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October 29, 2004

Ezzo.Info: Fall Focus '04

Professional critiques of Growing Kids God's Way

Growing Kids God's Way?
by Dr. Barbara Francis

An Evaluation of the Ezzo Parenting Programs
by Dr. Kent McClain

Focus on the Family statement of concern
-- received from FOTF Sept 04

(Via Ezzo.Info)


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Can you make some coments on programs you think are good for a "parenting class" at a church.
E-mail me if you like.

Posted by: brad at October 29, 2004 04:15 AM

Thanks, TulipGirl, for the second link, in particular (by Dr. McClain). I had not seen this yet and I thought it was very objective and well done.

This subject touches a deep nerve with me, as we've had bad experiences with the whole GKGW bit, but there is never the time or truly proper place to discuss my thoughts and feelings. All I can say is thank God in heaven for opening our eyes to how we needed to show more love and grace to our children. (Oh, but so much more to say!)

From what I understand, y'all did the GFI courses. Have you ever written on your blog what your experiences were with them, what the negative effects on your family were and how you became so outspoken against GFI? If you've ever written about your experience online, could you link me to your testimony -- *IF* it's not too personal, of course.

Thanks, and God bless you and your dear family!

Posted by: sandpiper at October 29, 2004 05:29 AM

Hi, Brad!

As you can imagine, I'm very hesitant to recommend a parenting "class" or "program." We as well-meaning parents seem to be especially vulnerable in getting caught up in legalism, rather than applying the Gospel in our family relationships.

I would encourage any group that comes together for the purpose of encouraging parents, be willing to search the Bible, apply theological thinking to family relationships, and look at what we can learn by observing God's creation. (And book that discourages questions and challenges, ala Ezzo, should raise immediate red flags.) These help us focus on relationships and parenting by the Spirit, rather than getting caught up in "principles".

That said, I cautiously recommend the following:

(see next comment. . .)

Posted by: TulipGirl at October 29, 2004 04:57 PM

I recommend:

Relational Parenting by Ross Campbell
I found this book to be very encouraging and challenging. It's not written as a "Biblical" parenting approach, per se, but is addressed to Christian parents. I believe Dr. Campbell is from a Reformed Baptist p.o.v., but I'm not sure. We know one of his sons (involved with the PCA/MTW) and in talking with him, I believe Dr. Campbell has done a good job in living out "relational parenting."

Heartfelt Discipline Clay Clarkson
This book is excellent in helping parents not slip into a formulaic approach to parenting, but to rely on the Holy Spirit and connect with what their children need. I don't know Mr. Clarkson's theological background, but there were one or two examples that he used from Scripture that didn't sit well with me b/c of my Reformed viewpoint.

Families Where Grace is in Place Jeff Vanvonderen
I found that many of the things written in this book echoed the conclusions I came to after struggling with control-oriented parenting.

(To be continued. . .)

Posted by: TulipGirl at October 29, 2004 05:13 PM

I can't recommend:

"Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp
I love the imagery of the title, and I think there is excellent encouragement to focus on the child's heart. There is also wise warnings to avoid legalism, externals and behaviourism. However, the practical advice, IMO, fall into the same patterns of externals and behaviourism. Also, it seems like Mr. Tripp expects the parents to do work in the children's hearts that can only be done by the spirit. It is my understanding that he is coming from a Reformed pov, but I see him failing in applying the Gospel in parenting. I'm also concerned about him teaching the Bible mandates certain actions that are in areas of Christian liberty.

Posted by: TulipGirl at October 29, 2004 05:21 PM

For infants:
In place of Babywise (Prep for Parenting / Along the Infant Way), I recommend a community or hospital based generic infant care class. I also recommend taking a breastfeeding class, hopefully led by a lactation consultant. God has created a wonderful world, and we know much about the design of infant growth, nutrition, and sleeping. I don't think this info needs to come from a "Christian" pov.

For "sleep issues" (a key appeal of Ezzo materials) these are good alternatives:

Nighttime Parenting Dr. William and Martha Sears

The No-Cry Sleep Solution Elizabeth Pantley

Posted by: TulipGirl at October 29, 2004 05:35 PM

The following resources I can envision being used in a parent support/education group, to be read, discussed, and compared to the Bible, with input from experienced parents. All of these are from a Christian pov, the ones with an asterik are from a Reformed writers. Of course, proceed with discernment.

For encouragement of Christian mothers with new babies, I recommend:
Woman to Woman by Helen E. Aardsma

* Our View of Children by Rebecca Prewett

* Mothering in the Shadow of the Cross By Rebecca Prewett

Breastfeeding Related:
Breastfeeding Bible Study by Cyndi Egbert

Evidence of Cue-Feeding the Breastfed Baby

* Parenting Decisions: Feeding Baby Carol Tozar

Discipline of Covenant Children:

* Child as Sinner and Total Depravity of Infants Rebecca Prewett

* Our View of Children by Rebecca Prewett

* Salvation of Children Rebecca Prewett

* Avoiding Millstones Rebecca Prewett

* Parenting Decisions: Grace in Discipline Carol Tozar

* Parenting as Christians Mrs. Wigley

* Parenting Reflections / Charles Hodge

* Family Duty John Bunyan

Posted by: TulipGirl at October 29, 2004 05:59 PM


Also, you might want to look into this list of resources, including some classes and videos.

Alternatives to Ezzo

Posted by: TulipGirl at October 29, 2004 06:28 PM

Hi, sandpiper!

Some of our experiences with the Ezzo parenting ideas are recorded in the article Confession s of a Failed Babywiser. It focuses more on our struggles with the infant/toddler years, but that way of thinking has also impacted our relationships with the older children.

Have you written up your experiences for your blog? Would you consider sharing the things you've learned and grown from at Voices of Experience?

I've found the FreeFromEzzo yahoo group to be a good place to work through some of those thoughts and feelings related to our parenting mistakes. You might also be interested in the AwareParent board.

Posted by: TulipGirl at October 29, 2004 06:48 PM

thanks Tulip girl,
I am going to link this post at 21st century to make sure I keep this and just to say thanks,

Posted by: brad at October 29, 2004 08:23 PM

Have you ever read Parenting Without Perfection:Being a Kingdomm Influence in a Toxic World? by David John Seel?

From the blurb,

"David John Seel, Jr., believes that God has more in mind for parents than striving to produce so-called perfect, well-adjusted children. Parenting is first and foremost a call to embody the life of Jesus in the midst of your family."

"....it means learning to treat your children as God treats you, putting the priority on influencing your children's beliefs rather than controlling their behavior."

Though the blurb goes on to say that he presents "10 priorities for truly Christian parenting.." it is anything but a program oriented book.

I would also note that this book focuses mainly on teenagers.

Posted by: Jeff at November 1, 2004 05:06 PM

Hmmmm. . . No, I haven't read that book.

Posted by: TulipGirl at November 2, 2004 06:43 AM

Hi, Tulip Girl. We've corresponded in the past. One book you might want to include in your list is Dr. Mom's Guide to Breastfeeding, by Marianne Neifert. While the book itself has no religious references, Dr. Neifert is a practising Christian and well-respected child development expert. Her breastfeeding advice is wayyyyy different from Ezzo's (thank God!).

I would have some reservations about Jeff Vanvonderen's book. Some of his observations are not very scientific. For instance, he says that children have to say "no" to their parents because otherwise they won't be able to say "no" to the buddy who's offering them a joint or other drug. However, at least one study shows it's the LESS obedient children who end up taking drugs, not the more compliant ones. I think Vanvonderen tries to project his own experience (the good little boy who winds up on drugs) to children and adolescents in general, even if his own experience is the exception rather than the rule.

Posted by: Emily at February 24, 2005 12:19 AM

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