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  • Megan Robert

MYTH #4: SLEEP TRAINING WILL DAMAGE YOUR CHILD

MYTH 4 OF 10


The number one concern related to sleep training that I hear from clients is this idea that sleep training will damage a child. And I don’t blame them! There is A LOT of fear mongering information out there that scares parents away from sleep training.



Here are a few concerns mentioned directly from my clients prior to our time together when asked if they had any regarding sleep training: "Long term trauma for letting her scream or cry too long." "[I] do not want to psychologically damage my child if that is even possible." "Damaging him." "Causing developmental issues." "Causing behavior issues." "Unsure how to safely go about it while giving my son what he needs."


All of these parents knew their children needed better sleep, yet, this fear can still linger until you go through the process and see the results yourself!


When making decisions regarding our children's health, we obviously want to keep their best interest at heart. And when doing so, it helps to make sure we are armored with valid information. The risks involved for a child who does not get the proper sleep necessary for growth and development outweighs the risks of sleep training when you dive into well-done peer-reviewed journal articles.


When you are reading information that might instill fear when you are aiming to guide your child to better rest (or anything parenting!), consider asking the following questions:


1 - Is the information being provided coming from a valid source? A valid source meaning it isn’t just someone’s opinion or biases.


If this is the case, ignore the information and find a source that is valid! Examples of invalid sources are blog posts without links to evidence, someone who lacks the education, someone’s opinion, etc.


If the source is valid, peer-reviewed journal/scientific article, move onto the following questions.


2 - If it is coming from a valid source, double check that the information extracted from that source was not manipulated to fit someone else’s agenda. Here, we need to consider two different scenarios.


A - Is the study being used related to the topic of discussion? In this case, does the resource used provide information on behavioral sleep interventions?


When I went through my FSI certification program, one of my assignments was to find peer-reviewed journal/scientific articles that hypothesized both sides of the cry-it-out (CIO) argument. The point was to understand what kind of information is out there and how crying in relation to sleep training does or does not affect children.


When looking for evidence related to whatever topic, it seems like it should be a no brainer that we want the evidence to be related to... the topic. Right? Unfortunately, this isn’t always how people use the information.


For example, Dr. Sears is pretty good at doing this to argue against C