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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Growing Kids God's Way

About 5 years ago, when D was 5 and S was 2, our church offered several weeks of a parenting class called Growing Kids God's Way which was taught with videos and a workbook by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo. I think H and I learned a lot from the classes, including:
  • don't frustrate the child
  • give age related duties and privileges
  • expect obedience the first time - no telling the child over and over when he's not even listening
  • have child respond when told something so you know he heard you
  • have child say yes ma'am and no ma'am, yes sir and no sir
  • have child respond when called
  • have child repeat back instructions to verify understanding
  • have child call adults Miss, Mrs., or Mister So-and-So
  • insist on child not interrupting conversations unless it's an emergency
  • let your yes be yes and your no, no - don't be wishy-washy with you responses to child
  • give child a warning before he is expected to change activities, such as a five minute warning before time to eat or leave playground

With all this knowledge I gained from the parenting classes, I'm a little perplexed at the anti-Ezzo posts I find here and here and other places. It's not like I think the Ezzo's are totally fabulous but I don't think they're evil either. Maybe it's because I didn't take the Babywise classes everyone seems upset about. I nursed and then fed on demand and the kids slept sleep with us a lot (although I do try to get them to go back to their own beds). I don't think I would have enjoyed the Babywise classes as they seem to go against my attachment parenting instincts. However, if someone asked me whether I think Growing Kids God's Way is a good class, I'd say yes. It made a big difference for the better in my parenting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm only a little familiar with BabyWise and not at all familiar with GKGW. Baby Wise is the complete opposite of Attachment Parenting.

After reading a few bits here and there about Baby Wise, I decided to try instituting the every 3 hours for nursing baby #4. I had never really successfully breastfed my other 3 children, but, well, I can be stubborn and I really wanted to make this work. Well, I finally got passed the first 2 weeks and thought everything was fine from here on out. I was feeding baby every 3 hours, she was constantly fussy and could only bed quieted by the swing. When I took her to her 2 mos. check-up she had gained only 1 oz. from her 1 mos. check-up. I was told I needed to supplement with formula as I was not producing enough milk. Needless to say, baby was completely on formula by 4 1/2 mos. as my milk had dried-up.

So, when baby #5 was here, this time I was bound and determine to make this work. I made sure I drank lots of water and I fed him on demand. I nursed him for 12 months. My 6th baby is 13 1/2 mos. and she still nurses 2-3 times a day. I also take my babies to bed with me and it makes sleeping through the night and nightime feedings sooo much easier. I also have other children who need my attention, so getting rest is very important for me.
I cold never reccommend Baby Wise to any parents for this reason alone.

What you have learned from Growing Kids God's Way is what we also teach our children, although I didn't learn it from the Ezzo's book. I would think that all parents would be teaching the things you listed to their children.

9:16 AM  
Blogger Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Babies have ended up in the hospital with dehydration because their parents followed the Ezzo method. The Ezzo response to this? They've told parents *not to admit* they use Babywise- to lie and deceive. That's enough for me to call it evil.

After years of refusing to acknowledge that their advice resulted in very sick babies, they simply altered their books to make them slightly more compatible with bfing (though still seriously defective), without any acknowledgment that they'd changed their story.

There was also an issue of misrepresenting Mrs. Ezzo's credentials and medical background.
In fact, there's lots more, but other people have done their homework on this topic, and I won't repeat all of it.
There is a pattern here of outright dishonesty, misrepresentation, as well issues of being under church discipline for those things. I think you might want to check more on the background and history of the Ezzos.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Happy Housewife said...

Barbara & Headmistress,

Thank you both for the Babywise info. Like I said, from what I know of Babywise it wouldn't be something I'd use or would recommend others use. My experience was only with GKGW for about ages 3-12. I would be interested if anyone has any comments about GKGW for that age group.

What I learned in the parenting classes was very helpful for me but I currently recommend Raising Godly Tomatoes for parenting advice instead.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Since the creators of GKGW have been proven to be dishonest, manipulative, hypocritical, slanderers and have been disfellowshipped from at least two churches, and have almost no contact with one of their two children, then I would hesitate to do anything that would put more money in their pockets. Studying the behavior of the Ezzoes themselves and how they respond to criticism is extremely disturbing. It's not a question of he said, she said- these things have been proven again and again (their outright falsifying of exchanges between themselves and Roy Maynard of World Magazine is one example).

But there's more specifically on GKGW here:

I don't disagree with the list of good things you mention, but I agree with Barbara- these are things taught by many people (and in the Bible). I just think that we don't have to rely upon those who spread lies, engage in highly irregular financial tactics (one of the things leading to his disfellowshipping from his last congregation), and who counsel others to lie in order to learn those good things. There's too much chaff in that wheat.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Lori said...

Just as another side, the Babywise ideas do work with certain babies. All three of my babies have done *great* following the basic pattern of: feed, play/awake, sleep. No nursing to sleep, no sleeping with momma & daddy, no human pacifier here!

While we don't follow Ezzo's advice to the letter, we do follow the basic principles. We use the first week or two to establish good nursing habits. Good latch-on, getting a full meal at each nursing (i.e. NO SNACKING). Then we move onto a schedule (not rigid) - just moving towards a 2 1/2 to 3 hour schedule. Right now, my daughter is 3 1/2 months old, and eats 5 times a day. She sleeps 12 hours at night and takes a few naps during the day. Basically she eat breakfast, lunch, tea-time, dinner and bedtime. She is my chunkiest little one thus far.

But I KNOW there have been problems with families following this to the letter. I KNOW there are awful things about these authors which may be true. So maybe you shouldn't support them financially - but that's not to say their ideas don't work. THEY DO! Maybe I'll have a child in the future who won't do well on these basics, but three thus far have worked WONDERFULLY!!

Just another side to the story - not everyone who uses these ideas ends up with babies in the hospital. All of my babies sleep and nap *great*. We don't do a lot of "crying it out" (just some fussing here and there) and we do use a pacifier. To each his own, I guess....

My sister took the GKGW class and really liked it. I've not taken a class.

Anyways, someone who uses these techniques is not automatically abusing or hurting their children - just so everyone knows. Check out my beautiful little ones on my site if you want - healthy, happy, growing babies!


1:39 PM  
Blogger TulipGirl said...

Hi, Mrs. Happy!

My experience with parents who feel they benefit from GKGW, is that they entered the class as loving and actively involved parents, and were encouraged to continue to be actively involved and loving. The "success" comes from the parents themselves--not necessarily from Ezzo's teachings. I'd imagine, just about any parenting group that met together for 16 weeks to intensively focus on encouraging each other to be active, involved, loving parents would have positive results.

Interestingly, though, I've found that when parents benefit from GKGW, then the program is praised. When families suffer from GKGW, the parents are blamed.

It's often been said that what is good in Ezzo's teachings is not unique, and what is unique is not that good.

For example, GKGW *does* have some good information on love languages and children. But an even better resources is "Love Languages for Children" by Chapman and Campbell.

In Growing Kids God's Way, one of my chief concerns is with Gary Ezzo's misuse of the Bible. These are two good resources related to that:

Dr. Kent McClain's GKGW Review

Evaluating Ezzo and Biblical Hermeneutics

I know many, many wonderful families who took one or more of Ezzo's classes. I know that they seemed to help for awhile--and like I said, I believe that is due to the encouragement and focus these parents receive. I also have seen too many families harmed by their years using Ezzo to ever think it is "good" for a family.

10:43 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Happy Housewife said...

I just wanted to thank everyone for posting kind and thoughtful comments. It is nice to discuss issues in a mature, Christian manner. Thanks, Ya'll! :)

5:56 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Interesting, I have a friend who read the Ezzo's book and she tried to schedule her babies feedings and YES she was NOT successful breast feeding. If at best this would only work with formula fed babies. I love breastfeeding and my baby sleeps in his cosleeper. He is the happiest baby. All my children were. As with any and every child training book out there I take everything with a grain of salt. I chew on things , eating the meat and spitting out the bones. LOTS of bones.

I am sort of cracking up here about some of the comments. You know, I love being the pacifier! My baby takes one but I love filling his needs. They are only little once and how little time it takes to give to them. Aside from studies I have read that actually show the benifits of comfort nursing to actually help your child adjust well to change and stress.
One thing I always say..your going to make mistakes..(in parenting) but its nothing that a lot of love and tenderness wont fix. Love those babies. Find someone who raised their children and pick their brains for advice. Babies are easy..its the teenagers that will get you!

2:09 AM  

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