PREPARATION FOR THE TODDLER YEARS (5-15 months)
by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo
7th Printing; Summer 1997
This is the second manual in the parenting series beginning with "Preparation For Parenting" (PFP). As the subtitle indicates, it is "The Next Step in the Practical Development of the Child's Moral, Academic and Physical Health." Ezzo makes a point to emphasize that this material to prepare for the toddler years is only for graduates of PFP:
"The PCF (Parent Centered Family) baby has achieved equilibrium in developmental areas while the demand fed and attachment-parenting babies usually lag behind in states of disequilibrium" (p. 10).
The material in this manual is designed for the 5-15 month age range of the baby. During this period, the baby will need to develop learning patterns that will provide a proper foundation for behavior in the coming toddler years. With this purpose, the manual offers much practical advice in areas such as napping and sleeping; highchair manners and mealtime behavior; language development, etc.
Points of Concern:
A. Within the context of the need for the mother and father to have a proper and healthy relationship together, Ezzo makes this curious statement: "Throughout the Holy Scripture, the union of matrimony is the single metaphor representing man and God" (p. 14). (Bold added.) What about the Father/Child relationship (2 Cor. 6:18)?
B. On page 25, the statement is made that natural talents (as opposed to basic skills) are gifts from God. The use of the terminology "gifts from God," may cause some confusion in making the proper distinction between natural talents and Scripturally documented spiritual gifts.
C. Regarding the academic learning of a child, Ezzo makes this bold statement: "Reading is an academic skill God intended every man to possess. Without it, one cannot read the Word of God" (p. 26). Is literacy really a Biblical mandate or is it a (commendable) American cultural value? Scripture seems to put the emphasis on hearing the Word as opposed to reading it (Rom. 10:17; Eph. 1:13). Certainly, the ability to read is a valuable skill and should be attained if at all possible. But to assert that it is God's will for everyone to read is a tenuous position.
D. Before an infant is able to communicate verbally, Ezzo advocates the use of sign language between infant and parent so that the child doesn't have to resort to other more dramatic, destructive, or otherwise irritating means of communication (pp. 55-56).
1. Though there is nothing Biblically wrong with teaching sign language to the infant, we wonder if the process might unnecessarily delay the development of verbal communication. Admittedly, it is difficult to determine what a fussing and crying baby wants or needs. But usually a patient and caring mother learns quickly to identify the needs of her baby.
2. A child's first attempts at verbally communicating his/her wants and needs provides special and amusing moments in family life. The universally applied sign language system stifles these unique and precious moments.