My Story

I live near Seattle with my husband of 14 years and our two boys. William is 7 and Lucas is 4. I stay home with them and work at the same time, part-time from home as a freelance marketing communications writer.

I was introduced to the Parent Wise books before I had kids. I had planned to follow Babywise from day one with William but was thrown for a loop after he was born. He had an extreme dairy sensitivity, which created colic (incessant crying), and we didn’t figure this out until he was six weeks old. During those six weeks, I fed on demand, rocked or bounced him to sleep, and did everything I could to comfort him and minimize the pain. At 7.5 weeks, with all dairy out of our systems, we implemented Babywise. Aside from a few hiccups, both boys did really well on their schedules.

When William became a toddler, his behaviors began to change. I had read Babywise II but hadn’t implemented any of it. It all seemed a little silly at the time. (Now I know better.) I knew his behaviors were not what I wanted from my child, but I blamed it on the “terrible twos”. As he neared his third birthday, I began to get nervous. Once he turned three, I no longer had an excuse. Also, my husband had left for a year in Kuwait and I was eight months pregnant with Lucas. I knew I had to do something.

That’s when I discovered Toddlerwise, Preschoolwise and Childwise. After reading Childwise in just three days, I had a renewed sense of hope. Childwise offered an instruction manual of sorts and promised to pull us out of this bad-behavior predicament.

While I couldn’t get enough of the books, I found it difficult to apply the principles in my daily life. I was raised in a somewhat permissive household, and my friends and family members are fairly permissive with their children. I knew in my heart that the Ezzo principles were right for us, but it did not come naturally to me.

I often called my friend who introduced me to Babywise, peppering her with questions. She was a great help and will always hold a special place in my heart. I cannot thank her enough. If she had never introduced me to the Ezzo principles in the first place, I would be one stressed out, unhappy mom.

And by that time, I had discovered the wonderful Babywise board on Maya’s Mom (now BabyCenter). While these moms helped me with my concerns, what I appreciated most was finding a group of like-minded moms. I still enjoy chatting with them on a daily basis.

Through this group, I learned about the “contact mom” resource (see Resources). My contact mom spent countless hours on the phone and in email with me. She and her husband are now teaching us the Growing Kids God’s Way class in their home. I am enormously grateful for their time and wisdom.

What also helped was listening to the Mom’s Notes (see Resources). These audio recordings are very comprehensive and detailed, and they taught me exactly how to apply the principles in daily life. I listen to them whenever I need a reminder or feel like our behaviors are slipping.

In our years of training William, his behaviors have improved immensely, and he is now the happy, compliant little boy that I always hoped he could be. He says “yes, mommy” to me 95% of the time and is generally obedient about 90% of the time. We do room time every day and he can’t get enough of it. He will play on his own for hours on end. He even helps me out with his brother. If you had asked me a year and a half ago if we would be where we are now, I would say no way. We still have our issues, but in general, he is very obedient.

So why does this make me qualified to offer parenting advice? First, I have read and listened to just about every resource that exists on the Ezzo principles. Second, I apply these principles every single day of my life. Third, I have seen the “dark side” :) and have overcome every behavior issue you might imagine. Fourth, I graduated with a degree in English from a well-known school and write for a living, so I can communicate my thoughts pretty well. I hope you agree!

Comments

  1. We are hoping to take the next GKGW class offered in our area! We can’t wait! I already bought the book!

  2. Melissa says:

    I’m glad I found this! I don’t know where to leave this post, so I’ll try here. I’m having trouble with my almost 3 year old hitting/kicking his 10 month old brother. I’ve corrected him, explained why we don’t hit/kick, disciplined him for it. Still, he does it. He doesn’t do it hard, its more like pushing or kicking him out of the way. It seems like maybe its become a bad habit that’s just hard for him to break. I don’t understand why he finds pleasure in it though, he thinks it funny after he does it and I correct him. He’s a very good, sweet kid. Especially out in public, and I would never describe him as aggressive. I just am at my wits end on how to get him to stop this behavior with my baby! Thanks!

  3. Maureen says:

    We have struggled with this in the past. I think part of it is just the idea of having a sibling around and having to share toys and attention. This certainly doesn’t excuse the behavior but it explains it. And if he thinks it is funny after you discipline him, he is getting some pleasure from the whole experience. Even negative attention is attention. So there are a few things I would do:

    1) Examine how much attention he is getting from you. The baby probably gets more attention just because he needs it, and your 3yo might recognize this and resent the baby for it. So make sure your 3yo is getting plenty of one-on-one attention from you.

    2) Teach your 3yo how to play nicely with his brother. Maybe sit down on the floor, the 3 of you with a toy. You play with it for a few seconds then pass it to your 3yo. Then your 3yo plays with it for a few seconds and passes it to his brother. This way, he can be the big brother showing his little brother how to play with a certain toy. He can take pride in that. And then you give him BIG praise for playing nicely.

    3) Watch your 3yo like a hawk and catch him BEFORE he hurts his brother. I remember one time, Lucas was standing at the coffee table playing with a toy, minding his own business. William started circling the coffee table. The first time, he didn’t touch him. The second time, he brushed up lightly against him. The third time, he nudged him. And the fourth time he knocked him down. If I were on my toes, I would have caught him the first or second time and given him a reflective time out. This is where you sit him on the couch near you for a few minutes BEFORE he gets into trouble, not after.

    4) While you are doing these things and before you see an improvement, you will likely just need to keep them separate. I know, easier said than done, especially when the baby is crawling. But if your 3yo doesn’t know how to play nicely, the logical consequence is to not let him play with him without your direct supervision (you sitting right there).

    5) Also be sure you have the basics covered. His day is scheduled. You aren’t allowing too many freedoms. He replies to the call of his name with a “yes Mommy”. You and your DH are doing couch time.

    Good luck!

  4. Thank you for discussing your experiences with the Ezzo series. I, too have used it since day one with amazing ( yet predictable) results. We are up to pre-teen wise and while the principles have varying degrees of success, it beats all the alternatives ( just look around at the kids you come in contact with!) Which brings me to my point of writing, we have no other parents that share our views and values. Where can we associate with like minded parents with children that are polite, empathetic, kind, respectful, and a joy to be around so our kids can have similar minded playmates. We have a son 6 and a dsughter 9. Maybe their aren’t any here ( Issaquah) since Sambica if offering a “Manners and polite behavior” seminar for the holidays to ,I guess, parents that have no manners to teach….maybe that’s the root of the problem…one cannot teach what one does not posess… Oh well, we got to this point alone as a family, we can continue but I was just hoping to find a family we could relate to. Thanks for listening. Have a great Thanksgiving.

  5. Charlie,

    That’s great to hear you’ve had success with the Ezzo principles. You are farther along in the parenting journey than I am, so I am always encouraged to hear from parents who have kids older than mine.

    After I read your reference to Issaquah, I started rereading my posts wondering where I had mentioned that I live there?! It must just be coincidence.

    As for finding like-minded parents, my best resource has been BabyCenter. Many of the moms I interact with have children younger than yours, but I think you might be interested with the discussions. I started an “Ezzo Book Club” group where we read and discuss the books together. It’s a private group, but you are welcome to join after you send a request. I have also met one or two moms from the area and have connected with one (in Everett). It’s nice to find these parents, but most of us have discovered that we have to just smile and nod when we come into contact with parents and kids whose behavior is not something we agree with. Sorry I don’t have a better answer for you!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  6. No, I did not know that you live in Issaquah?! ( do you?) just Seattle at the top of this page. I will check out your suggestion, but our kids even go to a Christian school and the behavior is still unacceptable. As far as the long term effects of the book, they produce exactly the stated behavior directly proportional to the extent the methods are implemented. We did not have a “parenting plan” when our first child was about to be born, so I started looking for information. When I read the values and expectations described in BabyWise ( especially sleeping at 8 weeks) I was in. And we have never looked back….We have used ( and I mean used, they are Post-It noted, written in, highlighted, floppy nad dog-eared) every Ezzo *Wise book along our parenting path and have acheived the exact results described. When our second born came, our plan was already in place and up and running so what he experienced was consistent with what was now our family life…calm, structured, responsible, joyful, predictible. By no means is our life perfect, but when I see begging, disobedient, crying, tired, demanding, “addicted to choice”, rude, children stressing out parents and all members of the family, I am grateful that we stuck with it and followed our heart. We can go anywhere, and I mean anywhere ( We went to Lion King at the Paramount 5 years ago with a 1 and 1/2 year old and a 4 1/2 year old, sat 5 rows from the front and everyone, even the people around use that rolled their eyes when we sat down, enjoyed every minute of the show from start to finish…how do I know?, the people behind us commented after the show how WELL behaved our children were!) we want withourt ANY fear. This is true family freedom and also allows our children a GREATER level of experiences and freedon than most because their behavior is predictable and we can trust them as they can us.
    BTW the lady that cuts my hair has two out of control kids that are in their early teens and I gave here the book TeenWise and boy were her eyes opened! She was amazed at the common sense approach described and just wanted a behavioral life line. She loves the book and is trying to implement some of the plan, but at least she has hope.

    Lastly the two guiding principles that we gleaned from the books 1) Children should be a joy to you and a joy to others and 2) the disclaimer that “other will just say you were lucky to have obedient, complient, well behaved children! (Twice?! Ha! I guess I should buy a lottery ticket since we are so “lucky”. I just heard this AGAIN from the head of school where my children attend, since my son was just squirted with yogurt while he sat and ate his lunch, by a kid that has NEVER heard the word NO!). We are still working through it with others.
    Cheers,
    Charlie

  7. Charlie,
    I don’t live near you but have the same problem-no like minded parents near me! It is tough! One thing that has helped me is the Mom’s Notes tapes. Do you have them? It is not the same as having a “real live” friend, but it sure helps me to know that I am not alone and gives me encouragement! If you don’t have the tapes/CDs, I highly recommend them!!!

  8. Yes, Charlie. We’re in Issaquah. Up on the plateau. Small world. What school do your kids go to?

    Lynn, I love the Mom’s Notes, too. The message boards are my best way to interact with like-minded moms and it’s nice because we all learn from each other.

  9. Lynn,

    Thanks for the suggestion on Mom Notes… As indicated in my post above, we know that these ideas work IF you work them…can’t do half way and expect results. Kids get confused. I will check out as I always need a reminder to stay on track.

    Have a great day and thanks again.

    Charlie

  10. Maureen,

    We live on Squak Mountain, south of I-90…kids go th Bear Creek in Redmond. Got through the plateau as least twice a day.
    The reason for my post was to see if we were the only one’s “strict ” enough to follw this plan. Especially if you are a Dad! The way I see all of the “servant” parents doing the bidding og their kids whims and wiches, I just have to turn away. I guess I was raised differently and it shows here. If you haven’t see ” World’s Strictest Parents” on CMT, that will make you feel better about what passes for parenting and the results and what loving, caring, boundry-driven, family centered parenting is and what these results are. The difference if very clear especially in the happiness of all the kids raised ” appropriately”. But the great thing about America, you can raise your children any way you would like, but not to just unleash them on the world afterwards.

    Cheers,

    Charlie

  11. I just came across to this website as a friend referred to it on facebook- what a gem!! I feel like we are headed in the direction you were going with your first son before you discovered toddlerwise and childwise :-/ I read through the list that you made about signs that you need more structure to your day and I think my son fits the entire description… I feel like I’m still stuck in the mentality that as long as I got the eating, naptimes and independent playtimes down, we’re set- but I’m seeing that’s not the case! :) I just emailed someone about finding a contact mom and I’m feeling hopeful :)

    Any tips as far as where to begin? I suppose I should get my hands on On Becoming Toddlerwise… I’ll start there :)

    Longing for a compliant, obedient and happy little guy :)

    Blessings to you!
    Jenna

  12. Hi Jenna,

    Thanks for the compliment on the blog. How old is your son? Definitely buy the books that are in line for his age. I also highly recommend the Growing Kids God’s Way workbook which you can get at http://www.gfi.org. I think it’s $18. It has a lot of the information found in On Becoming Childwise, but it’s a little more thorough and better organized.

    I haven’t done a “getting started” post but this one provides a good overview. Also be sure to read the posts on “yes, mommy”, eye contact and timeouts. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions as you read.

    Maureen

  13. Hi Maureen,

    My little guy is just shy of 13 months. He started walking about 2 months ago and all he wants to do these days is wander around the downstairs- I feel like I am chasing him and trying to encourage him to sit still for a few moments and enjoy something for longer than a few seconds!

    Thanks for the suggestions about GKGW workbook. I don’t have that, yet. Just ordered the starter packet of Mom’s Notes for toddlers/preschoolers- will this help do you think? I also ordered the first-time obedience kit.

    I will check out those links. Thank you!
    Jenna

  14. I just wanted to say hello and tell you I am so glad I found this site. I have a 4 year old daughter (and a 2 month old son). I feel like I don’t enjoy her as much as I once did (boy does that sound horrible to say out loud) and I’d really like to work on our communication and stop the cycle of “no, no, no” as well as be more positive myself.
    I have often felt like I just need SOMEBODY or someplace to work with me and to be supportive because it’s hard to feel like you are failing all the time. It also feels like there is not enough time in the day to sit down and read all this stuff let alone figure out how to apply it in our home. I’m hoping I can be gentle enough with myself to just take it one day and one step at a time. I’ve been reading Preschool Wise and decided to start with proper bedtime and meal routines. I’m not sure where I’ll go next, but I’m looking forward to reading some of your posts to try and figure it out.
    Thanks for listening.

    Maggie

  15. Hi Maggie,

    I’m glad you found the site, too. :) Hang in there. I have been in your shoes. While you do your reading, I highly recommend you join the Babywise and Babywise Grads boards on Babycenter. You will find all the friendship and support you need, particularly helpful for those days you want to just pull your hair out.

    Feel free to post your questions here, too, as you continue reading. Oh, and I would recommend you read Childwise right after you finish Preschoolwise. There’s a lot more depth in Childwise. Good luck!

    Maureen

  16. Thanks Maureen –

    I got really distracted right around the holidays and haven’t gotten very far. I’m trying to get back in there. Hopefully will have some questions and things to. Thanks for the recommendations. Any suggestions for getting hubby on board with the bedtime routines? He does pretty well, but on the two nights I work skips parts like bathtime. Does it matter?

  17. Hi Maggie. I think it’s fine to skip the bath every now and then. I realize it can be a lot of work for one parent to do it all, but I would have you ask yourselves whether the bath calms them down. If it does, it might help to do the bath. The shower/bath totally hypes my kids up, so we only bathe them every other night.

    Let me know if you have any more questions as you read.

    Maureen

  18. First, I’ve heard about Ezzo parenting before and didn’t agree with a good portion of it, HOWEVER—I’ve read most of the archives of your site and I love how you put it into practice. Whether that’s because you’re more gentle in your description of how to use it or because you’ve refined the practice, I don’t know..but I am REALLY excited to try a new style of raising our child–and have taken TONS of notes from your site (so thank you!). She’s five and full.of.attitude. And I have to admit, we’ve alternated between 85% child-centered parenting and 15% too strict parenting…and we’re suffering the consquences. In our defense, our child was a preemie and we almost lost her several times, so our universe was completely wrapped around her for a very long time…but now that she’s older and healthy for the most part, I know we need to start putting her attiude and respect for us on the right path–we’ve let her attitude that she is in charge of the family go on for much too long–to her detriment. Anyway, thank you so much for your posts. As soon as I finish the archives, my husband and I are sitting down to work out our plan and moving forward from there! :) Can’t wait to read more of your site!

  19. Maureen says:

    Glad you like the blog. Thanks! I’m sure my world would be child-centered if I were in your shoes. So scary. That’s great that you see the need to turn things around. Spotting the problem is the first step to resolving it. And I’m sure you realize this, but getting her attitude in check will be one of the best things you can do for HER. You’re not doing it for yourself or your husband. You’re doing it for her. And if you don’t mind the shameless plug, you might benefit from reading my e-book. It offers a good overview of my advice along with detailed, step-by-step tips to get you where you want to be. Take a look: http://www.childwisechat.com/ebook/.

    Good luck!

  20. At what age do we start this?
    My LO is 9 months and we’re starting with ‘that’s a no’ and trying to keep ‘begin as you mean to go on’ in mind, but I’ve come to find obedience is as much about training us as parents as it is our baby! It’s so difficult, lol.

  21. Maureen says:

    Hi Lacey. So true! At 9 months, you are still working on redirect as you say. But you can start working on obedience training today. I discuss working with younger children in my eBook (http://www.childwisechat.com/ebook/), but start by calling her name and having her look at you. If she’s crawling, you can start a gentle approach to getting her to come to you. Call her name, wait to see if she looks at you, then go get her and bring her to where you were sitting. Then say simply, “Come to mommy when I call your name.”

    The other thing to work on at this age is your planning. Look up my posts on creating a discipline plan and decide on things like where in the house she is allowed to be and which areas are completely off limits. And though she may not completely understand every word you say, I think it’s important to practice saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Our kids take us so literally, so when we don’t follow through they start ignoring us. If you start practicing this now, you’ll be set by the time she hits 18 months (when that independent spirit will emerge). Good luck!

  22. hi Maureen, how are you doing? I have noticed that you are not posting anymore and I must say I miss you, Your posts were all so encouraging and they came in a timely manner for us. With an almost 4 year old boy, a 2 year old girl and a baby boy due in one month, we are in the middle of the FTO battle :) We appreciate you, hopefully we will see you sometime soon (or if not, at least I am going to buy your e-book)
    Blessings
    Aymee

  23. Hi Aymee. Thanks for the sweet words. I appreciate the comment. I apologize for the radio silence. Life has been crazy around here. In addition to homeschooling my boys, which requires a ton of planning in the summer, I work as a freelance writer. Apparently the economy is improving because I’m slammed! It’s all good, but I need to catch a breath before I start blogging again. But I’ll be back soon!

  24. I’m brand new to your blog, I have a 2.5 yr old and a 3 month old… my 2 year old is absolutely crazy, can you please link me to the stuff you have more directed to toddlers? I’m having trouble finding it

  25. kandy elder says:

    Are there mentors available for those of us needing guidance through some rough spots?

  26. I miss your blogging! Are you all done, or do you plan to post again at some point?

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