Ms. Pantley is author of Kid Cooperation, Perfect Parenting and Parenting Tips.
Are you familiar with this program? Ezzo believes that all children are "sinners" and must be disciplined from the start. He suggests "swatting" an 8-month-old who throws food off the high chair. (He says by 19 months old swatting should be replaced with spanking with a flexible tool that will sting. He suggests feeding newborns and all babies on a rigid feeding schedule, and letting them cry themselves to sleep right when you bring them home from the hospital to "train" them. His program is being investigated by the American Academy of Pediatrics because babies are failing to thrive because of his feeding program. Medical staff discovered that the mother of a newborn in the neonatal intensive care unit at Forsyth Medical Center in North Carolina was not feeding her baby often enough because she was following Ezzos advice. One parent complained that her 2-year-old remained disobedient despite "the constant stream of welts on her bottom from the glue stick." A father fretted that his 13-month old "will go back and forth from isolation to the high chair for up to four hours and still refuse to give the sign for "all done" -- an Ezzo hand-signal method.
The board of elders from the church Ezzo left in California, (Grace Community in Simi Valley) where he started his program, has since issued a public statement accusing him of confusing "biblical standards and personal preference." Many doctors, including Dr. William Sears, and Penelope Leach, are very concerned about his influence. His book is published under two titles, Babywise and Growing Kids Gods Way--the title and the book disturb even James Dobson who believes Ezzos program is "extreme and dangerous". The problem is this: many parents follow his advice believing that they are doing the right thing for their babies.
It is a shame that a person with the power and influence that Mr. Ezzo has would choose to direct people in such a negative and dangerous way.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Spread the word that his methods are dangerous. Flip through the book at your bookstore or library and then post your review of it at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and any other on-line bookstore that takes book reviews. When you have an opportunity at your support group, play group or PTA bring up a discussion of the book and help educate parents. If you can, post an article in your newsletter or on your Web site.
In whatever way you can, help protect innocent children, and warn parents who might stumble upon this misinformation and follow it.
Facts in this letter were taken from "Ladies Home Journal," April 1999, page 102, and the article, "Wisdom of Babywise Questioned" by Hanna Rosin, The Washington Post, and the Babywise book.