Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Parenting Barometer

Lately I've been wondering whether or not it's fair to judge the quality of a parent based on how much their child cries.

I mean, up to a certain age, it isn't, right? Because babies do what they're going to do. But beyond that, what factors in to how often a child throws a tantrum? Is it all the fault of the parents? (I'm leaning this way in my thought processes.) Or is it just how the child is? Genetics and nature and whatnot?

I know this is going into the whole nature/nurture thing, which is still a big argument in psychology and whatnot, but I'm curious.

What brought this on?

A baby is wailing somewhere in the near vicinity of my apartment. I don't know where exactly it's coming from, but it feels almost constant sometimes. Today the baby was joined by what sounds like a belligerent toddler, howling and tantrum-ing at the top of their lungs. It sounded like it was coming from the same apartment.

Is the baby fussy, or is it being neglected?

What is up with that friggin' screaming toddler?

Is this going to be what my life's soundtrack is like in a couple of months?

God, I hope not.


  1. I think babies are just fussy. And toddlers are too, now that I think of it. In my inestimably wise, learned opinion, the only measure of good parenting there is how the parents respond to the fussing. I remember my mom telling me (when she had the home daycare) that sometimes, they just need to scream.

    That probably doesn't help, though. Sorry.

    On an unrelated note, I had a horrible nightmare last night where I was trying and trying to write, and my brain refused to put words together. Like, I just did not know how to do it at all. Ugh.

  2. Yeah, I'm with Elise that you really can't judge someone's parenting on how much their baby or toddler is screaming or crying (their older kids, however, feel free to judge away!) With a baby, he or she could have colic, and the parents have no idea how to help it ("The Happiest Baby on the Block" book has a really good technique). The baby could also be teething (the toddler as well...molars can be a %&$#@.) Some babies and toddlers also need to scream for a minute to blow off steam so they can go to sleep. Just talking from personal experience here. I feel like Gavin is screaming at me 24/7 right now. He's very smart but doesn't talk yet, so he gets really frustrated. Also, if you're a really good parent to a baby, that can lead to a screamy toddler. Gavin was so used to having his every need met instantly at a baby that now he's older, he doesn't understand that his wants and needs aren't the same thing. Hopefully it's just a phase for us, and hopefully you won't have TOO much crying yourself in your near future. Breastfeeding is great for that. Stick the crying baby on the boob, and he'll tend to quiet down unless he needs a change :)