I am a social worker and parent in Australia concerned about the western practice of a method called 'controlled crying' that is used on infants to get them to sleep. This blog talks about the use of this method and other parenting methods. Search all the information on this site to be better informed about the practice of controlled crying. For any comments or questions, my email is

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Controlled Crying in the Media

A Current Affair
Author Pinky McKay was recently on A Current Affair in a segment called Sweet Dreams for you and your baby. In it she describes that Controlled Crying can be harmful.

Meet the Fockers
In this movie, the tough CIA agent Dad, Jack Burns (played by Robert DeNiro) says to his soon to be son in law, Greg Focker (played by Ben Stiller), that he is "Ferberizing" the boy (little Jack), so by no means are they to go into him when he cries.
"Now, remember, Greg,we're Ferberizing him. So unless it's an emergency, under no circumstances should you pick him up or cuddle him in any way when he cries". "He's learning to self-soothe, that means no television, no unapproved toys, and most of all, no monkey businessof any kind. Is that clear?"
Greg Focker is unable to sit and listen to the boys cries, and goes in to comfort him.

Controlled Crying
A play written by Ron Ellisha, playing in October. See the below link for more info;
Controlled Crying dissects the anxieties and trials of Oscar (Paul English) and Libby (Margot Knight) as they raise their daughter Millie. The opening scene gives the play its title, as Oscar and Libby lie awake at night desperately following the technique called "controlled crying", which stipulates that parents must obey a strict protocol of not comforting their baby unless it cries for more than 10 minutes at a time.
According to crude behavioural theory, this should ensure the child learns a sense of independence - but it plays hell with the parents' instinctive desire to comfort their baby.

Read the rest of the review for this play here;

Mad About You
Did a show involving the Ferber method, and attempted an uninterrupted half hour of leaving their baby crying. Jamie & Paul sat outside the bedroom door, with their baby crying on the other side, clutching Dr Ferbers book and agonizing for a while, then he said something like, "What do you really want to do?" and she said, "Go to her!" and so they rescued the baby and apologized and hugged and cried.

Can you think of other examples in the media? Email me and I will post them here

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