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January 21, 2005

Ezzo in the Blogosphere

While Gary Ezzo has barely been mentioned here the past few weeks, his name has been coming up all over online. Interestingly, it isn't the mamas who are blogging about him, but the dads. . .

For example, everyone's favorite goddess-loving daddy-blogger, The Zero Boss, admits he struggles against the Christian stereotypes he holds and praises the Christians who vocally point out the errors of Ezzo's ways.

In that article, he mentioned Hubby's post Sex Ed, Repressed Authoritarian Style. Be sure to read the full critique of Reflections of Moral Innocence and comments from Dr. Barbara Francis.

Gid has a new baby in the house, and so is thinking more about cue-feeding and how PDF feeds into a parent's need to control.

And Jenn's husband almost hijacks her new blog--but instead asks her to post a collection of links he's uncovered about Ezzo.

Late addition: Also, read Carol's info on Ezzo-style crying, and comforting the needy infant.

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Comments

Yikes! Now here is a parenting topic we most assuredly agree on! ;)

I've read The Story of Me to the girls a couple of times and just recently read Before I Was Born to my 6yo.

You know, I did this for me more than for them (no, not because I don't know how it works - ha!) but because I didn't grow up in a family where this was kosher to talk about. I don't want that for my kids. The second book was really out of my comfort zone, but I read it anyway and will read it again because I want to get to the point that this is totally comfortable for me to talk about with them (at the appropriate times, of course).

The second book in this series was pretty straight forward and I was terrified of the questions she would ask me when the book ended. She didn't squirm or anything while I read it and when it was over I asked her if she had any questions. She asked something obscure about pregnancy, but not the reproductive act itself. It was a relief for me that day, but also a relief that the door is now open to continue talking about this in the future.

Anyway, all that to say that it would have been really wacky to bring in some weird flower thing to our discussion.

Curious to know how you broach the topic with your kids...

Posted by: Megan at January 21, 2005 08:19 PM

Until I came to your blog, I'd never heard of that Ezzo guy, so all the hubbub is lost on me. But, I have to wonder at folks being so willing to follow another person and not follow their hearts in regards to the upbringing of their children. And as to nursing...shoot, I've had 8 of 'em and allowing the babies to call the shots in regards to when they've wanted to nurse has worked for me. I'm for the babies weaning themselves too. It's not been a problem.

Posted by: Melissa at January 22, 2005 02:06 AM

I was having tea with a good friend yesterday who is a die hard Ezzo supporter, and she maintains that Ezzo has an MD who co-wrote Babywise with him. Is that true? She also said there was statistical evidence in the book that indicated its medical soundness. Is that true? I never used Babywise since it was unavailable when my kids were babies.

In sharing some of my concerns with my friend, I found it really difficult for either of us to remain objective. People seem so offended when one questions him. I told my friend that I did not find Mr. Ezzo's parenting techniques conducive to a child learning mercy, and she was quite offended. The conversation ended.

Posted by: Kim in ON at January 22, 2005 01:55 PM

We are gearing upto start our parenting support group. This will be on-going weekly meeting for community parents and church parents alike. We have picked a few books:
1. Clay Clarksom: :Heartfelt Discipline"
2. Kevin Leman, "Becoming the Parent God Wants You to Be"
3. Tedd Tripp, "Shepherding a Child's Heart"
Any comments?? or additions
brad

Posted by: brad at January 22, 2005 02:08 PM

Megan,
I think you and I probably agree on a whole lot more than we differ on. *grin* I’m really happy to hear what has worked for y’all so far. I’ve actually started a post on “sex ed” but haven’t yet finished it. . . Soon!

Melissa,
More mamas need to listen to experienced mamas like you! *grin* I’ve found that (in the Christian community at least) people who are willing to follow Ezzo and not their hearts are those who put a high emphasis on doing things "right" and have been persuaded that Ezzo’s so-called Biblical philosophy really is best for their children. And when it’s hard to implement or goes against their instincts, they simply reassure themselves that the "best" things are sometimes hardest. . .

Posted by: TulipGirl at January 22, 2005 03:37 PM

Kim,
Dr. Bucknam was in residency in 1992 and was listed as a co-author when Ezzo self-published Babywise in 1993. Basically, Ezzo "cleaned up" the Christian version (Preparation for Parenting) for the secular market and called it Babywise. There is no sign that Bucknam contributed anything new of a medical nature to Babywise.

I have not seen any "statistical evidence" of the soundness of the claims in Babywise. I believe Ezzo did conduct an in-house survey of people who were pleased with Babywise that supports his ideas. (You could compare this with the Case Studies of BW mothers with breastfeeding problems—again, from among a closed group of those pleased with BW.)

This AAP statement was released in direct response of pediatricians raising concerns about Babywise specifically (though, of course, it is more broadly worded.) Dr. Matthew Aney has compiled a seemingly endless set of files on the medical problems associated with Babywise. The most recent version may have modified some of the problems, but it is still foundationally unsound.

And you are right—people do get offended when they are using Ezzo’s ideas and those ideas are questioned. I remember that I didn’t understand when other Christians didn’t “get it”—for several years I thought his ideas were sound and honestly, best for mama, baby and family. It’s hard for Ezzo supporters to acknowledge problems with his books. It requires recognizing that they, as parents who only wanted the best for their children, put into practice ideas that may actually have been harmful for their family. (I especially get emotional around the time of my oldest’s birthday, remember the choices I made out of love, that instead hurt him.)

For Christians, it can mean admitting that we were not as discerning as we ought to have been. It was very hard for me to face the reality that I had been deceived and was not immune to following false teaching and supporting a false teacher.

Anyway, Kim, I hope this has been helpful. Kindness, sound Biblical reasoning, and scientific facts were all part of me finally seeing the underlying problems with Ezzo’s parenting programs. And it was older, experienced mamas (like KatieKind and Rebecca Prewett) who validated my love for my children and gently pointed out the problems that had the biggest impact.

Posted by: TulipGirl at January 22, 2005 03:48 PM

Brad,
I love the title and imagery of “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” but I have some serious reservations about that book. I’ve heard good things about Kevin Leman, but haven’t personally read anything by him. I have Clay Clarkson’s “Heartfelt Discipline” and think it is really good. I don’t think he portrays children within the Covenant quite as strongly as I would, but he does an excellent job of leading parents away from formulas and towards relying upon the Holy Spirit and Scripture.

I highly recommend Jeff VonVonderan’s “Families Where Grace is in Place” which deals with broader relationships than simply parenting. I also highly recommend Ross Campbell’s “Relational Parenting.” These two books would probably be my first choice, personally, if I were leading a group for parents.

Posted by: TulipGirl at January 22, 2005 03:49 PM

Btw, I want to clarify something. . .

What I have consistently seen among Ezzo parents (most parents, really!) is a real love for their children and a desire to actively parent them. I believe that that love and involvement, in many families, makes up for the harm that would otherwise result. Likewise, I'm convinced that the good that is often credited the programs is really due to that parental commitment and love.

However, in Gary Ezzo's teachings I see again and again a willful ignorance of what we can know about God's creation, misuse of Scripture, and ideas that lead to parent/child antagonism.

Posted by: TulipGirl at January 22, 2005 03:58 PM

Brad (again),

Here's the link of what I like/don't like that we discussed before, along with some helpful resources online that you might be interested in using to supplement whatever book you choose:

http://www.tulipgirl.com/mt/archives/000389.html#comments

Posted by: TulipGirl at January 22, 2005 04:02 PM

Thanks for the link!

My own biases have more to do with *passionate* religious belief. I've become more tempered in my approach since I've become more comfortable with my own faith, and disenchanted with the meme of toleration as typically practiced today. That's due in large part to your husband, who's quite the thought-provoker. :)

Posted by: The Zero Boss at January 22, 2005 06:57 PM

Brad,

1. Clay Clarksom: :Heartfelt Discipline"
2. Kevin Leman, "Becoming the Parent God Wants You to Be"

are excellent books, however I have many concerns about Ted Tripp’s book. Mainly the advocating of using “The Rod” on an infant as young as 8 months old, “for struggling during a diaper change.” The use of “The Rod” is encouraged throughout the book, when other forms of disciple besides hitting are not mentioned as acceptable forms of discipline. Lastly Mr. Tripp, attempts to make the case that it is your duty as a Christian parent and that you are “commanded” to hit your children with “The Rod”, and if you do not, you are not living up to your Christian duty. Hogwash on par with the Ezzo’s and the Pearl’s in my view.

Candleman98

Posted by: candleman98 at January 25, 2005 01:35 AM

Hi Tulipgirl! Just dropping by to let you know I will no longer have to "hijack" my wife's blog;) I now have my own at http://myblogginess.blogspot.com/

Blog On!

{{{Candleman98}}}

Posted by: candleman98 at January 26, 2005 05:27 AM

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