let us explain the information available around sleep training and help you make an properly informed decision.
5. In-congruence with personal beliefs
If a sleep training method doesn’t align with your personal or parental beliefs then its not going to sit well with you, and you probably wont be very successful at implementing it. This one is not rocket science, but this research paper basically agrees with us. We need to help you without compromising on your parenting style.
Marriage tension is related to increase in child sleep issues, maybe due to a stressful house distrupting the child, or………….more likely the lack of sleep is putting stress on a marriage by decreasing coping ability of parents. Their emotions are high, there tolerance is down.
Once parents are at this stage, it is super important to have everyone in alignment and agreement with what is happening with the child’s sleep.
6. Different cultural practices
Not all associations are considered negative by all cultures. For example the thought of letting a child sleep alone is considered strange and cruel by some cultures, and therefore the idea to sleep train a child to sleep independently would never be considered.
Research indicates that most cry based sleep training methods involve a very western set up, with a child in their own room all night. While this isn’t the case for many children, and especially with the WHO recommendations changing to 12 months of room sharing, its important to know that while room sharing you do have options that can fit in with your cultural beliefs. Gentle sleep training with a consultant, can sometimes be just as fast as cry based methods, and more appropriate for families looking to long term room share.
If you are starting a program of sleep training while extremely sleep deprived this research supports the idea that you are more likely to struggle to resist your child’s demands, or you might fall asleep in your babies bed or cot due to exhaustion.
Parents struggling with mental health may also struggle to use cry based sleep training, but studies suggest these are the parents who most need a swift solution as some of their symptoms could be alleviated with proper sleep.
This parent wellness is a big part of why our home consults are so successful! If you are shattered, fed up, or just plain over it and want some support, book a home consult! Less us bare the brunt of the stress, let us show you the most successful way to change your babies sleep without compromising on your parenting style. Removing reason number 7 for why sleep training fails is imperative and so easily done with our home consult packages.