Much of the harm is unmeasurable. If we are thinking about emotional outcomes, such as anxiety, depression, ability to cope with stress, trauma etc., these are outcomes that are not directly tangible or easily observable. These issues may also take years and years to surface, and would require long term studies to evaluate whether sleep training methods played a role.
If you know anything about appraising research, you probably know you can find research to support any opinion or position. It’s important to take a look at the design: the methods, the outcomes being measured, any biases to determine whether there are flaws in the study. Yes, you will find some studies that support the use of CIO techniques for infants.
A common response I get to speaking out against CIO or withdrawal type sleep training methods is, “Show me proof that sleep training is harmful.” While I’m happy to share research that I stumble across, I feel like we sometimes think too simplistically about this issue, and I want to start a several part series explaining some of the problems I have with the current research and parenting paradigms.
When girls receive positive comments mostly for their looks, they learn to prioritize appearances over internal strength and personal growth. I want my daughters to feel confident in their strength, their unique quirks, their kind souls, and their outside-the-norm minds. These qualities make a difference in the end, not a cute dress.
I like esthetically pleasing photos. I also like a clean house. And by that, I mean, if a closet door or drawer can’t hide it, I like it to look clean. But sometimes we see a picture and think, I wish my house looked like that or I wish I could keep my house that clean.