Dobson Panned
A collection of readers' reviews of The New Strong-Willed Child.

The New Strong Willed Child


If you like this book then you'll LOVE "SM 101: A Realistic Introduction" by Jay Wiseman and "The New Bottoming Book" by Dossie Easton & Janet W. Hardy. And another Dobson favorite, "Discipline With Love."

James Dobson "lovingly" guides parents to assume the dominant position over one's children so they are taught submission and obedience. Something he says they desperately need later in life. Paddling your children over the knee (OTK) prepares them for future "healthy" relationships as adults mixing pain with pleasure. Dobson says it's not enough to just beat your child, you have to immediately comfort and tell them you love them.

This imprints on the child's brain a connection that love has to hurt and making love can only be satisfying if pain is involved. Essentially "reliving" the humiliation they experienced as children.

"The reason I suggest a switch or paddle is because the hand should be seen as an object of love - to hold, hug, pat, and caress. However, if you're used to suddenly disciplining with the hand, your child may not know when she's about to be swatted and can develop a pattern of flinching when you make an unexpected move. This is not a problem if you take the time to use a neutral object."

Thank goodness! Because making your child's bottom red really can sting your hands! Better to use something that doesn't cause pain to the giver, only the receiver should experience pain. That would insure the dominant/submissive relationship stays "pure." "Pain is a marvelous purifier," according to Dobson.

He says, "If corporal punishment is banned, it will be a sad day for families, and especially for children!"

It would also be a sad day for those who manufacture paddles and "rods" that not only are sold to beat children but for other "recreational" activities!

Thanks to Dobson this lifestyle is considered by many to be normal and healthy.

Here's a quote from Raven Kaldera, the author of "DARKNESS BOUND: Beyond Bondage and Discipline". "I'm sick. I've always been sick, as far back as I can remember. It's not just that I like my sex well spiced with pain; it's that the delicate dance of dominance and submission seems to be atavistically wired into my brain and my crotch." No doubt his parents were fans of Dobson's books!

To any parent that doesn't think that paddling your child isn't sexual abuse I ask this: If an adult not related to you says that he would like to take your child over his knee and give them a spanking, wouldn't you assume that he has some sick perversion? But it's not perverted when you do it to your own kid???

For those who have been damaged by Dobson's demented advice, I highly recommend, "Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life" by Susan Forward and "Beginning to Heal: A First Book for Men and Women Who Were Sexually Abused As Children" written by Ellen Bass & Laura Davis.

The New Strong Willed Child

REVIEWED BY: Loving Christian Mom "Ellen"

Reading this book is like reliving your worst nightmare. The author seems obsessed with what he perceives as "defiant" children who must be beaten into submission with objects, like he beats his own pet dachshund on page 3. All the slapping, spanking and whipping in this book is extremely disturbing. According to Dobson, parents must "win" battles with "anarchists" and "confirmed revolutionaries".

Anyone who believes the author loves children hasn't read this book carefully. You don't beat people you love, and you don't call them crude and insulting names like "groaning lump" "gangly legs" "little fat-fingers" "all nose and ears" "cantankerous" "Hurrican Hannah" and "insane". Even compliant children are insulted in this book, called "Goody Two-Shoes" and "prissy". Crazy and dangerous ideas abound, such as saying babies are "defiant upon exit from the womb" and crying babies can be ignored. And that most children are "strong-willed" and "defiant" and "desperately need" to be beaten. On p.137 the advice is given to not be "too gentle" when beating a child, and if a child cries after being beaten to "offer him a little more of whatever caused the original tears". This is a sickening book, good to read if you want to understand a sick society that is in the dark ages when it comes to humane treatment of its most vulnerable citizens. All the research shows that beating children like this book recommends has many negative consequences such as increased aggression, criminality, depression, suicide, alcohol and drug addiction, learning problems, lower academic achievement and lower IQ. There are better ways to treat children, that reduce unwanted behavior just as well or better than beating them! Try "Jesus on Parenting" by Dr. Whitehurst, and "Kid Cooperation" by Elizabeth Pantley for starters.

The New Strong-Willed Child, July 15, 2005

Reviewer: Nadine A. Block (Columbus, OH USA)

On p. 125-130 Dobson inserts an article that claims the research on corporal punishment is mostly "opinion-driven" and "flawed" and "spanking is not abuse" if done "appropriately and not in anger". This article also recommends hitting a toddler who hits, or the toddler's "hitting will persist or even escalate." This information by Dobson like much of the book is "opinion-driven" and "flawed". The research on corporal punishment of children consistently finds evidence of harm and it is being regularly replicated by unbiased researchers. Corporal punishment of children has been banned in seventeen countries. The World Health Organization has just announced that it is a "predictable and preventable" health problem and should be eliminated. Parents should be wary about the opinions expressed in this book. Nadine Block

Absolutely Shocking!, July 14, 2005

Reviewer: Elaine Njerve-Zack (Amityville, NY USA)

Zero stars. It is so shocking to me that Dobson hits his dog with a belt as well as children! I cannot understand why he thinks this is the correct form of discipline! There is no doubt in my mind that Dobson dislikes children!

The Latest in the Doctor's Derriere Book Series?, July 9, 2005

REVIEWED BY: Ouida Louise Gordon (Cambridge, MA)

Well, anyone who enjoys the Marquis de Sade should add excitement to their summer reading list with a revamped Dobson guide to parenting: "The New Strong-Willed Child: Birth Through Adolescence."

Has the world been eagerly awaiting another James Dobson sado-sermon on how to "break" children he deems strong-willed? A question to the parents who have found his spanking instructions helpful in raising obedient children: While you're breaking children's wills by using whips and whatnot to inflict pain-the pain that Dobson writes about with the transparent delight of a power-drunk malevolent dictator-has it occurred to you that you may also be breaking their capacity to become humane adolescents and adults?

Or are you more concerned with getting them to snap to and mind mum and dad when the grown-ups disapprove of their charges' behavior. Unlike prisoners, children are not charges, and it is inconceivable to me that loving parents would deliberately try to break the will, and along with it, the spirit, of beloved children.

Why would parents want to stifle human capacity for the sake of obedience and less "trouble" in relationships with their children? Prison guards, on the other hand, might find a false Dobsonspeak rationale for pounding miscreants into cowed automatons.

Instead of reading more of Dobson's quackish how-to-hit-'em sermonettes, I humbly suggest that readers consider the work of people who, in my opinion, know and care more about children than Dobson ever has. For example, see the work of authors at,,, and

Take a look at the books and articles written by people such as Alice Miller, Murray Strauss and the late Irwin Hyman. Also see Alfie Kohn's latest book, "Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason," at

I have no doubt that the parents who follow Dobson's "lessons" want the best for their children. But belt-to-buttocks corrective measures are unworthy of caring parents. Further, many knowledgeable people are convinced that such methods are ineffective and ultimately damaging to a child's well-being.

Dobson may sell books, but anyone who takes him seriously as a psychologist or man of the cloth would do well to remember P. T. Barnum.

See related: James Dobson, Ph.D.

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