Jessica Stebbins, MS, Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern
Discovery Institute, P.A. Rockledge, FL
Serving Brevard County
As a parent of an infant, I have found there are several books on different philosophies of infant childcare. The parenting techniques and philosophies that are highly publicized differ greatly yet there are many people who are strong proponents for each, stating that it worked for their family and child. On the other hand, for each philosophy there are just as many if not more that warn against it saying that it not only did not work, but they believe that it can be dangerous or detrimental to babies. How can this be you may ask? How can they be so different, work for some, and yet be problematic for others? If you are a new parent I am sure you want what is best for your child and chances are you are sleep deprived, desperate for some positive results, and just plain unsure of what to do next, all of which makes your goal seem even harder to achieve. As we begin to be responsible for shaping a new person’s life and become aware of how our actions may affect this tiny person for the rest of his/her life, it can sometimes become overwhelming and we may wish for someone to just tell us what to do. (Hint: The first lesson here is that parenting a certain way just because someone or a book says to, is not the way to raise a well adjusted child.)
One way that it is possible that the technique that worked for your friend, relative, or neighbor may not work for you is that as individuals, we all have different personalities, preferences, and needs. In fact, there is a good chance that the same technique will not work for two children in the same family, as I frequently hear parents of two or more children say. Some of the differences that may determine whether a parenting style will work for your baby or not include your baby’s stress and frustration tolerance levels, coping skills, and level of neediness. In addition to the differences of our children, we as parents, have different strengths and weaknesses.
In the next few articles I will be discussing some of the most difficult decisions parents have to face such as whether to let their child cry it out or to comfort, how much of a schedule to instill, and how quickly to respond to their child’s needs. Instead of being just another person giving their opinion on the different infant parenting styles, I will discuss how each of the styles relates to your child’s developmental needs according to the widely accepted developmental theories, as well as provide additional resources.
For those of you in the Merritt Island area that are looking for a therapist, please give me a call or email me. It would be my pleasure to give you more information on my services and to work with you in the future.