Salon, the Pearls, the Ezzos
article on the Pearls and the death of the homeschooled boy in North Carolina. The writer makes clear early on that "Christian" in the particular cultural context has a restricted meaning, and that many homeschoolers, Christian or not, want nothing to do with the "discipline" style of the Pearls and their followers. (Click through annoying ad to get to the whole article.)
At the end is a link to an older article
about the Ezzo Babywise
books. Too depressing for words, and an irritating photo showing crucifix-toting parents ignoring their hungry crying baby: excuse me, I don't believe it was the Catholic
churches that were passing around the Ezzo books and holding seminars on baby-starvation a few years ago.
One thing I don't see mentioned in either article is that both the Pearls and the Ezzos, despite their fundamentalist credentials, are just doing a Christian version of the mainstream parenting advice featured in the awful What To Expect
series and repeated by "normal," secular pediatricians and baby advice books nationwide. From the second article:
"Overwhelmingly, "Babywise" parents accepted without question the conventional wisdom that "kids today" are out of control. Faced with the onslaught of media images of rampaging middle-schoolers and wilding teens, these parents believe that by cracking down on what Ezzo defines as infant rebellion now, they will prevent problems later."
And thus the Ezzos' and Pearls' advice to discipline early and often, from infancy onward. But while the extreme admonitions to strike babies or deprive them of food catch the media attention, the underlying premise does not: namely, that infants and toddlers must learn to be independent at an early age, that they must not be over-indulged, that restrictions and limitations must begin from day one, or brattiness is sure to follow. We finally tossed aside What to Expect the First Year
when we grew tired of the breathless assurances of disaster if we helped parent our child to sleep, if we nursed her a day past thirteen months, if we in any way let the manipulative little creature think that we might be responding to her emotional cravings and desires rather than to her rawly physiological needs.
The Pearls and Ezzos just take it a step further, but the underlying philosophy, whether in fringe Christian or mainstream secular terms, is the same: your little one must learn to get himself
to sleep; to stop himself
crying; to not expect that lovely nursing to happen too much; to be a little independent adult, respectful of the needs of the real adults, and that right quick, or delinquency and neuroses lurk in the near future.