Over the years I have been very concerned about Gary Ezzo’s Growing Kids God’s Way overpowering influence over many young couples, particularly couples who come from weak family backgrounds. I think that the way some parents “discipline” children borders on the abusive. And, I think that the Ezzo schedule imposed on infants is not only ridiculous, but ends up being spiritually abusive to the poor parents who buy into his obsessions.
I have talked to parents of adult children who have wept over the gracelessness of their disciplining procedures. One mother, convinced that she had to “win every battle” told me with tears in her eyes that she felt her well-intentioned, but overly-rigid and harsh, discipline had a significant part in her adult son’s bitterness. I don’t know.
I am a little nervous when I write something like this because for every overly-harsh disciplinarian there are scores of lenient, undisciplined parents. Discipline is good. But Ezzo’s concept is not good.
The whole article needs to be read, but this section gripped me. I hope some parents read it. How can any parent not be moved by this?
Four years later, God gave us our fifth baby, another son, who has begun a real healing for me. A couple of days after he arrived, my husband commented to me, “It seems crazy that we answer our other children’s cries the instant they call, but we feel we must ignore the baby’s cry until the next scheduled feeding time.”
That was when the lights came on!!! I never looked back. I cue fed him from then, and it was the most beautiful year of my parenting career: listening and responding to his God-given ability to communicate his needs for food and comfort. So we did a full circle, and went back to attachment parenting – where we started with our first baby. He gained weight so admirably, and had all those exquisite “rolls”!!! He weighed about 2 pounds heavier than his chubbiest sibling at 4 – 6 months, and was exclusively breastfed. He did not sleep through the night until around 9 months (and even then would sometimes wake for food or comfort, which I happily gave!), which is completely normal for a non-Ezzo breastfed baby!!!(emphasis mine)
“real healing” – This poor mother needed healing. Such is the nature of Ezzo’s abusive system that crushes parents under unrealistic expectations. It is abusive to make a mother feel guilty for her motherly instinct. One mother recalls with sadness the many times she refused to go to her crying baby. She didn’t because she had been persuaded that she shouldn’t. Abusive systems abound. And Ezzo’s is one of them. It abuses the parents. And the children suffer too.
What is it worth? We got up whenever our baby cried. If we have another one we’ll do the same thing. Some parents delude themselves into thinking that they are not “child-centered” when, in fact, they are being selfish. Get up, forget yourself, and be to that child what God is to you. He comes to you every time you cry.
Here’s an additional testimony:
I was totally convinced that Ezzo was the way to go. In fact, before my daughter was born, nobody could convince me that Ezzo was bad. I was very determined to have a “good” kid.
However, I was an extremely uptight, frazzled Babywiser. I was always aware of what time it was, when the last feeding was, when the next one was due. I had a huge notebook and I took tons of notes, trying to figure out what worked to minimize the crying.
I remember one time my baby was screaming her head off and she wouldn’t settle down, and I gave her my breast. She took two sips and immediately fell asleep. I remember feeling so ashamed and like I had failed because I had nursed her to sleep!
We used Babywise for 2 1/2 months, so our story is not as drastic as some others out there. But I did suffer terrible guilt. I lost 2 1/2 precious months of holding, rocking, and attending to my newborn. My sweet baby had to do so much unnecessary crying!!
She’s much better now, but at the time we stopped using Ezzo’s methods, she did not smile for me, would not be held, and gave no eye contact. By that time, she actually cried in our arms until we put her down! I actually stumbled across the ezzo.info website as I was researching Reactive Attachment Disorder due to these worrisome behaviors.
My husband and I were MUCH more relaxed and happy when we switched to attachment parenting. Peace had come over our home again. There was no more crying, screaming baby with a frantic mother. I became so confident and happy in my mothering. Also, we started to actually enjoy parenting!
One thing that I never realized until I ventured away from the Babywise book is this: Many (not all) babies will eventually put themselves on a schedule. You can have a degree of predictability with a lot of babies. It’s funny to me because I didn’t even think this was possible unless you did Babywise.
Filed under: Parenting