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September 20, 2007

Yeah. What She Said.

Quoting Devona, about Lutherama:

Discipline? Means of Grace?

I try not to meddle in the parenting of others. It’s their business, but I obviously have my opinions. I mostly have oppositions to the “Christian Parenting” giants who like to write books making generalizations about how to parent my child unto godliness, all the while knowing nothing about me. I don’t just disagree with their methods, I disagree with their theology and their lack of discretion. How do they know to whom they are teaching? How do they know their methods are being properly prescribed? And mostly, how can they not see that this method of “discipline” obscures the person and work of Christ when a parent cannot forgive their chid until there has been punishment for their sins? Are not our Christian children under the Fount of Grace as much as we are?

Here is a wonderful take on the topic over at Lutherama. Don’t just read my post on it. I have only skimmed the subject since she has done such excellent work, I would only be repeating, so make sure you click the link.

(Yes, I'm still Presbyterian.)


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I like how you had to specify that you're still a presbyterian. Teehee. You know Lutheranism is contagious?

Posted by: Devona at September 21, 2007 12:01 AM

You mean, BECAUSE you're Presbyterian?

Posted by: Carol at September 21, 2007 06:29 AM

Hey TulipGirl - great blog you have here....really well done.

In terms of Paul Tripp's book, he certainly is not presenting himself as an expert on raising your child specifically, he is simply exhorting believers with specific, biblical instruction. Tripp presents clear instruction with a sound biblical basis, totally backed by scripture. I think if you read his books, you will find much of benefit.

In no way, as I have read them, do his books encourage parents not to forgive their children until there has been punishment for their sins.

Posted by: JavaGuru at September 21, 2007 10:15 AM

Hi. I found you through the website gentlechristianmothers.com. You had an article about the Ezzo's - confessions of a failed babywiser.

Well, my son is almost 11 months old. And we've been doing babywise... and from 4 months on, I've had "reservations...." but persisted. Your story just resonated with me so much.

I'm taking a HUGE leap here... I don't know if it would be possible for me to IM chat or perhaps email back and forth -- I just feel compelled to ask you a few questions...

I've never been around babies... and I was terrified when Nathan was born. EVERYONE we know has done babywise... that's all I knew... and honestly, the "provided structure" was a comfort to me since I felt so unprepared. But I am really feeling that God led me to your site today... and that I'm learning to trust my instincts... YET! If we abandon babywise... I don't know "how" to do it otherwise!

I know that sounds crazy. But, it's where I am. And I don't have anyone here to ask. If you could, please email me and let me know. I just need some seasoned mom real life advice.

Posted by: Carey P at September 21, 2007 03:16 PM

Thank you for sharing this link!

We were given the "Babywise" book while awaiting the birth of our baby, and both my husband and I were horrified with everything written in it. I have no read any more Ezzo than this one book, but cannot believe that his reckless advice is taught in churches and embraced by so many. Our daughter wound up being born five weeks early and was fairly small. We had no idea how babies behaved and just assumed she would wake up to eat during the night, however, that first night she slept eight hours without a peep. Nobody at the hospital advised me that she might not wake up to nurse due to her prematurity, so we wound up setting an alarm clock every two hours to make sure she was getting enough mama milk. Throughout her first few weeks, many people told us we were being silly to continue to wake her as she was a "dream baby"; they advised us to just be "Babywise". One woman actually told me I was jeopardizing my daughter's future salvation and behavior because I was coddling her!! Some might say I am being dramatic, but if we had listened to "Babywise" and all the "well meaning" advice we were given, our daughter could have died or been seriously harmed! Sure, a full term baby of good weight might be "okay" on Ezzo, but certainly not a little preemie!

Posted by: Mrs. Brigham at September 22, 2007 12:03 PM

I'm not a mother yet, but hope to be someday. I am also a member of the PCA, but only recently (raised ELCA). Anyway, I've read your blog for over a year and have especially enjoyed your thoughts/links on parenting. As I look forward to motherhood I've picked up a few books here and there to try and be thoughtful, and purposeful in my parenting choices. Could you recommend any books on grace parenting? Something the opposite of Tripp, Pearl, and Ezzo? I've read so much online and feel so strongly now about discipline and Christian parenting, but I don't know any authors who write about this to reference my husband to. Any suggestions?

Posted by: Kate at September 22, 2007 09:35 PM


I would recommend Jeff Von Vonderan's Families Where Grace Is in Place. It isn't as strong theologically as I would like, but with your ELCA/PCA background I think you'll do what I did--read the general family ideas that he shares and bring alongside it what you know of the Bible, gospel and theology.

Also, I'd highly recommend Clay Clarkson's Heartfelt Discipline as a more "how to" than theoretical book. Any book by Clay or Sally Clarkson you'll find heavy on the mommy/daddy inspiration.

I also really like Ross Campbell's Relational Parenting. A strong appeal to that book for me is knowing one of Campbell's sons and having that son be very transparent with us.

Carey, Check your email. *grin* I'm sorry it's taken so long to get back with you. Also the FreeFromEzzo Yahoo Group (lately pretty slow) and the AwareParent.Net board are good places to detox from Ezzo.

Posted by: TulipGirl at September 23, 2007 04:45 PM

I have done Babywise with all 4 of mine. They all slept through the night by 8 weeks.Some of the book made sense and some did not. So I took what I wanted from it and left the rest.What I really wanted was sleep! There is so much controversy with it that I don't recommend the book anymore.

Love your blog BTW. I came over from Challies.

Posted by: Carla Stream at September 24, 2007 12:03 PM

Oh, one more thing. My husband and I went through Growing Kids God's Way as a class and ended up being more confused than when we started. We picked and chose what we liked. My question is if you don't do EVERYTHING than are we to assume we are not growing our kiddos GOD'S way??

Posted by: Carla Stream at September 24, 2007 12:06 PM

I posted a comment on Lutherama about this.

Silly me, I guess, for taking God's word literally.

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

-- Proverbs 13: 24 (KJV)

Posted by: SouthernBell at September 28, 2007 12:22 PM


(Btw, for some really yummy coffee, check out Old Bisbee Roasters.)

You wrote: "[Tedd Tripp] is simply exhorting believers with specific, biblical instruction. Tripp presents clear instruction with a sound biblical basis, totally backed by scripture. I think if you read his books, you will find much of benefit."

I have Tripp's "Shepherding a Child's Heart." I love the imagery of the title. I think there is much that can be encouraging to parents. However, I find a Biblical disconnect between "reaching the heart" and the methods he prescribes for that. Unlike you, I find that the "clear instruction" is based more on current interpretation of the Bible rather than being sound and "totally backed by the scripture." Smacking an infants' thigh for wiggling during a diaper change is not Biblically-mandated, but an application from Scripture that I found both faulty and not in line with helping our children see their sin and pointing them to Christ.

I know a lot of parents who have read Tedd Tripp's book with the filter that a lot of Christian parents have--remembering the parts that inspire and forgetting the parts that are questionable. Still, I cannot recommend those teachings.

Grace and peace,

Posted by: TulipGirl at September 29, 2007 03:54 PM

Carla, I think it is wise that you no longer recommend Ezzo's materials. Even though the infant materials "worked" for you, my experience is that one cannot predict beforehand whether an infant will respond well or have serious problems with Babywise. It's a gamble, and one I'm not willing to recommend either.

As for the older materials. . . I agree. I've found that most parents, the longer they raise children, the less satisfied they are with the materials by Gary Ezzo and the more problems they find with them.


I'm so glad you've chimed in. Like you, I take the Bible seriously. Still, hitting a small child with a hand and/or object on the bottom is an interpretation/application of Scripture rather than a direct teaching. I'd like to invite you to read and share your thoughts here.

Posted by: TulipGirl at September 29, 2007 04:00 PM

Hi Kate,

I highly recommend Tim Kimmel's Grace Based Parenting. For a recommendation and more info about the book see the review at Between Two Worlds:



Posted by: Marilyn at October 1, 2007 02:49 PM

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