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February 12, 2005

What Ezzo Says About Me. . .

This is the first of a four part series. Thanks to elcollins for compiling these quotes.

According to Ezzo, I am. . .

Not Parenting As A Christian: "Working from a biblical mindset and practicing demand-feeding can never be harmonized since the two are incompatible philosophies." quote is the 1993 Christianity Today article

“In their thinking, they are Christians up to a point...That creates a false dualism...the notion that there are sacred and secular sides of life” [Secular defined by Ezzo is parenting styles other than his] (Preparation for Parenting, p 18)

"Mothers who demand feed say they love their children because they tend to their every need. That is not biblical love; it's idolatry." (Prep) [Note that Mr. Ezzo says the idolatry is in meeting their needs, not wants]

Disobedient: “*find* a demand feeding baby and a demand feeding family–-ask yourself,..."Is this what we want from a child...*Look* at the child's behavior. *Listen* to the mother's excuses. Is *that* what you want? ... If you don't, come on over to routine, and see what routine can do for you and your family. Put yourself in a position to be blessed by God! ... By being obedient to Him, from the beginning. “ Quote from tapes

Ignorant: "Asked in a telephone interview if Christian mothers could, in good conscience, practice attachment parenting, Anne Marie Ezzo would only concede that such mothers could probably be excused for their ignorance." (from Neo-Evangelizing..)

Hurting my babies: "Of course you can hurt a baby by picking him up too much." (Prep pg 141)

Abusive: In reference to family bed "Emotionally, this method is passively abusive. It may create a state of abnormal dependency on the sleep prop to the point that the child actually fears falling asleep when transitioned to his own bed." (GKGW pg 72?)

In bondage: "There is a much better way than being in bondage to your baby's sleep needs." (GKGW pg 71?)

Negatively Submissive
: Feeding times are guided strictly by the single variable of hunger cues. (Cues include baby putting fist toward mouth, making sucking motions, or whimpering. Crying is a late signal of hunger.) The constant of time is not considered. The parents' role is to be submissive to hunger cues (Growing Families International Web Site)

Secular and Freudian: [attachment parenting is a] Neoprimitivistic school of child care (Prep 5th ed.. pg 42)

Self-limiting: AP bolsters a limited view of women (Prep pg 43)

Unfashionable?: Marsupial mothering is on the way out (Prep 5th Ed. pg 54)

Not Glorifying God: Anne Marie says something like "There is nothing glorifying to God about a baby with carrots in his hair" in Growing Kids God's Way Tape

Damaging My Child’s Intelligence: "During the 1970s, playpens were dismissed as a hindrance to a child's natural development. Today researchers know better. Playpens are necessary to help parents optimize their child's development. The most basic academic skills, sitting, focusing and concentrating, start in the playpen....The repertoire of skills a child attains through these activities could otherwise be seriously delayed if he misses out on structured playpen time." --Prep for Parenting, edition 5, p175-177 (note, Ezzo has provided no research to back his claims about "playpen time.")

: "When a baby cries and gnaws at his hands, we often assume he must be hungry and should be fed. There are many reasons babies cry, but it is amazing that hunger is the only reason the average person considers!" (pg 139) [Again, I don’t know anyone who automatically equates crying with hunger]

Evil: Ezzo is adamant in his advocacy of a parent-centered family structure, and conversely, he deplores, almost obsessively, the "evils...of child-centered parenting," (14) referring to it as "Satan's tool to destroy the family." (13) (From Neo-Evangalizing) (13= GKGW: Ethics for Parenting) (14=Prep for Parenting: A Biblical Perspective)

For more information, check out my GFI/Ezzo/Babywise archives and Ezzo.Info. Or join the discussion at AwareParent.Net or the Ezzo Board.

Part I: What Ezzo Says About Me. . .
Part II: What Ezzo Says About My Kids. . .
Part III: What Ezzo Says About Babies and Toddlers. . .
Part IV: What Ezzo Says About Punishment. . .

Update: Related blogging this week from Hubby, Carol, Jen N Tonic, PhotoGrove, Dina's Diary, Bloggy Blog, Reasons Why, Smart Christian, A Capable Wife, Knitted in the Womb and the AwareParent discussion board. Among Ezzo supporters are posts from Structrue For Babies (sic) and BabySchedules.


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Are the Ezzos still as popular as ever? The couple at my church who taught the courses and brought the Ezzos to our church (two times) are now missionaries with Family Life, a division of Campus Crusade for Christ. Somehow, I can't see Campus Crusade being very tolerant of Ezzo thought. Do you think all the publicity has hurt his popularity at all?

The wife of our Growing Kids couple used to have meetings at her house monthly to support mothers using Ezzo methods. She doesn't use their materials anymore since they joined Campus Crusade.

Posted by: Kim in ON at February 12, 2005 03:10 PM

Amazing :/ I knew Ezzo had some off the wall parenting views, but I didn't realize he actually says that AP is wrong or sinful. *sigh*

Posted by: a at February 12, 2005 04:58 PM

Are the Ezzos still as popular as ever?

It's hard to gauge, in some ways. Babywise is selling like hotcakes according to Amazon. I'm also seeing a wider approval for BW among those who are being introduced to it outside of a church setting. I'm still seeing lots of young, Christian mothers (especially among the new generation of mamas) being advised to try it. GFI-Australia seems to be continuing to grow. I don't know about the sales/popularity of the religious materials (renamed from GKGW etc to "Let the Children Come Along the _______ Way.")

On the other hand, as a business GFI has drastically downsized. They once had 30+ employees in California. At some point there was a scandal regarding embezzlement and a family member which Ezzo has said was a misunderstanding. They switched to operating from the Ezzo's garage in Cali, and a few years ago they moved to South Carolina. My understanding is they have an office in their home, employ a woman in the midwest who telecommutes, and outsources the shipping and promotion, etc.

I still meet enough young mothers (in real life and online) who find Babywise very alluring, in spite of the medical misinformation, Ezzo's poor reputation, and the many families who at one point used Ezzo's materials and then ditched them.

About your missionary friends. . . Sadly, I know many people on the field who like Ezzo, and even if they don't promote him they do promote his ideas. In many places this is very culturally inappropriate. (The cultural/parenting issues are very delicate--I've been thankful to see our team handle them with great care.)

Unfortunately, missionaries liking Ezzo often leads to his materials being translated. It's in Russian, and stocked at the biggest Christian bookstore in Kyiv--though the manager said he wasn't going to reorder it.

Many families, like the ones you know, who have at one time taught/used/supported Ezzo materials now don't--and some actively warn against it. Like the Abels, who were in the early videos and very involved with GFI initially. Many of the Voices of Experience are from GFI Contact Moms.

I've had a couple of people ask why I'm so vocal about this--especially since it seems like Ezzo has been so thoroughly discredited it's hard to imagine anyone following his ideas. But, I still meet moms on a regular basis who have seriously negative results after using Ezzo's materials--like Lori, whose baby was hospitalized and dx'd FTT just about a year ago. Using flexiblity, common sense, and seeking advice from Ezzo moms she trusted. . . And many more mamas who lose their milk supply, or realize they've encouraged excessive crying, or babies who aren't growing as they should, or mamas who are feeling stressed at the schedule not "working" and on and on. . .

Posted by: TulipGirl at February 12, 2005 06:05 PM


Posted by: Carol at February 12, 2005 06:49 PM

I am wondering how Ezzo's children have turned out? Anyway to know? I can't get over how obviously wrong the Ezzo way is...Why someone thinks they have the authority to say this is THE way to raise children (in a Christian sense) blows my mind.

All the women I know who have tried to impose a schedule on their infants have ended up very frustrated. It just seems to make so much more sense to follow baby's cues- they end up being happier and less demanding in the long run.

Posted by: Joyella at February 12, 2005 08:04 PM

isn't ezzo just a warmed over 40's common child rearing method? it didn't really work then and many studies have been done since to discredit his information which is so horribly outdated. i think the only way he was able to last this long was with the tag "growing kids God's way". how do you resist that? it is tough. new parents don't really have the confidence for that and they often are quite sure their own parents know nothing about parenting so...
in reading the snippet from his website re "politeness", i am reminded of the pharisees and i cringe. it encourages raising little pharisees doesn't it? if they do all the "right" things on the outside, how will they realize they need God? no one in their world will even notice. they will be so polite, will often memorize their chatechisms and Bible verses so well and generally get applause all around. who will notice that their heart is not changing along with all that "nice" activity.
i've heard negative things re Tripp books and being the parenting mutt that i am, one thing i really like about their emphasis is that it is on the HEART. what is happening in the heart of your kid? when they are asked, they can often verbalize what they were thinking when they did a certain action and if they are asked early enough, the honest answers start early. what we want to teach our kids is that whether we catch them or not, God knows their hearts. they can't manipulate Him or sweettalk Him. he knows the unvarnished truth about them and He still loves them.
children have grown up in family beds and not in family beds and done well. i think it depends a lot more on the parents and the kids as to whether that works well. that may not be an issue to go to the wall for one way or the other in terms of friendships/parenting agreement, etc. but i certainly wouldn't call a person who believes in it a pervert.
when we get calling our own way of raising kids, especially if it a very dogmatic way, "God's way", that is like a gigantic red flag waving that my ears close down really fast...which is what happened when i first heard about ezzo. everything about the book and method screams "control freak!" (not a Biblical ideal) and it seems to be borne out in his life. he was a fad that hopefully people are moving away from. who are the positive parenting teachers? and what are their strengths/weaknesses? (you mentioned 4 books a week or 2 ago.) i work with a young women's group that needs help with parenting problems (but most don't want to change anything--you can imagine how well that works out:) i can't say much to them right now (i'm new to the group and need to build some credibility) and am way out of date re parenting books. i know a lot about what i don't want but don't know of anything that is really great! did i say they are NOT highly motivated to change yet? i'd better stop rambling.

Posted by: martha at February 12, 2005 09:01 PM

Great write up there. I never knew I was doing so much wrong according to Ezzo. But I don't really care what he says about my parenting since everyone always commebts about how happy my last baby is, even when she is sick or teething.
I know a few people who have done GKGW course but since they are overseas I don't have a chance to follow it up.

Posted by: Judith at February 12, 2005 09:04 PM

Man, we are pretty bad parents I guess. I had no idea of how awful I was.

Posted by: Paul Baxter at February 12, 2005 10:49 PM

I am with Carol! *sigh* I love God's way of parenting us - GRACE!

Posted by: ~Leann at February 12, 2005 11:56 PM

Oh, Tulip Girl, I thought the Ezzo's were has-beens to the nth degree. Maybe there are one or two people who still...ummm... don't know any better.

I believe the man's exegesis has much to be desired.

Posted by: Anne at February 13, 2005 12:41 AM

Good grief, those Ezzos are boobs. I read over your list and was amazed at "their" ignorance. Unfortunate that other Christians listen to them and not their hearts. To me it's no contest. I've breast-fed on demand (and still nurse our youngest who's 2-1/2), have her in bed with us still, and used no playpen.

Lock me up! Funny, our kids are so well-adjusted. How'd that happen? ;)

Posted by: Melissa at February 13, 2005 02:19 AM

It says somewhere in Sacred Scripture that Satan comes disguised as an angel of light. That seems to be the case with Ezzo. That man has duped so many people and robbed so many parents of the joy there is in parenting--bonding with your baby, living in the moment, being spontaneous. Not to mention the trauma the poor babies have suffered. I guess we have to keep educating people about the real Godly way to parent--teach our children love, servanthood, gentleness, trust, and respect by first modeling all those things.

I recently visited a mom of two young boys; she was practicing the Ezzo method to some degree and I could already see a disconnect between her and the children. She told me she is not a touchy-feely person and it's hard for her show her sons affection. I knew even then it had to do with the way she was parenting them. I'm not a very touchy-feely person either but I have no problem loving on my daughter. I'm always hugging and kissing her. You get pretty used to showing affection to your child when from day one you're holding baby most of the time, sleeping with her every night, and comforting her at the breast whenever she needs it. It's just so sad to see so many mothers turn their backs on that without ever realizing what they are doing. I don't believe in judging people, but based on the Scriptural injunction in James that not many of us should be teachers because we will be held that much more accountable if we lead others astray, I really think Ezzo is going to have a lot of broken family relationships and damaged children to account for. It's clear from the beginning that Satan is out to destroy people and destroy families, and if he can do it through a Christian, so much the better for him I guess.

Let's keep doing our part to steer those God places in our path away from these deadly traps. Keep speaking out, TulipGirl. You go girl! Don't ever let up on him.

Posted by: Beautiful Belgian Babe at February 13, 2005 07:20 AM


Thanks for posting this. People who've just read the latest version of BW have a hard time believing that there could be so many vocal critics of Ezzo. These quotes show that Ezzo deserves every bit of criticism he gets and then some.

Posted by: sozo at February 13, 2005 07:24 AM

Just reading SNIPPETS of Ezzo makes my blood boil. I wish I wouldn't get so upset reading his stuff but I feel like someone should be yelling warnings from the rooftops! Why, oh why does his message live on?

To me, there is no question that this is a spiritual battle.

Moms, we should all remember to pray for new Moms and for opportunities to be Titus 2 Moms to those around us.

Posted by: Stacy at February 18, 2005 06:42 AM

Not Glorifying God: Anne Marie says something like "There is nothing glorifying to God about a baby with carrots in his hair" in Growing Kids God's Way Tape

For some reason, even with all the other quotes in these articles and comments on them, this is the one that made me think the hardest, this is the one that I pondered all week, and this is the one I finally ended up writing about on my own blog...

We do a lot of "glorifying God with carrots in our hair" at our house. I really don't think God minds the carrots so much...

Posted by: cjmr at February 22, 2005 08:17 PM


That was such a wonderful mommy-inspiration post! Everyone, read it here:

Posted by: TulipGirl at February 23, 2005 01:39 PM

Hi Tulip Girl

What part of bedlam did the Ezzos escape from. I thought a lot of that scheduling stuff went out the window in my mothers day she is her seventies along with the Truby King baby care books. We seem to go from the overally permssiveness of Dr Spock to the lunancy of the Ezzos who must have trained under the nitwits who ran the concentration camps for Hitler. I would seriously wonder about the commensense of any Christian church who espoused their methods of child rearing as hitting babies and little toddlers realy sounds like hard core child abuse. I not that touchy feely either but I think it is hard wired by nature to want to cuddle babies and little kids. I really enjoy giviing my 4 1/2/ year old son a cuddle as soon enough he won't want his mum giving him a cuddle or reading him a story when he becomes bigger. It has always seemed to me just commonsense to pick up my babies as it did shut them up and give me real peace when I carried them around for a while and then mostly they were happy to be put down. I would say to most young mums use your commonsense and instinct rather than reading silly books or taking silly advice.

Posted by: karnak at February 27, 2005 01:06 PM


Thanks for posting this information on your blog. This is my first time visiting. Just to let you in on our story- Our first daughter is one month old. We received "Let the children... infant way" as a gift from some close friends who are sunday school teachers in a local church. We had never heard of the Ezzos, and were oblivious to the controversy.

We had a few problems with BF at first, so we went to see a lactation consultant. We were also reading the mayo clinic book, so we weren't full fleged babywise parents... however, I kept thinking we were doing wrong, that our daughter would be happier or better or something if we were more schedulish. We tried to implement the program for a few days, but were unsuccessful.

Fortunately, my wife has some training in child development (m.ed. in early childhood special ed.). Our biggest problem was the sleep-wake schedule... When we tried to put her to bed for the scheduled "nap time", she would cry - - and scream. We just couldn't let her do that. I don't think we ever made it the "twenty minutes" recommended in the book. We later found out that she was experiencing some acid reflux. My wife's training taught her that responding to cries is an important step in developing communicative abilities in infants. So even where our sympathies didn't overrule our ezzo-intentions, her training would.

Anyway, while I had some suspicions about the child-development side of things, and while it was clear that the book was - - ahem - - exegetically challenged, I had absolutley no idea of the amount of controversy over ezzo himself, and his methods. I was especially surprised to read of well-known and well-respected evangelical leaders who had weighed in on the topic.

Anyway, we have shelved the book and are pretty much on a DF schedule. Things are working much better; I don't know how much actual child care is different, but I no longer feel like we're "failing". We occasionally have to wake her up to eat (3+ hrs), but otherwise we let her sleep when she wants to and stay up and play when she wants to.

Things are better!

One more thing to add to this long comment- I think that many people who sing the praises of Ezzo may just happen to have babies whose natural schedule fits closely to the book-imposed schedule... therefore, the materials seem to "work" and confirm the content.

Posted by: Matthew at March 1, 2005 03:17 PM

Wow. I am blown away by all of the negativity on this particular page. We have a fourteen month old daughter and we are full BW parents. I just want anyone else reading this blog to realize that BW parents are also parents just trying to make the best decisions for their families. Just because one thing works for your family (such as demand feeding), doesn't mean that BW can't work for another.

I know many BW families and have never personally encountered anyone who criticized those who don't use the Ezzo's program. It is sad to me that people (Christian's and non) would criticize another person's decisions so harshly.

I know that I am not an idiot for using the material and feel it is wrong for people to judge other's that way. As a mom, I try to support other moms in whatever parenting decisions they are making and would hope that others would do the same for me.

Posted by: Angie at April 9, 2006 08:55 PM

"I just want anyone else reading this blog to realize that BW parents are also parents just trying to make the best decisions for their families."

I totally agree, Angie. I've personally stated time and time again that the Ezzo parents I've known have loved their children dearly and wanted only the best for them.

Just to make sure you understand--the quotes above are not what I think about BW parents--they are what Gary Ezzo has written about non-Ezzo parents.

"Wow. I am blown away by all of the negativity on this particular page."

Me, too. This post consists of direct quotes by Gary Ezzo about parents who do not embrace PDF or his other parenting ideas. Pretty harsh, huh?

"I know many BW families and have never personally encountered anyone who criticized those who don't use the Ezzo's program. It is sad to me that people (Christian's and non) would criticize another person's decisions so harshly."

You may not have noticed, but I have not criticized any parent who uses Ezzo parenting. I have criticized the materials as they are written and taught by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo.

I have pointed out flaws in the materials, and I know for a fact that even the best intentioned parents can and often do have problems in their families as a direct result from these materials. Loving parents making decisions based on faulty materials can still have problems.

Anyway, welcome Angie! Please feel free to comment here at tulipgirl.com anytime. Fourteen months old is a fun time--and it only gets better from here!

Posted by: TulipGirl at April 9, 2006 10:05 PM

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