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186 of 207 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 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...
Published on February 8, 2007 by Gary R

72 of 102 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some good ideas if kept in perspective.
This book doesn't deserve the uproar it's causing. Dr. Dobson states repeatedly in the book that he advocates spankings only in rare instances of blatant, deliberate disobedience, and not even for all children because children are so different. As for the Christian justification of corporal punishment, that is indeed nonsense and shouldn't be taken literally. But I...
Published on April 23, 1999

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186 of 207 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than just a book on discipline and punishment, February 8, 2007
This review is from: The New Dare to Discipline (Paperback)
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.
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152 of 177 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware of the negative reviews!!!, November 21, 2006
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This review is from: The New Dare to Discipline (Paperback)
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.
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161 of 204 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on loving discipline, July 18, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The New Dare to Discipline (Paperback)
After actually reading the entire book, it is clear that Dr. Dobson promotes a loving discipline that allows children to feel loved and accepted with a perfect combination of freedom and safety. What I like most about this book is its focus on nurturing imperfect yet cooperative and loving children. It amazes me that some people actually believe this book promotes abuse and harsh treatment of children. ... This book is for those people who really care for their children and their future. It is a perfect book that mixes common sense with sound professional advice based on years of research and experience. It is true that Dr. Dobson is not against corporal punishment. He stresses the appropriate use of it in limited circumstances. It is refreshing to read a book that is well balanced in this way. He resists the temptation to be cave in to the political correctness idea of no spanking, yet he draws the line and openly rebukes those who use corporal punishment as the chief way to discipline. If you are looking for a well balanced approach on discipline that focuses on love, nurturance, communication, and responsibility; this book is a must!
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31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish more parents applied these principles., February 27, 2010
This review is from: The New Dare to Discipline (Paperback)
The toughest question I get from my child is "Why does that little boy or girl naughty all the time?" She knows the rules and she knows the consequences of breaking them. What she can not understand is why other parents don't stop their children from behaving like wild animals. I love her sense of humor and brutal honesty. In fact my children me so proud on a daily basis. I often wonder why parents let kids treat them like slaves when they would have such better relationships by defining the rules and sticking to them.

The propaganda about a spanking being abuse blows my mind. I am not violent, nor is my daughter, and my parents wouldn't hurt a fly. Whats more I witness more violent behavior from the children of permissive parents than anywhere else. Just because I spank does not mean I only spank to punish, nor do I have to. I don't ever want to punish my children in anyway. What parent does? But it must be done when a child does not want to follow the rules.

The whining reviews of people who claimed their parents strict adherence to this book are laughable. This era of "blame your parents because you don't like yourself" is maddening. I made bad choices because I wanted to, not because my parents pushed me to it. You know right from wrong, don't try to plead insanity on the grounds of your parents giving rules to live by and punishing you for breaking them. Be mature enough to claim responsibility for your actions.

I used to think life would have been more fun if my parents acted like some of my friends parents but as I watched those kids fall into risky lifestyles I realized my parents were just working hard to put me on the right path. I thank my parents now for being so strict and admire them for not trying to pacify me. In this country we are all facing hard times which are the consequences of a lax moral standard. Schools have no authority anymore and juvenile courts give delinquents a time out instead giving them severe consequences to deter them from re-offending. Parents today need to get a backbone and raise their children to have integrity. This society will crumble under the current social and economic strains if we do not teach our children discipline and morals.

I have breastfed, co-slept, and lavished love on my children but I will not let them disobey the rules with out a consequence. What is so terrible about that?
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42 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a book just about spanking, November 9, 2006
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This review is from: The New Dare to Discipline (Paperback)
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.
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60 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spanking Doesn't Always End Up Bad, December 30, 2005
This review is from: The New Dare to Discipline (Paperback)
In response to the "spotlighted" reviews, the selection of those two seeming to be a bit biased from Amazon: I was spanked as a child, and usually not in love, not raised in a Christian or even religious or spiritual home. Wooden spoons, fly swatters, bare hands. I did not struggle with any of those deep emotional issues that one of the previous reviewers did. I will strongly assert that spanking and this form of discipline did not cause those fears and insecurities, but likely subtle messages, verbal and non verbal, physical and non physical, from the parents to the child over their entire life time led them to believe nothing they could do was good enough. Correcting a child, even if it means spanking, does not tell they child they are not good enough.

Reasoning with a child is usually the most effective method - get on their level, explain to them why they should not do something or why what they did was inappropriate. However, some children get so worked up, or are constantly so worked up, that they cannot be reasoned with. A stinging smack on the cheeks is a good wake up call that they are not in charge, they are not the boss, and they cannot do whatever they please. It teaches them they are a child, a parent knows best and should be listened too. Age and the wisdom that comes with it are revered in every culture and society except the US, where age equals senility.

The verse "Spare the rod and spoil the child" is often used to support spanking. But in a contextual sense, a rod was used by a shepherd to guide sheep, not to beat them. Sometimes it was necessary for a shepherd to tap a sheep on the legs or behind with the rod when it insisted on wandering off or out of the herd where it would be out of the protection of the shepherd.

Reasoning with a child, listening to them and explaining to them instead of saying "Because I said so" or "Because I'm the parent" are effective ways of "using a rod" to guide your child. Spanking, when done correctly (not in anger and only after a child realises it is a consequence for something inappropriate he did AND only after any other method has proven ineffective) is also a useful tool for reminding a child of his place.

Every one of my friends has shared that they were spanked as a child and while discipline, which is unpleasant at the time, seemed unfair, we all agree that we are all the better for it now.

Anyone could agree that the child losing it's temper with mom saying "please don't do that" is never going to teach the child they can't have their way. It will teach them they can go on any way they like because there are no consequences.
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28 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the negative reviews and give this a chance!, January 5, 2007
Heather "BellaBuggy" (Louisville, KY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The New Dare to Discipline (Paperback)
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.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dobson Preaches Loving Discipline and Balanced Parenting, April 7, 2009
Matthew P. Cochrane (Fort Lauderdale, FL) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The New Dare to Discipline (Paperback)
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.
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30 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mom raising boys, Waterford, CT, November 18, 2006
This review is from: The New Dare to Discipline (Paperback)
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.
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29 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Living example, June 25, 2007
This review is from: The New Dare to Discipline (Paperback)
I have read over 30 of these so-called reviews and have not found one that offers an alternative. Please comment my comment if you disagree with me. I have read many people who say there has to be a kinder-gentler way. Also, creative parenting is thrown out there many times and someone actually waited 4 hours on their child to obey.

I was not raised by practicing christians or available parents. They were far from perfect as are all of us! No one in my family has ever read this book until I have, yet I was raised on these principles. I am now a father, husband, very active in community service, and have a solid career, and I just turned 23. I'd say that is well adjusted and I have only for the passed few years been out of that hormonal roller-coaster called puberty! There were few times that I got spanked but I recieved plenty of corporal punishment. I have dug holes just to fill them, moved piles of rocks just to move them, scraped paint off the house just to repaint it, etc. The non-physical corporal punishment provided plenty of time for me to reflect on my behavior. (At the time I'd go one step farther to figure out a way to get away with it next time, but I'd have to learn right and wrong later).

In those few times (less than 5) that I was "whooped up on" it was always out of sheer difiance and disrespect. And I MEAN what I say. Those few instances have stuck out to me like a guidepost leading me not to treat anyone the way that I had treated my parents. You may think that if that only happend less than 5 times then they were doing something right, I was otherwise out of control. Out of all of that those instances of disrespect/difiance="whooping" were the only constants.

I'd have to say that more important than creative alternatives, as parents we have to buckle down and provide consistant dicipline. We all know that it is harder to remain consistant than to be ficle under the guise of "creative parenting".

Finally, I don't believe that ANY book on parenting, psychology, counciling, etc. can be a stand-alone product. We as a society need to stop looking for a quick-fix and Wal-Mart (one stop shop) products. And if parents would spend as much time in consistant parenting as they did with looking for the next best single, simple, successful style of parenting... the whole country would change.
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The New Dare to Discipline
The New Dare to Discipline by James C. Dobson (Paperback - March 22, 1996)
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