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Old 03-18-2007, 01:29 PM   #2
flowermama
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Default Re: Unprepared for Parenting Resources

Resources about the Ezzos (con't)

Hsgbdmama offers this bookstore letter that we can use (modified from the pastor/church letter):

Quote:
To Whom It May Concern:

I have been a ________ customer for several years, and have been a Preferred Member since about ___. My family and I enjoy shopping at your stores and really like the convenience of shopping online at your site. The selections that you offer, as well as your customer service, are outstanding!

However, I saw something on (date) which concerned me. There was a display of parenting books by the checkouts of the (city location) store, which included a couple of the Baby Wise books by Gary Ezzo. I don’t know if you’re aware of the controversy surrounding him and his materials, but I firmly believe that they have no place being prominently displayed. His materials have been found to be dangerous to infants, inaccurate, and often, completely false. He has proven to be unresponsive to the discipline of the church, and has been asked to leave more then one. I feel that his interpretation of Scripture is twisted and inaccurate, and leads to well-meaning parents bringing their children to harm. Growing Kids God’s Way doesn’t accurately reflect the character of God to children.

I first learned about his organization, Growing Families International (GFI), through an online parenting group. GFI is the current name for the Ezzo organization, and you can view their website at http://www.gfi.org/ .

Gary Ezzo’s basic premise for infants is that they need to be taught how to fit into the lifestyle of the parents. He advocates scheduled feedings and leaving a child alone to cry in order that the child will fall asleep. His feeding schedule suggested in the book is horrible for breast-feeding mothers, and has been known to cause failure to thrive (FTT) in infants. FTT is a medical condition characterized by a lack of growth, both in weight and height, in the most crucial years of a child’s development. (http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutriti...ure_thrive.htm) I have communicated with mothers who followed the Ezzo program, and had their children suffer from FTT. As soon as they dropped the schedule, their children began to gain weight and thrive. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has released several statements speaking against scheduled feedings, and promotes feeding upon demand. (http://www.ezzo.info/Articles/BFg%20...W%20and%20.doc) In addition, the practice of leaving a child alone to cry causes an increase in cortisol, a stress hormone, in the child. It elevates to the same level as that of a stroke patient. (http://drbenkim.com/articles-attachment-parenting.html)

His materials get no better as they progress for older children. Gary Ezzo’s teachings are unnecessarily adversarial and controlling of children, and do little to teach independence and self-control. There are many Christian leaders with grave concerns about his Growing Kids God’s Way (GKGW) program, including Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family. You can see their comments at http://www.ezzo.info/gkgw.htm. Not only do the health risks to infants cause concern, but also the age-inappropriateness of his advice and the manipulation of Scripture. Dr. Kent McClain addresses these concerns at http://www.tmoments.com/Concerns.htm.

Beyond the simple controversy surrounding his materials, there is a concern about how Gary Ezzo responds to the controversy. He shrugs off the concerns, and claims to be persecuted because he is a Christian. He has been excommunicated from one church for failure to respond to church discipline (http://www.ezzo.info/Aney/livinghopestatement.pdf), and has been asked to leave others. (http://www.ezzo.info/GCC/revisedgrace.htm, http://www.ezzo.info/Aney/macarthurstatement.pdf) Members of his former staff now speak out against him.

There is an entire website devoted to speaking out against the Ezzos and their teachings. It is www.ezzo.info, and it tells of the many, many problems and concerns from Christians, non-Christians, parents, doctors, and teachers. There’s also a section from people who used to use his materials who now speak out against him.

I’m writing to ask ____________to strongly reconsider promoting these books. I understand that _____ is a business and needs to sell what is demanded by its customers; however, promoting materials – that are known to cause harm – to unsuspecting parents who are simply looking for basic information is irresponsible. There are many other Christian and secular authors with better, safer, and successfully proven methods to offer, and I would like to see some of those things promoted either in contrast to – or better yet – instead of the Ezzo materials.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration on this matter. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I appreciate your help in this matter.
Tulipmama says, "This is a basic summary of the points I bring up when I mention my concerns about Babywise / Ezzo / GFI. It is more for a Christian reader than secular Babywise fan."

Quote:
My concerns about Babywise / Ezzo materials fall into three main categories:

1. Medical.
Babywise especially, but also the Ezzo materials for older children, are full of medical misinformation and lack a sound basis in what we know about how God created breastfeeding, infant sleep patterns, and general child development. I'm especially concerned because he presents opinions as facts (See the chapter called "Facts on Feeding" for example.) Also, he appeals to "common sense" in a persuasive way, while ignoring established medical facts. The American Association of Pediatrics has publically warned against schedules designed by parents in direct response to rise in popularity of Babywise in the late 90s.

Related to this:
AAP Media Alert
Babywise Medical Files
Case Studies


2. Misuse of Scripture.
Babywise is a secular-marketed version of Preparation for Parenting/Along the Infant Way. It was developed to increase sales, as well as a tool for proslytizing.
Gary Ezzo is very loose with his use of Scripture both in all of his church-marketed materials. He shows both a disrespect for the careful handling of Scripture, as well as neglects to apply the Gospel in his materials.

Related links:
Dr. Kent McClain's Biblical Analysis
Gary Ezzo and Biblical Hermeneutics
More than a Parenting Ministry


3. Character Concerns.
Gary Ezzo writes and teaches Babywise and his other parenting materials under the umbrella of his for-profit parenting ministry. However, he has a pattern of unresolved church discipline issues, including being excommunicated from two churches by elders who have known him and cared for him for many years. He has been declared "unfit for public ministry" while these issues remain unresolved. This is no small thing, especially in 20th century North American protestantism, where church discipline is a very rarely practiced thing.

Related Links:
Living Hope Evangelical Fellowship's Statement
Grace Community Church's Statement
Evaluating Ezzo's Leadership

Personally, understanding the problems with Babywise / Ezzo in these areas, I cannot see why a parent would continue to consult these materials as a trustworthy resource. However, for those parents who do choose to use Ezzo's materials, I recommend these resources to help encourage balance and minimize the chances of problems:

Modifying Babywise for Breastfeeding
Awareparent.net Discussion Group
Finding Balace with GFI Materials
Child Training and Sleep Training
Unto the Least of These
Establishing a Routine

I know that I have been critical of a book and ideas that some mamas on this thread have praised. It can feel like a personal attack, since I am negative about something you perceive as positive.

Yet, I want to be sure I communicate that I am not criticizing YOU. What I have seen among parents who choose to use Ezzo materials (both online and in real life) is a deep devotion to their children. A willingness to "go the extra mile." A desire to do things the right way, the best way for their baby.

I understand the appeal of Babywise, and I don't condemn you for finding it appealing. Yet, I've learned, that it really isn't all that and a bag of chips. Please keep both eyes wide open, and be cautious in your application of these materials.

Even the most intelligent and most loving parents can have problems, when they are relying upon resources that are foundationally faulty.

Grace and peace,

Last edited by flowermama; 03-12-2010 at 03:38 AM.
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