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I'm Not Raising My Babies "God's Way"

When my mother taught women’s Bible study at her church, she had a ground rule for the discussion time: We can debate ideas, but we love people. In this post, I’m going to tackle a very emotional and hotly debated topic, so I’d like to adopt that ground rule here as well. Over the years, I have seen some unbelievably rude and mean spirited comments from both sides leveled at the people who practiced the other side’s ideas. So, before I even start sharing my thoughts on this, I want to say that I sincerely believe that the mothers on both sides of this debate truly love their babies and want what is best for them.

There’s an idea out there that children need to be trained from the day they’re born. That makes sense. After all, children are learning even in the womb, and certainly from the moment of their birth, they’re learning constantly. The important questions are: What should we be teaching them? and How should we go about doing it?

I believe that the ultimate goal of Christian parenting should be to teach our children how to relate to God. That is the reason behind everything else. Why should children obey their parents? Because God Almighty commanded them to. Why should we be unselfish? Because this life is not about us; it’s about God. Why should we be polite and kind? Because God is pleased when we esteem others as better than ourselves, etc. Everything we want our children to know and do springs from a correct understanding of God.

A lot of people out there (such as Gary Ezzo of Babywise and others) teach that the first lesson we should give our babies is the lesson that they are not the center of the universe and that they must submit to parental authority. Those are good lessons, and certainly ones that need to be begun during the first year. But here’s where it gets dicey. The main method that is supposed to transmit these lessons is a schedule, or some people call it a “routine,” but the idea is that if the baby is allowed food and sleep only when the parents think he should have them, then he will learn submission and even grow to be less selfish. If he does not want to sleep or eat on his parents’ schedule, then many people say that he should be left to cry. And here’s the crux of it, they call this being left to cry “discipline.”

I have a lot of problems with this. I addressed the main biological/physiological problem with feeding schedules in my post, Breastmilk, Ice Cream, and Infant Feeding Schedules: How Much Space is on YOUR Counter Top?. Here, I’d like to talk about my main theological concern.

The Bible has much to say about child training in general, and discipline specifically. In my personal study, I have found numerous passages on giving verbal instruction, reproofs, and rebukes to our children. And I have also seen several verses advocating the use of the “rod,” or spankings.

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. –Proverbs 13:24

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. –Proverbs 22:15

Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. –Proverbs 23:13-14

The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. –Proverbs 29:15

There is no verse that says, “Feeding schedules, and enforced bedtimes give wisdom, but a child rocked to sleep bringeth his mother to shame,” or, “Thou shalt isolate him in his crib and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” But strangely enough, people are actually out there teaching that this kind of “discipline” is necessary, foundational, even the key to preventing the terrible twos and teenage rebellion, and that parents who don’t do this are “spoiling” their children, practicing New Age parenting, or are just plain less Christian than the ones who do.

Now, it’s true that the other side very often recommends unbiblical discipline, too. They will tell you that you should let your baby eat when he’s hungry and sleep when he’s tired, that he should never be left lonely and bewildered, crying himself to sleep in his crib, and oh, by the way, you shouldn’t spank him when he’s two, either, because that’s mean. Just distract and redirect. And don’t worry, he won’t misbehave that much because once he’s spent so many cozy months bonding with you, he’ll never want to displease you, anyway. This is also completely unbiblical. Again, there are no verses that say “Preemptive bonding and responsive parenting give wisdom, but a child on a schedule bringeth his mother to shame,” or, “Thou shalt distract him with other toys and shalt deliver his soul from hell.”

The fact is that biblically speaking, BOTH these parenting schemes have nothing to do with real discipline.  Neither one bears any resemblance to the Bible’s method for effecting genuine change in a child’s foolish, sinful heart. The Bible calls for the rod and reproof. An infant is not ready for either one.

An infant is not ready for biblical discipline because an infant cannot truly obey yet, and therefore cannot truly disobey, either. In her excellent booklet, Unto the Least of These, Rebecca Lewis points out that in order to obey or disobey a child must be able to do three things:

  1. Your child must be able to understand what it is you want him to do or not do;
  2. Your child must understand that you are requesting him to do it / or not do it; and
  3. Your child must be capable of obeying your command.

In my experience, these criteria are met well before the first year, but children are not born with these abilities. Around the time they develop to the point of reaching out to grab something, they can easily learn, “No.” And you can expect obedience or else you will need to discipline with a small spanking. However, a two month old waiting all night to eat is not obeying. You cannot say to an infant, “Go to sleep and wait patiently for your next feeding time.” There’s no way for him to understand what you want, or that you’re requesting it, that the fact that you put him in his crib at this time means that he’s not supposed to want food for eight hours, whereas other times you put him in his crib, you’re willing to get him and feed him after only three. Also, he’s not really capable of obeying. If he’s hungry, he’s going to cry. If he’s uncomfortable and can’t get back to sleep, he’s going to cry. If he’s scared or lonely, he’s going to cry. If after being ignored night after night, he finally gives up and stops crying, it isn’t because he’s learned to “obey,” it’s because he’s learned either that no one can hear him, or that no one cares. This is not submission to authority. It’s resignation, giving up, for some babies, it’s even despair. It’s not the same as when an older baby stops reaching for a hot stove because his mother said, “No,” and enforced it with a spanking.

Now, of course, there are babies who naturally sleep through the night, without being left to cry. But these babies are not submitting, either. They are simply not hungry or uncomfortable, most likely because their mothers have milk supplies on the large side, and because the babies are not in the middle of a growth spurt, or teething, or struggling with reflux, or gas, or diaper rash, etc.

All right, so maybe letting babies cry isn’t the biblical discipline needed later in life, but what about the fact that it seems to work so well for some people? Why not use it and recommend it? Well, for starters, we need to be absolutely clear on what the Bible actually teaches so that we do not place undue burdens on each other, and so that we do not fall into pride when others don’t parent the way we do. There are prophets of doom out there who claim that if their own pet parenting method is not followed, your children will grow up to be horrible, spoiled brats. The Bible does not say this. The Bible calls for the rod and reproof. The Bible calls for discipleship (Dueteronomy 6:6,7). But the Bible is silent on whether babies should get to nurse at night, silent on how much time should pass between feedings, silent on whether babies should be snuggled to sleep or fall asleep on their own.

But there’s something else wrapped up in all this, something I do not believe the Bible is silent about, and that brings me back to my premise that the ultimate goal of Christian parenting should be helping our children develop a right relationship with God. And with that in mind, consider this: God does not abandon His children to cry alone.

The way that we treat our children is their earliest education in how they can relate to God. A quick concordance search on words like “call” and “cry” yields some interesting results. Here is just the smallest taste:

First, God hears His people and responds to them.

The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. –Psalm 34:15

He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. –Psalm 91:15

The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. –Psalm 145:18,19

Second, one sign that we belong to God is that He hears us when we call to Him.

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God. –Zechariah 13:9

Third, those whom the Lord will not listen to when they cry are those whom he is intending to destroy.

When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence. –Jeremiah 14:12

If we believe that we should be teaching our children, first and foremost, how to relate to God, then it is crucial that we are godly ourselves, that we model behavior consistent with God’s character. Letting our children cry because it is not the “scheduled” time for us to do something for them is not only not biblical discipline, but it’s also not consistent with God’s character. He never says to us, “This is your scheduled rest time, you will have to pray about your financial difficulties later,” or, “I know you’re upset, but you just fed on my Word an hour ago, you may read another Psalm at 4:00.” No, God is always there for us.

The permissive parenting so often preached by the “don’t let your baby cry” crowd is also not consistent with God’s character. God is holy. He does not tolerate sin. As parents we shouldn’t tolerate it either. Children need to be confronted with their sin, not distracted from it. God never says, “Oh look, Sherry’s yelling at her children again, I’ll just bring a cheery visitor to her door to redirect her to smile.” No, it’s much more likely He’ll bring something along that will smite Sherry’s heart with conviction.

For whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. –Hebrews 12:6

Our children need to know both that God is always there for them, that he will never leave them nor forsake them (Hebrews 13:5), AND that God is absolutely intolerant of sin, that He is an authority that must be obeyed. Any time we branch off into unbiblical parenting methods, either by embracing false “discipline” that ignores our children’s cries, or by tolerating their sin, we give them a wrong impression of who God is.

The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. –Proverbs 29:15

26 comments to I'm Not Raising My Babies "God's Way"

  • Wow! Two “amen” posts in a row! You are so on the mark, dear friend. I’m so glad I found you. You are already posted in my favorite links section on my blog. Keep it coming. We so desperately need it.

    Someone left a comment earlier wondering how we can ever change the social atmosphere to make child bearing and rearing more acceptable. Well, here’s how: more blog writers like you and much prayer. Keep up the good work.

  • Wow! Thank you for this post… its given me alot to mull over, as I’ve often gone back and forth between the two infant parenting styles, and felt guilty either way! Wonderful food for thought.

  • Hi there! I came to your site from Crystal at Serving God and Family (http://servinggodandfamily.blogspot.com). She had linked to another of your posts (which I haven’t taken the time to read yet), but I’m really glad I read this one. I don’t know if I agree with your position or not, but you have given me SO much to think about! I’m one of the last of my group of friends to have a child–we’re currently trying for our first–so I’m fairly familiar with Babywise and Attachment Parenting, through the influence of my friends. My best friend SWEARS by Babywise, and it does seem to work for her children, but I never ever thought of looking at it this way. I am so glad that God has provided such a wealth of information for me BEFORE I have a baby! Thank you so much for this post–I just can’t even tell you what an impact it has had on me.

    April

  • First off, I wanted to say that I really appreciate all the time and research you put into your posts. It makes me feel confident that you aren’t just “throwing something out there.”
    I definitely agree with you on not using the “cry it out” method. Even though it “worked” for my friends, I just couldn’t see myself using it on my babies. I didn’t really encounter a problem until my second child (my first slept so well naturally!) But with my second I had to patiently get up several times a night and reassure him that it was alright. He sleeps great now, and I know he trusts me to come when he needs me.
    On the flip side, I do not feel myself to be a permissive parent either. My first child again is naturally more obedient and didn’t require spanks or other such discipline until she was almost two. My second child, on the other hand, was “gettin’ it” when he was barely a year old. He is much more stubborn, but I know that with proper discipline he will eventually submit.
    Most of all, I believe that God has endowed us mothers with the intuition of what is right for our children. The reason that letting your baby cry it out doesn’t feel right is that God gave us that spirit of nurturing and care for our babies. I try to seek His face daily to help me with the parenting responsibilities I have.
    Sorry this comment is so long – just wanted you to know that I appreciated this post! – Jeanette

  • Mrs. Parunak

    April,

    Yes, Babywise really does work GREAT for some families. Sadly, it’s also a catastrophe for others. I think that’s because there’s more than just theology at play here, there’s also biology.

    I’ve personally known four “Babywise” families, and I’ve seen the whole range, from ardent Babywise evangelists to a mother who lost her milk supply when her baby was four months old. Of the in between families, one kept at it but the mother was a bit worried because her daughter vigorously sucked her fingers (a nursing cue), and the other felt that it worked for their first child but not for their second, and had dropped it entirely by their sixth.

    This range used to really perplex me until I did some research into the physiology of lactation. I learned that there is a 300% variation among women in milk storage capacity. Milk storage capacity is the amount of milk that a woman’s breast can comfortably hold without feeling “full” or slightly engorged. It turns out that when a woman’s breasts are full, her body slows milk production way down until she empties them, resulting in different women’s having vastly differing amounts of milk available at any given feeding.

    A major concept in Babywise is the “full feed.” The idea is that if you take the time to really tank your baby up, he won’t need to nurse again for two and a half to three hours if he’s a newborn, expanding to around four hours plus a good eight to twelve hour stretch at night by the time he’s four months old.

    Now here’s where the variation comes in. Imagine two women at opposite ends of the milk storage spectrum. Suzy is going to have THREE TIMES as much milk available per feeding as Anna. So Suzy’s baby can absolutely gorge himself and then sleep blissfully all night while his little tummy chugs away and his blood sugar stays nice and even. Anna’s baby drinks every drop but has a hard time even making it to the end of his nap before he’s hungry again. It’s not a theological issue, or a self discipline issue, or an issue of who’s a better mother, it just comes down to biology and how many milk ducts different women have. You can read all about this as well as see references for this information in Breastmilk, Ice Cream, and Infant Feeding Schedules: How Much Space is on YOUR Counter Top?.

  • What a good post. I ditched the Babywise method (which I’d fully intended to follow) once I had my baby and it just felt–not quite right. Cuddling my baby, rocking him to sleep, etc did feel right; now that he’s 18 months old, we are imposing discipline (and modeling grace as well, but not tolerance of bad behavior).

    it’s really simple, and uncomplicated–and I’ve found a lot of it for me is instinct, which trumps the parenting books–but not the Bible!

  • Beth

    I agree with the things you have said about the Biblical truth in of all of this. I just wanted to add my 2 cents on a practical note.

    There is a reason that books like Babywise even sell in the first place, and I feel it is due to the lack of real practical help that women used to give to other women in years past. The experienced older women were present in the lives of most new mothers, guiding and explaining all of the little, sacred, intricate cues newborns give ~ the secret language learned between babies and mothers. And they were there to give a hand when the new mom just needed a break. Grandma was there, probably Aunt Mildred and neighbor Judith, too. Teenager girls in the family pitched in instead of living in their own little worlds. I don’t think that the Lord ever intended for us to handle the challenge of a new baby alone. But Babywise was written for just such a “modern” women.

    I think that the reason so many people get into Babywise in the first place is because they are exasperated with all of the newborn crying and they don’t know what to do. I was there. My baby cried a lot and I didn’t know why. I second guessed everything I was doing, all the while the heart-peircing cries sounding like an alarm in my head, “DO SOMETHING, MOM, IT’S UP TO YOU TO FIX THIS!” I was desperate for some authority -anyone really, to give me a recipe I could follow and stop stressing. I latched onto Babywise and it did indeed “work” for me. But when baby #2 came along, I had learned so much. I had learned the secrets of understanding a baby’s needs. When my baby cried, I knew what he needed and could respond to that. So I did and he was happy and thrived. I didn’t need Babywise anymore.

    I guess what I’m saying is, there is a real market for Babywise type of advice books, because most of us have no idea what we’re doing the first time around. It’s just a shame that more of us don’t have Titus 2 women in our lives, and that we don’t spend our growing up years around babies instead of in age-segregated environments. Babywise is a very poor substitute for real help. But the fact that it sells is just proof that there is a real need for help out there.

  • Mrs. Parunak

    Beth,

    What a GREAT point! Thank you for bringing that out.

  • Thanks for sharing your research. As a father who takes rasing his son and future children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord seriously, I found your point scripturally insightful. Your writing in very appreciated.

  • I appreciate your Biblical and other research so much. Your thoughts really prompt my own. Even though I do not have children at this point, these are issues in my head now. Thank you for your beautiful posts.

  • An Amen here!
    I so agree with this on many levels. It’s something I couldn’t articulate and you have done so well doing it.
    With your permission, I’d like to site this on my blog.
    Blessings!

  • My husband and I don’t practice the “cry it out” technique, but we do use the “Controlled Crying Technique” (I found this in SuperNanny’s book), which is a variation of it, I suppose. I didn’t start the technique until both my children reached 6 months old. Both times I could just tell that the time was right: for example, with my daughter, I was up still trying to rock her to sleep until midnight. She was fine- she just got angry when I put her down! That wasn’t a good situation for either of us.
    So, while I agree that young babies can’t be expected to understand that you want them to wait until their next feeding, an older baby can be capable of understanding the events leading to bedtime and learn to fall asleep comfortably on his/her own.

  • How old are you again?? 52? I mean really. Where did you get all of this good stuff. I remember struggling with these issues when I was your age, and I had neither the articulation or the audience from which to pontificate. Either way, I would have loved to have had a friend like you around to encourage me when I was raising my little ones. I think I came to some of the same conclusions that you did. I think in our days, everyone was talking about the \Ezzos\. I’m not sure if that is Babywise or not. We were exposed to it when I was expecting baby #4. We laughingly joked, \how did we EVER get this far, without THEIR advice?\ (like they were some sort of parenting gurus??) Nevertheless, our kids were never raised \God’s way\… er.. um.. Ezzo way. I think I was criticized for it also. Then again, what’s new?

  • Mrs. Parunak

    Sarah,

    Thanks for your comment! I looked up info on controlled crying to see exactly what the program is, and I do have a few concerns.

    These are the complete “Controlled Crying” instructions from the Supernanny Website with my observations in parentheses and italics.

    Before you start, spend some time learning to differentiate between your baby’s cries. Once you are confident you can recognise when your baby is crying for comfort and attention, not to tell you he’s unwell, you can begin. (But cries for comfort are also legitimate. We want our children to come to us with their emotional needs as well as their physical needs, just as we need to turn to the Lord with our loneliness and fears as well as our needs for our next meal. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast ALL our care upon Him because He cares for us. I think it is a dangerous thing to teach our children that no one cares if they are alone and sad.) If a baby is looking for comfort he will often cry and pause, like he’s listening for you to come (Isn’t this exactly what we would want in our children, the hope that when they call out to us we will answer? Supernanny is about to advocate systematically dashing this hope.), and the crying may become more angry-sounding than distressed sobbing. (And at that point, would it not be fair to say that you have provoked your child to wrath, as Ephesians 6:4 commands us not to do?)

    * When your baby wakes, listen to him cry to make sure he is not distressed. If you’re confident it is a comfort cry, wait for two minutes, then go to him and soothe him with gentle noises and a smooth of the back. Keep the room dark and don’t make eye contact. (Deliberately not making eye contact communicates that you are trying not to make an emotional connection with your child. How would we as women feel if our husbands found us crying because we were lonely, and they patted us on the back, but refused to make eye contact? ) Once he is calm but before he has fallen asleep again, leave the room.
    * Repeat if the baby wakes again, this time waiting for four minutes before going to him, and doubling the period each subsequent time he wakes. (Think about what this is possibly communicating. Your baby has no idea why it is taking you longer and longer to come. As far as your baby is concerned, it’s quite possible that you are going further and further away each time. He has no reason to believe that you won’t just go so far one of these times that you can’t hear him at all. It’s also possible that he will believe you are growing less and less concerned about his feelings, which could lead to anger or to feelings of hopelessness as he eventually decides he’s going to have to make it on his own because you don’t care, a point which will look to the parents as if the baby has “learned to go to sleep on his own.”)

    Listening to your baby cry can be harrowing and upsetting, so make sure you have the support of your partner or ask a friend to stay with you whilst you try this technique. (Major red flag! If something is “harrowing and upsetting” we MUST ask ourselves if our God-given conscience is being pricked. If we are truly following the Lord’s leading, we are going to feel the joy and peace that Galatians 5:22 describes as fruits of the spirit.) You should begin to see some improvement in one week, but be prepared to keep this technique up for three weeks if necessary.

    “Controlled Crying” is, in my opinion, not all that far removed from old fashioned crying it out. The parent may feel better because he knows that he’s not going to let his baby cry forever, but all the baby knows is that it’s taking Mommy or Daddy an awfully long time to come. It does “work” for a lot of people in that many children do eventually stop crying for you and go to sleep. But at what cost?

    There are many gentler ways to get an older baby to go to sleep. Well before ours are six months old, they reach a point where they don’t transfer well, and they wake up and cry, just like your daughter did, when we put them down. So at that point, I stop walking them to sleep, and switch to lying down with them. Once they are asleep, it’s easy to sneak off without awakening them because they are not having their position changed, and they are not feeling the loss of warmth that would come from being removed from my warm tummy and placed on a cold (room temperature) sheet.

    You are quite right that an older baby can learn to understand the events leading to bedtime and learn to fall asleep. Our one and a half year old usually gets into bed without being asked as soon as her PJ’s are on and her teeth are brushed because she knows the routine. But I really don’t think that the abandonment recommended by Supernanny is consistent with God’s character. It is not the way God treats us. Is it really a good way to treat our children?

    But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, GENTLE, AND EASY TO BE INTREATED, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. –James 3:17,18 (emphasis mine)

  • Mrs. Parunak

    Kathy,

    I would be very happy for you to site me. Thanks for asking!

  • We have never been fans of the Ezzo method/technique. My feeling has always been that they sugar coat the post modern parenting ideas (hedonistic/nacissistic) with Christian principles.

  • Mrs. Parunak,
    I loved this post, and wanted to ask you about something… At some point, as our babies have grown older, we have always allowed them to cry when it was time for bed. We’ve never just left them to cry alone, but we do try to wean them away from needing to be rocked to sleep (this is simply practical for us, as we have four other young children who can’t be left alone indefinitely as we wait for the baby to fall asleep.) At what point do you feel that crying becomes a form of manipulation (i.e. “throwing a fit” because they don’t want to go to bed) rather than the expression of a need? I did see that in another comment you mentioned laying down with your baby until he is asleep and then sneaking away, but this simply isn’t possible for me. Do you have any thoughts on this?
    PS. Along the lines of what Beth posted… I’ve noticed that a lot of this (in my opinion, faulty) parenting advice is coming from MEN. Ezzo, Dr. Spock, etc. Biblically, women are supposed to be learning how to care for their children and husbands from other WOMEN. Realizing this has really helped me to censor a lot of what I implement in regards to child care. If it’s written by a man, I’ll take it with a tablespoon of salt!

  • Thank you for this info and as usual I highly agree with you. I especially love the verses you cited about crying or calling to the Lord. What an awesome picture of how he answers his children when we need him!

  • How often we, in North America, turn to the ‘experts’ for parenting advice. I never felt I was finding sound advice from any of the guru books, simply because I had no way of knowing how the guru’s children had turn out in the end.

    I loved practical advice from older moms and – as you have made rightfully clear – scriptural backing always lead me the right way.

    For the record, I rocked my daughter to sleep for the first 3 months and gradually weaned her (and me!) away from this. When she cried, she received a smiling face to check on her needs. Then, when all apparent needs were met, she was tucked back into bed with a kiss and reassurance that dad and mom were close by – but it was time to sleep. Except for 1 or 2 nights of training, it went very smoothly.

    Moms need just as much reassurance as the babies, if not more! Your post is well written for this purpose.

  • Mrs. Parunak

    Rina,

    You ask, “at what point do you feel that crying becomes a form of manipulation (i.e. “throwing a fit” because they don’t want to go to bed) rather than the expression of a need?”

    I think this is a case where you really have to know your children and be very sensitive to their moods. When they’re “throwing a fit,” they’re angry, and when they’re expressing a need, they’re more sad or scared. Also, if what they’re upset about is being put to bed, then they won’t usually stop crying if you are snuggling them on their beds. They are only happy if you get them down to go play. Frightened or lonely children will usually stop crying if you snuggle them on their beds because what they wanted was you.

    I think it’s important to say that a child who is truly angry is sinning. Screaming in anger, throwing fits, and having temper tantrums are all sinful behaviors, and need to be dealt with directly, not ignored by walking out of the room and letting the child cry. This just gives them a chance to stew about how mean we are, how much they don’t like us, etc. I think even a toddler is capable of those kinds of rebellious feelings, though obviously in less sophisticated forms than an older child. Remember,

    The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. –Proverbs 29:15

    Walking away from an angry child strikes me as leaving him to himself. I don’t think we should walk away from a child who is upset at all. We should comfort a frightened or lonely child, and we should discipline an angry child. L. Elizabeth Kruger, a mother of ten, who wrote Raising Godly Tomatoes has what I have found to be extremely helpful advice in dealing head on with young children’s fits of anger. You can read it here.

    And I think you make a great point about getting our advice from WOMEN and not from MEN. This is the way God set it up. He commands the older women to teach the younger women how to love their children. He NEVER gave men any such command. Helen Aardsma wrote a really great article about that. I should link to it sometime on my main page, but for now, I’ll put it here, Woman to Woman.

  • While I see where you are coming from on this issue, I’m afraid we’ll have to just simply disagree.
    I do not in any way see anything my husband and I practice as “abandonment”. Our children recieve reassurance that we’re there but that it is bedtime and that they will not be being picked up. If they have a wet diaper or a fever, etc, of course we tend to their needs, but that is all.
    My children are both healthy, happy, bright kids… nothing like a child that has been neglected with “abandonment”.
    My son (who is two) goes to bed very well and I credit the technique I mentioned with that. After we read a book and say a prayer, we leave him in his room and he goes to sleep on his own.
    But, like a said, this is something we will probably just disagree on.

  • Mrs. Parunak

    Sarah,

    Fair enough. I realize that it’s impossible to have everyone agree with everything I write. Thanks for being willing to discuss it with me. I’m glad to have other perspectives represented.

    Blessings!

  • Linda

    Having done some sort of babywise with my children I found some of it practical,especially if you do not have lots of family support, sometimes mums need a break.I also read Sears, he also had good ideas,I love rocking my babies! I found reading the experts helpful because they have researched and studied their topics, male or not.Our mums all fed us silverbeet at 12 weeks was that such good advice dosing us up with oxalic acid?Sometimes what other mums tell you is not so scientific and good for your baby.

  • Thanks so much for sharing this post! I love how you so clearly point out that neither ends of the spectrum (scheduling or attachment parenting) truly reflect God’s heart for parenting, nor do they reflect biblical principles. Much thanks for being a voice to so many young moms out there who are swinging between “babywise” and the “AP” way of parenting. May we all by God’s grace end up parenting by His word, not man’s!

  • Cat Russell, MS, LPCI

    As a Christian therapist–the majority of my work involves resolving the damage poor parenting caused in my adult clients–I whole-heartedly AGREE with this blog!!! Thanks for posting.

  • It seems to me that whenever we follow some “method”, we run the risk of following it as if it is the Bible itself. We look for success stories or examples of how it worked brilliantly.

    However, as a mother of 5 and soon to be 6 children, I see that following our heart on parenting usually doesn’t steer us wrong.

    I have loosely used the concepts of Babywise to give structure and a bit of routine to our lives. However, I follow my heart and wear my baby while they are young, co-sleep while they are very young and more demanding. We bond well this way, and I don’t have to let them scream when they are newborns-something that goes against of my heart.

    All of my children are on flexible schedules, and it helps our home work well, and our children know who is in charge. We have rules, discipline, etc. However, this is always tempered with nurturing, and prayer.

    When they are very young they simply need mom. I don’t agree with attachment parenting, which in my opinion, does teach that if they demand they will have, yet I don’t believe in being rigid with a little one who just needs mom. It’s a blend, and one I pray I’m learning as I hope to grow in God’s grace.

    Thanks for the insightful article.

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