3 parenting books I do NOT recommend

Wait. Before you glance at the titles (and find your favorite book there), here me clearly: I am NOT saying these books have nothing to offer. I am NOT saying you are a bad parent if you like these books.

I am saying that I do not recommend them to new parents because they are filled with misguided absolutes that could potentially lead new parents to veer away from their hearts (and to stumble further from their children's hearts too).

Instead of providing extensive commentary, I'm going to primarily let the books speak for themselves.

3 parenting books I do NOT recommend 1On Becoming Babywise by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam (2001, Parent-Wise Solutions, Inc.)

Oh, Babywise - how do I summarize you? According to the back cover, the book is an "exciting infant management plan" (a phrase that leaves a bad taste in my mouth).

The book is probably most well-known for advocating parent-directed feeding: a 24-hour strategy that revolves around the premise that the baby must conform to the parent's schedule from infancy.

In regards to sleep, the authors instruct new parents to: "Vow to avoid...intentionally nursing a baby to sleep, rocking a baby to sleep, or sleeping with your baby" because these practices "do not offer any healthy advantages."

Also on the topic of sleep, the authors give this [incorrect] advice: "crying for 15-20 minutes is not going to hurt your baby physically or emotionally." At nighttime, "crying bouts average between five and thirty-five minutes." THIRTY-FIVE minutes! They conclude one chapter by saying, "Getting your baby to sleep through the night is not the final goal of parenting - but we believe it does represent a right beginning." Ug. [I'm gagging].

They also discourage too much attention, "...constantly holding a baby during every fussy time is easily overdone." They go on to say, "If you want a fussy baby, never let him cry, and hold, rock, and feed him as soon as he starts to fuss." [For the record, the exact opposite has been true for both of my babies.]

The authors also imply that babywearing is silly (and "should not replace the crib"), that most babies should wean at 6-12 months, and that it is the parent's "responsibility" to fully vaccinate each of their children.

The thing that disturbs me most about this book is the fact that the authors prey on a new parent's fears and fail to give an objective view of the issues. This phrase - taken from the book - is cooed in many different ways throughout the text, "Surely you desire what's best for your baby. Every good parent does."

3 parenting books I do NOT recommend 2Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp (1995, Shepherd Press)

The title sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Getting to the heart of the matter. Dealing with heart issues. Etc. I like much of what Tripp has to say, but his "child-rearing" strategies are extremely hard-handed.

Consider this sample dialogue between a father and his son -

  • FATHER: Do you remember what God says Daddy must do to you if you disobey?
  • SON: Spank me?
  • FATHER: That's right. I must spank you. If I don't, then I would be disobeying God. You and I would both be wrong. That would not be good for you or me, would it?"

He later states, "God has commanded the use of the rod in discipline and correction of children." He goes on to say, "If you fail to spank, you fail to take God's word seriously. You are saying that you do not believe the Bible...you are saying that you do not love your child enough to do the painful things that God has called you to." He goes on to give 8 steps on "the How of Spanking." The sixth step is to "Remove his drawers so that the spanking is not lost in the padding of his pants." Regarding the smallest of children, he notes that, "Rebellion can be something as simple as a small child struggling against a diaper change or stiffening his body when you want him to sit on your lap." He explains that when it comes to spanking, "you need to trust God and obey God."

Here's the thing. I DO believe the Bible, but I don't believe that God commands spanking [context, please]. Nor do I think that a baby resisting a diaper change deserves to be punished!

3 parenting books I do NOT recommend 3"Don't Make Me Count to Three!" by Ginger Plowman (2003, Shepherd Press)

This book comes on the heels of Shepherding a Child's Heart. Clearly, the author is a huge Tripp fan and this book is essentially the same as his book - but in new packaging.

Before I share quotes from the text, I must point out that the cover of the book troubles me [click on the image to see a larger view]. A little girl is crossing her arms stubbornly. The mother is leaning over her with a spoon and a bottle of laxative...as if she is going to administer it to her daughter if she refuses to comply. [That image alone causes me to question the contents of the book].

Like Tripp, Plowman offers spanking as the premier and sole discipline strategy for babies and children. She writes, "To say, 'I don't believe in spanking' is to say that God's ordained methods for child training are wrong. It is to reject God's word. It is to say you are wiser than God himself." When asked how old a child should be to be spanked, she states, "I've had moms ask me when it is okay to slap their baby's hand for disobeying and touching something that is off-limits. The answer should be obvious. When they disobey and touch something that is off limits. If they are old enough to disobey, then they are old enough to be trained to obey." She advises parents to, "use an instrument with a little flex so that it stings without bruising."

[Truly - it hurts my heart to even write these quotes out].

She is also big into the whole "instant obedience" thing, which states that children should only be given a "command" one time and they should obey immediately when it is issued.


I could write much more about these books (and perhaps someday I will), but this post is already long. I'd like to hear from you...

Have you read any or all of these three books? What parenting books would you NOT recommend?

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59 comments on “3 parenting books I do NOT recommend”

  1. I can hardly believe that there are books like this out there giving such poor advice....it's sad.....
    I held and carried my daughter all day and she's happily asleep in the pack and play until it's time for us to go to sleep....and she'll join us right next to us in our bed where we'll all get a full night's sleep....how's that for baby wisdom! : )

  2. I bought into Babywise hook line and sinker with #1. Actually, I shouldn't put it quite that way. I was determined not to be legalistic about it. But we did try to let my son CIO and I hated every minute of it. It just went against every instinct in this momma's body. Now I know better.

    I had a similar reaction to Shepherding a Child's Heart. SO many people I know recommend it, but when I read it, I felt as you did. It is so heavy into the spanking. We spank, but not like THAT. I certainly don't see it as the foremost discipline technique.

    I never read the last one. I think I'm glad.

    I really like Rosemond. He seems so sensible.

  3. I can tell you what I think of them..... They are from Satan and they are manuals on child abuse. I am a mother of two grown wonderful children and I have never had anything in my life affect me so emotionally as when these books became popular. I become sick to my stomach whenever I see that pink and blue babywise book. I used to hide them in the bookstore. I believe that all the children that have been parented in this way will truly suffer, even to the point of wanting to hurt someone. Oh, they may appear to be very well behaved and "under control' while in the presence of mom and dad or adults, but just wait until they get away. Sorry to rant but I would never treat my dog this way. If you want some decent parenting books read Dr. Sears.

    Can't you see Jesus slapping an infants hand because they touched their plate instead of their food? Yes, it is in one of those awful books.. The authors are probably laughing together with Satan. and I don't even talk about Satan really, not my style. Sorry, but I love children, they are so innocent and they are at our mercy and DO NOT DESERVE this upon their precious HELPLESS souls.

  4. I've never come across the last two books, and from your review and the quotes you shared, I'm glad I never have! My heart breaks a little, thinking about the children who's parents follow these books dogmatically.

    I have heard of "Babywise," and while I haven't read it cover to cover, have heard quite a bit about ti's teachings from what I've read online in blogs and parenting forums. While visiting a friend one day, not long after her baby was born. She stepped out of the room to change her little one's diaper, and while she was gone I spied a copy of Babywise on her end table. I'd heard horrible things about this book, so out of curiosity I started thumbing trough it, skimming passages here and there...and was horrified. She came back, saw me looking at the book, and laughed a bit. Her aunt had given her that book, and she didn't' know what to do with it -- she said she didn't' want to give it away or donate it anywhere, but didn't want it in her house, either!

  5. What the *bleep* do these "writers" base their books on? Personal experience? I don't believe that because you have raised kids of your own (maybe not even that) that you are qualified to write a book that emotionally blackmails readers into thinking your way is right. I find it hard to believe anything that is published that doesn't at the very least reference a peer reviewed article by a reputable author. Making statements based on no evidence is personal opinion and should be kept to themselves, especially when it involves the emotional welfare of a child.

  6. i read very few parenting books - i preferred magazines (they seem a little more flexible) but I have read the love and logic ones and really liked them. I've even considered going through the course.

  7. Babywise is the one that I am asked about most frequenly. I've had to learn to temper my responses in my old age. ;-) That's why I appreciate that you are always so gracious and fair handed, even in critques. I learned this the hard way. One time, we were with my husband's best friend and his wife who was newly pregnant. Hardly knew her at all yet. But of course, it's DH's best friend, who I've known longer than I knew DH (the one that told me "If you ever hurt him, I will kill you." Everyone needs a friend like that, right?) so I felt very comfortable and he knows me well. Anyway, she mentioned casually that she had started to read Babywise and, no kidding, I lost my crap. I started on a huge rant about how it was OF THE DEVIL and a LIE FROM THE PIT OF HELL and other choice language. I look back on it now and absolutely am HORRIFIED by myself. I don't even know where it came from other than my well-meaning but completely weird and newly passionate mother-self. My eldest was just a year old. And bless her heart, I freaked this poor girl right out. The guys were cracking up - they know me and know I can get on a rant sometimes - but she looked terrified! (Tell me what you really think, Sarah?) Ever since, I have felt like our relationship is strained. Even when we get together, she holds me at arms length and never talks about anything real with me. I know I made my bed in this instance so I'll have to lie in it. I have certainly apologised and groveled but gracious, I was so embarrassed once I realised what an ass I'd made of myself. Talk about more harm than good! So yes.

    That being said, I do still STRONGLY disagree with Babywise but now I have much more compassion and understanding of how people that love their children more than life and are good parents just make different decisions than I do. It doesn't make them bad or even bad parents. But whenever I get the opportunity, I now try to respond graciously with love, asking gentle questions and offering my perspective (when asked!). Learned the hard way, obviously.

    1. Your post made me laugh because I could just see the whole scene unraveling in my mind (you paint stories in vivid colors). ;)

      Of course, I also agree 100% with the "moral" of your story: grace and love before "fire & brimstone." I strive to practice that in my posts and in-person.

  8. wow...i'm not sure what else to say. i haven't read any of those books and i feel for those who have. i have 3 children and have done things differently with each one. all three of them are so different, i can't imagine ever trying to fit them into the same category or forcing them all into the same routine. i have always done what i think is best for each of them based on their personality and will do the same when our fourth baby is born.

  9. My mom told me about this book called 12 hours sleep by 12 weeks. i happened to see in a used book store for $2 or something, so I bought it. I didn't get past the first chapter in which it said that you were supposed to keep pushing back feedings until your baby (at 12 weeks was eating every 4 hours during the day and sleeping 12 hours at night. umm, what, my 12 week old baby is supposed to eat only 4 times a day? I eat more than that. I did not read any further and definitely don't recommend it. I haven't really read many other parenting books. I have no cry sleep solution and it helped a little, but didn't really change the sleep situation. I also have read parts of raising a spirited child, which I think my oldest daughter has some qualities of. I need to get it from the library again to finish it.

  10. People say that mother's should just rely on their instincts which I agree with. At the same time though becoming a new mother can be overwhelming and it makes sense that of course you would want to read up on and investigate this new stage in your life. Or when you have a 2 year old or 5 year old or teenager or your third baby...

    I think all these resources we have are wonderful and deserve some looking into! But at the same time you have to trust your mommy inner voice.

    This babywise book I have always had a hard time with. I read it...I didn't feel good about it...I used a couple of the points VERY VERY loosely and honestly they helped. But I read the book, listened to the voice inside of me and took things from the book that I thought were correct and would work for us. And they did! I am trying to remember what it was...I think the only thing I took from it that it made sense that a baby would like waking UP to eating but that nursing the baby to sleep (every single nursing time) could cause tummy issues. Which my girls had and taking that advice really did make a night a day difference. But the other stuff? Nah not for me.

  11. I haven't read any of these 3 books, although I have to say that third book's title is VERY scary looking! I have to agree completely with your suggestion that parents should follow their hearts. And for every parent that will be different. For some parents that will be following a schedule and weaning at 6 months and for others it will mean something quite different. Ultimately, I feel that all parenting methods from loving, caring parents should be respected. Because it is true that we do all want the best for our children.

  12. Yowza. There's something to be said about educating yourself, but Mother Nature gave us intuition for a reason. So much of that is totally counter to a mother's natural instinct. I can't imagine raising my kids that way. Yikes.

  13. I have heard of the first two, but not the last one. I actually have on my shelf Babywise, but I do not follow it and never have. When my first was born, I was so confused about what to do and everyone at my church kept talking about how great Babywise was for them and how I must read it. So I did. I felt in my gut the whole time reading it that it was not right. Try as I might, I could not follow it. I felt almost guilty for not following it, but then as time went on and with each daughter, we have created our own routine and what works for us in parenting and we all love it! :)

  14. I will never spank my child. I believe it is completely unnecessary and there are other less harmful and more productive ways of disciplining. I was spanked as a child and every time it was an awful experience. I chalk spanking up to slapping your child in the face and I honestly can't believe some parents do that.

  15. Okay. I don't really have an issue with the post. You have said that it is the misguided absolutes that you have a problem with & the reason why you can't recommend these. I agree.
    I've heard of all three, but have only read Tripp book. And, I do really like much of it, a lot. A lot of it needs to be heard by parents. Which is why I have recommended it.
    But, the details of the how to for spanking seem unneccesary & it is a shame that spanking is the only discipline method that is taught to be correct.
    Can I just say something, so people don't miscontrue the quote about pulling down the pants? That made me queasy upon first hearing him say that, because I have memory of knowing people who spanked on bare bottom for all ages of children. He speaks against that. He specificies that he is talking about a young child, for whom you still take care of their toilet issues. The padding is a diaper on a toddler, I am assuming. He says that you wouldn't want to humiliate your child by spakning bare bottom on a child who uses the bathroom themselves.
    Anyway. I know from some of the above comments that some people may think terribly ill of me for thinking it is okay to give a toddler a bare bottom spank.
    But, I said it anyway.

  16. I haven't read any of them (and certainly wouldn't as they would only upset me...my heart hurts just reading all of that thinking that's truly how some babies/children are parented) but I have heard of all three. I know some people who think in line with if you don't spank, then you're not being a good Christian parent and not doing what God told you to do. Utter nonsense. Spanking is the exact opposite of how I believe I'm to parent as a Christian mother. We have "Gentle Discipline" and have found some of it useful. Great post Stephanie!

  17. Never read babywise, it always scared me !!! I do nurse on demand, co-sleep, wear our babies etc.. and they all turn out fine and very independent at a young age (They are confident that Mama will always be there if needed!)

    Tedd Tripp book, I read I agree with some part of it like, dealing with the root of the problem (sin) etc... But for spanking I think there is a time and place for it, and a struggling baby during diaper change would not be one !!!

    The last book I never even hear of.

    I read a small ebook (45 pages) call smooth and easy days http://simplycharlottemason.com/store/samples/Smooth-Easy-Days.pdf it's base of Charlotte Mason theory of teaching and I love it, it's a positive outlook on habit training! I highly recommend this one!!!

  18. Ohhhh Stephanie! I almost always LOVE what you have to say. Have to say I disagree with this post. Read all three, Tripp is a little strong in his spanking views, BUT, if you read the whole book you have to agree the principle of training the heart is the most important way to train a child. The Bible speaks on the heart of man several different times. But, the great thing about God is that He gives you wisdom on how to raise your kids. SO, that being said, we can all do it differently, praying God is directing each of us with our own kids. I'm not going to be "angry" or "against" you not putting your kids on a schedule. At the end of the day, is it really that big of a deal? Grace for people who do it different!:)

    1. I agree that "training the heart" is important, but I also don't think training has to involve spanking (and Tripp clearly thinks otherwise). I also don't prefer the word "train" when referring to my children because of the connotations of that term in our society. I much prefer words like "teach," "encourage," "nurture," and "guide."

      That said, I also agree with you that it's important to extend grace to people who do things differently. I know excellent parents who fall along various lines in the parenting spectrum. I'm sure that you are one of them. :)

      Thank you for disagreeing with such wonderful decorum.

  19. Thank you for your discerning voice, Stephanie. I am not a fan of Babywise. I own a copy of Shepherding a Child's Heart and there are some things I like in it, but many things I completely disagree with too (like the things you point out). The last book you list is one I have never seen and would never pick up simply because I don't like the image or the title. I honestly haven't read enough parenting books to have a "not recommend" list. I tend to go with my gut/instincts, make decisions my husband and I are in agreement on, and talk with other likeminded parents and/or read their blogs. :-) I do love books by the Sears family, including The Complete Book of Christian Parenting and Child Care: a medical and moral guide to raising happy, healthy children. I haven't read it straight through though--more as a reference here and there--but I do love the parts I have read.

    1. I agree that Tripp does offer some good insights, but his oppressive discipline style accounts for a hefty percentage of the book and thus I find it hard to relate to his examples.

      That said, since you brought up the positives...I do like this quote from page 97: "You have only a brief season of life to invest yourself in [parenting]. You have only one opportunity. You cannot go back and do it over."

      I love the urgency of that statement...and the truth of it compels me NOT to spank. ;)

  20. I think the biggest danger is deciding one book or methodology is "the one" for us. I think we can learn and glean from all sorts of material, but we have to be independent and make decisions for ourselves. Unfortunately our society has become such that we are afraid to fail and make mistakes, so we turn to authors and doctors and anyone who sounds like they know what they are talking about to make our decisions for us and to essentially raise our children.

    I love to read and glean and I really benefited from the routine approach with my children (and they did too). However, I do see how some people might take this method to the extreme. That's the danger in having others make your decisions for you. There are decisions I've made in parenting--whether at the advice of someone else, or just my own thinking--that I now cringe at. But it didn't harm my children and it was with the best intentions and love.

    We have to take anything with a grain of salt (and sometimes with a teaspoon!) and make our own decisions.

  21. 1 2 3 Magic is in my "will NEVER suggest" file. I even had it removed from an auction gift basket at a LLL event. It sounds great, no yelling or spanking. But, instead gives a child 3 chances to comply, not have any opinion on the matter, and noncompliance is met with a time-out. Communication is thrown away for the parent to have complete control. Not too horrible yet? If you child doesn't STAY in time-out, you are to LOCK them in their bedroom. If you child is the kind that will get upset to the point of throwing up or defecating then the bathroom would be a good place to lock them so that the mess is easier to clean.

    I can't understand why people think we can raise children to believe that they don't deserve respect, and then expect them to respect others in the world.

  22. Great post Stephanie!

    While there are nuggets of truth in most advice books, Babywise scared the pants off of me eight years ago. I started making lists while reading it and it turned out that it was not my time to need to know. It and all of the pregnancy, parenting guides I had received went the way of Goodwill. I didn't really understand who was in control.

    I have two resources that I value more than anything:
    1) The community of women who I value and respect. I ask them everything I can think of. (I even read their blogs, if they have them.)

    2) My mom. She has detailed handwritten notes from all three of her pregnancies. What worked, what didn't. How we were as babies in terms of sleeping and eating.

    On the waiting patiently side of motherhood :)

  23. Babywise is a terrible book! Funny, though, so many people who love it are so HARD CORE about it....scary! I've read a million parenting books in the name of research for my store, and these didn't even come close to making the cut. Parents who want to help their kids develop a schedule or routine, can easily do this without the rigorous guidelines of a book like Babywise. We see lots of different families come through our shop's doors and many of the parents who are using Babywise are frustrated because their baby "just won't fall into line"...then it hit me! The type of parent that loves that book, usually has some control issues themselves - or are very used to their own schedule before baby. I know some people will get on my case for that, but there is truth to it. The most disturbing part of the book is the tone: that babies are somehow master manipulators at birth and its a parents job to school them into submission.

    I got Shepherding a Child's heart as a gift from a friend and was absolutely turned off. It was creepy to read about how to spank (hit) a child in a calm way...as opposed to the angry way - which if you think about it, what 2 year old knows the difference?

    I feel like this kind of mistreatment of children is so common that we often forget to call it what it really is: child abuse.
    Nothin' like a good feather-rufflin' post by Metropolitan Mama to start your week off right!

    1. Like I said in another reply - I read BW several times and neither hate it nor love it. I took a few pointers from it, and would not necessarily "recommend" it but may in passing "refer" to it if someone had a question that I thought could be answered by that book. It's certainly NOT all encompasssing and has a narrow viewpoint but there ARE babies that do well on a set routine, and there are babies that do not. The important thing is to know your baby, not the book :) never heard of the other too but they sound a bit off.

    2. Thanks for weighing in on this discussion, Soni! I know you've read dozens (hundreds?) of parenting books so I value your opinion immensely.

      I just browsed the book picks in your store and concluded that we must have a similar parenting philosophy. I was somewhat surprised to see "Heathy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" in your line-up, however. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that book.

  24. Never even heard of these books, but a step by step "how to spank" manual that includes stripping is ... unbelievable really. While we don't spank, both my husband and I were spanked in effective and respectful ways and as a result we haven't ruled it out as a potential discipline option in the future. However - from your quotes it is very clear to me that what Tripp calls spanking is what I would call abuse.

    My baby always ALWAYS struggled against diaper changes until we started doing them with her on her stomach. For some reason she was very uncomfortable on her back. If I need help with keeping patience I usually try to think of myself in the same situation. Would you assume that a non-verbal adult who needed toilet help was being "disobedient" if they weren't perfectly compliant while they were receiving assistance? I sure wouldn't!

    I know that spanking can be effective and not abusive because of my personal experience. But I'm starting to think that very few people that spank mean the same thing I experienced. Yikes.

    That said, I personally agree with the axiom that it isn't true obedience if it isn't instant. Also isn't true obedience if it requires spanking in order for it to be instant.

  25. I don't rely too heavily on parenting books in general, but I know not to recommend the What to Expect Books because they are doom and gloom and scary.

    On a recommendation from a friend I have ordered The Five Love Language of Children and am anxious for it to arrive!

    I would be more interested in books that you DO recommend....

  26. I did read Babywise, and I have to say that was the biggest mistake I have made in parenting my son and I truly believe I would have enjoyed the first few weeks of his infancy more if I had not read that book.

    I did not have a lot of confidence in myself when I had my son. I was overwhelmed by the amount of love I had for him, as well as the amount of responsibility I now had. The book preys on that insecurity, and makes parents feel like if they don't follow the "instructions" to a T, they are horrible parents who will raise spoiled brats. It basically tells parents to ignore their instincts and NOT pick up a crying baby, NOT feed the baby if he/she dares to be hungry off their schedule, and NOT hold their baby. Luckily, I had a very sane friend who (lovingly) smacked me on the head, and said it was okay not to follow the book. It was a huge weight off my shoulders when I followed my own instincts instead of a book who did not know my husband, me, or my son.

    The other horrible book I read (that I did not follow) was "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." It's a sleep training book that advocates letting infants cry to sleep, even if they throw up! How could any parent do that??

    My advice to new parents is to ignore the books and go by their natural instincts.

    1. I've skimmed "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child"...and I was immediately tired just flipping the pages. I am not a fan of books where authors give a "step-by-step" one-size-fits-all approach to parenting - especially in the area of infant care and sleep patterns. We don't expect all adults to eat and sleep in the same quantities and at the same times. Why should we expect that of children?

  27. In general I'm not a big fan of parenting books mostly because it puts the author in the expert seat and I happen to believe the parent is the expert. And each parent's method is going to be different and "right" for them. The biggest thing I've learned over the years is that I really do know best. And when I make mistakes, I realize it later and I try to learn and do better.

    I have heard of Baby Wise but I have not heard of the other two books. Just when I was reading those discipline quotes my little Lucy came waddling over to me and my heart cried out!

  28. UNBELIEVABLE! I followed the link Alicia posted. I can't believe anyone, let alone the parent could brutalize a child like that.

    I try to follow Matthew 7:12 in my parenting:

    Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

    and also Galatians 6:7

    Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

  29. I think the web ate my first attempt at a comment. I just wanted to say that I agree with you. I was highly inlfuenced by the first 2 books as well as "To train up a child" by Michael Pearl. I have regrets of how I treated my oldest child for the first 2 years of her life and I can only be grateful that I broke out of the mindset early in my parenting. I've written on discipline quite a bit on my own blog. I find it so frustrating to hear people argue that "god commands us to spank our kids and if you really love them you will" I no longer believe in that God.

  30. those last 2 books make me cringe! spanking a baby for resisting a diaper change? ugh!!

    a friend gave me the first book when I had my oldest. I was a new (and single) parent and thought this was the way to raise a child. Certainly I had to follow the book! After about 3 days of hearing my infant (I think the book recommends starting at just a few weeks?), I threw the book in the trash and started following my gut and heart.
    I'm so glad that I did!

    parenting books are just such a waste---every child (and parent) is different and you have to follow what is best for you and your family.
    (um unless that means book 2&3!)

  31. I have not and WOULD not read any of those.

    I always direct my friends in other directions when they mention Ezzo and Babywise.

    I also steer clear of To Train Up A Child by the Pearls. IMO, those people are downright evil and way abusive.

    1. I often read books that I suspect (or know) I'll disagree with so that I can (a) know where the authors are coming from and (b) debate the content and the philosophies presented with greater confidence.

      Someday I may read the book by the Pearls for those same reasons (even though I know my heart will hurt as I turn the pages).

      1. I have read ezzo and sheparding a child's heart and everything the Pearls have said (even before I had kids) I have been brainwashed by some churches--I feel my whole parenting life, because of a couple verses of use of the rod. They advocate not to spank in anger --have you ever seen the video of a guy abusing a dog and then picking the dog up and petting it and then putting the dog down and hitting him again--that's what they recommend. never spank in anger, always hug them after. (like that makes the whole thing okay) I just blogged about finding out about gentle Christian parenting and someone replied with such goodness I wanted to cry.

        1. I just want you to know that you are not alone. There are actually quite a few parents out there (including us!) who are Christians AND who practice gentle parenting. The two are not at all contradictory. In fact, I would say that they are complimentary. After all, isn't God loving/patient/kind/gentle to us?

  32. I read babywise and took out of it the importance of routine. It actually really helped me with my first who was nursing constantly and taking all of my energy (and emotional strength). I never put him on the strict schedule that was advised, but the routine of eat, awake, sleep really helped.

    The most important thing I have learned about disciplining my kids comes back to 1 Cor. 13: 4-7 "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

    That is a passage that is so easily looked over because we have heard it so many times. But if you read it while thinking about how you should treat your children, it has a whole new context and meaning.

    1. I agree. I read Babywise like 3 times in a row. I am a routine person. I knew from the first round that I would not be as "strict" as they recommend. This book is under very harsh criticism, and I definitely see where it stems from. However, I think if you read carefully you will see several times where the authors state IF THE BABY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM... so even they admit several times that you need to have flexibility. When reading ANY book, it's important to eat the meat and throw out the bones. I am in agreement with you that the importance of routine was what I got from this book, but again, after 3 reads, I also decided that the exact 'milestones" they recommend simply didn't fit my baby. So I took what I needed and moved on to see what I could find in other resources.

    2. Thanks for sharing that 1 Cor. 13 passage (one of my favorites). It is indeed relevant to parenting...and to so many aspects of life.

  33. Sorry to disagree but my baby would have been in big trouble if not for the advice in Babywise. He was a child that did not thrive until we encouraged him to live by a schedule. It was rough at first but this is his personality and absolutely saved our opportunity to bond well with him during those first precious weeks of his life. Now, 12 years later, he still craves for and thrives on a routine and yes, even a schedule.

    Everyone has to find their own way.

  34. I would say where is there an example of Christ physically harming someone? How are parents ever going to teach children to not hit when they are hitting them?
    These are some examples of how NOT to parent, that is for sure.

  35. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a warning against Baby Wise, "because it outlines an infant feeding program that has been associated with failure to thrive (FTT), poor weight gain, dehydration, breast milk supply failure, and involuntary early weaning."

    I think we are easily tricked because we want to be teachable and to do the very best for our babies. Blogs like yours help by putting a positive face on following our hearts. Thank you for all you do!

  36. Ugh. The last two were new to me too but I've heard of Baby Wise. I completely agree and am so glad you posted this. The absolute most evil parenting book in my opinion is "To Train Up a Child" by Michael and Debi Pearl. That one recommends whipping children from infancy and using plumbing line to get "total obedience." It's also couched in Christianity, making it seem as if you are a good Christian only if you follow their heartbreaking advice and it's recommended by many churches. That book has been linked to at least two children's deaths too.

    Here's an article about that one: http://www.examiner.com/attachment-parenting-in-mankato/another-child-s-death-linked-to-pearls-and-to-train-up-a-child

    I always get nervous when I hit publish on an article or blog post that may upset others too, but I am so glad you did! Thank you for speaking up for children!

    1. I've read reviews on that book before and...my heart breaks when I read the quotes from the text. It especially troubles (and angers) me that the authors use religious language to back-up their philosophy. The God I know is not a menacing oppressor with a heavy hand and a militant behavior code. On the contrary, He is caring, gentle, forgiving, full of grace, patient, creative, and...the ultimate advocate for children.

  37. I have to completely agree with you on the Baby Wise book. (I haven't read the others.) My sister-in-law, although well intended, gave me this book right before my 1st child was born. I read it and it didn't sit well with me, but after all, it does say that we want to be good parents, so I must try it. Well, my first child was difficult when it came to feedings and he did not take a pacifier or anything like that, so he wanted to be held/rocked to sleep. I was confused at best. But after a VERY short attempt at doing it the Baby Wise way, I put aside and knew that it wasn't right for us. It did take him a LONG time to sleep through the night, but letting my baby cry it out to the point where he would throw up on himself seemed cruel and my heart could not handle it. BTW-my kids have always slept better and through the night (as babies) when they slept with me. As parents, I don't think we always do everything right, but I know that I strive to and do my best. I don't believe there can be absolutes when it comes to parenting because each child is different and they need to be taught and guided. Good post, Stephanie!

  38. Ezzo is dangerous to the breastfeeding relationship. It advocates scheduling feedings from very early on. That, as we all know, is against the advice of demand feeding.

    Anyone that wants further info on Ezzo can glean a lot from this site http://ezzo.info/

  39. Never came across these books. I think your points are valid. The last book almost brought me to tears....I cannot bring myself to purchase such a book, that little girl looks scared. Personally, I ask God for guidance when it comes to raising my daughter. My daughter is beginning to know right from wrong, and so I guide her more towards the right. I do this by constant reminder of things that are right and praising those behaviors when exerted. We both say NO to bad behaviors but sometimes, I gentle slap her wrist so she understands it a NO NO. Now some of you will tear me to pieces for this, but I do not take bad behaviors lightly. I do not see a gentle slap on the wrist as violent. Kids are naturally rebellious, even the bible confirms this and we see it all the time at various homes of kids who constantly yell, scream and embarass parents in public places. My goal is to raise a disciplined child and it takes a mixture of love, understanding, and firmness.

  40. That is why I don't buy parenting books. I follow my own instincts. I find that if you're tuned into your spirit, your heart, you'll parent in the exact way your children need.

    I also find it hard to swallow when people use the Bible as a reason to "rod their children". Lets look at how God is as our Father. He is FULL of mercy and forgiveness and love, patience and grace for us.

    Yes, He has commandments for us to follow and when we sin we open ourselves up to the wages of that sin but He doesn't give you cancer to correct your behavior, or make you poor to teach you a lesson.

    Children need guidelines and they need to have respect for their parents and other authority figures but you can go about teaching that in many better ways than spanking. I'm not saying spanking is wrong, per say, but I don't personally feel it's a very good method of teaching your child.


  41. oh my. i too have not read those books. i've heard of babywise but not the other two. it makes me cringe to read the quotes you pulled out. i would agree that surely a loving parent would follow their own heart, but im sure there are lots of parents out there that are just not confident enough to do so or are looking for some sort of guidance that they jump on the advice (terrible though it may be) that these types of books offer. as the first parent of my generation in my family (and among my younger friends,) i hope to be a gentle and kind example for my siblings and sibling-in laws just by example.

  42. I am actually a little queasy after reading that. I agree with Marina that surely most loving parents would listen to their instincts and not the books, but I worry about those parents (and I know some) that buy a parenting book and devour every word as if it is gospel. And scarier, there is obviously a market for that kind of "parenting advice" or publishers would not waste their money publishing.

    Anyway, thanks for making me aware.... I think. :)

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