Growing Kid’s God’s Way – Not Ezzo’s

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.

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26 Responses

  1. Brother,

    If I recall correctly, didn’t John MacArthur dump Ezzo’s system several years back? There were some who saw the danger then.

  2. Here’s another testimony:

    Let me preface this by saying that it has been many years since I’ve read both Growing Kids God’s Way and Preparation for Parenting, so my recollection of all that Ezzo teaches is at best hazy.

    Quite frankly I am very grateful for Preparation for Parenting. Clearly, there are those (e.g. the testimonies above) who have a disdain for the system that Ezzo recommends. However, there are probably an equal number of people, including myself who can testify otherwise.

    When we were expecting our first child (10 years ago) we were referred to Preparation for Parenting. As I recall the overarching theme of the book was the difference between a “demand-fed” baby and a “schedule-fed” (for lack of a better term) baby.

    My wife and I read the book like we read any other book by accepting certain things and rejecting others. I for one think that Ezzo is “out-to-lunch” on some things, but I also think he clarified some common sense things for us.

    We got home from the hospital (where, by the way, they immediately put our first-born on a schedule in the nursery) and began to implement some of what we learned in PFP. Over the course of several weeks to a couple months (can’t remember too well) we would wake our daughter up to feed her at certain intervals during the day and we would feed here when she woke on her own at night. We would also try to have wake times with her during the day.

    The first month or so was certainly tiring for us as parents (although I’m not convinced the alternative would be any less tiring), but it wasn’t too long that Morgan was sleeping for seven hours at night and was well-adjusted to when it was time to eat.

    None of our first four children had any trouble gaining weight. They were all very content and it provided great relief for my wife that we didn’t feel like we had to drop everything we were doing every time they fussed.

    It seems to me that there are certain people who have “over-bought” into Ezzo’s system, who are not discerning when it comes to attending to their babies. When our children fussed we would go through a mental checklist; 1. When did they eat last, 2. When did they get changed last, 2. are they teething, etc. We would then check on them and comfort them when we felt it was warranted; however, there were times when they were left to cry.

    Let me also say that one of the favorite activities of our home is to snuggle (and I mean, snuggle a LOT). I spent an enormous amount of time snuggling with our babies, laying on the floor with them, telling them stories, and teaching them to say “da-da” before they were trained to say “ma-ma”. But, when it was time for bed we didn’t rock them to sleep (unless, they were sick).

    It’s amazing how quickly a child learns to get his or her own way by crying. We have noticed that with our newly adopted 11-month old. Apparently she was a “wailer” in the orphanage because we quickly found that if she was displeased or wanted something she would scream with all her might. Pick her up or put a bite of food in her mouth and she turned her “dry tears” off immediately. Well, guess what? We started training her that she doesn’t always get what she wants and now she is doing MUCH better. She’s happier than ever and healthier than ever.

    I know there are people who have been hurt by following what Ezzo taught and I’m sorry for that. However, there are others who have been helped greatly by what he wrote (assume all the usual disclaimers).

    I wish that God would have made all of this black and white for us parents, but He seems to have left a lot of this practical everyday stuff up to our discretion and discernment.

    It’s important to pray for wisdom.

  3. As a father of 14 kids, we’ve been exposed to those who held to Ezzo’s teachings, some also to a cultic level.

    For us, our parenting has been on call. We’ve noticed ongoing health and calmness in each of our kids (as opposed to the observed whininess of those under the Babywise impact).

    We have always rejected the Ezzo concepts based upon theology, just as Bob presents here. God treats us with love, mercy, and constant care.

    – Kevin

  4. Get up, forget yourself, and be to that child what God is to you. He comes to you every time you cry.

    Not sure I agree. Could you explain what you mean by this. Some of the most valuable lessons I have learned in life were when God didn’t give me what I was crying for. Are you saying that we should tend to our children and give them what they want every time they cry. Is it not wise to give to our children discerningly.

  5. Clearly, the unloving thing to do would be to give a child whatever it wanted. That’s not my point. Anybody that knows me well knows that I’m a disciplinarian.

    However, an infant – INFANT – does not speak English, cannot convey ideas, concepts, or thoughts, and only a parent who simplistically thinks that his/her read on the child’s cry is infallible can stifle instinct enough to ignore a baby’s cry.

    God is always available through Christ Jesus. Always. Draw night to Him, He said, and He would draw nigh to us. Of course, He doesn’t give us everything that we demand. Thankfully.

    But I would let young mothers enjoy their motherly instinct to hold their crying infant – INFANT – as much as they pleased since neither they, nor Ezzo, nor anyone, can infallibly say that the infant is already demonstrating willfulness.

    Possibly inside that tiny little body is a gas pain. Maybe inside that tiny little soul is an inexplicable nervousness. The best think a parent can give an infant is the absolute conviction that when it cries it will be heard. That’s my opinion.

  6. Bob,

    Thanks for the clarification. There is definitely a balance to all this. I get concerned when we become overly dogmatic on either side of the fence. I need God’s wisdom everyday. If a “formula” always worked then why would I need to pray?

  7. Thank you for writing this article. i’m a new mom, and i’ve had some people try to press Ezzo on me. But I wanted to add what REALLY helped me with my baby. A woman gave me a book called The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracey Hogg (not a Christian book). I don’t remember all she wrote, but what I got from that book was to OBSERVE my child intently and listen to her cries. Hogg says that for different needs the baby cries or acts differently. The baby isn’t always crying from hunger.

    i will say that when i first read this–and my baby was a day or two old–i didn’t believe it at all. But it actually worked! Skyla has certain cues that say she’s just sleepy. She has a certain “hungry” cry. She cries when her diaper is poopy. She has a mad cry when i take something away or her will is crossed. She has a “i’m really hurt” cry, too. Learning to observe her has taken care of much frustration!

    Anyway, if it helps anyone . . .

  8. Great post, Bob — thank you.

    I have a LOT of comments, but I’ll spare you all and keep them brief. Why on earth are we trying to schedule-feed (or routine-feed) little babies? (By the way, preterm babies ARE fed on a schedule in the hospital because EVERYTHING is done on a schedule in the hospital. And also because they have muted feeding cues. But preterm babies are NEVER left to cry in the hospital as it uses precious calories).

    It has been shown that adults have something in their mouths every 90 minutes during their waking hours, and will frequently get a drink of water if they get up during the night to go to the bathroom. Do you have a cup of coffee or tea or a bottle of water while you are at the computer? Are you given a “coffee break” at work? Does someone bring in the donuts? Most of us eat or drink something any time we feel like it, regardless of the time unless we are deliberately dieting to lose weight. A baby is to double their birth weight in 5 months…why are we depriving them when they tell you they want to eat? No, not every cry is a hunger cry — but every cry means they NEED something.

    A newborn can’t distinguish between a WANT and a NEED. And neither, dear parent, can you. If the baby WANTS to be picked up and cuddled, he NEEDS to be picked up and cuddled. And he NEEDS to go to the breast because he is hungry or thirsty — because he needs comfort, or because he needs some extra antibodies.

    A baby who is exposed to something noxious (the flu, a virus) will breastfeed more frequently to protect himself (God’s greatest medical system, all wrapped up in a woman’s body). By not allowing him to breastfeed when he NEEDS to feed, a mother can be circumventing the very system God designed to protect, nourish and nurture our children.

    Ezzo’s system is one of catering to selfish adult desires wrapped in a slick package purporting to “train” babies for their own good. By giving parents “permission” (in fact, telling them to ignore the baby’s cry if the parent thinks they have been fed, aren’t wet or dirty, are warm enough or cool enough) it allows the parent to pursue their own desires while tuning out their precious newborn.

    When we cry, God comes to us. He is there to hold us, love and care for us. No, he doesn’t always give us what we think we want, but he doesn’t abandon us in our hurting.

    And Anne, while The Baby Whisperer has some good materials in it, the breastfeeding information is among the worst and most inaccurate out there — yes, I’ve read it.

    What is good in the Ezzo materials isn’t unique — and what is unique, isn’t good.

  9. “Are you saying that we should tend to our children and give them what they want every time they cry?”
    I think we should tend to our children as our Heavenly Father tends to us: Lovingly, gently and full of mercy and justice. He doesn’t always give us everything we want, but He never withholds His lavish comfort from us. As Paul so eloquently describes it:
    3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

    4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

    5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. II Corinthians 1:3-5
    Ana

  10. My main concern as a pastor is the spiritually debilitating effect Ezzo has on the parents. Ezzo is out of line to present something as “GOD’s way” to the extent that any other way is NOT God’s way (as implied)when he has little to no biblical or medical basis to substantiate his views.

    His defenders will ask me to turn to chapter and verse (I think I intend to take that challenge up), but I am not the one who is making the outrageous claim that Ezzo makes. The burden of proof is on Ezzo.

    Furthermore, a man who has refused to submit to any church authority (and we are talking several notable, good evangelical churches) is hardly one to be an expert on how to train children not to be rebels.

    It is brutal, but Jan’s statement is closer to the mark than many people realize:

    Ezzo’s system is one of catering to selfish adult desires wrapped in a slick package purporting to “train” babies for their own good.

    I feel inclined to show how that is too often the case. And after a board meeting this weekend and normal responsiblities, I’ll try to dive into it. Please note: I KNOW THAT THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS! Many parents are sincere. Ezzo has helped many parents. But the parents who were helped were mostly benefitted by concepts and ideas that have been practised by good parents for years. They just heard about them from Ezzo first. Jan is right to say,

    What is good in the Ezzo materials isn’t unique — and what is unique, isn’t good.

  11. Ana,

    I already answered that question in this thread, but here it is again -

    Clearly, the unloving thing to do would be to give a child whatever it wanted. That’s not my point. Anybody that knows me well knows that I’m a disciplinarian.

    However, an infant – INFANT – does not speak English, cannot convey ideas, concepts, or thoughts, and only a parent who simplistically thinks that his/her read on the child’s cry is infallible can stifle instinct enough to ignore a baby’s cry.

    God is always available through Christ Jesus. Always. Draw night to Him, He said, and He would draw nigh to us. Of course, He doesn’t give us everything that we demand. Thankfully.

    But I would let young mothers enjoy their motherly instinct to hold their crying infant – INFANT – as much as they pleased since neither they, nor Ezzo, nor anyone, can infallibly say that the infant is already demonstrating willfulness.

    Possibly inside that tiny little body is a gas pain. Maybe inside that tiny little soul is an inexplicable nervousness. The best think a parent can give an infant is the absolute conviction that when it cries it will be heard. That’s my opinion.

  12. Ana, I see that you were, in fact, answering the question, not asking it!

    Good answer, btw.

  13. Let me clarify my position a bit. My intended goal was not to defend Ezzo the man. Rather, I was making a case that there are those of us who read his material (either before he was disciplined from Grace, or at the very least before we knew he was) and were helped by it.

    I think this discussion has become confusing because it’s difficult to determine if we are debating Ezzo or schedule feeding (after all, schedule feeding is hardly unique). The hang up is if one defends schedule feeding it appears as though Ezzo himself is being defended.

    As it relates to schedule feeding (NOT Ezzo) I think your clarifications make it clear that you believe there is a balance with much subjectivity entwined. I wholeheartedly acknowledge this is a preference position and is NOT mandated in Scripture.

    As I read Jan’s post I couldn’t help but read some of her words and think of the opposite extreme of what Ezzo teaches.

    I’m sure that I have chilled a bit since our first child to our fifth child. And, quite honestly, if my children turn out to love God supremely, it will be by His grace and not my efforts. It is clear, however, that this topic touches a nerve with people because we all want to believe we did it right or are doing it right with our children. Maybe when mine are married with kids and their children love God, then I can come back and be a bit more dogmatic on Pensees.

    To state it simply, Preparation for Parenting was a big help to us as new parents. Perhaps it’s because we were discerning enough to adopt the material that wasn’t unique and cast aside the material that was. That was ten years ago—time to go dig our book out of storage, grab a highlighter and reread it.

    Disclaimer: This is NOT an endorsement of the book or of Ezzo.

  14. ““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.”

    This is a very interesting–and insightful–observation.

    While some have scoffed at the idea of a parent needing healing or recovery after implementing Ezzo ideas in their home, it sadly is often the case.

    There is a yahoo group that is set up just for that–FreeFromEzzo. It’s gone through periods of time being more active and less active, but has been around for several years and has been important for several families.

    Other discussion boards have also been a catalyst for getting through the after-effects of Ezzo parenting–Parents Place Ezzo Board (now closed), AwareParent.Net, and Unprepared for Parenting. Along with these, many parents have found that writing out their experience (like the ones you quoted) was helpful in sorting out the good and bad, and going on from there.

    But above all, it seems that understanding God’s grace and seeking Him for themselves and their families is what brings the most healing.

    Grace and peace,
    TulipGirl

  15. Many of you may read this post and the comments and have not taken a Growing Kid’s God’s Way class or any other program authored by the Ezzos. I recommend that you check both sides of the story before blindly taking the advice of the critics of the material. Make up your own mind. Please do not rely on on the advice of just a few people.

    My wife and I have been successful at using the GFI material and now teach it to other families. I have personally met hundreds of others who have been successfully using the material for a lot longer than us.

    Go to the Growing Families International (GFI) web site and follow some of the links found there before blindly dismissing the GFI material.

  16. I would agree. Check it out. In fact, I’d go so far as to hope that some parents in my church check it out. As long, huge caveat here, that they listen critically and thoughtfully even as I encourage them to listen to my own teaching. Ezzo has some good ideas. Implementing some of his ideas while maintaining happy peace and solid theological grounding that prevents judgmentalism and the binding of one’s conscience to extra-biblical ideas is one thing.

    To have one’s conscience bound to the point of judging others as not doing something “God’s way” because they are not doing it Ezzo’s way is another thing.

    I’m not sure what constitutes “taking a class,” but if it means watching the video sessions, I have. I have read a couple books as well.

    I am not a worked-up, emotional critic of Ezzo’s parenting techniques. I have limited most of my criticisms of his techniques to his views on INFANTS who cannot respond verbally, who cannot be infallibly read. My concern is less with the children than the parents. Mothers who sell their soul to the Ezzo teaching are too often traumatized by a legalistic binding on their minds that is unneccessary. That’s all.

    If Ezzo would give his advice/suggestions without creating an atmosphere of superiority and cultic obssession, fine. But the fact is he claims that his way is GOD’s way. Interestingly, the only way the world can know “God’s way” is to purchase the information from his – as far as I can discern – for-profit organization.

    I’m suspicious when I see an extra-biblical system taught so dogmatically (and defended so rigorously) without generous and abundant affirmations of Christian liberty, grace, and individual soul liberty to freely do as one feels led and still be fully accepted in the Beloved and by the other “Babywisers.” An organization – one man – who presents itself as the exclusive source of “godly” parenting, presents it as the panacea of parenting woes, and distributes it for a price arouses in the hearts of many Gospel-loving pastors a suspicion that the organization (or leader) is not as genuinetly concerned for the souls of men and women as it purports to be. Rather, we are reminded of Galatians 4:17:

    They eagerly seek you, not commendably, but they wish to shut you out so that you will seek them

    It’s too bad. In fact, as a pastor I sometimes wish parents in my church would implement some of Ezzo’s ideas. Ill-behaved, unhappy children are a grief to me. I sometimes wish that some of our fathers were more proactive in directing the emotions and attitudes of their children and in insisting on respect. Ezzo has some good ideas.

    But my issue is, has been, the nearly cultic, segregationist, “evangelistic” dedication to the Ezzo way. Growing Families International, as far as I can tell, is a for-profit organization that is sweeping people into its mind-culture and “spying out the liberty that we have in Christ Jesus” of many theologically ungrounded parents.

    It’s too bad.

  17. “…as a pastor I sometimes wish parents in my church would implement some of Ezzo’s ideas.”

    If you are so convinced that the Ezzos teachings are so cult like, then why would you recommend that your church members get anywhere near any of their teachings?

    I am sure that my wife and I know just about as much as there is to know about cults. My wife was the victim of a cult many years ago. As a result of my wife’s actions (running away to a neighbor house) there were more than seventy (70) years of prison sentences handed out on plea bargains to three members of that cult. We are very sensitive to the term cult and would not be a member of any program that came close to resembling a cult.

    I will write more about that someday, but for now there are too many lives that would be impacted in a negative way if I am not very careful. I beg you to please be very careful with the term cult. You may not have a full understanding of cults verses to the Ezzo parenting ministry unless you have been a member of both. My wife has been and I can assure you that the Ezzos are not leading a cult. I have met the Ezzos and see them at Church every so often. Yes we attend the Church ranked 15th on the list that you have criticized in your most recent post. Maybe I will comment on that later, but that does lead me to a great point. Rather than criticizing the program, why don’t you put together something that works better or recommend something that works better? What value is there in criticizing if you are not going to provide a alternate solution. The Ezzo’s teaching has stood the test of time. The programs have lasted for over 20 years and reach millions families with very few complaints relative to its distribution.

    As far as the Ezzos views on scheduling and infants, I believe they are right on the mark. You are 100% correct when you say that babies can not speak when they are born. Babies can not do a bunch of other things as well. That is why YOU must be a thinking parent. That is exactly what the Ezzos teach. If you missed that grand theme in the material then you missed a very important part of Babywise and Preparation for Parenting.

    As for as whether the charge for their material, have you ever purchased a Bible from a for profit institution? I buy Christian materials form for profit organizations all the time. You are reaching for things to complain about here.

    In response to the last paragraph of your comment I just want to say this. When you commit your life to Christ and profess it to others outside of the church walls, you will almost certainly be an outcast by those who are still living in the ways of this world. See John 15:19. Why would you expect it to be any different with parenting? We were criticized by friends and family for waking our son during the day to feed him when he was about a month old. We woke him because we did not want him sleeping for six to eight hours between feedings in the middle of the day. I knew he was capable of sleeping for eight hours between feedings because he did it at night just a few weeks later when we dropped a feeding in the middle of the night. Our child was not born knowing when to sleep for longer periods of time between feedings. If it is not trained by the parents, then what will determine when a child sleeps? Many do not train their children in this area and as a result they end up with children who sleep all day and keep the rest of the house up all night. Sleeping at night is not a very cult like idea if you ask me. Getting your children to sleep though the night is a very practical result of the Ezzo’s teaching in Babywise and Preparation for Parenting. Now is that biblical? Maintaining order and training your children in the way they should go is very much biblical.

  18. “The Ezzo’s teaching has stood the test of time. The programs have lasted for over 20 years and reach millions families with very few complaints relative to its distribution.”

    Stood the test of time? And that is why the Ezzo’s daughters, their grown children have limited their contact with their parents? And are desirous of restoring the relationship–when the issues that were raised by Living Hope are addressed?

    That is why former co-founders, employees of GFI, former board memebers, and Contact Moms have resigned or distanced themselves from Ezzo’s teachings? And some have even been willing to be vocal about it, in spite of great personal risk?

    Very few complaints relative to the distribution? I was part of both a church-based “Growing Moms” group as well as several online Ezzo parenting support groups (one which was hosted by GFI in the late-90s). Very, very few of the mothers I knew from those early years and only ONE of the contact mothers I knew from them are still implementing and supportive of Ezzo parenting.

    Hank, I know you want the best for your sons. I know you are loving and actively involved in their lives. I know you think you’ve found something good. . . But objectively, it has a lot more problems that you seem to see at this point.

    Grace and peace,

  19. “The Ezzo’s teaching has stood the test of time. The programs have lasted for over 20 years and reach millions families with very few complaints relative to its distribution.”

    Actually, no. The Ezzo’s doctrine has not withstood the test of time. Twenty years is a nanosecond in the realm of doctrine. The fact of the matter is the next generation will more than likely be even more confused than you are. It is, in my opinion, a very good way to make Pharisees. And Pharisees are very problematic to the Gospel ministry.

    Since when are “few complaints” (even if that were true) a standard for what is right or wrong? Atoundingly, you reveal a remarkable blindness to the fact that many, many people within the Body of Christ have taken exception to Ezzo’s teaching, not just in terms of differences of opinion, but in terms of earnest warning.

    As for as whether the charge for their material, have you ever purchased a Bible from a for profit institution? I buy Christian materials form for profit organizations all the time. You are reaching for things to complain about here.

    Sure, I’ve bought a bible from a for-profit organization. But I never had to buy “truth” from a for-profit organization. Like other cultic groups, Ezzo offers the “truth” (“God’s way”), a “truth” that cannot be found anywhere else. Then he charges. Truth is not for sale. But the fact that it can be bought at only one source should be an indication to most everybody that it really is not truth.

    This kind of exclusive, “we-are-the-only-one’s-that-got-it,” with “God’s way” seems to me to be a “pretext for greed” (1 Thessalonians 2:5).

    If he were to market his idea as “Growing Kid’s Ezzo’s Way,” I wouldn’t have a problem. Presently, he is taking the Lord’s Name in vain and cashing in on it at the same time.

  20. I would love to know if anyone out there knows of any “deprogramming” material for GKGW kids.

    My husband and I excitedly took the GKGW course at our church when our oldest child was six weeks old. Thank goodness the church did not offer Babywise or our son would need more counseling than he does now. By the time our son was 2 1/2 yrs. old, our second son was born and our first born was showing extreme signs of jealousy. Being “stout” followers of GKGW at the time, this poor child was punished constantly instead of loved and guided through this very difficult time in his life.

    During this time, our two good friends had really easy, compliant children. They too, were staunch followers of GKGW, and so in my ignorance, I thought these kids were so good because of this program, not because of their true nature. This made me even more strict on my poor little guy, trying to “raise him to the standard” as we were taught, hoping that some day I would see the fruits of my labors. On the contrary, our now 12 yr. old son is a defiant, angry, confused, VERY immature, but a very great,loving young man. We need help!! I don’t know how to parent him! I don’t want the rest of our years with him at home to be as horrible as the last 9 1/2. We have tried 2 child psych., but everyone wants to medicate and that is not the issue. It is a heart issue. Please, if anyone knows of any beneficial material, please let me know!

    On a side note, we now have 5 beautiful children and have not used the GKGW methods on any of the last 4. While they all have their moments, as sinners do, they are well-adjusted in their own right, but also have been damaged by having an older brother who is miserable and seems to enjoy making those around him miserable,too.

  21. Janna, you are not the only mother to ask that sort of question. . . While it ebbs and flows in activity, the FreeFromEzzo yahoo group exists for families who are “de-ezzoing.” I found reading through the archives helpful, as well.

    Several years ago, I wrote out part of our experiences with the Ezzo materials. It was cathartic, and also helped me see God’s hand in our lives and learning and growing through the Ezzo experience.

    I’ve also made an Amazon Listmania list: Help for de-Ezzoing.

    Most of all, though, it has come back to looking towards the Lord, believing that His grace is for both me and my children, and that His grace and a mother’s love covers a mulitude of mistakes. . .

  22. I would just like to say that my husband and I used the baby wise book, toddler wise book and preschool wise book in raising our 3 sons so far. We were not hard core following every word but we do agree with the style of parenting and beliefs. Our boys have structure in their lives, they are happy, great listeners, they are obedient, they respect us and eachother and most importantly they know and love God. Yes, they do have their moments like all kids do, they are not perfect. I know many many families who can say the same who have followed ezzo’s books.
    Some books and styles of parenting work for certain families and some don’t. When you read a parenting book you have to take from it what you want. I don’t think we should bash ezzo because we’re not happy with his style or beliefs or what he has to say. It may have not worked for some families but for many many other families it has worked. If the child is not turning out the way we want or hoped for then we should pray and turn to God and ask God for his wisdom and look into other parenting styles, books or ways to bring them up that we are happy with.

  23. I think that the writer of the article has taken things past the point of being flexible. Gary Ezzo states many times to be flexible and not be controlled by your baby’s schedule. I have used Babywise and Growing kids for both of my children within reason and common sense and my kids sleep wonderfully and are healthy happy children. No damage done as some above have mentioned. Any book you read can be taken to extreme, but I also think that parents need some guidance and direction in the early months of a new born. You are a better mother with sleep, and someone not sleeping through the night after 9 months is going to be wreck.

    Everything in moderation.

  24. I am sorry for the pains that many people may have felt over GKGW and Babywise however, I do agree with other writers that we need to take things in moderation. We need to pray about what we decide to do with our children, with ourselves. And let us not forget that we are all humans, God’s creation, but we are not perfect. Ezzo may have his problems but so do you. Take what you are given and weed the things that need to be weeded out and always pray. God promises wisdom when we ask for it. I love that.

  25. I have learned through my parenting over the course of the last 8 years that just because someone has parenting advice, doesn’t mean they know what they are doing. And just because that advice “appears” to work, at the moment, doesn’t mean it works either. I’m not impressed any more when people walk in with what seemingly appears to be “perfect children”. I don’t want perfect children because none of us are perfect. And, I don’t care, personally, any more what others think of my children or my parenting – and it has taken me a long time to get there.

    What I DO care about is my relationship with my children and their relationship with Christ as their saviour. There is no book that can teach me “how” to raise them “God’s Way”. For truly, God’s way is on our knees and through Christ – not by following a parenting book. And yes – I have read and taken the courses – and have come in contact with the Ezzo’s through my church – Seacoast.

    But, in my own opinion, what has been the most telling FOR ME has been learning about the relationship that the Ezzo’s do NOT have with their children as adults. They have come to adopt some of the families in their GFI “ministry” as their own but have chosen to move far away from their children (who reside in California) and have moved to Charleston, South Carolina. My own parents in their retirement have moved as close to all of their children and grandchildren as they possibly could.

    There are too many books and too many “experts” any more and they are all trying to make money (yes – even the Ezzo’s) by selling their prescription for perfect children.

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