Monday, August 16, 2010

Myths of BabyWise

Myths and Facts about Baby Wise:

#1. BW/GKGW is church approved: Myth! The only church that (consistently) approves of this program is the one the author founded himself. Attempts to use it in other churches have ended in excommunication from most Christian communities the Ezzos have come in contact with. They have been accused of cultish behavior (which is different from being a cult) by respected Christian authorities, from scripture twisting (analysis of scriptures referenced show a lack of context with the situation and other scriptures can actually be found to denounce many claims made within the books) to isolationism, brainwashing (GKGW users are well programed to be angry at negativity surrounding the program, to not process when presented with facts), exclusivity, authoritarianism and physical and emotional endangerment. While the program is taught from many churches nationwide, they are taught by parents, not as a part of church curriculum.

#2. BW is pro-breastfeeding. Myth! In truth, most mothers, no matter how abundant their milk starts out, under the scheduling in BW (which was originally 4 hour intervals until babies started dying under such neglect and has been edited to 2.5-3 hours in current editions) almost all mothers in the program lose supply by 5 months. Typical weaning age of a BW user is 4-6 months. Originally, the Ezzos suggested abandoning breastfeeding at 3 weeks. While there are always exceptions to any rule, the fact remains that the rule in BW is to destroy a mother's supply and starve her baby (BW is linked to FTT from starvation and dehydration).

#3. BW is not abuse. Questionable -- BW users are flagged in several CPS divisions as 'potential abusers' and a child abuse prevention council's religious task force (including evangelical Christian pastors) investigating BW programs found that they were not developmentally and age appropriate. It further concluded that the programs did not consider individual temperament, have a balance of loving guidance and discipline, or foster parental discernment.

#4. GKGW creates a harmonious home. Myth! In fact, GKGW creates a permanent struggle between parent and child. Most users describe their relationship with their children as "Adversarial." It's also been commented by many mothers that they feel no bond towards their child(ren) while using the program.

#5. GKGW is the only Christian Parenting style. Myth! Attachment Parenting, which GFI slurs on a constant basis is actually made up majority of Christians and Catholics. Dr. Sears, the original AP author, is a Christian himself and has authored a Christian Parenting book.

#6. GKGW teaches children to respect their parents. Myth! Definition of Respect: the condition of being esteemed or honored: to be held in respect. To show regard or consideration for: to respect someone's rights. To feel or show deferential regard for; esteem. The truth: most children raised under GKGW fear their parents and escape them as soon as they are old enough to go. The Ezzos have no contact with their adult children. Their youngest daughter was last quoted as saying she will not have further contact with her parents and is praying for their souls.

#7. GKGW teaches children to behave properly. Myth! In truth, one of the biggest complaints from users is that they have difficulty controlling their children in public. Anger, emotional and anxiety disorders are prevalent in children in this program as is severe depression and low self-worth, which contributes to episodes of 'acting out'. When tested, they show no ability to differentiate right from wrong without an authority figure to ask and have few to no decision-making skills.

8. Crying it Out is harmless. Myth! CIO has been proven to cause brain damage, is linked to emotional disorders (one of the first questions asked when looking into these is 'If your child was was left to cry, do you believe, that at any point he may have felt abandoned or hopeless?" It is linked to ADHD (which is a brain chemical imbalance), ADD, Attachment Disorder (which there is no cure for and causes lifelong bonding and empathy issues), certain forms of autism, depression and Abandonment complex. Also, babies that are left to CIO tend to grow to be children who cannot self-soothe and are unable to handle any change in their sleeping routine. As toddlers, they often resort to crying faster than babies who are not left to CIO and are typically harder to comfort.

9. BW babies sleep through the night. Impossible to determine. In actuality, no one can be sure. For one, many mothers have mistaken catatonic babies who are weak from hunger and crying as being asleep. For two, since BW parents aren't around their babies at night, they often aren't aware of the babies waking and lying alone in their rooms, wide awake. Also, CIO conditions you to no longer hear your baby's cries, as illustrated in this quote:

I thought T, our second child, had started sleeping through the night early--as Babywise promised and as J had done. It was only because my sister was staying with us for a few months that I found out I had become immune to his nighttime cries. I just didn't hear and register them--she occasionally woke me up to take care of the baby or would ask "Didn't you hear him crying last night?"

#10. Attachment Parenting results in unruly children running the household. Myth! In truth, children who are raised with real AP parents have boundaries and rules and respect for their parents. Ezzo seemed to confuse Attachment Parenting (which is Breastfeeding, Birth Bonding, Baby-wearing--for mother's convenience as well as baby's well-being, Bedding close to baby--again, for mother's convenience and baby's well-being, as it is shown to dramatically reduce the risk of SIDS, Belief in baby's cry as a form of communication, being prepared for birth and Balance--meaning balancing being husband and wife as well as being parents, so that no one's needs are unfulfilled) with permissive parenting (where the parents are basically absent of decision making within the family).

Quotes from GKGW moms who were either separated from their BW communities or accidentally ended up in AP communities:

"For the first time we were separated from our group of close friends who all were pro-Ezzo. We developed other close friends who seemed to be practicing "attachment parenting". At first I thought these families were ruled by their kids, but over time I noticed what trusting relationships they had and how great their kids were, without all the stress we were having, and had been through."

"At that time, I joined a mom's group and met some attachment parents. I had such a negative image of these parents in my mind because of everything Ezzo had said about their parenting philosophy. I expected their children to be holy terrors. What I found astounded me. Their children were so loving and thoughtful without even having to be prompted! They listened to their mothers and did everything that was asked of them. It wasn't a robotic obedience, either. I could tell these kids genuinely wanted to please their mothers. Moreover, their mothers seemed to enjoy them so much! I could tell that the relationship they had with their children was strong and based in trust and love. "

11. People who don't like GKGW have never read or used GKGW. Myth! In actuality, the people who speak out the strongest against BW, TW, GKGW, Prep, etc. are the parents who have used it. Contact moms, ministers, minister's wives, decade-long users, etc. They watched it rip their families apart, had children diagnosed with horrible, life-shattering disabilities, had babies nearly die, put on NG feedings, etc. Some just realized that they were miserable under the program, as much as they professed otherwise--sometimes because they believed they would be bad parents if they were unhappy with it.

12: People who don't like BW are Ezzo-bashers. Myth AND Fact! Many anti-GKGW parents actually met and liked the Ezzos themselves. It's the teachings and methods they don't agree with. While I, personally, have a problem with anyone who would endorse child-abuse and neglect on such a wide-scale as Gary Ezzo has, I am not, by far, the only opinion on this subject.

13. Couples should spend at least 15 minutes together every day conversing with each other and focusing on their relationship. Fact! This is probably the best advice in the whole system. However, it should NOT be at the expense of the children's time. They can converse while the kids are taking a bath (or while giving them the bath), before the kids get up in the morning, after they go to bed, etc. There is no reason to sacrifice your relationship with your children for your relationship with your spouse/significant other. And you don't have to do it sitting on a couch! It can even be in the car, driving to the store! It's good to acknowledge your loved ones--all of them.

So, to wrap it up, Baby Wise, Toddler Wise or Growing Kids God's Way is a dangerous system that is highly-criticized, linked to failure to thrive in infants, abuse in toddlers and children, attachment disorders, emotional disorders, lack of family bonding, resentment and fear in children; is run by a man who publishes himself, writes inaccurate information against medical advice and is probably as far from "What would Jesus do" as one can get, in this author's opinion. I don't see a man who stopped a prostitute from being stoned as being supportive of harming children or who said that the Kingdom of Heaven belonged to infants and children or who said praise could fall from those same lips would advocate someone ignoring the gifts of communication God has bestowed upon infants for a man's schedule or forsaking the instincts God gave us to care for our children.

It is unbelievable to me that there are people who believe they are doing good by their children by torturing them. Sure, they may end up with zealous children suffering from Stockholm syndrome--if they ever manage to get the random acts of kindness in, which would certainly make them feel justified, but they're just as likely raising sociopaths or people who will never be able to care for themselves from the serious trauma they've inflicted. And not realizing that neglect and abuse are neglect (Child Neglect can be defined as “the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs”) and abuse (Abuse is a pattern of coercive control that one person exercises over another. Battering is a behavior that physically harms, arouses fear, prevents a person from doing what he/she reasonably wishes or forces her to behave in ways he/she does not want) is just something I will never understand.

Disclaimer: This is an opinion piece written using facts taken from multiple sources, stories of current and ex-GKGW/BW users (anecdotal evidence), various medical and theological studies, the Bible and Holy Scripture, Legal Definition sources,, Wikipedia (only from verified, properly referenced source material),, and and is not a substitute for medical advice, psychological evaluation, legal advice or theological counseling and is not endorsed by any entity. Originally published under the title "BabyWise: BabyLies--Proof that if Satan wrote a book and said it was Godly, people would line up to sell their souls." Taken from the quote: "[BW] is proof that if Satan wrote a book and claimed it was church approved, there are plenty of [parents] who would abuse their kids and sell their souls."

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