Child Led Way

Your baby won’t be a baby forever. “The Continuum Concept,” written by Jean Liedloff, has been one of the most influential books since my daughter was born. It talks about the child-led way of raising children and how that builds their sense of security, confidence and trust in parents for not forcing them or shaming them to do what they are not ready to do.

One question that arises from parents is “What about forcing the child to sleep in another room?” I know there are many books that provide strategies to enforce that children sleep in their own room, after reading the Continuum Concept, I felt that I would rather have my child express a desire for her own room, than me force her to stay in another room.  I’m not alone. More and more parents are choosing to listen to their child’s choices for comfort and security.

Then there is the potty training. If I had stuck with the Elimination Communication method, my little one would be using the toilet consistently at the age of 2-years. Due to the use of diapers, the bodily functions were ignored since birth. Recently she is more aware and doesn’t hesitate to let me know that she needs to stop and use the toilet when we are driving in the car.  Again, people make comments, “She is already 2 and not potty trained! Come on mama. Get with it!” Actually, the shift to using the toilet isn’t truly potty training. Well, I guess I could be training her if I bribed her with candy or stickers or treats for using the toilet, but she isn’t an animal to train.  Since it is now up to her to get into the habit and gain consistent awareness of having to use the toilet, all I can do is make sure the environment supports her. She is getting the hang of it on her own and won’t be in diapers forever.

Some moms choose to allow their child to self-wean. Babies that are weaned early may not want the use of a bottle or pacifier and some will.  Just yesterday a Mom told me she blamed the dog for chewing up her son’s bottle to completely move him to a sippy cup and how distressed that he was for many days after. My daughter self weaned very early.  Now at 2 she drinks from cups and still wants a bottle when she is upset, sleepy or to go to fall sleep. No big deal…I know she will let go of the bottle when she is ready emotionally and physically.

I recall when I was about 8, my 5 year old brother had a security blanket that he kept with him all the time. He was like Linus. I would over hear my parents complain about the blanket more than a few times and scheme to throw it away or bribe him with a new one. One day they did throw it away. I still remember my brother’s traumatic reaction. I understand my parents were caught up in what other people would say or think. Too bad that sometimes matters. We will never know how the internal stress of being forced will affect a child and stay with them into adulthood.  The long term effects can be profound if they are forced before they are ready to do anything. Trust is vital to a parent-child relationship.  No child or adult will trust any person who repeatedly attempts to force or manipulate.

We do know that little children will be sleeping in their own bed, out of diapers, off the baby bottle and done with their blankie soon enough, in their own short and delicate time of being a little child. The very least of our worries should be that our baby will be the only adult on the planet with baby habits.

NOTE about the Elimination Communication Method otherwise known as EC is about taking the baby to the toilet from birth and involves tuning into baby’s potty urge queues/communications (squirming when nursing). It’s also putting them over a toilet or pot first thing in the morning, before bed even if they don’t go at first. There are a good amount of books and websites on Elimination Communication. You can even find stores and site that sell infant underwear, toilets and other EC items. 

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