You can’t let a baby to cry itself to sleep. It harms the self.
This is Part 33 in a series of articles about the “self.”
I’m not referring to older babies, but rather infants and newborns.
Imagine a baby, lying on his back.
He sees a foot floating by, grabs it and puts it in his mouth.
“Hey, it’s interesting: a piece of cloth, a toy, a foot. I’ll eat it.’
He doesn’t think about it,he just does it. Why not? He’s exploring.
OK, the kid is acting like a cannibal but he doesn’t know it’s a foot.
He certainly doesn’t know it’s his foot.
An infant isn’t truly aware of itself.
As infants, if we thought about ourselves at all, we would probably think we were our mothers or at least part of our mothers.
When a baby is distraught it cries. Babies cry for only a few reasons: they are wet, dirty, hungry, cold, hot, tired, or lonely. If the complaint isn’t physical, then usually when the mother comes into the room all is well. Nothing has really changed yet but the child feels at one with the mother.
You can’t let a baby cry itself to sleep. It harms the development of the self, leads to feelings of abandonment and makes an impossible demand.
They aren’t that good with the peek-a-boo game yet either. Oh, they love it, but they don’t get it.
They’ll put their hands over their own eyes and say ‘You can’t see me.”
You think you’ll trade him in for a smart one.
If they are in some difficulty and the mother says: “Do you want me to help you?” The child nods or says yes. But if the child generates the request for help, he might say ‘Help You?’ to the mother because he’s heard the mother saying ‘Can I help you?’ to him.
He’s learning language but the basics aren’t there. The ‘you’ and the ‘I’ the ‘me’ are not established yet.
All to do with the self.
WALKING WITH MOM
Think of a small child with his mother in a public place, a mall say.
The child will walk (well, they don’t exactly walk, they stumble or careen, or stagger, but you know what I mean) away from the mother; he goes a few feet, stops, turns around and laughs as if he was on a great adventure, almost leaving home.
This continues as the child moves further and further away from the mother. (It’s only a matter of a few feet each time but it’s a big deal for the kid).
All is well until the child moves around corner or is blocked by passing strangers. Now he can’t see the mother when he turns. That’s when you hear the siren wail. ‘What the hell happened to my mother? I’m lost. She’s gone! I’m doomed!’
He thinks of himself as attached in some way to the mother (or he thinks he’s part of the mother, or he IS the mother) and can’t see a place or an identity for himself without her. He hasn’t developed a sense of self yet.
The child needs the parents and others to establish itself as an entity. If that mother doesn’t reappear on the radar soon, the child’s sense of safety is in danger.
BABIES CRYING AT NIGHT
This is why it is wrong to leave a baby crying, especially an infant.
I know the opposite opinion. Child arrives, cries during the night. A lot.
One parent, usually the father, finally says, “Leave the kid alone. He is not the only one in the house. He has to learn he’s not king S*&! Let him cry himself to sleep.”
Maybe he will and maybe he won’t, but the point is the attitude toward the child is wrong. It’s wrong because the child has no sense of himself absent the mother and if you leave him alone for too long, too often, he will start to have feelings of abandonment which leads to insecurity.
That does nothing to help develop a sense of self. He can’t display a sense of self if he does not yet understand (even on an unconscious level) it or feel it.
And to demand of him to have it when it is impossible, is, well, impossible.
(This doesn’t apply to older children, just to infants, newborns. The timing will be different for each child.)
If they’re three and still doing this, you are doing something wrong!
The thing here is that the newborn has no discernable sense of self and we can’t treat them as if they do.
The self grows slowly and under proper cultivation.
Many people didn’t get enough water and too much fertilizer in the process of self-development.
If you think, feel or know this happened to you, is this is the time to fix it.
Email me and we’ll set up a free chat. Or call me and we’ll start work on fixing y0ur sense of self.
I’ll be with you.
P.S. If you could do this by yourself, you would have done it by now.