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Thread: A Warning About: Babywise / Toddlerwise / Childwise by Gary Ezzo

  1. #1

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    Default A Warning About: Babywise / Toddlerwise / Childwise by Gary Ezzo

    Gary Ezzo from Babywise... he was ostracised from his own religious group from his teachings.

    I strongly recommend you read this before trying it:

    Ezzo.info: Babywise Concerns

    Babywise / Prep for Parenting / Along the Infant Way
    Babywise is the secular version of Ezzo's Christian church class curriculum, Preparation for Parenting -- which has also been published under the name Along the Infant Way. Since the original publication of Babywise in 1993 and of Preparation for Parenting in approximately 1987, there have been numerous revisions of both. Critics continue to be concerned about inadequate feeding advice, faulty concepts of child development and a manipulative presentation.

    These are explored on the following pages:

    Feeding Issues

    Child Development Issues

    Concerns About Divisiveness

    For a general overview, you might want to read Ezzo 101
    Babywise and Preparation for Parenting (also known as Let the Children Come: Along the Infant Way) have been criticized by hundreds of professionals in pediatric medicine, human lactation, psychology, anthropology, child development, and theology. Problems have been associated with these programs -- cases of slow weight gain, failure to thrive, depressed babies, even hospitalization. Its feeding recommendations were the subject of a warning sent out by the AAP.
    The primary authors of the material, Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo, are self-proclaimed experts. Gary Ezzo has no background or expertise in child development, psychology, breastfeeding, or pediatric medicine, and holds neither an associate's nor a bachelor's degree from any college; his master of arts degree in Christian ministry was granted through a program that awarded credit for life experience in lieu of an undergraduate degree. Anne Marie Ezzo worked only briefly as an R.N. decades ago. It is unclear what, if anything, Babywise co-author Dr. Robert Bucknam contributed to that book, since the earlier religious versions are essentially the same with additional material and do not have his name on the cover.
    Insults parents who hold other views. Ezzo teaches a host of insulting things about parents he disagrees with. A sampling of insulting beliefs Ezzo passes on to his followers about parents who don't follow his teaching: they are "in their thinking, [only] Christian up to a point," they are naive, they frequently fail to notice when their babies are sick, they respond to their babies' cries without rational consideration of why the baby is crying, their children never learn to accept delayed gratification and eventually shoplift, push other children off swings, and their children are academically disadvantaged.
    Insults health care professionals. The book says that health care providers who don't support Babywise are not up-to-date enough to grasp Babywise's breastfeeding benefits, or are biased because of their professional training (2001, p. 100).
    Rhetoric that plays on fear, shame and guilt. The material often seeks to persuade the reader not by providing reason, facts, and logic, but by playing on their fears of sleepless nights and unmanageable children, shaming them for not seeking "God's way," and creating guilt when they face challenges most parents recognize as normal stages of child development and parenting. As parents absorb and then reflect these messages to their friends and church community, it alienates them.
    Could go on and on and on and on... the website also has a list of recommended Christian reading for parenting.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    In 2015 I went Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team

  2. #2

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    i wish i had read this before i actually read the book. I was recommended this by my sister-in-law and because its sold in christian stores, i was naive enough to trust it. reading this book was one of the worst mistakes i made, i wish i could have my time again with my daughter in the first few weeks as the book made us parent from a perspective of fear - God doesn't want us to live in fear either. The first few weeks were awful - we felt like failures, breastfeeding was going awfully and she just screamed and screamed; we were too scared to cuddle her to sleep from what we'd read. Thanks to the guidance on bellybelly and on a gentle christian mothers website though, we are able to parent from a place of grace, gentle shepherding and love instead and we thoroughly enjoy being a mummy and daddy now we can co-sleep, demand feed, baby-wear, without any fear!! we read the aba's book and i became more confident about breastfeeding and finally felt like we were doing the right thing.

  3. #3

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    I have looked at both sides of the story, and have read the material itself - 'Growing Kids God's Way' and I have made up my own opinion about it and I really do question Gary Ezzo's right to give parenting advice.

    I find it particularly disturbing that he has called his program 'Growing Kids God's Way' when I do not believe that a lot of what he suggests is God's way at all. He is making a pretty big call there.

    I also do not think that his model of a family is really all that biblical. He works under the pretense that fathers are involved with their family. My DH is a great dad - his role every night does not include coming home and sitting down with me for a patronising session of 'couch time' where I give an account of all my daily decisions for his approval. Although Ezzo claims this is not the purpose of 'couch time' at all, it is exactly how it plays out.

    I think Gary Ezzo severly underestimates and down plays the role of the mother in children's lives. Really, GKGW set women up as a go between for fathers and their children but does not put any real emphasis on the importance of her role. There is a whole chapter of GKGW devoted to 'Right Beginnings' (which emphasises 'couch time') and a whole chapter devoted to 'The Father's Mandate' but there is really no emphasis put on women. I actually find this to be offensive and I am sick to death of Christian literature playing down the role of women. God doesn't so why does the literature!

    Another point of Ezzo's that I am particular unhappy with is his concept of 'First Time Obedience'. Children are not dog. I don't think his process of First Time Obedience puts any value on the feelings of the child. It also goes against EVERY decent parenting strategy I know. The first step of First Time Obedience is to call the child over to you - all parenting strategies say that you should go to the child, and get down to their eye level. This is a highly dominating power play to expect a child to drop what they are doing and come running. I think parents need to show respect for their children (God shows respect for us so we should do the same for our children) and that means that if we want something from our children, respect that they may be busy doing something important to them, go to where they are and talk to them.

    I am also very disturbed by the Ezzo's labelling of inappropriate behaviour as 'foolishness' (meaning the child was too young to know better or didn't understand the rule) and 'childishness' (meaning the child understood but still chose to disobey). I find both of these terms demeaning and patronising. I think when a child has not understood the rule a better way to say it would be to call it a misunderstanding and if the child was too young then the rule was not age appropriate. This does not make the child foolish. I also take exception to the term 'childishness'. If a child knows the rule and decides to break it, I think it is better being labelled as not following instructions. I find it a bit disturbing that there seems to be a bit of name calling going on with regards to children making mistakes and testing boundaries. Label the behaviour, not the child.

    Another BIG concern I have with the material is how a tantrum is viewed - a child having a tantrum is usually because they are frustrated - either because they cannot express themselves or because they are not getting something that they want. It is not, as Ezzo claims, 'an absolute rejection of parental authority'. It is a child attempting to express their feelings. As parents, it is our job to teach children to express what they are feeling in an appropriate and acceptable way. There is nothing wrong with feeling angry or sad about something that you wanted and didn't get, but the expression of that feeling needs to be appropriate.

    Ezzo tells parents to remove the child by putting them in a room by themselves, leave while promising to give a consequence, and come back when the child has calmed down and administer chastisement (previously defined as smacking). Who in their right mind would think that this was an appropriate way to deal with a tantrum? Stop thinking about this from an adult perspective and think about it from the child's perspective for a moment. If you are angry and upset about something, you do a few behaviours that are not appropriate. In this process an adult removes you to your own room and promises that when you calm down they will be back to smack you. WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU STOP THE TANTRUM? What does it achieve coming back and smacking after it is over???

    I think we need to teach kids to regulate their own behaviours and part of that would be teaching them to self soothe during a tantrum. Why escalate the situation again by smacking. Often removing a child from where their tantrum is getting attention is consequence enough. When they have calmed down wouldn't it be more beneficial to talk to them about how they were feeling that led to them behaving that way and what they wanted out of behaving that way and work on a plan of things they can do that is an appropriate way to express their feelings next time they feel that way. They are still getting a consequence for their tantrum - they are not getting the thing they wanted in the first place. Their tantrum didn't work.

    Obviously, I could point out many more issues that I have with the program and what I have written would be longer than it is now (well done if you have read this much) but they are SOME of the fundamental issues and flaws that I see in this program.

    I have also spoken to parents who have done GKGW and Reaching the Heart of Your Teen who feel that Ezzo wrote this program based specifically on the personality of his daughters (apparently he doesn't have boys) and they found it very hard to have success with any of his methods with their own boys.

    I think that if you are interested in what Ezzo does, by all means look into it, but don't assume it is a quick fix for behaviour problems or that it is entirely correct. Look at it critically and take into account all the issues. One thing to keep in mind is that there are lots of parenting strategies out there that will 'fix' all your problems very quickly (there are drugs that will do the same), but there are also the long term emotional and psychological issues to consider. Look into the issues and causes of Attachment Disorder because I think in the coming years, children raised in this kind of environment may be presenting with some of these psychological illnesses.

    If you are interested in an overveiw of GKGW to have a look at, there link is: Growing Kids God's Way Chapter Summaries

  4. #4

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    Ezzo has been pretty much discredited in the US except the breakaway group he started up when he was rejected by his peers. Discredited by Christians and child health professionals alike. He has zero credibility.
    I'm a disenfranchised raised-christian (no longer identify myself as Christian, not interested in coming back into 'the fold') so you can take my post with a grain of salt, but I did look into Ezzo after I started innocently reading the book, prior to first parenthood, and was very alarmed when I started to ask questions about the book. I even upset my mum (before teh questioning started) by asking her how she did things with me and thought I had figured out why i 'went wrong'. I was so angry with myself and Ezzo for leading me up the garden path.
    The best book that transcends sect-ish trends is Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn.

  5. #5

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    I just had another look over on the Ezzo.info website as I hear it popping up now and again, and there was a 2008 update, the Ezzo's children had aparently chosen not to interact with them - the Ezzo's have become estranged from their own children. How very sad it's gone this far yet they still cannot see the damage they are doing, not just to others but their own family. This is from the timeline on the website:

    November 2002 -- Jennifer and Paul Luedke (one of the Ezzos' daughters and her husband) cut off contact with her parents after much prayer, consideration and counsel, based on their personal observation of the same types of issues raised by the LHEF elders. Their hope is that the relationships will be restored following the Ezzos' repentence.

    June 2005--Grace Community Church staff pastor Adam Bailie, writing informally in a message board, reaffirmed GCC's position that Ezzo was under church discipline when he left GCC, confirmed that Ezzo's children (one of whom attends GCC) have chosen to limit their interaction with him, and referred readers to 2 official church statements which were attached to the posting. (One about issues with the material itself, and one about issues of character).

    August 2008--In the wake of a rumor to the contrary, I verified that Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo remain estranged from their daughters.

    Ezzo.info: Quick Start for Parents
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    In 2015 I went Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team

  6. #6

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    Default My personal experience on Babywise

    Okay. I was looking around a long time where to post my story about my personal 'babywise experience'. I thought this is the appropriate place, as I hope someone will benefit from my story.
    Sorry, for writing unnecessarily long but I need to get this off my chest. This is only my story and my opinion, which I want to share, as I haven?t read any stories from people who have tried personally babywise and unsucceeded. Mostly I?ve read opinions of those who have not even read the book.

    I'm a foreigner from Europe living in Australia. I moved to a new town as pregnant, feeling all hormonal and isolated. Eventually my husband and I found a lovely church and those people were the only 'family' I had. I was advised a lot about parenting and feeling quite overwhelmed about motherhood. On top of it, I was very lonely and hopeless once my baby arrived. I for once, did not attach emotionally (if you can say that) with my baby upon his arrival. I loved him but I had no idea what I was doing apart from the practical caring (regardless that I used to work as a pediatric nurse!).

    I'm not much a book reader, but many mums from church kept telling me to look into Babywise so finally I read it (got it as a gift). I was curious to try it after I saw how great their kids are. By the time my son was 6 weeks, I was incredibly sleep deprived and a bit scared of my wellbeing after my doctor suggested me to consider depression medication if I still feel the way I did for a few weeks longer.. (Crazy what sleeplessness can do to a human being ay?!) I just wanted to sleep, and was losing my mentality. I was comparing other mums with babies who sleep through the night and I thought the golden goal is for the baby to sleep through the night -which results in great parenting! (BLAH!) My son cried so much during the nights, and I was tired of rocking him 24/7. By the time he finally fell asleep he'd sleep 30minutes and wanted a feed. I felt so hopeless and was ready to try anything!

    So...I read the book and received countless of emails of support from other babywise mums. I started babywise when my son was 8 weeks old and did everything by the book. The biggest problem I had from the start was the hours of scheduling, as my baby never slept the hours nor could handle being hungry for the time. He was crying all the time. I was crying most of the time with him in another room. The best thing I did, was writing a diary of my feelings and how Babywise is working with my son. A couple weeks went past, my son sometimes slept 8 hours and I was high on the clouds. I most likely missed a growth spurt and didn?t meet most of his needs, but hey, he was sleeping through the night and I went according to the book ?I thought for sure I?m doing it right. Another few weeks went past and I started to notice in myself so much of guilt and self-hate. I had developed a massive headache and could hear his annoying crying even when he wasn?t crying. My son was waking up randomly around the night. I was not comfortable with Babywise but felt that pressured by other mums who swore, if I could just hang in there a bit longer, I would see great results. I was so tired and thought, there are no other ways of sleeping through the night, than through babywise.

    One night, my son was crying and crying and I told my husband I can?t do this anymore! So I went and gave him ?comfort-boobie?. I remember that night and it will never fade away, as my son was staring deeply into my eyes and I felt him begging me to stop torturing him. I had tears running down as he was sucking my breasts and very soon, he fell asleep. He dropped the breasts from his mouth and smiled in his sleep. I had never witness a smile in his sleep before. It was beautiful. He was so comfortable lying against my breast. I just sat there looking at him, then thinking that ?babywise book does not allow this?. I went to my husband, hugged and cried, saying I don?t think babywise has been good to us at all; I can?t believe the author has succeeded in making me feel QUILTY when I had my baby fall asleep in my arms. Because of it, I couldn?t allow myself to enjoy of it. I became so upset and I started to read through my diary and realised how screwed up this Babywise really is! I never opened the book again.

    Ultimately, I?m grateful for the advice on putting my son to sleep when he?s still awake as this works great for us during the mornings and day times, but in the evenings he needs more physical contact. I don?t always have the opportunity of putting him to sleep awake in his bed, as sometimes we?re out/at church/visiting friends/on a 20 hour flight (!), and he?s needed to learn to fall asleep in my arms as well. Now, my son is 5 months old. I can?t describe it in words, what a proud mum I am. My son doesn?t cry that much, unless he?s hungry or tired. I?m able to understand his needs now and we?re connecting with each other. I?m very happily rocking him to sleep at his bed time in the night, or sometimes he?ll fall asleep on the breast. He falls asleep faster than if I was to leave him cry it out. I also value the information in babywise how little babies actually stay awake ?but these advice are found on other normal baby books as well, so I?m not praising Babywise by any means! It makes YOU feel guilty, focus your parenting to suit YOUR needs, and feed your baby according to YOUR schedule. Who advocates the baby?s needs? Sometimes it gets hot on a summer day or a growth spurt kicks in when the babies need an extra sip of milk, and babywise mums still feed by the clock!? You?re basically suppose to tell your child ?no you?re not hungry because it?s not the time yet?. I find it hilarious to think you could control a few month old baby?s sleeping and eating habits when there are so many growth spurts and changes happening during the first year. Just when my baby started to sleep through the night, we went on holidays to Europe and ever since, he?s been waking up every 2-3 hours. But I?m not depressed nor sleep deprived because I?m in control of my role as a mother. I have understood to place my son?s needs before mine (though, I?m not saying I don?t appreciate a good nap after my husband comes home from work!) and I am happier to have let my son develop his routine which works great ?and I can finally plan our days knowing when he has his naps etc!

    Do I think I?m the mother of the year? Absolutely not. And I have so much still to learn and mistakes to make, but spoiling my baby with love and cuddles is the biggest ?mistake? I?m willing to do and take the consequences along with it.
    I think for those, who babywise have worked, have been lucky with babies that sleep and eat overall easily. It has worked with my friends, so I can only speak for myself. However, I truly wish the book would suggest to stop trying after couple of weeks as there are so many out there like me. Looking back, it?s easy to criticize me, as so do I. You?re probably thinking why didn?t I give up after couple of weeks, but I listened to others and failed to listen to my own instincts. I didn?t trust in my own ability as a mother. Being a new parent without the support of me& my husband?s families, trying to cope on my own..It?s not easy.

    And nobody said parenting is easy, as it?s not suppose to be. Why bother become a mum if you expect your baby to sleep through the night in a few weeks and feed them according to your suitability? On one hand, I?m glad I went through this because I learned tremendously and in the night when my baby drives me nuts with his cries, I think ?at least he?s depending on me and knowing that a cry will get his mummy to meet his needs?. I will never neglect my son?s needs again because that?s poor parenting. Through this experience I?ve also learnt to defend myself and stick with my way of doing things and above all, I never push my advice on anyone or I?ll be clear to mention ?this is just my way?.

    At last, I?d like to add the book which I?ve taken my recent knowledge from called Baby Love by Robin Barker. It gives different options so you can choose the best one to suit your liking. I don?t mean to disrespect anyone who?s for babywise and if it?s worked for you -great. Parenting is very tough; there is no one way of doing it. But no baby, in my opinion, should be raised according to a book. Breaks my heart to think there are many babies as a result of this book, who cry and cry until one day they stop crying, realizing mummy's not coming...

  7. #7

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    The image of your bubba smiling after being comforted by you is really touching and sweet.


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