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July 14, 2006

Blame the Parents

Ezzo Week 2006 is not about blaming parents.

I want to make clear that I know that parents who follow Ezzo parenting ideas truly love their children and only want the best for them. Over time I have become more convinced that it is that love and dedication to raising their children that makes Ezzo parenting seem to "work" in some families. Yet, these materials are foundationally flawed and even unfailing love cannot prevent all the harm that can come to families via Ezzo parenting.

I disagree with some who say that people who have turned to Ezzo’s ideas for parenting do so out of either perfectionism, coming from a weak family background, or Christians who have not been grounded in Scripture. Each of these factors may be involved in why a parent is initially drawn to Ezzo parenting, and I say that because that is what some parents themselves have said. However, I do not believe that it is necessary for someone to have one of those factors for him to be vulnerable to Ezzo parenting. I do not blame parents.

Let’s leave the blame game to Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo. One of the things that saddends me most about the Ezzo materials is how proponents of the program are quick to blame the mother when the promised results of the program are not seen—especially when it comes to Babywise/Along the Infant Way. If it "works"--then it is to the praise of the Ezzo books! If it doesn't, either the parents were not being consistent with the principles or they were being "too flexible."

For those who are reading who have used ideas from Gary Ezzo’s teachings, I want to reiterate that I am not criticizing you. I have criticized the materials as they are written and taught by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo. However, I know that when someone criticizes ideas we like—especially in the realm of family and parenting—it can very easily feels like someone is criticizing *us* personally.

It's very hard to leave behind Ezzo parenting. Many of the Voices of Experience stories are from parents who were teachers and leaders with GFI for many, many years. And it is hard to admit to oneself that, "Oh, I love my kids--but maybe I made some wrong choices for them--while trying to do the best for them."

Obviously, I'm outspokenly critical of Gary Ezzo and his parenting ideas. I want it to be plain that's what I am--critical of a set of ideas or "philosophy" as Ezzo calls it—not critical of parents who love their children and are seeking to raise them with truth and love.

This post is part of the Ezzo Week 2006 series, raising awareness about the concerns with "philosophy" of parenting promoted by Gary Ezzo.

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Thanks for all your work in bringing the flawed Ezzo way to light. I blogged on Ezzo today in honor of Ezzo week, and I really connected with this post. The thing that gets me the most about the Ezzos and their following is the whole success=great method and failure=lousy parent.

That, and all those wee lonely crying babies. . .


Posted by: Amy at July 15, 2006 11:32 PM

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