By delaying soothing we are effectively permitting this hormone to remain in the baby’s system for an abnormally long time frame. Whilst cortisol is an important part of the human system, prolonged presence of this chemical in our system may become toxic and it will impact many areas of the baby’s life. It could affect the sleeping patterns, attachment style of the baby and have a profound impact on the baby’s perception of the world, creating thoughts of loneliness that will in many ways influence the future of the baby as it grows up. Some of these traces remain visible even in adulthood.
Therefore, do pick your baby up when it cries. Lessons about independent living can come at a later stage. I challenge the idea with the greatest strength I can gather, that children still grew up well even without these “modern” strategies of parenting, which are often ridiculed and belittled. Had past methods been truly adequate, we would not have the need for the word still in the phrase still grew up. We would simply say, “they grew up well.” But most of us know that it is not the case. The human body follows a process of maturity for the body which is distinct from the process of maturity of the self (psychological). They body grows and develops until it dies. Thus the child will become an adult even if s/he lives in the most adverse of lifestyles. They grow up despite the abuse. The formation of self is different. Although the child becomes a man (or a woman) their sense of identity remain broken, fragile or underdeveloped. This is why we must challenge certain ideas which are rooted in no real empirical evidence and hold no value for life. We must question methods and stop doing them out of tradition, but must inform ourselves and adopt practices which truly foster positivity in our lives.
Steve Libreri is a social worker and parent coach within Willingness. He offers parent coaching and social work sessions. He can be contacted on email@example.com.