The New Dare to Discipline

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Children need love, trust, affection--and discipline. From one generation to the next, the challenge of helping children into responsible adults doesn't change. Dr. Dobson's classic Dare to Discipline, a practical, reassuring guide for caring parents, has sold over 2 million copies since its release in 1970. What gives a book that kind of staying power? The ability to meet a real, felt need in the marketplace. Today, a whole new generation of parents is turning to Dr. Dobson's wise counsel. Some things never change.

Tyndale House Publishers and Dr. Dobson are proud to present The New Dare to Discipline, completely updated to meet family needs in the 90's.

Spanish available

Customer Reviews:

  • The New Dare to Discipline
    The New Dare to Discipline encourages parents to take control of a family and interact with children in a loving and respectful way. This is helpful to parents to use these practical ideas for parenting....more info
  • Lessons learned
    When I read this book many years ago, I read it because I found my child rearing techniques were very poor. I was looking for help. The book did not teach me how to spank my children, but it taught me how not to. I learned the importance of positive parenting and it taught me how to step back and turn a volatile situation into a positive learning experience.
    My children are all grown up now. They're not perfect, but neither am I. I honestly believe I did a better job after I read the book.
    ...more info
  • James Dobson isn't always right, but his way isn't so bad.
    Before I begin, a little about me: I'm 24 & have no kids, yet. I was not raised according to Dr Dobson's advice for the most part, but I did experience parental violence. I am about to graduate with a B.S. in biology and I am a yoga practitioner and a vegetarian, with a deepening practice of ahimsa(nonviolence). And, not that this should matter, I'm Jewish although my background is Southern Baptist.

    I have read this version of Dare to Discipline multiple times, reflecting on my own childhood and how I want to raise my kids. After much thought, I have come to the decision that judicious spanking, under certain well-defined circumstances, is discipline, not violence. Some circumstances that make it discipline are:

    * Deliberate breaking of an important rule, such as harming other children
    * Reasonable, nondamaging punishment
    * Never punishing in anger
    * Maintaining consistency
    * Discerning between a child who will respond to physical punishment, and a child who would do better with other types of responses

    A child ought always be able to avoid being spanked, because he knows the rules and he can reasonably expect to be spanked for doing X terrible thing. Something Dr Dobson doesn't cover in great detail is the concept of not humiliating your children; humiliation breeds resentment and distrust. By and large, I think it's worthwhile to read Dare to Discipline, if you're able to approach it with an open mind and take the good and leave the bad. There is more good than bad. In my experience, it seems that too many parents today are unable to establish authority in their families, something that both they and their children need. I believe in the rights of children, but what one also needs to take into account is that it is the responsibility of parents to guide and protect their children until they've gained the experience necessary to make reasonable decisions. Dr Dobson articulates these concepts of loving authority very well, and although I will not follow his suggestions for the most part, I feel that his foundation is strong and his ideas are worth thinking about.

    As a child, I experienced both a lack of boundaries and discipline, which has caused many problems for me later in life, and the physical violence of both my parents, which is a place I don't want to take my own children. Both of those issues stemmed from a lack of control, and the violence was exacerbated by our toxic family environment and the inability to deal with emotional problems. I've come to realize that both discipline and nondiscipline can be administered in healthy ways; there is no one true path, and each child is different. But it's important to distinguish between healthy discipline and toxic discipline and frankly, I think if you can't administer discipline in a healthy way, you also can't administer a more free-form family style in a healthy way. Just my two cents!

    I also feel the need to point out that what some people have apparently experienced as "discipline" is clearly abuse masquerading as discipline, just as some abuse masquerades as clinging love. I don't just mean physical discipline here, I mean emotional and mental as well. These distinctions are important- until we understand what is really happening, we can't address the issue of abuse meaningfully....more info
  • bad but not as bad as I have seen
    I oppose coporal punishment (unless I have been bad and the girl is attractive) so i obviously am not going to give this book a good rating,

    I will say, though, that Dobson seems to be the more reasonable of the unreasonable. He does not advocate--as does Richard Fugate or Lisa Welchel-harsh corporal punishment for the slightest "disobediance." Dobson leaves a little more room for, say, redirecting a toddler, and he also talks about medical reasons behind behavior. He also, at points, talks about giving a kid who is having a bad day a break, and I like that.

    But I don't like his politics or his methods, or him for that matter. If you do go in for this type of crap, however, this is the least toxic of this type of book. ...more info
  • Dobson's dare to discipline is dare to hate your child!!
    I read Dobson's book, "Dare to Discipline." Followed his advice ONCE. After spanking my 2 year old for what I thought was "defiance", my son looked at my with such hurt in his eyes that I threw his book out in the trash. I NEVER did that again and my son is now 15, a straight A student, and a very decent loving boy! I, however, am still haunted by that look and how I hurt him that day. Don't buy this book, it is TRASH!...more info
  • Dare to Abuse
    This book is about how to abuse children when you are an impatient parent. Children need unconditional love and patience. Children can learn that the parent is ultimately the boss when the parent is patient enough to teach. I once waited for my son for 4 hours because he refused to do as he was told. We would not do it his way, we would do it my way or no way. He learned I could wait for him longer than he could wait for me to give up. That was not the last of his demanding his way, but it never was anywhere near that bad again.

    Want a quick fix? Use this book. Want a child who doesn't trust? Use this book. Want an excuse to hurt your parents for all the times they hurt you? Use this book. ...more info
  • Much more than just a book on discipline and punishment
    I read the original Dare to Discipline book when my first two kids were 5 and 3 yrs old. The book taught my wife and I that much of what our old fashioned parents did in the way of spanking and punishment was really for our own good. But the book did more than that, it taught us that NOT everything our parents did was healthy or esteem building. Dr Dobson stressed that spanking was best limited to willful disobediance and unsafe/harmful behavior. I've seen the opposite of this philosophy so many times at the Mall, the Grocery Store and the ball field it makes my head spin. Too many parents yell at their kids or ask their kids over and over again to do this or go there...and the kids merely blow them off. Why should they obey when there are no serious consequences for disrespect behavior? Other parents pull out the belt or paddle for all deviations (which, of course, borders on abuse). Anyway, my wife and I spanked occasionally when our kids were blowing us off...when they were purposefully hurting other kids...when they acting in an unsafe manner (playing in the street or sticking their fingers in the sockets). My older kids are both full 4-yr scholarship winners in college and their younger siblings are straight-A students. Our kids also receive consistent praise from teachers, coaches and church leaders for their positive and respectful attitudes. Dr Dobson's advice works...especially if both you and your spouse use the techniques consistently. ...more info
  • A n awful book from the dark ages of child rearing
    A book that suggests using something from around the house to hit your child with rather than you hand....this is a very dangerous book. Research is clear that physically punishing children does little good except teach them to fear you. I recommend looking at The Explosive Child if you are having problems with discipline. And maybe looking up the word. Its more about teaching and modeling than punishing and hitting....more info
  • The advice in this book deeply concerns me
    I had heard so many good things about this book that I am a bit stunned by it's actual content. As a Christian, it concerns me that though he is such a visible Christian in our society, he did not quote Jesus even once. It does lead me to ponder how would Jesus parent, if He was in the room could I follow the advice in this book? For me the answer is no. We do discipline and I suppose we are strict but there are other effective ways to get your point across. As a result, our kids do behave well but more importantly we know them as whole individuals, not just the part that is "acceptable" to us. Most importantly we do listen to our intuition and pray and try to listen to God's guidance. There are other Christian books out there that are closer to Jesus' gentle instructive nature that is illustrated in the gospels again and again. ...more info
  • Was looking for discipline help... this is not it!
    I read this and several other books looking for some help with my 3 year old, who is not a bad child, I just wanted some advice about effective discipline. I could not believe the paragraph where Dr. Dobson describes pinching the muscles in a child's neck to inflict quick pain. My parents did not spank me, I was expected to behave, but encouraged to be creative, empathetic, and stand up for what I believe in. Very anti-Dobson. Guess what, I am a happy well adjusted adult who looks at each day and each new sitaution optimistically. I guess I didn't realize how many people did not grow up like this. I literally called my mom to thank her for not reading this book. She surprised me when she said that she did, but it just went against her instincts as a mother....more info
  • This is child abuse
    Parenting means to prepare a child for life, to nurture, to love, to guide, to teach.
    Discipline is loving guidance, not corporal punishment, where the child in a demeaning and destructive way wrongly learns that violence is a form of acceptable communication and guidance, by parents. There are no benefits to hit a child - It is destructive for a child's self worth, self esteem, and demeaning and disrespectful. Children have feelings and emotions as adults. It is extremely unfair and disgraceful of parents to misuse their power on weaker people - our children - who are defenseless and who don't have their own voice. Your child will be confused and think "Why is my mother and father whom I love and trust inflicting pain on me?" Hitting a child, will separate the bond between parents and a child, and will only make the child fearful of their parents. In addition, hitting a child won't teach and guide a child towards better behavior in a constructive and communicative way. By slapping someone, what do you learn? Nothing - only that it is okay to be antisocial and misbehave and to be violent. Parents who hit their children are THE ONE'S misbehaving. They are no good role models. These parents need parenting classes and therapy as they are victims of abuse themselves. These parents are out of control and out of knowledge.
    Think of the Golden rule: Treat other people, yes children are people too, as you with to be treated yourself, with respect, love and kindness. Children are children: They need a safe place to explore their boundaries and to test their parents' love, where parents act as wise, patient, and loving parents- as parents. Why spank a child whose brains are not yet fully developed? Children don't know right from wrong - It is our job to guide and teach them, not punish them. Christians should know better that "spare the rod, spoil the child" from Proverbs in Old Testament is not current any longer. Remember- With Jesus comes a better way, a New Law: The New Testament. Jesus does not spank the children. Jesus says "Let the children come to me". Jesus loves the little children. My fundamental questions are: Why do these parents give birth to children in the world if they can't raise children and love children? Where is the human intelligence here? These dysfunctional parents have grave limitations when it comes to parenting children, as they have not healed from their wounded past and subconsciousness. Their only driving force is to let the child take away their own pain from abuse, by forcing them to pay the price for their own pain, and force the child know how it feels like to be abused.
    Better books on child discipline:
    "The Natural Child" by Jan Hunt
    "Parenting for a peaceful world" by Robin Grille
    "Parenting from your heart" by Inbal Kashtan
    "The Happiest Baby on the block" by Dr. Harvey Karp
    "The Happiest Toddler on the Block" by Dr. Harvey Karp
    "The Discipline Book" by William and Martha Sears
    "The Case Against Spanking: How to Discipline Your Child Without Hitting"
    by Irwin A. Hyman
    "The Irreducible Needs of Children" by T. Berry Brazelton, MD, and Stanley I. Greenspan, MD.
    "When your child drives you crazy" by Eda LeShan
    "Loving your child is not enough" by Nancy Samalin
    "Christian Parenting & Child Care: A Medical & Moral Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy Children." By William and Martha Sears...more info
  • Ignore the negative reviews and give this a chance!
    I truly cannot fathom what book some of these other reviewers read - it surely can't be the same one. This book offered pretty practical information that I would consider to be traditional, maybe even old-fashioned...but it works! My parents did similar things with me and I have no emotional scars or voids - we have a fabulous relationship and I am a healthy, functional adult.

    Yes, in certain very specific cirumstances he does advocate spanking, but that's like any other book - you dont have to do it. If you are opposed to corporal punishment, then modify his suggestions to work for your family.

    I think this is a very good, very practical resource to help parents, and it has been grossly misrepresented and unfairly characterized by other reviewers....more info
  • Win-lose parenting at its worst
    This book is very disrespectful toward children. It constantly refers to them in a demeaning manner, calling them "tyrants, "defiant," and "terrors." The author is obsessed with obtaining blind obedience from children from day 1: "If discipline begins on the second day of life, you're one day too late" (p 28). Children's needs, desires, and feelings are not important to this author - just obedience. This book treats children as adversaries to be overcome, rather than as precious human beings to be nurtured and gently and lovingly guided. Real love is conspicuously absent in this book, replaced by a warped view of love that the author probably inherited from his harshly punative mother. It's too bad that the author doesn't seem to follow the commands of Jesus - this books suffers from a lack of application of the golden rule.

    The sad thing is that children behave just about as well as you treat them, and children raised using the adversarial methods in this book will become adversaries. Thankfully, there are a lot of good authors and books out there that don't expect children to act older than they are, that treat children as real human beings with real feelings that should be treated tenderly and with compassion, and that have greater goals for children than simple, blind obedience - goals such as empathy, non-violence, a true sense of morality (rather than blind obedience to whoever has the biggest stick), and fulfillment of their unique potentials. ...more info
  • Beware of the negative reviews!!!
    I am deeply saddened to see much of the negative, and frankly, flat out inaccurate information that many people have written in their reviews about this book. Before reading this book, I read many reviews, particularly the negative ones. And, after having carefully read the book, I am dismayed at how many reviewers clearly have not read it as their reviews grossly did not reflect what was in it.

    My expectation was that Dare to Disclipline was going to be an advice book based on Dr. Dobson's experience. And while he did share many of his experiences (which were in an impressive variety of settings with children and families), I was surprised to see that it was far more what I would consider a summary of research study findings, and MANY thereof.

    This is ABSOLUTELY NOT a spanking book or a book advocating voilence in any way, and Dr. Dobson makes that very clear in his book. To suggest that these claims are made is simply pure fallacy.

    Lastly, I want to state that before reading this book, I knew virtually nothing of Dr. Dobson except that he is a significant part of "Focus on the Family." And since having read this book and starting another, which I am only 1/3rd of the way into and it has already well-surpassed the number of research references that Dare to Disclipline had in it as a whole, I have nothing but the utmost respect for Dr. Dobson. I cannot think of someone more qualified to write books about raising children than a man of his education, profound experience, and sheer eloquence in the delivery of such often sensitive information. I am grateful that such a person is available to give parents such valuable information, and I hope readers get as much out of it as I did....more info
  • Warning
    FYI, many of these reviewers have not even read this book, let alone have tried the methods or philosophy. There is a link from a website that opposes all forms of corporal punishment. The site provides quotes taken out of context and interpreted for the reader, then they request you provide a negative review on a book you have not really read. This is the basis for a number of the negative reviews here and at Barnes and Noble. I linked from the site. I have NOT read this book, but I have read others that they bash, and can attest that much of the information given was misrepresented....more info
  • Mom raising boys, Waterford, CT
    I am from the Old School. Having respect for parents which I have for mine and continue the teachings on to my children. I loved reading this book and I agree very much with his teachings. I would recommend this book to every concerned parent. I am very proud to bring my children out in public for they are very well mannered and respectfull. I feel much more secure and confident in my teachings with my children and I have seen the results to discipline with love and it certainly has made our family into a more enjoyable household. I believe in teaching your children young and the rest will all become alot more easier as they grow into their teenage years. I liked his book so much I went and purchased all of his other books he wrote. ...more info
  • seek better resources
    I would ask parents to avoid this book altogether. No doubt children need love, trust and affection. What they don't need is mind control, subversive child abuse and the pathology that can accompany faith-based child rearing.
    Rather, seek out books that promote a healthy set of boundaries, how to go about setting them to keep your children safe and respectful individuals. Find books that promote intellect, creativity and kindness in your children - not service to a mythical being. It is not ok to hit your children! I wish I could give this book zero stars....more info
  • Not a book just about spanking
    To read some of the other reviews here it sounds like this is a how to book on beating your child. Fortunately I decided to read this book and make up my mind for myself. This is not a "spanking book". This is a book about teaching a child discipline at home and school. One of the methods Dr. Dobson advocates is spanking, but this is definitely not the only means he mentions! Along with other non-physical negative reinforcements, he also lists and promotes many different positive reinforcements you can use with your child.

    I would recommend this book even to someone who never plans on spanking their kids, not because I think they'll get talked into spanking by this book (although he does make a good argument for it), but rather because his method and philosophy could be implemented even without spanking. This book delivers an important message about discipline that I think all parents should rather, regardless of which side of the spanking camp they're on. Basically the most important (but definitely not only) message I got from this was is if your child openly and defiantly decides to challenge your authority, you should win that battle decisively. Spanking is but one method to win that battle. If more children respected their parents' authority our kids would be a lot better off. Of course that assumes the parents are deserving of respect, but if you're taking the time to read parenting book reviews I assume that you are. :)

    Still not convinced this book that this book isn't only about spanking? In his book Dr. Dobson states that:
    * All out spankings are not often required.
    * Spankings should be reserved for a child's moments of greatest antagonism, usually occurring after the third birthday.
    * As a general guideline, most corporal punishment should be finished prior to first grade.
    * There are children for whom spanking is not appropriate (he gives specific examples of this, but he also states that "there is no substitute for knowledge and understanding of a particular boy or girl").

    Lastly, this book isn't solely about discipline. I was also pleasantly surprised by the large amount of time spent addressing problems and solutions that come up during elementary through high school education. There are also sections on sex ed and drugs....more info
  • Good book
    It has some great points and other valuable advice for parents of ruly and unruly children. Best thing to do is to make the action stop early and keep on it until it is through the child....more info
  • My parents followed Dobson's ideas closely
    My parents really truly did love us a lot. They thought they were doing the right thing. But I remember way too much fear, pain, tears and some humiliation. When I was 12, I picked up this book and recognized quite a bit. Unfortunately, at that time I was pretty brainwashed and thought he was spot on. Then I went through college and started nannying. Suddenly, the ideas of striking a toddler did not seem "right" to me anymore. I did a lot of homework, a lot of soul searching and remembering the worst parts of my childhood. I honestly think Dobson had good intentions. I believe he loves his own now adult children. I have a good relationship with my parents now. BUT now I see it could have been so different. They could have taken the difficult route and taken the time to teach us right from wrong without being so lazy and controlling. Fortunately, their discipline was tempered with a lot of love, so I'm not scarred for life. But wow, I don't want my children to have that sort of childhood or these kinds of memories that I do. ...more info
  • Violence Begets Violence
    Dobson has it wrong. Children's susceptibility to God and the attributes of God has to do with rearing them with the love of God in their hearts from the beginning, praying and relying on God, and being taught to please God. Violence begets violence. To spank and be violent toward children is proof of the perpetrator's ignorance of modern scientific evidence that spanking is detrimental to the emotional, physical and spiritual evolution of children. Ignorance begets ignorance, and if you're in charge of children, feeding your mind with ignorance is no benefit to your child....more info
  • Helpful advice for the christian family.
    My mother in law recommended this book to me after the birth of my first child. She had read the original version when her children were young. I also bought the original version and used it with my first child. Now that my son is firmly entrenched in his terrible two's I decided to update to this newer edition to see if Dr. Dobson had any new insights several decades later. I'm pleased to say he sticks to his guns and The New Dare to Discipline is almost word for word the same as the original.

    I have gotten a lot of use out of these books. I would and do recommend them to parents of young children struggling in these "terrible" two years. But I'd like to stress it's not just for parents of young children. It offers sound advice for dealing with your children more effectively and with greater rewards, on up into the teen years. I wish my mother had read this book when I was growing up. Maybe our relationship would have blossomed better, as my husband and his parent's did.

    There are a couple of very helpful reward charts in the book that I use with my 5 year old to teach her more about responsibilty and money. It makes a world of difference. Now instead of me being frustrated night after night because she won't clean up her room she looks forward to tidying so she can color in the "I tidied my room" bar on her chart that night.

    I recommend this book to any christian family looking for some guidance in the oh-so-important job of rearing responsible, respectful, and inspired children. After all, we all need a little help!

    **I recommend 5 stars for this book but accidentally put 4 and I can't edit the stars. Oops!...more info
  • Don't be misled
    This is a great book. My parents used these principles and so do I. It advocates spanking among other forms of discipline. It contains balanced, tried and true principles for child rearing. This book never advocates abuse, beating, shoving, pushing or broken arms as some on this site have claimed. Almost of all of the kids I knew growing up got the occasional spanking. I can't name one, who feels that a spanking was abuse or who feels they were emotionally damaged by it. Child abuse is a horrific evil in the world, but this isn't child abuse....more info
  • Insidious
    I read this book when my son was still a baby. A librarian recommended it to me. The book starts out innocently enough, saying things parents would like to hear as loving discipline. Then it starts to creep in. Messages such as (not verbatim) "your children need to be reined in so as not to cause you embarrassment (when they're doing developmentally normal things like playing and running), the episode describing a dog and a grown man having a tantrum (the author) and a general insistence on control and subdue the child (supposedly without breaking his or her spirit). What scares me the most about this book is that it's got very few good ideas in it, but those same ideas are what can convert a lot of people. The feeling I got when reading this book was that the author uses these it to win people over, to manipulate and try to control to see that his side is the only good side -- and not in a good way. I hear about his organization everywhere. It seems like he's got something of a cult following. I know some people who use these methods and swear by this book. From each one of these people I get a wrong feeling about their parenting, intuitively. Their kids are nice, but maybe too nice. They lack imagination, spunk, a light in their eyes. They have a hint of sadness in the background. Maybe if all you care about is results like perfect behavior 99% of the time (yes, even obedient children sometimes don't want to do what you want them to do at exactly the moment you want them to do it -- the horrors!), sacrificing humanness and an authentic relationship, go ahead and buy this book. All I can say is, I really didn't like this book. And I read many, many parenting books. In fact, I have a list of recommendations which stay far away from books like these. ...more info
  • Not so good
    There was a time when I was confused about the right path to take as a parent. I tried different approaches with my three children including those advocated by this book. I have since "found my way" as a parent and have found an approach that works well with my family. I can't say there's nothing about this book with which I agree. I do agree with Dobson's ideas about the importance of family and of children understanding their worth and that they are loved unconditionally. However, I strongly disagree with his views on punishment. Personally, I've found punishment (of any type) to be effective only in the short term. After reading this book and implementing some of the more hard-line strategies, my kids were scared to do wrong and they walked on eggshells. However, they also developed other types of anxiety problems and were angry in general. I did not view it as a positive situation at all. Not to mention, the work involved with constantly monitoring their behavior in case a "punishable" offense occured was exhausting and made parenting quite unfulfilling. I have since read many, many wonderful parenting books, including Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves and Between Parent and Child. I am happy to say that our family life is much more positive and enjoyable. My children aren't perfect, but they're happy little people, they are very kind to other children, and for the most part they are able to work their mistakes out for themselves. I love being with them and even homeschool them. It's not that they're afraid to mess up because they're going to be punished, they just truly want to do right. If you want to peaceful life with children, my advice is to steer clear of Dobson. ...more info
  • Dobson Preaches Loving Discipline and Balanced Parenting
    In 1970, Dr. James Dobson, then an unknown and fresh-out-of-school psychologist, first wrote and published Dare to Discipline, a brave manifesto which reaffirmed Biblical values and common sense in parental discipline and child development. More than two decades and millions of copies later, Dobson updated his parenting treatise with up-to-date statistics and fresh examples and re-released it as The New Dare to Discipline.

    The book is primarily written for two different audiences: parents and education professionals (i.e. teachers, principals, etc.) or, as Dobson puts it, "This is a book about children and those who love them." From the book's first chapter, Dobson writes about a concept he calls "loving discipline," explaining that it is essential parents strike a balance between harsh discipline and permissiveness in the home. He makes clear his readers understand the dangers of both extremes. About harsh, oppressive control, Dobson writes:

    "At the oppressive end of the continuum, a child suffers the humiliation of total domination. The atmosphere is icy and rigid, and he lives in constant fear. He is unable to make his own decisions, and his personality is squelched beneath the hobnailed boot of parental authority. Lasting characteristics of dependency; deep abiding, anger; and even psychosis can emerge from this persistent dominance."

    Yet Dobson warns that an atmosphere of permissiveness can be just as harmful to a child growing up. He writes:

    "In the absence of adult leadership, the child is his own master from his earliest babyhood. He thinks the world revolves around his heady empire, and he often has utter contempt and disrespect for those closest to him. Anarchy and chaos reign in his home, and his mother is often the most nervous, frustrated woman on her block."

    Dr. Dobson also writes about how important it is to understand a child's motivation when determining the best course of action. For instance, Dobson states that if a child cries when he is being put to bed, a parent needs to know whether that child is crying because his room is dark and is scared or if the child is just protesting the decision to put him down for the night. Even though it is the same action in both cases, one motivation of crying calls for comfort and assurance while the other calls for firm discipline.

    Dobson sums up this balanced parental philosophy by stating:

    "I am recommending a simple principle: when you are defiantly challenged, win decisively. When the child asks, "Who's in charge?" tell him. When he mutters, "Who loves me?" take him in your arms and surround him with affection. Treat him with respect and dignity, and expect the same from him. Then begin to enjoy the sweet benefits of competent parenthood."

    Dobson then examines "five underpinnings to commonsense child rearing:"

    1) Developing respect for parents is the critical factor in child management. Dobson explains that this first principle is imperative because the child will base all future relationships off of his relationship with his parents. Also, if your child does not respect you in his early years, then he will reject you and your values later in life. What struck me is how early this battle for respect can be won or lost. Dobson cited example after example of parents he counseled who were experiencing difficulties with their teenage son or daughter. In most of these relationships, Dobson writes, the trouble began while the child was still a toddler.

    2) The best opportunity to communicate is after a disciplinary event. Dobson writes that the moments immediately following a disciplinary action "provide the opportunity to convey verbal and nonverbal messages to the boy or girl that cannot be expressed at other times." It is these times, Dobson makes clear, that a parent can just talk heart to heart with their child, letting them know how much they are loved and explaining in full detail why they were disciplined and how they can avoid further corrective actions in the future.

    3) Control without nagging and yelling. Dobson notes that, contrary to what many parents believe, it is possible to control children without constantly nagging them or yelling at them. He explains that many parents use a constantly escalating anger and a slew of empty threats to deal with their children. For example, some parents, when wishing their children to clean up their room, will first just tell them to clean up their room. A few minutes later, after no corresponding obedient action by the child, the parent will ask their kids again, only this time in a slightly more emphatic and angry tone, adding a "And I mean it!" at the end for good measure. When this still does not produce the desired result, the parent will yell at their kid, warning them "For the last time!" the child, who is familiar with the routine charade, then knows that its finally time to obey.

    Dobson explains this forced anger and yelling contaminates the parent-child relationship, exasperates the parent and does not produce the desired effect (obedience). Instead, Dobson writes, parents must use actions to control their children, not constant nagging and angry outbursts. Dobson further explains that a combination of rewards for good behavior and corporal discipline for bad behavior eliminates these problems leading to a strained relationship.

    4) Don't saturate children with materialism. Dobson carefully explains that he does not think children should be deprived of toys or other things they want, but warns parents that saturating their children with material possessions robs children of joy. He writes, "There are few conditions that inhibit a sense of appreciation more than for a child to feel he is entitled to whatever he wants, whenever he wants it."

    5) Establish a balance between love and discipline. Here, Dobson returns to what seems to be his recurring theme: Competent parenting must be carefully balanced with loving discipline and respect.

    The second half of the book is largely devoted to educators and teachers and how they can establish a balanced discipline in the classroom. Dobson examines many failed liberal policies in education that led to a simultaneous decrease in test scores and classroom discipline. One of the points Dobson makes in these chapters is to emphasize how important it is identify the different types of struggling students, writing that it is folly to think that the same solution will work for all students. He explains that there are three different types of students who struggle in school: late bloomers, slow learners and underachievers. Dobson explains that it depends on which of these categories a child falls under as to what will help them to best overcome their academic struggles.

    For instance, a late bloomer simply needs more time to mature and develop mental faculties than most of his or her peers. For this child, being held back in kindergarten or an early grade might do them wonders. For slow learners, being held back a grade will only emphasize their difficulties and probably lead them to grow disenfranchised with all learning and educational activities. Slow learners have a lower-than-average IQ and mental faculties (but not low enough to be classified for special needs help) and will not benefit by spending extra time on the same subjects and material. Underachievers, on the other hand, possess the mental faculties to do the necessary school work but lack the self-discipline the work requires.

    These three different types of struggling students all require different tactics and methods to succeed in an academic environment. Dobson believes that testing is crucial to placing children in environments where they can maximize their potential. Categorizing children, Dobson writes, can only be accomplished through a complete educational assessment conducted by a trained professional. Unfortunately, Dobson laments, this requires an IQ test as well, which has virtually disappeared from the public sphere due to the tests being perceived as unfair to minorities. Dobson writes:

    "Thus, it is no longer "politically correct" to use them [IQ tests]. As a result, parents who desperately need the information previously available from testing in public school settings now have to seek out a psychologist or counselor in private practice who can conduct the evaluation. Those who lack the funds to obtain this expensive assistance, including many minorities, are deprived of the help their children need. I regret the political situation that prevents school districts from evaluating their students with the best tests available."

    One of the many features of the updated version of the book that I appreciated were the question and answer sections Dobson included at the end of most chapters. After having written the original edition in the early seventies, Dobson received countless questions concerning the work through the years. He included the most commonly asked questions at the end of the applicable chapters, adding clarity and concrete examples to some of the principles he explained.

    The New Dare to Discipline is an excellent guide to loving discipline for parents and teachers. Dobson's expertise is backed by a genuine and sincere interest in the welfare of children, and the advice comes across as coming from a concerned grandfather, not a scholar isolated in an ivory tower. Though not exhaustive, Dobson does a good job of identifying many of the threats present in our society to raising Godly young children and he helps parents think through these problems while offering many practical and smart solutions. All in all, this is a worthy read for those who love children.
    ...more info
  • Must have for parents!
    In a modern world where parents are afraid to set healthly boundaries for their children, Dr. Dobson once again provides the common sense answers for flustered parents. A must read for all parents. Bring sanity back into your home and apply the basics outlined in this book. You'll be glad you did....more info
  • Did these 1-star reviewers read this book?
    It seems that a large number of reviewers give this book 1-star, but when you read their comments, it seems like a lot of them did not actually read the book. Some talk about how he advocates abuse, and others speculate that he hates his children or was abused as a child. That is completely false.

    I am not particularly for or against spanking, and I do not spank my children. That said, the spanking discussion is a very small part of this book. Most of his tips for discipline have nothing to do with spanking and everything to do with respect. He is all for instilling respect for parents in their children.

    I think this book has some interesting suggestions on how to help your children behave through various forms of discipline including spanking, though it is far from the only tool that he suggests. There are some sections such as the chapters about school discipline which I found less useful, but I did find that he had rich and interesting insights into how children learn to behave the way their do and how parents can help shape that behavior. ...more info
  • Please wake up!
    I can't believe that there are people here advocating Dobsons abusive parenting techniques in 2009. I was raised by misguided parents who were taken in by this rubbish. I was a strong willed child, what the heck is wrong with being 'strong willed' anyway? You can teach a child to respect without resorting to violence. It's the strong willed who make it in this life and the weak willed, like myself, who tremble on the sidelines as a result of having the spirit beaten out of them.

    If you want you children to grow up to be confident and happy adults, use this book for fire fuel....more info
  • Being Beaten Did Not Make Me Feel Loved
    My parents bought the original "Dare to Discipline." They used Dobson's methods to teach me that the people who said they loved me most could still physically attack me and that they were liars and hyporcrites because they said hitting was wrong, but they did it to me.

    Despite it all, I still wanted to love them and have them love me, so when they scolded me verbally or made me stand in a corner it used to really affect me. Since that would have gotten them good results, the only reason I can think of that they didn't use those methods always is that for some adults, when the child makes them angry, it just feels good to vent by hurting the child.

    ...more info
  • Don't blame the book for lack of understanding
    Hitting and spanking are two totally different things. The bible says that using the rod should be grievous for both the parent and the child. A parent should never enjoy it. Switching a child at 15 months is training, conditioning. It is only (done right) enough to make the child stop and pay attention, never more than a light sting. It is not punishment. It is telling the child his/her behavior is not acceptable. After tantrums become a habit, it is extremely hard to break and becomes a part of them. Reading more thoroughly with a prayerful heart is recommended and take what you want, leave the rest as my husband and I have....more info
  • Hit your kid, if all else fails

    As a Christian I felt compelled to get this book now that I have a challenging toddler. Dr. Dobson is practically a hero in the
    Christian parenting community. I knew that he advocated spanking, which I don't, but thought I could get some other "pearls of wisdom" from the book. This book boils down to, hit your kid if you don't know what else to do. I finally stopped reading it all together when he wrote about hitting his 15 month old daughter with a switch. Yikes, I feel bad for those kids...pick another book....more info
  • Pure terroristic crap
    I read this book and then needed to take a shower. He hates kids. He says he loves them but then advocates beating them again and again and again, all in 'love' of course.

    He should read 13 corinthians a few times and stop pandering to those too damaged to know any better. ...more info
  • An excellent book
    I have serious doubts as to whether or not many of these reviewers have even read this book. I suspect that they used a link from an anti-corporal punishment webpage called "stoptherod". Dr Dobson recommends giving your children lots of love, and you should read the book yourself before posting a false review. ...more info
  • Timeless advice in an era where strong parenting couldn't be more needed!
    Being the parent of three small children and the product of parents that used the advice of James Dobson, I found the advice given in Dr. Dobson's book to be timeless and highly relevent to the times in which we live. It's interesting how the reviews I read on this book focus on his opinion on spanking - this is covered in a very small fraction of the book, but I guess it gives liberal parents a means to invalidate all the great teaching tools he offers in this book. Parents today, including myself, need strong, Christian-focused, advice on raising their kids to respect authority figures, themselves and those around them. Dr. Dobson gives advice in this book that allows parents to raise their children to be respectful, god-fearing, contributing members of society.

    if you have ever sought advice or tips for raising your children, this is a great book. If you feel that kids should have equal rights with adults when they aren't old enough to even dress themselves...well, this is probably not the book for you. ...more info
  • Highly Recommended
    This book is GREAT! What a well balanced book, he guides, he gives examples. I must say that my family is much improved since reading and APPLYING his suggestions. Don't take everything so literally, apply it with your own twist that will fit your particular family. For example, if you don't agree with spanking, then don't incorporate it! ...more info
  • The New Dare To Discipline
    I find it interesting that the reviews aren't listed in such a way as to represent anything current, or present a balanced view of what readers think. Shame on Amazon for placing the worst reviews up front for people to read and making them "dig" for the good reviews. The first review is a single star, & written in 2003?! 5 years ago!! There are other good reviews written in the last month, but they aren't presented up front. What a shame. Dr. Dobson never promotes child abuse of any kind and never would. It's too bad that some children have to grow up in environments where their parents weren't able to use his advice in such a way that the child didn't benefit. However I can't believe that someone's entire abusive childhood can be blamed on a single book or two. Sounds like something was desperately wrong with the parents that isn't or wasn't obvious to the child at the time or even now. So sorry for all who had to grow up like that. ...more info
  • Absolutely NOT!
    This book is very disturbing to say the least. In this book, Dobson calls children demeaning names such as: tyrant, dictator, little spitfire, terrors, brat, bratty, rebel, tornado, "little fat-fingers", "fat little legs" and "spindly legs." Dobson claims to present a Christian approach to raising children in this book. But all these cruel names show that he completely ignores Jesus' injunction to "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones" (Mt. 18:10). Dobson is not ordained in any religion, he has no religious credentials, and he is not a pediatrician or any other type of medical doctor.

    ...more info
  • What's not ok for adults is ok for children?
    Would you behave this way toward a non believing adult? Would you send them away when you didn't like how they addressed you? Would you threaten to hit them or hit them if they had a "bad attitude"? Of course not! How is it different somehow for children who are even more fragile and voulnerable? It's not! Plan and simple children are people to and they deserve the same amount of respect as adults....more info
  • Look no further!
    If you were told that you were allowed to choose only two books as resources to aid in raising your children, this book must be one of them. The other should be Dobson's "Hide or Seek." Ninety-five percent of what you need to know about raising children is contained in those two volumes.

    Dobson has authored many other fine books about different aspects of family life and I consider him to be, hands-down, the very best resource for raising children in a Christian environment. Dobson's rationale and philosophy are rock-solidly consistent with biblical principles and theories regarding human behavior. You don't even need to be Christian to benefit from his consistent approach to loving and disciplining children. I've used Dobson's principles since 1976 in raising two of my own (they still make me proud every day). And for 26 years in the classroom, 24 years full-time (grades seven through Junior College) and 2 years part-time (grades 1-6); Dobson's principles have been the backbone of a rewarding, successful career in education.

    Instead of listening to Dobson detractors, read critically for yourself to determine whether he is espousing any form of abuse. The reality is that anyone who is afraid of the use of judicious (read Dobson's explanation) spanking is in fact uncertain of their own ability to control feelings of anger and/or frustration. Their knee-jerk opposition to Dobson is based on either a poignant reflection of a troubled childhood or an anecdotal observation of persons in their own limited sphere of influence.

    Dobson's easygoing yet concise style makes for an entertaining as well as informative read. Treat yourself....more info
  • 1-star reviewers HAVE tried this book
    We were the children. Please listen to us. Our feedback is what your children will say if you use this book on them. It is true that they will be well-behaved, but they will learn to hide themselves from you because they fear you. They will not come to you for advice or support, and you will eventually be shut out of their lives even if you don't realize it. You have no idea the damage this book causes. You never will, unless you are on the receiving end of it, which is impossible if you are the parent (thus they tend to be the 5 star-givers). My parents were loving and well-intentioned who used this book as their bible on child-rearing. They thought they were helping us by holding back on affection and encouragement, and instead "loved" us with corporal punishment. The physical pain was fleeting, but the emotional pain is everlasting. The only time I remember being hugged and told I was loved was after being spanked. Can you imagine how this affects you into adulthood? Our society loves to deal in extremes - if you don't hit your children, they will be spoiled and miserable. There are other ways to discipline a child. Spanking only teaches them to fear you. It doesn't teach them to make good decisions based on rational thought. What will you do when your children are too old to be spanked? What if they hit back?

    I don't know why, but at 29, I still can't get over it. Neither can my alcoholic 31 year old brother who is more verbally abusive and disrespectful to his parents than any other son I have ever seen. Maybe this is because they will never admit that this style of child-rearing was harmful, because that would force them to look too closely at what they did to us. I am "successful" by modern standards - graduated from UC berkeley, getting my PhD. Same for my husband who was never spanked by his hippy divorced parents. Oh, and he has an infinitely open, honest and mature relationship with his parents that I can only dream about. Point being, there are myriad ways to grow your child into a happy, well-adjusted successful adult. One this is for sure though, if you put garbage in (corporal punishment) you can expect garbage out (damaged relationship your child for life). ...more info
  • Great Book!
    This is a great book for anyone who wants to gain some control over thier kids. This book is for those parents who just can't seem to get thier children to listen and/or obey. It has lots of suggestions, practical advise and succuess stories!...more info
  • Wise and daring advice
    We live in a world where children have reign over their parents. Parents are either too afraid, too uninterested, or too insecure to put the time and effort into properly disciplining their children. Some parents fit none of those categories, but rather are misled and confused about discipline. They follow the popular school of thought that tells parents that proper discipline is cruel, abusive, and unloving. It is the same school of thought that tells parents that if they spank their children, then their children will grow up to be violent. Why are parents buying into this nonsense? Studies have shown that childhood spanking, when properly administered, does NOT yield violent adults. Quite the contrary is true, actually. Thank God that there are still people like Dr. James Dobson who are willing to take a stand against the mainstream opinion and declare sense to parents who want to raise respectful and responsible adults. The principles described in this book are biblical, tried and true. May many loving parents read this book, and gain a true understanding of proper childrearing in this confused world in which we live. ...more info
  • worst book ever
    This book advocates child abuse. It is horrible parenting practices (caused by awful advice like given by this terrible author) that is the cause of many of the psychological problems, violence, crime, addiction, etc...faced by our society today. Following this advice will result in a child with many psychological problems. It is so sad that this book even exists....more info
  • Read the book for yourself and then decide.
    I've read the book a few times since my daughter was born. She is only 2yrs old. I didn't buy this book because i wanted a fool-proof manual in rearing my child, but i bought it as a guide, something to refer to if i should encounter some discipline problems.
    I believe that the reason people have issues with this book is because they view it as some religious method of discipline which it's not. He does mention "stuff" that religious and to be honest I usually skip over that mumbo-jumbo. I could careless about scripture this or book of whatever. What you want to get out of if this book is experiences other parents have encountered (some which are probably similar things you have gone through or will go through in the near future) and ways they have handled it. If anything it sheds a light on why and how the parents reaction to the problem was wrong and how it could have been handled differently.
    I grew up in a household were both my parents used spanking (sometimes I thought it was a bit excessive, but as i became an adult, i've thanked them for loving me enough to do that). My parents had six kids, 3 older ones (32, 30 (me), 27) and they have 3 younger ones (19, 16, 9). The youngers didn't get the same discipline as the older ones did and i have to say, you can see a big difference. The 19yr old used drugs, drugged my mom so she can leave the house, cut classes, the list goes on and on. The 16yr old has a son that's almost 2yrs old, and the 9year old is having an extremely hard time in school. Now i dont know what happened to my parents that made them decide not to discipline the younger ones (maybe they got tired and old) but I really feel horrible for them because they didnt' have the discipline and love that the older ones had. But anyway, I consider myself a good human being and in no way telling anyone to go beat the living snot out of their kids. But I do suggest you read the book for yourself and not become a fanatic or anything like that. Dont' read too much into the book, Don't follow it word for word.. merely use it as a guide and you wont go wrong. Dont be scared about disciplining your kids, if you do it right with love, caring and their best interest at heart they'll thank you when they become parents.

    ...more info
  • Dobson is right on... negative reviews = politics
    I've read all of Dobson's books and find him to be very insightful and right on.

    But his views are Christian and conservative, which is probably why there is an obvious "negative" review campaign going on here. Laughable. I don't believe even a fraction of them are real....more info
  • Dare to Beat and abuse
    Bad book idea in age of widespread child abuse. This book is like giving an alcoholic a case of scotch and telling him to use moderation in drinking it.
    This harkens back to the rule of thumb...which was the size of club that a man could use to beat his wife and children in the Elizabethan days....more info
  • My parents used this book
    I'm a college student now and my parents used this book to raise me. I suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome and will have flashbacks of my mom and dad being so incredibly angry and hitting me so hard my heart felt like it was about to burst. Dobson and every other parent who hits their child- you can call it spanking, whipping, smacking, whatever- should be in jail. My parents would also constantly tell me to stop "being defiant" and when I was a child I didn't have a clue what that meant. I will take my parents money but as soon as I'm independent they can go to hell. Avoid Dobson and go with Dr. Spock...more info
  • Dare to Damage Your Children
    I wish I could fully review this book by telling my story of how this book influenced my family life. Briefly, it had a devastating effect on our family. I'd say more except that my review has my real name and I worry about the one chance in a million that my parents might find and read the review.

    I do believe that this book is evil, perhaps even Satanic. I think I must have thrown it away, since I can't find it right now for an exact quote, but the central idea is that parenting is a war against the child, to break the child's naturally wicked will. Thanks to Dobson, I was brought up during more than one kind of Cold War.

    I bought this book at Goodwill to ensure that Dobson would not get any money. And yes, Mr. Dobson, I am one of the generation that would like to get you alone in a dark alley.

    Also, Mr. Dobson, I vote....more info
  • Wish I didn't even have to give it one star.
    If you buy into his demented logic, then by all means this is the book for you.

    However I would recommend any parenting book over this garbage. Try something from the Dr. Sears selection....more info