On Parenting…

…and why I believe that Ezzo’s Babywise and Growing Kids God’s Way are wrong. And quite possibly evil.

I was holding Maddie on my legs, feet propped up on the coffee table (sorry to upset those of you who may be more “proper”…but if one is not having coffee, what is a coffee table for?), as she fell asleep. Things like this are not new for me. Or for us as a family.

Our parenting style is a modified version of attachment parenting. I say modified because we don’t strictly adhere to it, but rather learn the likes and dislikes of the child and adjust. Some love to be held, others less so, or hardly at all. But we chose this kind of parenting because to us it was the most natural, despite it not necessarily being standard in this culture (which in and of itself can be a reason to consider it).

Diametrically opposed to attachment therapy is the work and writings of Gary Ezzo. While wildly popular in the 90’s, Ezzo was largely discredited–and even excommunicated from his church–because his advice was dangerous to the health of infants and because of medical misinformation and character concerns. To add weight to the matter, his adult children cut ties with him and his publisher (Multnomah) cut ties with him. This and much, much more about Ezzo is published at http://www.ezzo.info.

The problem is that many churches still teach his material, and many I think simply out of ignorance. So, to that end, here are my main and ultimate reason why a church–or parent–should looks closer…and it is quite simple:
ANY publication that states it is “God’s Way” should automatically be suspect, regardless of the subject matter. This is a set up perfected by cults…because if you do not agree, then you are against God, no? Think on that. And throughout the book this is how he propositions his ideas.

But there is plenty more information about Ezzo at the site above and many others.

…and why I believe that Ezzo’s Babywise and Growing Kids God’s Way are wrong. And quite possibly evil. I was holding Maddie on my legs, feet propped up on the coffee table (sorry to upset those of you who may be more “proper”…but if one is not having coffee, what is a coffee table for?),…


  1. Oh, I'd forgotten about the Ezzo's. I took that course — and used that method on my first kid. Somewhat successfully, mostly not. (But we were first-time parents, and my word, what did we know?) Looking back, it's hilarious that they published a feeding method and called it God's way, eh? I'm also glad you mentioned that there is a balance to the attachment parenting thing as well. I think our culture can take THAT too far, too. The nice thing about having multiple kids is that you eventually figure out that kids respond differently to different methods. I've had two kids that HATE being held when they cry, and another kid that was (and still is) very responsive to the more "attachment" style.

  2. Scott: I agree and disagree. First, the personal criticisms of Ezzo, while largely correct, should not taint some of the good teaching in his series "Growing Kids God's Way," which is not related to his teaching on infancy, which I know almost nothing about. I have heard about it and chose not to look into it for teaching purposes due to what I felt were valid, up-front criticisms. I have a hard time finding a biblical basis for his feeding suggestions. Having said that, I think it is a bit over the top to critique his teaching a) because he went off-base in his personal lifestyle and b) because of the title of his course. The latter I won't even approach because I think it is ludicrous (sorry, my opinion). The former idea includes such criticisms of any preacher who goes over the edge, whether psychotically or morally or whatever. His failures do not invalidate a formerly good ministry, while they may invalidate his further use in the church. I have taught GKGW and found it very useful, very Biblical and very successful in my children's lives, on many levels. He is VERY CLEAR in his video series (thus it is on tape) that he is not the final answer for these matters, that one should always go back to Scriptures to verify. It is simply dishonest to say that he claims HIS way is the ONLY way. Finally, he does take a very Scripturally-based approach to teaching about discipline and provides excellent order to a difficult and confusing subject. ONe of your commentors on FB said parenting was simple. Does she have children? If she does, are they full grown? I am guessing she is way oversimplifying in order to agree with you. It is NOT a simple matter to raise children, any more than it is to build a sky scraper or engineer software for an FA-18. What Ezzo did, prior to going astray in his personal and professional life, is worthy of a look (at the 4-18 y.o. level, anyhow) by anyone serious about parenting who wants to know some Biblical guidelines. Not every tip works with every child. However, it is an EXCELLENT "GUIDE" to begin with and it provides structure for parents who are struggling with issues of teaching respect, honesty, uprightness and confidence to their children. I believe my children are a partial testimony to what, in his earlier, untainted years, Ezzo offered to the church.I pray Gary comes back down to earth and reconciles with his church – and they with him. I have read the articles on both sides and they each have handfuls of mud to sling. The problem in this issue is that, in the midst of the mudslinging, everyone got dirty and lost ground.Blessings, Scott. (If you didn't catch it, my agreement was on being against his Infant Series.) 🙂

  3. Sacred…I'll have to agree and disagree with your agreeing and disagreeing. ;-)While it may be worthy of a look post-infancy as general tenants for parenting, that is not how his books are written. Again, both the title and the exegesis by prooftexting lead the reader to believe that unless they do things his way, their child is in sin and they are in sin…regardless of whether the Scripture used in even remotely in context. Secondly, and perhaps even more importantly, you cannot simply separate the man from the teaching and say that the material is good and sound if the man and his behavior is not. Think about it–their own adult children cut ties with them over the character issues, most of which because of his refusal to be accountable to anyone or to clear up some of these issues with extra-biblical claims in his material.Either way, every time a church uses his material, they support his behavior….reward it, even. Is that acceptable?

  4. BTW, the FB commentator did not say that parenting is simple–she said that God made the principles simple, but man has complicated things. Quite true, specially when certain authors claims their is "God's Way".

  5. 1) Corrected on your FB Commentor. 2) Still think the attack on the title is borne more of the man than the title. If Dobson had written it I don't believe you'd attack it. Bad angle to critique him from.3) My guess is that you would do away with Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes, then? It seems the character of the man in question took a dive after his first wife…Blessings, Chris

  6. Chris–Ezzo's ego is already big enough and the source of much of his trouble without putting his books on par with books of the Bible. And frankly there is a huge difference not only in the material,but in the state of mind and spirit of the author. Oh, and in repentance. …and as far as the Dobson comment, two observations: first, he wouldn't write a book claiming "God's Way" about anything–again, it goes back to my point: the character of the author matters. Secondly, if he did, I'm pretty sure that with the amount of pressure from churches that's been on Ezzo, Dobson would have made the corrections and allowed himself accountable. Dobson's had mini firestorms of his own, and has actually corrected himself. Ezzo on the other hand…not so much.But here's my question: if Ezzo's material was so good, and so godly, why would his adult children cut ties with him? Seriously, why? Goes back to my main point: character does matter.