Ezzo's book, Babywise, was suggested to me through some really great friends at church. They had a picture perfect daughter who napped well, seemed to go with the flow, and seemed pretty independent. I praised my friends for such great parenting and they told me to read this book and apply it as soon as possible.
When we were pregnant, we read this book over and over. I was thrilled my husband agreed to go through with this type of parenting.
What saddens me about the birth of my daughter was that I was not focused on how wonderful it was to have such a tremendous blessing added to our family, but on how soon can she be put on a schedule? How quickly can she pick it up?
I have regretted very little in my life, but I regret the 4 weeks I placed her through hell, at only 3 months old! During the weeks we attempted to implement the book's ideas, she had only one day in which her routine followed the book, ONE DAY!
The rest of those days we felt like failures because we couldn't stick to her schedule, we ended up picking her up to get her to sleep, we held her through her naps because otherwise she would cry so much.
One day, I put her in her crib awake as the book stated, and she jumped with delight at seeing her mobile. The stupid mobile that hung above her head as she was being forced to sleep alone. She found more joy in the mobile than with me.
I praise God for the night my husband and I laid down in bed, listening to her through the monitor; she had been crying, off and on, for 45 minutes.
“You know,” he said, “if I didn't know better, I'd say that guy who wrote that book is sadistic.”
We sat there for a few seconds letting that thought sink in and then, “You're right,” I said, “let's pick her up.”
Later, after we got her to bed, I researched Ezzo and Babywise and I found the Ezzo.info website.
Then, we spoke to other friends at our church who warned us against this book. “The results are seen in their teen years,” they said, “it's devastating.”
Finally, we found another website that told us to beware of “sleep trainers”. I agree with their advice as well, “Why are you going to follow the instructions of another person who doesn't even know your child?”
The sudden revelation hit me: Of course these writers do not know my child, I am supposed to know my child – I am supposed to LOVE my child as only I can and the way she needs.
The beauty of God creating us is that we are all originals. My child is an original and she will not fall into a schedule I set, she will find what is comfortable for her.
I dumped Ezzo's advice and went for attachment parenting; the results are PHENOMENAL. My daughter feels much more secure, stable, and well-loved. Because I have spent so much time getting to know my daughter, I know when she's hungry, restless or tired, and she trusts me to meet her needs. In contrast, Ezzo's method had me second guessing everything my daughter was crying about, and made my doubt myself as a mother.
That's probably why Ezzo's books have lingered for so long: they appeals to the desire for control and certainty in life. His books promise those things.
BE WARNED: If you follow Ezzo's books, you will raise a child who will fear God, but they will not know Him, they will not care for Him, they will not love Him.
But you know what having a relationship with God is like, don't you? It's so deep and secure, that He knows everything about us just as a parent does and loves us unconditionally. Does He give us a daily schedule? Does He dictate when we eat, play, and sleep?
As parents, we need to realize we can and need to guide our children, but we are the ONLY ones to love them as they desire, no one else can. Don't cheat your children from having that love and relationship with you.
When they realize you love them, enjoy them, accept them, they will naturally follow your wishes and seek to please you. Isn't that what we do with God, also?
That type of relationship takes lots of time, patience, and love. Be forewarned, parents, you will have many sleepless nights and some grouchy days, and you may need a break - but the payoff is a child who is secure in your love and knows that God is in your love.
(the family used Babywise in March/April of 2009)