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August 10, 2004

Letís Ask Ezzo

As controversy has increased around Babywise author Gary Ezzo in the United States, he has expanded his business into international markets. One of the most lucrative of these markets has been Australia.

During one of his early promotional tours Down Under, Ezzo was confronted by Christian mother and childbirth education instructor Allison Hilbig. If you are at all familiar with Gary Ezzo, it is well worth reading both the Timeline of the Ezzo Controversy as well as Allison Hilbigís account, A Personal Encounter with Gary Ezzo.

Some highlights:

Allison: . . .My question is: why should we use your program when I have 97 pages of articles from Christian organisations and health professionals expressing their concerns about the material in your program.

Gary: Honey, honey, you have no idea what you are talking about.

Allison: Why is it that some Christian groups will not endorse it and even your former church where you were a pastor will no longer endorse your material and will no longer use it within the church?

Gary: Honey, that material has been in the church for the past 12 years - so don't tell me it won't still be used.

Allison: Why did your church release a public statement to say it would not endorse your material and if I can quote from it: "Gary Ezzo is prone to ....."

Gary: That was all politics. You know why they said that - because they're jealous. Because I'm over here ministering and they don't want me to be.

. . .

Allison:. . .Why are you unable to back up any of the claims you make in your manuals? Where is the evidence to support your claims?

Gary: It's all there sweetheart. It's all there if you want to look at it.

Honey has a brain and did her research. Ezzo doesn't seem to like his "expert" status being questioned. If you have a copy of Babywise or another of his parenting books, you'll see, as Sweetheart did, that Ezzo's footnotes are more for extraneous comments than for backing up his claims with valid research.



Gary: And where are you children right now?

Allison: I don't think that's any of your business.

Gary: See, everyone, she doesn't even have children of her own.

Crowd: Typical, ha.

Allison: Excuse me, but I do - I have 2 children.
[This was true in 1997; today Allison has 4 children--ed.]

. . .

Gary: And does anyone look at your children and comment on how well behaved they are? Do people ask you how you've parented them? No, they don't, do they?

Allison: Well actually they do. Many people have commented.

Gary: Oh... well ... that's good. But do you have an international ministry? Do you - no!

What good is an "international ministry" when the best thing that you can say about your own relationship with your grown children is that it is merely "cordial," as Gary Ezzo has? And when does having an "international ministry" free someone from being accountable to the elders of his own church?

Allison: Well - why did Christianity Today publish an article expressing their concerns.

Gary: Christianity Today? That was a joke. Just a joke.

These articles published by Christianity Today are a joke?
Brave New Baby
Unprepared to Teach Parenting
Growing Criticism



Gary: You're an attachment parent, aren't you? You've demand fed your babies, haven't you? You're ashamed of it, aren't you? You are, aren't you? Go on - admit it - you're ashamed you've demand fed...

ROTFLOL!!! I can't speak for Allison, but the idea that Gary thinks any mother is "ashamed" of having demand fed their babies simply cracks me up. If anything, I'm ashamed that I trusted Gary Ezzo to provide factual information when I was making decisions with my first two children.


Again, I recommend Allison's A Personal Encounter with Gary Ezzo to better understand Ezzo parenting and why it doesn't belong in Christian families.


Update: Sozo, Robert and Anne are both blogging on Ezzo this week, too.


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Ľ Leggo my Ezzo! from reasons why
TulipGirl keeps on keeping us informed about what's going on with Gary Ezzo with her latest post - Let's Ask Ezzo. Even though the article she references is recounting events from 1997, it still gives us good insight into the... [Read More]

Tracked on August 12, 2004 06:03 AM

Ľ Ezzo In Australia from ourhomeschool.blog-city.com
I have posted before about Gary Ezzo and his Babywise program.  I find the man frightening.  Not simply because I think his methods are off, but because I believe him to be dishonest.  The more I read about this man and his "ministry" the m [Read More]

Tracked on August 30, 2004 09:58 AM

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Comments

Ezzo's info doesn't belong in Christian families or ANY family. The guy sounds quite chauvanistic to me- "Honey" and "Sweetheart" are names you use for your wife or child, not a professional in the field! How insulting! And I love how he doesn't actually address her concerns. If I didn't know anything about Gary Ezzo, this encounter would be enough to put suspicion in my eyes...

Posted by: Jennifer at August 11, 2004 08:57 PM

I'm almost ashamed that I haven't heard of Gary Ezzo, but you can assured I am now forwarned. Excellent and informative entry (for may anyway). Blessings - LJ

Posted by: LJ at August 12, 2004 12:04 AM

I am sooooooo thankful I encountered The Baby Book by Dr. and Mrs. William Sears before my 3rd child was born!! Soooooo thankful! This post gave me the creeps! *shudder*

Posted by: Kim at August 12, 2004 01:17 AM

That's just creepy. Way creepy.

Posted by: Joanne aka Happy HSer at August 12, 2004 05:23 AM

Always fascinating when a man lectures women about breastfeeding. The whole conversation is so ridiculous I can't begin to start or I would never stop. Let us just say if my husband had been there Gary would have gotten a punch to the nose the minute "honey" came out of his mouth.

The scope of his stupidity is both deep and wide.

You are doing a great thing here by highlighting it, honey!*g* I mean that with the greatest respect.

Posted by: Lana at August 12, 2004 08:37 AM

Is this report substantiated? Sorry, but the skeptic in me thinks that this sounds like something cooked up by a rabid anti-Ezzite and spread through e-mail.

I have read a couple of your Ezzo posts, TG, and my wife and I have read a little of Ezzo. I think he's definitely got some issues, although I'm not sure I would put him into the "Satan's buddy" group with Rick Warren and Eugene Peterson, like some people do.

Not saying he's not messed up, don't think I'm defending him! (had to say that)

Posted by: Joe at August 12, 2004 03:29 PM

Joe,

Very fair-minded of you. I'm not sure what kind of substantiation would be possible.

In one sense, we have to pit the credibility of this woman against Ezzo's credibility. Ezzo's credibility has been tarnished by his own documented lies, gossip-spreading and harassment of critics. I don't know about the credibility of this woman. Has she, like Ezzo, been excommunicated? I don't know. She appears to have successfully been under accountability for 16 years in youth ministry, something Ezzo has not managed. Her story rings very true to me because I have seen other documentable situations where Ezzo has treated those who dared question him in similar fashion. [Example, the Kuhlmann correspondence that is laid out at ezzo.info. Use the Search feature at the site to search on Kuhlmann. You'll find a blow by blow account and also PDF files of the actual correspondence with Ezzo's handwritten margin comments. The handwriting matches a sample I have on a letter he sent me--not that he has ever disputed the authenticity of those letters.]

One way her account could be de-substantiated is if the tape really exists and really contains what the Ezzo people said it contains--her making a fool of herself, dissolving in tears, fleeing the scene etc. As to the part of the story where Ezzo describes her behavior in a letter to someone else, I believe that letter is on file with someone I know.

Posted by: Kathy at August 12, 2004 05:16 PM

Bigger than that, I'm ashamed that he calls himself Christian.

Posted by: Andrea at August 12, 2004 06:35 PM

"Is this report substantiated? Sorry, but the skeptic in me thinks that this sounds like something cooked up by a rabid anti-Ezzite and spread through e-mail."

That's a very legitimate question, Joe.

I'm sure some would call me a "rabid anti-ezzite." *grin* However, I would not post this if I had any reason to believe it was fabricated.

The reported responses from Gary Ezzo are very consistent with his "tone" in his videos, previous correspondence with critics, and interviews with the media. I posted this because it was similar to his historical modus operandi that you can see if you want to skim through the Timeline--his unwillingness to give direct answers to the questions and instead launch Ad Hominem attacks.

Still not answered to my satisfaction are these same issues Allison brought up to Ezzo personally:

1. "Why should we use your program when I have 97 pages of articles from Christian organisations and health professionals expressing their concerns about the material in your program?"

2. "Why is it that some Christian groups will not endorse it and even your former church where you were a pastor will no longer endorse your material?"

3. "Why are you unable to back up any of the claims you make in your manuals? Where is the evidence to support your claims?"

Posted by: TulipGirl at August 12, 2004 08:09 PM

Following Ezzo's advice may put you in the "my child almost starved to death" category, aside from all the other harmful "stuff" he advocates. Proud to be among the "rabid anti-ezzite"!

I would certainly resent it if MY husband called another woman, "honey" and "sweetheart", never mind being called that by a married man. Yuck.

Posted by: Carol at August 12, 2004 08:41 PM

Putting aside the rightness or wrongness of Ezzo's methods (and for the record, I'm on the "wrongness" side of the fence) for a moment, I'm struck by how unChristlike his attitude is here. He's a total jerk! What an arrogant and condescending jerk.
He can't respond to her straightforward questions so he belittles her and attempts to bully her by calling her "sweetheart" and "honey," treating her like a little woman. If she actually did leave in tears, he ought to be ashamed of himself. But I wouldn't be surprised if he took a perverse joy in that outcome.

Yuck.

Posted by: Jared at August 12, 2004 09:08 PM

I posted on this subject and trackbacked to you, but it isn't showing up on your site. In any case, I posted on this as well for anyone who doesn't find the info here. Thanks for all your work in educating people on the dangers of the Ezzos.

Posted by: Anne at August 12, 2004 11:13 PM

FYI: If anyone else is questioning the validity of the concerns about Ezzo, send a letter to James Dobson's ministry, Focus on the Family, and ask if they endorse Ezzo's first book, formerly known as BabyWise.

When I wrote Focus on the Family, I received back a letter where they expressed many of the same reservations Tulip Girl mentions. Although they do not go so far as to condemn his publications, they do, however, refuse to recommend or endorse his book.

If still in doubt, contact them yourself: (800) A-FAMILY (232-6459)

Posted by: swamphopper at August 13, 2004 04:48 AM

Babywise is fairly popular in our church, even among more family-oriented people. One thing I've noticed is that none of the "babywise" kids are cuddly. They don't like to snuggle up to Mom and Dad. Some of the "babywise" moms have said they are a little bit happy when their kids get sick, because then their kids *want* to cuddle up to them. One of them was holding one of our babies once and, since she knew we weren't "babywise", went ahead and indulged herself by rocking him much longer than Ezzo would approve of. Another was actually apologetic because while her daughter was ill, she rocked her to sleep. "I know you're not supposed to do this, but you know, every once in a while it doesn't hurt."

And of course, these parents rarely talk about the horror stories of letting their children scream themselves to sleep. Of finding, after an hour or more, that their son was screaming because his foot was stuck in the crib slats. Of coming in much later to find that their baby had thrown up all over herself from screaming. Of finding the next morning that their daughter had thrown up in bed and fell asleep with her face in it.

It's cool, I guess, that these moms can deposit their wide-awake toddlers in bed in a darkened room and walk out, without being burdened by such things as singing, stories, or rocking them. But it's not a price I'll pay. My sleep and my priorities aren't quite that important. So what if my kids cramp my style.

Posted by: Robert Williams at August 13, 2004 08:12 PM

Hi - I've linked to your site from Carol's Storybook. Someone gave me a copy of Babywise when I was expecting my first baby. And I also was given a copy of some of Dr. Sears' books. I found myself trying some of the concepts in both and ended up being a lot more comfortable with the ideas of Dr. Sears. It was a little overwhelming at the time to have two such opposite views on babies. Wow - it's hard to believe that so many take Babywise advice so strongly (crying until throwing up, starving babies, etc) What a horror! Thanks for your post!

Posted by: Andrea at August 15, 2004 11:54 PM

Hi, Andrea!

I've visited your website before--I think I also found you via Carol! Welcome!

And I think it's very easy for parents to take the Babywise advice strongly because it's presented as "common sense." When they start making decisions from the Ezzp perspective, believing it to be normal and moderate and common-sensical, it can be hard for them to realize when they are taking things to an "extreme."

Posted by: TulipGirl at August 18, 2004 04:37 PM

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