Faith: July 2010 Archives


Every year around this time, Gary Ezzo, creator of a popular system for child-rearing and discipline (including books like Babywise and Growing Kids God's Way), holds an annual "National Leadership and Alumni Conference" for his organization, Growing Families International.

And every year, conservative Christian bloggers who reject Ezzo's approach as physically dangerous and unbiblical hold a special Ezzo Week emphasis to educate parents on the problems with Gary Ezzo and his teachings. Blogger TulipGirl launched Ezzo Week in 2004; you can read through her archive of material on Gary Ezzo, Babywise, and Growing Families International .

This year Ezzo's conference is being held in the Tulsa metropolitan area at First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow, which is why I'm making a special effort to make my Tulsa readers aware of the other side of the story. The last time the Ezzo conference met in Tulsa, Tulsa Kids ran an excellent article featuring interviews with moms who had used Ezzo's feeding plan and whose children struggled with failure to thrive, and with people who had been involved in Ezzo's organization. The author of that piece also wrote two earlier pieces for Tulsa Kids: Babywise? Be Wary! Part 1, published in January 2000, and Babywise? Be Wary! Part 2, from February 2000.

As parents-to-be, we heard glowing reports from many of our friends about Babywise, Ezzo's plan for getting babies on a feeding schedule ("Parent Directed Feeding") and sleeping through the night within two months, and Growing Kids God's Way, which emphasized "First Time Obedience." Last year I wrote about my regrets in following the Ezzo approach:

That approach to discipline alienates parents from children, and sets mom and dad up as scorekeepers and penalty managers. I found myself denying myself the enjoyment of time with my brilliant, funny, and beautiful kids for the sake of teaching them a lesson. And a child's natural desire to please mom and dad turns to despair -- the feeling that nothing he does will ever be good enough, so why bother trying?

It is hard to ditch the Ezzo mindset. You're confronted with regrets over years wasted and damage done, as the letter on Quiet Garden discusses. There's also the inner Ezzo nagging you that you're being too lax, too lenient, that you're spoiling your kids. But I'm starting to think that the worst kind of spoilage would be if my child no longer felt connected to me, if my child felt alienated from me, no longer identifying with my values, uninterested in my advice, unwilling to learn from my experiences.

I'd rather work alongside my children, enjoying their company, sharing laughter, and guiding them down the right path -- not like the guy back at the gas station who gave you directions but like the sherpa who is with you step-by-step up the treacherous mountain trail.

If you know young parents or parents-to-be, or those who teach and mentor new parents, please send them a link to this article and encourage them to tune into to TulipGirl's blog for Ezzo Week 2010.


Voices of Experience on
A timeline on controversy surrounding Gary Ezzo, his methods, and his estrangement from churches and family members


About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Faith category from July 2010.

Faith: January 2010 is the previous archive.

Faith: October 2010 is the next archive.

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