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The New Strong-Willed Child

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  3,531 ratings  ·  326 reviews
2005 Gold Medallion Award finalist! Dr. James Dobson has completely rewritten, updated, and expanded his classic best seller "The Strong-Willed Child" for a new generation of parents and teachers. The New Strong-Willed Child follows on the heels of Dr. Dobson's phenomenal best seller "Bringing Up Boys." It offers practical how-to advice on raising difficult-to-handle child ...more
Paperback, 219 pages
Published March 20th 2007 by Tyndale House Publishers (first published February 1st 1978)
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Victor Ward I feel like this isn't really a question as much as an accusation. I don't think Dobson sees it as a method to place fear into the child, so unless yo…moreI feel like this isn't really a question as much as an accusation. I don't think Dobson sees it as a method to place fear into the child, so unless you can reconcile those base premises you won't really get a satisfactory answer one way or the other.(less)

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Average rating 3.80  · 
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Jan 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody
Shelves: parenting
Throughout most of this book, I found it difficult to distinguish between Dobson's discipline strategy and child abuse. In the first chapter he describes his love for his dachshund dog, Siggie, and his method of getting Siggie to go into his pen which involved threatening the dog with a belt. (He draws an analogy between disciplining a dog and disciplining a child - not that, in my view, using a belt is justifiable in either case). In chapter 6, Dobson recommends a way of getting a child's obedi ...more
Dec 29, 2012 rated it did not like it
Be careful when reading "authoritative" books on the subject of parenting. Just because a person is a Christian minister does NOT mean he is an expert in child-rearing.

My husband and I were very young when we read this book. We were parents to three young children. We followed this book like gospel, including the sections on corporal punishment, even when our inner conscience rebelled. Because, of course, James Dobson was an eminent Christian Authority.

He was wrong. For our children, he was wr
Probably not a book for everyone, but definitely some good pointers on approaching a strong willed child. I know some people go for a more hands off approach to child raising and this book promotes a much more involved and stricter approach if your child is strong willed. If you don't like the idea of a suggestion that you might need to lay down the law, then this book will frustrate you.

But if you need some help, are at your wits end, and don't know where to turn, this is a good place to start.
Angela Blount
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: life-coaching

I originally read this when I was 11 years old, and promptly discovered why my parents had bought the book. >.> It was all about me.

It led to something of a conscience awakening that I was approaching anyway. None the less, I appreciated how my willful motivations were pointed out and explained--not vilified. I responded well to the recommended structure and parental consistency because I perceived it as fair and was glad to know what to expect. To be honest, it was when my parents forgot to di
Feb 05, 2008 rated it did not like it
This book tortured me in childhood and then it just enraged me as an adult...this man's control issues are so profound and so ungodly...iron fisted rule is used instead of thought and logic and kindness. And his devotees continue to grow...that's the worst part.
Kristina Seleshanko
Aug 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Over the years, this book has been unfairly maligned. The new edition, especially, is as clear as can be that spanking should only be used in love, without anger, and in very specific circumstances. It also includes facts from scientific studies to back up spanking. (Hint: There's absolutely no proof that spanking causes violent behavior in kids!) But this book is about so much more than spanking. (The topic of spanking doesn't even cover a full chapter!) If your kids are out of control or you h ...more
Emily Smit
Jan 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
I checked this book out at the library (not knowing who James Dobson is -- or rather, having forgotten who he is) under the impression that it was about raising the spirited child in a supportive manner. What I got was a training manual for raising an unhappy, demoralized, spiritually broken child. Ugh. You don't tame wild horses by beating them with a stick, and you don't calm small children by beating them over the head with religion. I feel terribly sorry for all the kids who are raised under ...more
Sep 12, 2012 rated it did not like it
I strongly disagree with much of this book. I do believe you need to teach your children respect, but you can't do that without showing them respect. Hitting them with a belt, switch, or wooden spoon will not show them how to be respectful. I thoroughly read his anti-spanking rebuttals and they did not change any of my thoughts on the subject. I have six children who have a very wide range of personalities and differ greatly in their level of compliance, but they should still be a part of the fa ...more
Feb 13, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned, nope
I can't support this author's views on several topics, and don't agree with his condemnation of positive parenting. I believe in redirecting children when they don't know better, but of course as children's understanding increases, so also does their responsibility for their actions.

I got 25% into the book and had to stop reading. I've requested a refund as I can't support this author's views.
Aug 18, 2009 rated it did not like it
Seriously, I just sort of glanced through this one, but it really turned me off. When the author starts the book by referring to children as being bratty and then devotes an entire chapter to how to use corporal punishment correctly, I am just not cool with that.
May 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
When you have a strong-willed child, everyone asks you whether you have read The Strong-Willed Child. I wanted to like it. I expected to like it. I even agreed with much of it. But I found it marvelously unhelpful. Lots of meandering stories, a somewhat condescending tone (are you talking to me or my four-year-old?), and fairly vague advice. I think the problem is that I don't think I'm really his audience. The book seemed to be a reaction to a parent who has bought into the permissive parenting ...more
Nov 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I honestly can't believe this book is still around & being recommended. I found the author's discipline to be very outdated and bordering on abusive. One example of many: "There is a muscle lying snugly against the base of the neck. Anatomy books list it as the trapezius muscle, and when firmly squeezed, it sends little messengers to the brain saying, "This hurts: Avoid recurrence at all costs." The pain is only temporary; it can cause no damage the way I am suggesting its use. But it is amazing ...more
Jan 10, 2020 rated it did not like it
This didn't specifical address how to deal with strong willed children, or really with any child outside of spanking them. That was all this book was, a case for and how to guide for spanking. Very bible heavy with very little practical information.
Jun 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
I can not believe I read this entire book. It's Focus on the Family. It's anti-John Holt (while an unschooler, I was never an apostle anyway). It details all the different ways in which you should spank your child. It manages to mention homosexuality as a sign of the collapse of good values. However, it was perhaps the first parenting book I've read that acknowledges that not all kids will respond the same way to the same methods, that natural consequences don't always do the trick, and that no ...more
Ben Donahower
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Dr. Dobson and I share Faith but not politics, so I opened this book with some a degree of skepticism. The opening story explaining a time that he hit his dog didn't help my trepidation! I'm glad, however, that I stuck with it.

Critically, there was a lot of discussion centering on spanking. My guess is that it comes up so often not just because Dr. Dobson supports it but also since so many people are critical of it that he felt compelled to offer arguments for it throughout the book. I'm not qu
Annemargaret Olsson
Oct 22, 2012 rated it did not like it

This is the first book that I thought should be burned - really. I don't want to keep it, but I don't want it to get in the hands of anyone else. The book goes into detail of the best technique for spanking your child with biblical verses to back it up. I was actually embarrassed to be reading this book on the train - that someone might see me reading the book. DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK!!
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2013
This book is not very well-written and generally not super helpful. It spends way too much time talking about the negatives of having a strong-willed child, including studies that make me anticipate how much worse it's going to get. That is entirely unhelpful to someone with a strong-willed child. His actual, practical parenting advice is the same as many other books I've read and there isn't a lot of it. I found the chapter on sibling rivalry especially unhelpful. I only got about one practical ...more
Dec 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one.
I didn't finish the book. Pretty well from the get-go I was appalled that Dr. Dobson administered punishment to a beloved family pet via his belt but it should have been my first warning. The rest of the book (I made it to Chapter 7) continued to reaffirm that if parents simply physically harm their children (all the while reminding them that they are well-loved) then those manipulative, bratty, willful children will surely abide by their parents' rule.

It's clear that Dr. Dobson has no knowledg
Adnama Ossur
Oct 17, 2016 rated it did not like it
This book is hot garbage. It flies in the face of empirically based psychological science and basically tells you to spank your kids and pray about them. Science has proven hitting/spanking/whipping children makes them more aggressive, not more compliant. I can't imagine the psychological damage this book has done.
Jun 03, 2015 rated it did not like it
Someone recently told me to read this book. This has to be a joke. Corporal punishment and the fear of have got to be kidding me. The lazy way of parenting it should be called. Stick with love and logic!
Alina Hake
Apr 22, 2015 rated it did not like it
Where to begin!? It was terrible just terrible
Holly Lowe
Dec 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
I stopped reading this book right after the story of Siggi the dog. If he treats his dogs as he describes there is nothing he can tell me about raising children. Poor Siggi!!!
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
I'm not quite sure why Dr. Dobson gets such flak from reviewers. His approach to discipline is sensical and very applicable to every-day life. He does not advocate child abuse! This book is great for any parent: of a strong-willed child or not. It addresses things like a child's precious spirit (not breaking it) and his strong will (shaping it) and the parent's responsibility in both. His chapter on corporeal punishment in this book in particular is the best I've read yet. He delineates between ...more
Dec 15, 2008 rated it liked it
I have many mixed feelings about this book. I will not purchase it because I don't want to support Focus on the Family--one of the big supporters of Proposition 8.
There were moments in the book where I did not care for Dr. Dobson's attitude as when he used a belt to discipline a dog. At times, he came across as self-congratulatory. And it's only fair to point out that I'm not a Christian.
However, I cried several times while reading the book. Reading about the experiences of the different famil
Dec 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Dr Dobson gives practical advice on how to mold and control your strong-willed child. He advocates using a warning system and only spanking (one or two quick swats on the bottom) after the child has been told the rules and deliberately disobeys them. He also encourages a hand swat for potentially dangerous situations: little fingers reaching for outlets or something hot or delicate, etc. Dr Dobson uses the Bible to point out that parents are the authorities in the home and it's the parents' jobs ...more
Mar 08, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2014-read
Too much religion. Too much into the idea of corporal punishment using paddles or switches or belts. Just about tossed the book out the window when he spoke of smacking his doxie with a belt.

Took very few ideas out of this book.

Definitely still looking for a book to help with a strong willed 10 year old.
Elsa K
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents
Shelves: audiobook
Everything I have read and heard by Dr. Dobson on parenting is great. Practical and Biblical. I would recommend it to any parent.
Sep 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Any parenting book that includes a chapter on the benefits of corporal punishment should actually receive negative stars.
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-book
I really found a lot of useful and helpful points in this book. At times I felt like maybe he was a little too "idealistic," but overall Jordan and I read this together and really felt encouraged by it. (Beware that there's an entire chapter on how to use spanking appropriately, and if you don't agree with spanking you'll probably get mad.)
I was raised on Focus on The Family, and have nothing but respect for Dobson and the organization (which he no longer heads.)
I read the 1978 version, not this one. I would assume that many out-of-date references have been removed or replaced, but the core would certainly have stayed the same - since, as he states in the final chapter, he's not making this stuff up: it's based on an orthodox reading and application of scripture and Judeo-Christian values.
That said, while this book may have been
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James C. Dobson, Ph.D., hosts the daily radio program Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.

A licensed psychologist and marriage, family, and child counselor, he is a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. For 14 years Dr. Dobson was an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, and he served for 17 years

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