Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Beware, its a soapbox :)

This post may ruffle a few feathers depending on those who read it. Some, I know, will whole heartily agree and others, well, others may not. lol. :)

I recently was talking to a friend from high school about parenting methods and, as with so many parenting conversations, the word "Babywise" was uttered. At the site or sound of the word I usually get somewhat ruffled because its my personal opinion that its more of a method revolving around the needs of the parent than the actual child. Again, JMO. :) It has a Very popular following especially among Christians. I mean, He has a book called "Growing kids Gods Way". FOR REAL??? That must be the Bible of Parenting! Lol! He must have some inside track! Sheez! Anyway, instead of just giving my own opinion based on emotions (like I just did in the previous sentence,lol) I decided to do some research. Come to find out, this man, Gary Ezzo, although he has led millions in how to parent and raise "Godly" children doesn't seem to even know how to conduct himself in a godly manner. At least not what I would consider Godly. He has some major character issues that seem to really flare up when people have opinions that differ from his. He is very opposed to AP (attachment parenting) or anything, for that matter, that is not completely in line with his method and goes so far as to call it "anti-christian". LMAO! Focus on the Family made this statement in 2004
"Most troubling of all, when approached with these concerns by parents and professionals alike, the Ezzos have responded in an inappropriate manner. Rather than addressing head-on the valid questions that have been raised about their materials, the Ezzos routinely attack their critics and dismiss their concerns as “anti-Christian.” In addition, a number of respected publications, including _Christianity Today_, _World_, and _The Christian Research Journal_, have reported on character and accountability issues that have arisen between the Ezzos and several reputable churches. For these reasons we have chosen not to recommend the Ezzos’ curriculum to Focus on the Family’s constituents. In the final analysis, we would suggest that, if a parent decides to use the GFI curriculum, its principles should be implemented only in conjunction with generous measures of common sense, intuition, and natural parental affection."
To add to this he has had several issues with churches including being excommunicated from one in CA., he has no relationship with his own adult children and most importantly there are some really sad cases of people being duped and following his Parent directed feeding so strictly that it had severe health consequences for their child. NOW, all of that said, I know people who sware by babywise and they're children aren't scarred by any means and they are great parents. For one, I believe they use allot of flexibility and mostly recognize their cries as needs not manipulations. So, Please don't think that I am calling anyone bad parents, I'm not! I am appalled that millions of people sware by this guy and no one seems to know anything about him or his credentials. I'm also always trying to understand the pull to it as well because it just never sat right with me as a mom. Isn't that what you have to do as a mother, follow your instincts, not just do what a book tells you?
Ok, Feel free to state your opinion! Again, please dont be offended as I am just asking for your input and not putting down anyones parenting! :) :) I love you all! :)
http://www.ezzo.info/

27 comments:

Birdietwoshoes (Jenni) said...

I read the Babywise book when I first had Rachel. I thought some of it sounded good, other stuff sounded like crap. Personally, I am not at all into AP. I breastfed, but only for 11 months. I was SO ready to be done. I had only planned on doing it for 6 months, but ended up doing it longer. I did not breastfeed at every cry, though. I tried to do it every 2-3 hrs during the day and not let her "snack" in between. (Not to offend anyone who breastfeeds in other ways- it was just a personal preference) And it worked with Rachel just fine. I have a friend whose first child was, as she puts it, "The perfect Babywise baby." Her second would have nothing to do with the methods she tried.

All that to say, I think it's up to each parent and what they feel is best. The whole Ezzo/Sears debate... well, I just don't get into it. I don't and never will wear my babies, breastfeed past a year or co-sleep. But I don't think that mothers/parents who choose that are bad parents by ANY means. It's just not for me.

And I have to say, that when I chose to kept breastfeeding for longer than 6 months, all I could think of was how proud Sara would be of me. :)

Sarafu said...

LOL! I was proud of you!!1 :)

I agree, You have to do what works for you and your baby. If I had tried to feed Eden strictly every 2-3 hours and not let her "snack" she would be 2 pounds now. Literally, my Dr made sure I was feeding on demand. She happens to be one of those "not textbook babies" that would have been effected badly by PDF or I simply would have had to go with formula and we all know how I would have dealt with that! LOl!
As far as Sears goes, I appreciate him because he doesnt say that you Have to Breastfeed or wear you babies or co sleep. He is good about saying that you should do what works for you and makes you a better parent. I know lots of people who would sleep less if they slept with their babies and therefor be a less effective parent.
I think my problem is Ezzo himself, I dont apprecite people who think that they're view is the only view and they see their opinion as gospel truth.Grrr... Come to think of it, I'm having the same issue with politics right now. lol!

Mrs. Sara said...

Personally, I'm taking the advice of a LOT of different pediatricians and experts on child development in making my parenting decisions. I think it can become a problem when anyone relies too heavily on the opinions of ONE person for how to raise their children. There's good and bad stuff with every parenting style, and I'm just trying to separate the wheat from the chaff in making my decisions.

And I haven't read the "Babywise" books, but I have read a little bit about Ezzo himself, and I do think it becomes a problem when you start claiming a special mandate from God on something that's extra-Biblical. There are a LOT of Biblical mandates for parents in how to raise their children... and only feeding every 3 hours is NOT one of them. A similar thing happened with Gwen Shamblin, the creator of the "Weigh Down Workshop." There was nothing really wrong about what she was saying regarding healthy eating and practicing self-control when it came to food, but when she started claiming that HER way of losing weight was GOD'S way of losing weight (and anyone who didn't agree with her would basically go to Hell), it all went downhill from there.

Sarafu said...

My Thoughts EXACTLY Sara!!!!

Mrs. Sara said...

I should clarify: I didn't mean that only feeding on a three hour schedule was WRONG, only that it wasn't mandated in the Bible. :)

Mrs. Sara said...

Personally, this is how I'm gonna roll in the Attachment Parenting vs. whatever is the opposite of Attachment Parenting debate (DEtachment parenting? LOL):

Preparing for childbirth: already doing it!

Breastfeeding: Absolutely! Until he's 2 years old. If he's still going strong at 2, I'll gently wean him. When kids hit 2 1/2 or 3 they begin to gain a cursory understanding of human sexuality, and in my opinion, it would be inappropriate to continue breastfeeding once he understands that breasts are one of mommy's "private" places.

Co-sleeping: Yep, until he's too big for a bassinet. This will make night feedings so much easier, and also apparently reduces the risk of SIDS. Woot!

Babywearing: I don't have a really strong opinion on this one, and don't think it's "right" or "wrong" to do either way, but I think I'll wear Isaac simply because that's the type of person I am. Some people need more personal space, and might not be able to handle the constant contact, but I think I'll like it. We'll see... I might change my mind!

Discipline: This is a hard one for me. I look back on my childhood and think that at times, I was disciplined inappropriately, and it makes me worry I might do the same thing to Isaac. Dan and I are really going to have to work on how exactly we're going to deal with disciplinary situations. Dan's currently in child development classes as part of his Master's program, and he grew up with 6 brothers and sisters in the house (and a host of foster kids), so I think he'll really be my go-to guy on how to deal with naughtiness.

These are obviously just a few of the hundreds of parenting style decisions we'll have to make, but I thought I'd share these few because they seem to be important to attachment parenters.

Fu, how do you feel about spanking? Did you swat either of your boys, and was it effective? I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about it. If we're gonna do swats, I want Dan to be the one to do it, because I'm afraid of doing it in anger!

Elizabeth F. said...

I cringe when I hear about Ezzo, simply because a lot of moms (especially first time mothers)want to do what is right for their baby and listen to that knuckle-head. They are recommended this book from their church, other experienced moms that they admire, or in church affiliated parenting classes and with those recommendations come the impression that this is the RIGHT way to do it. There are many ways to parent and many parenting philosophies. I agree with Dr. Sears philosophy for the most part. Attachment Parenting includes, Birth Bonding, Breastfeeding, Baby Wearing, Bedding Close to Baby, etc... AP is often misunderstood and people think you have to be a non-shaving, tye-dye wearing hippy mama that flops her boob out in public to practice it.:-) Sears never says that parents have to nurse for a specific length of time although he encourages the AAP standards. He encourages mothers to sleep near their babies, not necessarily with them. I'm pretty sure we all agree with the need to bond and be close to our babies immediately following birth. Babywearing is a personal choice that I found particularly helpful with a fussy baby and when I had other children. My hands were free. :-)

To practice Attachment Parenting does not mean that you have to practice all of the above. (From the AP Book). You can totally be AP and not breastfeed, although it would be more difficult. You can do all of those things above and choose not co-sleep. AP is a parenting style that regards your baby as a human being with real needs and that their cries are for a reason and should be responded to. If I'm hungry, I eat. If my baby is hungry, they eat. PERIOD. I don't give a darn what the clock says. Yes, not every cry means they are hungry. But that's exactly what AP encourages... knowing your baby, his/her cries and responding appropriately. AP is flexible and that's why I like it. Ezzo's method is very strict and is more focused on "training your baby" than to meet their needs. I think Parenting Styles like that encourage the attitude of "I have a baby, but my life isn't going to change." I have a newsflash: Your life is going to change once you have a baby whether you like it or not. Embrace it, it's a wonderful and rewarding journey. JMHO.

Elizabeth F. said...

Mrs. Sara,
Even though you didn't ask me...We spank very rarely. I was spanked very harshly as a child (beat is a better term to use) and I think it instills nothing but fear in a child and no real lesson is learned. I prefer using consequences that fit the crime, but that is usually for toddlers and older. The biggest crime in our house is lying, so we reserve spanking for that offense. I will have to say that every child is different and my Zoe doesn't even flinch. She just gets mad. So, it doesn't work with her. Spanking is such a touchy subject with people, but you have to decide what works your family and stick to it. I feel consistency is the most important factor in discipline.

I have no doubt that you and Dan are going to be GREAT parents!

Mrs. Sara said...

Thanks for the input, Elizabeth! Anyone else who's reading this, please share your philosophy on spanking, too! I'm interested.

John F. said...

I think we should just send all our children off to Military School at the age of 1 and let the Government raise them. :)

Sarafu said...

VERY WELL SAID Elizabeth! I'm glad that you explained AP because people need to realize that you dont have to do all of the above to fit into it. Sears gives suggestions and basiclly says to listen to your baby.
As far as spanking goes. Yes we do spank but I do not use it often. Daniel tends to use it more. One, I dont think it works except in very paticular circumstances. I tend to try to find a punishment that fits the crime. I try to find the logical consequence for the action. Like, if Jack pees his pants while he is out playing with his friends simply because he didnt want to leave then he cant play with his friends. I do believe spanking can be effective if done correctly but I DON"T think it is always the most effective. I also think that sometimes we get caught in situations where spanking is easier on us because you dont have to follow through on something and it is over and done with very quickly. This is another reason I dont think it is always super effective. JMO :) So, I dont think its wrong if done correctly (not in anger and explained) but by no means should be punishment #1.

Elizabeth F. said...

My biggest pet peeve..."Little Johnnie, we don't hit!" (come here to me, swat, swat!) Sending a mixed message I think. I'm not aloud to hit others, but you're allowed to hit me. I don't get it.

Jenny W said...

we used spanking when the girls were young in areas where we really wanted to make a point. for example, if you've been spanked three times today and then you run into the street and i spank you, you won't learn much. if you haven't been spanked in 6 mos and you run into the street and i spank you, you'll remember mom means it when she says don't go into the street!

Elizabeth F. said...

good point Jenny. You want them to know that you mean business. The same goes with shouting at your children. We are all guilty of that for sure. If you yell at your kids all day they learn to tune you out and when you want them to hear you they don't.

Birdietwoshoes (Jenni) said...

About the spanking issue... I was completely for spanking and very anti-timeout. Until Rachel was old enough to discipline, that is. :) Spanking does NOTHING for her. I have probably spanked her about 8-10 times and I think she cried once. I never spanked out of anger and she obviously has the diaper buffer, but yeah, she is totally unaffected. However! She is SUCH a social child and craves attention so one time I put a chair in a corner where she couldn't touch anything and set her in it and told her to stay there until mama said she could get down. UNBELIEVABLE! It totally works! She hates it (although she's learned to stay there until I come get her.) I think the sitting in one spot thing combined with the mommy not paying attention to me just hit home with her. I then go over and get down on her level, explain why I put her in time out and why she shouldn't behave that way, then tell her I love her and hug her. I have to say, thank you Super Nanny for that piece of advice. The whole "get down on your child's level" thing. And no yelling, talking to them and explaining things in normal voice...

Anyway, I'm sure there will be some instances where spanking is called for. But just like any other thing, you have to do what's best for you and your child. Not what a book says, or what Super Nanny says, or what your parents say or even your best friend. What is good for you and your child and the way you feel God wants you to raise your child.

Sarafu said...

Its amazing how things change when you actually have a child to test your "ideals" on. I said all sorts of ignorant things before I had kids. They were ignorant because I didnt have the experience of motherhood to back anything up. I thought I would be more of a babywise girl and AP WOULD NOT have set well with me. LMAO! Who Knew, right!!! But your right Birdie, you have to do what your instincts tell you and what works for you and your children. Its always good to educate yourself and take suggestions but its also vital to realize that that is all they are, suggestions and ideas. Take what works and leave the rest.

Jenny W said...

when skylar was two she was i physical therapy (all together: "awww") and her therapist gave me the advice of WHISPERING when the child starts yelling. i thought she was nuts, but she had a point when she said if kid yells then mom yells then kid yells louder things just escalate. it's up to mom to de-stress the situation! so i started whispering, and the kids get quiet IMMEDIATELY cuz they have no idea what i'm saying! from the time they were toddlers i'd get down on my knees, make eye contact and whisper. works--at least for my kids--100% of the time. thank you physical therapy lady!!

Mrs. Sara said...

That's a GREAT tip, Jenny! I'll have to remember that.

Jenny W said...

ok off topic here but while i was talking about physical therapy with Sky as a toddler i remembered another story! she was about 4 at SELF (Special Education Learning Facility here in Valpo) and we were going on a field trip and she was VERY excited about walking me to her class while we signed in and waited for the bus. My 4 year old baby walked by the high school room (severly disabled kids who were never able to be in the public schools) and stuck her head in the door to wave to one of the 17 year old girls who (to my adult brain) was so crippled and deformed and drooling she looked frightening. "Hi Sara" my baby smiled and waved. And I finished my walk to her room with tears in my eyes, thankful that my high-functioning autistic preschooler saw the world so much more beautifully than I did. Sniff sniff!

Liz said...

That is so beautiful, Jenny! Kids have a way of seeing the inside when everyone else may see the outside! What a special little girl you have! (Although she isn't that little anymore!)

Misty said...

I don't have alot to comment on this situation as to I am really unaware of what either is all about but I do know that with Tyler (my almost 14 month old) I have just done what feels right for both him and me. I would have LOVED to have breastfeed him longer and had all intentions of doing so until he was at least 1 years old, but that didn't happen, between work, pain, and his overall refusal we had to resort to formula at about 5 months. And with this upcoming baby I am planning the same, hope to be able to breastfeed, but not gonna let my child go without food if it doesn't work. With Tyler he co-roomed with us until he was almost 6 months old. I loved it!. In fact for the first few months he slept in the same bed as us, but as he got bigger and not feeding as often, I became scared he would fall out of the bed or something so he moved into his crib (which was right beside my bed) and we have all done fine. With the upcoming baby I have a bassinet for him so I don't have to worry so much about the falling out of bed part.
I just now that for me being a parent is a responsibility that I chose to take on and since every child is different I have yet to understand how some book or person can tell me how to raise MY child. That person or author has never held my child, felt the tug of my heart when he cries to much from not wanting to be away from me or known what his hungry, sleepy, cranky or just bored cry/babble sounds like. Children are only little for so long and I figure as long as my child wants me to be there for him, I am going to be there come hell or high water. I LOVE holding Tyler til he falls asleep in my arms, I love snuggling with him when he just wants to be with mommy and I love just sitting on his floor with him and playing blocks, singing or heck dare i mention it just watching a cartoon on the television with him.
This is what works for us at our home and again no book, person etc can keep me from raising my child the best way I see fit for him.
(OK so maybe I did have alot to comment on this situation! :o) )

Anonymous said...

Thank you for my gorgeous picture of Eden! She is hanging in my cubicle at work so I can see her everyday. She makes me smile!

Love you, Fu!

Netta

Liz said...

Hey Sara! Time for you to ruffle some more feathers! I have enjoyed your more current blogging status as of late! At least post more gorgeous pics of the kiddos... you know... in all of your spare time! :)

misty said...

I completely agree...would love to see more pics....she is probably getting really big by now!!! only 5 weeks and 2 days to go here! not like i am counting or anything!! i have started running into everything - forget just how far my belly sticks out sometimes!! and just about sick of braxton hicks - i get them all to often this go round...might have had 1 or 2 that i felt with Tyler. i just keep telling him & me that we need to make it past 36 weeks to be considered term...so he has to stay in as well...sometimes it feels like he is trying to stretch his way out!
hope all is going well...talk at you later - going to go try and get some sleep!

Anonymous said...

Fu you are dangerously approaching the mark of taking a month off of blogging :( Where is, Fu???

Butson Family said...

I think for me, Babywise was a book that really helped me get a basic structure, and then sort of go from there. It has worked really well for all my kids. I haven't read any of his other books or curriculum, but I can understand hesitation if someone doesn't seem to respond appropriately to critique, like it seems the Ezzos have done. For me, just knowing that there is a basic plan and rountine in place really helps me plan the day, and know when Sam will need certain things. Of course, if he cries, I listen for qhat type of cry it is. If he is hungry, and it isn't when he normally eats, he eats. So, for me, it is just very middle of the road. I have created for him a basic time when he normally eats, which has helped him get used to eating at a certain time, which helps his body be hungry at that time. You know, like when you were in school, and you had lunch at 11 every day, you just got hungry at that time. Same thing. But I just listen for his cues, and meet whatever he needs. Plus, the whole sleeping through the night thing has been amazing. All of them were sleeping like 8 hours a night without waking up by about 8-10 weeks. It really helps me to get good rest so I have enough energy and patience during the day. I would not take everything the Ezzos say as the absolute truth, but just like so many other things in life, there are parts of something that can be true, and other parts are not. I guess for me, it is sort of the don't throw the baby out with the bathwater thing. When I know some of the techniques have worked for me, I will use those techniques, but if something else sounds suspicious, I would not, you know. I think it is just good to discuss and get the best things and question things for everything in life, like this whole vaccination debate! uuuuhhhh...what to do?

Sarafu said...

I do agree with that Andrea. :) I think its good to go with what works for you as a parent as long as its not harmful to your kids. And if you dont shut off that mechanism that says to meet your childs needs when they need it, then your kids are fine. I think when you take what you can use and throw out the rest its great. My worry was people who dont do that and just think they have to do what they have been told, especially when its represented as "The Christian way" to parent. Hopefully most moms listen to that voice in their head or check in their spirit that tells them what is right for their baby.