“The New Strong-Willed Child” by James Dobson
In Dobson's frightening book “The New Strong-Willed Child” he
recommends beating both children and dogs into submission. It
begins with a hair-raising story of
Dobson whipped his little dog with a belt for “defiance”: see pages 2 & 3 Whipping a dog
is illegal in most US states!
believes most children are “strong-willed” and "defiant", and
these bogus charts about
his opinions: see page
He believes a child's will should be "conquered" and parents must "win"
(p.50 & 53).
calls children many insulting names in this book: brat,
bratty, pugnacious, spitfires, defiant, confirmed
anarchists, hot lava, Goody Two-Shoes, sneaky, horrid, little
defiant, contentious, double trouble, hardheaded as mules,
fat-fingers, defiant, toughie, irritating, pack of adolescent
confirmed revolutionary, Hurricane Hannah, little chameleon, negative,
sullen, ill-tempered, prissy, stick of dynamite, flighty, spoiled brat,
goof-off, obnoxious, fireball, snippy, defiant, rambunctious,
groaning lump, nasty, all legs, all nose and ears, cantankerous, rude,
stubborn, defiant, hostile, mischievous, gangly legs, foolish, selfish,
insane. Did I mention “defiant”? On p. 6 he makes the
bizarre claim that some
children have “crooked wheels” and that’s why they are “defiant”!
has some particularly disturbing ideas about infants, claiming that
“defiant upon exit from the womb” (p.x) “They come into the world
cigar and yelling about the temperature in the delivery room” (back
cover). Dobson also says “A healthy
baby can keep her mother or father hopping around her nursery twelve
day (or night) by simply forcing air past her sandpaper larynx”
and “Don’t be afraid to let her cry.” (p.94)
says children cause “constant battles” (p.xii) they “pull stunts” and
just love to go toe-to-toe with their parents.
They get their kicks by playing power games.” (p.17). Dobson
claims “most children seem to have a
need to take on those in authority.” (p.39)
He says “children are naturally inclined toward rebellion,
dishonesty, aggression, exploitation, and greed.” (p.45)
what does Dobson recommend parents do about all these defiant,
children? Hit them, of course! On p.15 Dobson tells the
story of a mother
who spanks her 5 year old daughter and locks her in the garage for
some stones at cars. On p.18 he tells the
story of a mother who slaps her 18 month old 9 separate times for
a candy dish. On p.20 he tells the
story of a mother who counts to three “and if the kids had not minded
they would have to face the wooden spoon.”
p.61 Dobson says to spank a 6 year old for calling his parents “hot
“moose” and on p.63 Dobson says to spank a 7 year old for lying.
p.120 Dobson quotes an anonymous poem “Grandpop seized a slipper and
Junior ‘cross his knee. Grandpop hasn’t read a book since 1923.”
Then Dobson says “Dear ol’ Grandpop. He may have been a little
his ideas, but he certainly knew how to handle Junior.”
p.123 Dobson states his beliefs about corporal punishment: “Many
desperately need this resolution to their disobedience” and says
actually prevents child abuse because when parents spank they
more and more frustrated” and “blow up”.
However, research by Dr. Murray Straus and others show that 70%
abuse cases start out as spanking!
p. 125-130 Dobson inserts an article that claims the research on
punishment is mostly “opinion-driven” and “flawed” and “spanking is not
if done “appropriately and not in anger”.
This article also recommends hitting a toddler who hits,
toddler’s “hitting will persist or even escalate.”
p. 135 Dobson is asked this question: “Q: How long do you think a child
be allowed to cry after being punished or spanked?
Is there a limit? A: Yes,
I believe there should be a limit. As
long as the tears represent a genuine release of emotion, they should
permitted to fall. But crying can
quickly change from inner sobbing to an expression of protest aimed at
punishing the enemy. Real crying usually
lasts two minutes or less but may continue for five.
After that point, the child is merely complaining, and the
can be recognized in the tone and intensity of his voice.
I would require him to stop the protest
crying, usually by offering him a little more of whatever caused the
On p.136 Dobson recommends using a switch or paddle to beat children:
here to read page 136
p.137 Dobson says “The spanking may be too gentle.
If it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t motivate a child to avoid the
consequence next time. A slap with the
hand on the bottom of a diapered two-year-old is not a deterrent to
anything. Be sure the child gets the
p.138 Dobson makes this incredible statement: “If corporal punishment
banned, it will be a sad day for families, and especially for
the record, Dobson calls positive discipline “repackaged permissive
“ridiculous advice” “horse manure” and “wimp parenting”
(p.37-39). Dobson has a psychology degree received in
the 60’s. His training was before all the research that
been done showing the many harms of corporal punishment of
children. Dobson is not a doctor, and he’s not
ordained in any religion. The American
Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the
Medical Association all disagree with Dobson’s views on discipline.
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you for helping to protect children from Dobson’s dangerous advice!