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FAQ -- Frequently Asked Questions
I'm aware of the controversy and some of the reasons for it, but my church just announced they are starting GFI classes soon. How do I approach my church leadership about this?
AnswerOthers in your situation have found that their church leaders were either unaware of the controversy or had dismissed concerns in favor of trusting the Ezzos' explanation. Some respectful dialogue may help in either case. If they are simply unaware, you can bring them a selection of items you hope they'll consider (keeping in mind that a huge stack of articles and documents might be overwhelming!)
If they have dismissed or glossed over concerns in the past, you can respectfully ask that they respond to this information you're giving them. A closer look may be just what's needed. Many people have had great success when they have explained to their church that this program is controversial, and offered information.
However, in some cases, church leaders strongly identify with the Ezzos' ideas and simply believe the explanations the Ezzos offer regarding critics and criticism. Therefore, they believe that they will find no merit in any evidence you could offer. In this situation it's disturbing to realize they have chosen to believe the Ezzos over a host of credible, reputable Christian leaders who have voiced concerns. Unfortunately, some church leaders have made that choice, and there may be little you can do to change their minds.
I think that a person with a reasonable amount of common sense can sift through Babywise and apply the parts that make sense in a reasonable and flexible manner. Isn't that how anyone would approach any parenting book?
AnswerYes, a discerning reader should be able to identify good points vs. troubling ones. But a large part of Ezzo's readership are attracted to this book for the very reason that it offers specific directions to guide them in an area where they feel inexperienced and unconfident. Also the materials are presented in such a way as to intentionally bias the reader against other ideas and approaches that parents might otherwise incorporate to balance Ezzos' ideas.
For example, the authors' own ideas are often presented after a lengthy—and often inaccurate—negative portrayal of other ideas. (The fictional example babies Ryan and Stevie from Preparation for Parenting, and Chelsea and Marissa from Babywise are a good example.) This predisposes the reader to be alarmed about other philosophies, and to accept that of Babywise uncritically. Some parenting books are written in a style by which it is understood that parents will select what works for their individual children and situations. The Ezzos make it pretty clear that their method is to be taken as a whole and that straying from their method produces serious problems.
Please be aware that many former users of Babywise (and Preparation for Parenting--the church-based counterpart) believed and told people that they were tempering their use of the method with common sense and flexibility. But many look back on the experience and say, "Now that I am a more experienced parent, I realize I was far too wrapped up in doing things by the book. I measured my success as a parent and my baby's progress by how well we lined up with the book. I should have relaxed and enjoyed my baby."
As to simply choosing the good parts, the key recommendations of Babywise spring from faulty premises. And if you're avoiding the key recommendations, why bother with the book at all? The good advice in Babywise can be found elsewhere; the unique aspects are not good--for either parents or babies.
But I'm nervous about how this new baby will impact our life and Babywise sounds so good!
AnswerBabywise and its church-based counterpart, Preparation for Parenting, promote a one-size-fits-all set of parent-centered rules for sleep, feedings, and wake time. Contrary to their claims, these precepts are potentially unhealthy for the child, and leave parents focused on the clock, the rules, and the book, rather than on what their individual baby needs in order to grow and develop physically and emotionally.
Healthy parenting is responding to your baby, meeting your baby's needs, in a way your intuition tells you is right. A high-touch, attentive approach to parenting is enjoyable because it builds both confident parents and loving, sensitive, and connected kids. [Answer adapted from the tri-fold brochure "Intrigued by the claims of Babywise?"]
Why is this website so unbalanced? Aren't you just biased by your own parenting preferences?
AnswerAuthors of materials presented in this collection parent in a variety of ways and in many cases they have considerable expertise and professional recognition in disciplines that the Ezzos attempt to address without training and expertise. We hope you will evaluate the information based on whether it is logical, fair and accurate.
(You may notice that Gary Ezzo himself often devalues critics in advance as hopelessly biased rather than responding to the substance of the concerns--it is an inadequate way to evaluate and address concerns.)
Why is this website named www.ezzo.info if this is not a pro-GFI website?
AnswerSome would ask why the name "www.ezzo.info" for this site; after all, that would seem to be a name suggesting sponsorship by Gary Ezzo. Steve Rein, the owner of the site responds, "The reason is that when I finally got around to spending some time re-organizing my old website I went looking for domain names because I thought it would be far easier to remember a URL like "www.ezzoinfo.net" than whatever that old URL was. When I typed "ezzo" into one of those domain name searches it came up that www.ezzo.info was not registered. This was a full four months after the .info domain names went up for sale, so I figured Gary Ezzo didn't want the name himself and that this URL will be easier for folks to remember. I am also perhaps one of the few people who is spending time explaining my domain name :)"
Why is Ezzo quoted incorrectly in some articles?
AnswerIn the cases we have seen where this objection has been raised, Ezzo was quoted correctly from the edition that was current at the time the article was written. In later editions, Ezzo has rearranged some wording and some page orders, as well as having made certain changes of substance.
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