Behaviour Problems in Young Children: Assessment and Management

By Jo Douglas | Go to book overview

Chapter ten

Crying babies

A crying baby can cause parents great anxiety and stress. The tone of the cry, the length of time spent crying, and the ability to modify it all influence parents’ feelings and reactions. Research studies have examined the acoustic features of babies’ cries as an aid in diagnosis of organic disorder (Wasz-Höckert et al. 1985), adults’ feelings and perceptions of babies’ cries (Boukydis 1985; Murray 1985; Lounsbury and Bates 1982), and the effect of babies’ cries on parents’ behaviour (Donovan and Leavitt 1985; Frodi 1985).

Crying in young babies is described in varying ways by parents. In some babies it is time linked in the day, often in the evening, and has been called ‘three-month colic’. This type of crying is often inconsolable and has the appearance that the child is in pain although no physical cause is found. Legs are drawn up or the baby’s back arches, the baby may struggle, not snuggle down for comfort, and feeding is refused (Brazelton 1962; Rebelsky and Black 1972).

Other parents report that their baby cries nearly all day long. A pattern of general fussiness, irritability, crying, and whining is described with disturbed sleep and feeding patterns. Parents can become distraught with attempting to comfort such babies. Mothers may feel they have to carry the baby around all day and have no time to do any other household chores. The fact that there are different styles of crying and different levels of intensity and duration suggest that it is multifactorial in origin.

It can be helpful to see crying as a developmental process responding to physiological demands in the first few months of life but later developing into affective expression of the baby’s emotional state. Crying can then be seen as a social communi-

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Behaviour Problems in Young Children: Assessment and Management
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements x
  • Chapter One - Introduction: Causes of Behaviour Problems 1
  • Chapter Two - Assessment of the Problem 16
  • Chapter Three - Positive Parenting 36
  • Chapter Four - Setting Limits 48
  • Chapter Five - Eating and Feeding Difficulties 67
  • Chapter Six - Toilet Training 94
  • Chapter Seven - Bedtime and Sleep Problems 116
  • Chapter Eight - Emotional Problems 135
  • Chapter Nine - The Overactive and Hyperactive Child 155
  • Chapter Ten - Crying Babies 176
  • References 191
  • Index 215
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