Must the baby sleep in a crib, or not?

Assignment – Discussion – Developmental Psychology: Given the perspective discussed in this course, and your familiarity with the reading, discuss your thoughts about the influence and role of Multicultural Psychology in the field of Developmental Psychology.

Must the baby sleep in a crib, or not?

I find the role of Multicultural Psychology, especially in relation to Developmental Psychology, very important and a fascinating topic. My wife and I are from Sweden, and we have a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter named Astrid. At home, my wife mostly speaks to her in Swedish, while I mostly speak in English. In the summer we take her to Sweden so she can spend time with her grandparents and learn about Sweden at a young age. Our goal is to raise her to feel as much at home in Sweden as she does in the United States. Of course, we know that’s not an easy task, so we do not put too much pressure on ourselves. Instead, we try to do what feels natural to us.

In the context of developmental psychology and cultural differences, co-sleeping versus sleeping alone is often a topic of discussion among family and friends. Being in the womb for nine months, sharing the same nervous system, and then immediately sleeping alone seemed like too big a step for us. It just felt wrong to let our daughter sleep alone. Although some of our friends felt the same way, most thought it was better to let the baby sleep alone. Interestingly, this was often a highly charged topic of discussion. Regardless of which behavior was right or wrong, we often felt we had to explain and, in a sense, defend our point of view.

Because both Swedish and American cultures emphasize individual achievement and the importance of success, most people around us feel it is necessary to put their children in childcare at a very early age and let them sleep alone. Out of convenience and trying to piece together the puzzle of daily life, this is very understandable and seems to be the best choice for many people. However, when we explain that we do it differently, we feel that some people feel a little guilty and react defensively, trying to convince us to do it their way.

Maria, how are you sleeping? You look tired. Is Astrid still sleeping in the same bed as you? Maybe it’s time for her to sleep in her own room.

Reading Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model has helped me understand some of the differences and issues my wife and I have experienced in our parenting style. Knowing that the ecological environment can be divided into different nested systems such as the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem made it easier to navigate some of the complications we experience on a daily basis (Gardiner, Mutter, & Kosmitzki, 2010). I was relieved to read that a common cross-cultural difference between an individualistic culture and a collectivistic culture is that in the former, “parents generally place babies in their own cribs in their own rooms” (Gardiner et al, 2010, pp. 18-19), while in the latter, “children are allowed to sleep with parents, often for many years” (Gardiner et al, 2010, p. 19).

I can see the critical role and influence that Multicultural Psychology plays in Developmental Psychology. I look forward to learning more about this topic to better understand the cultural differences and similarities between Swedish and American cultures. I hope to grow even more as a parent through this course and other courses at Saybrook.


Gardiner, H. W., Mutter, J. D., & Kosmitzki, C. (2010). Lives across cultures: Cross-cultural human development. (5th ed.). Pearson. ISBN-10: 0205841740 $66.02*

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