In chapter one of On Becoming Baby Wise, Gary Ezzo stresses that a baby needs a family. This does not mean that families ought to give up their lives and well-being so that the babies may be the controlling force in the home, but rather that the babies become part of the family, and are accepted as a new addition to a family that already exists.
The relationship between husband and wife must remain stable at all times, particularly in the early stages of the infant. The baby notices when their parents do not love one another or when there is conflict. This in turn leads to confusion and fear for the infant. Hence, a healthy marriage is the first step towards proper parenting.
The reality is that child-rearing begins at birth and as such, babies ought to be trained in their earliest age to follow a routine that is conducive to a joyful family life. When the child becomes the center of all family activity, then the child develops from her earliest age a sense of entitlement, which is so prevalent in our own culture. Some parents “instead of building their children into a self-assured adult… are fostering the emotionally crippling attitude of me-ism (23).”
Though every covenant child is created in the image of God, this does not mean that they will easily develop biblical character. The fruit of the Spirit is something that parents must work very hard at instilling to their little ones. In other words, “parents must train these attributes into the heart of their child (24).” A significant part of this process begins by clearly defining roles in the home. Children are to submit to their parents, entailing that there is an explicit authority structure that must not be broken. In the United States some parents work hard at breaking that structure thinking that they are actually accomplishing something positive in their relationship with their children. They work hard to establish a buddy status with their little ones. Loneliness often leads parents to “elevate children to the level of peers (25).” This automatically shakes the authority structure and instead of children honoring their parents, they will begin to treat them as they would a brother or sister.
The idea that the entrance of children into the family is to be the only focus of the family is a dangerous concept. Unfortunately, due to societal pressures, parents cave in and make idols of their children, not realizing that the marital relationship is fundamental to the success of any structure. The answer is that husbands are to protect their marriages. It is a “safeguard against child-centered parenting. (27).”