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The New Dare to Discipline

The New Dare to Discipline

3.3 46
by James C. Dobson

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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?


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.

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Tyndale House Publishers
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6.34(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.99(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Challenge

This is a book about children and those who love them. The first edition was written in the early 1970s when I was a professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. Our own children were still pre-schoolers, which made it risky to offer advice about parenting techniques. That’s like a coach bragging in the first quarter about how he expects to win the game. Nevertheless, I had seen enough academically and professionally to have developed some firm convictions about how children should be raised and what they needed from their parents.

More than twenty years and 2 million copies of Dare to Discipline have come and gone since I first sat down to write. That passage of time has broadened my horizon and, hopefully, sharpened my vision. I’ve worked with thousands of families and I’ve considered the child-rearing views of many authorities and colleagues. My kids have paddled through adolescence and have established homes of their own. Thus, it is a special privilege for me to roll back the clock now and revisit the themes with which I first grappled so many years ago.

One might expect my views of child development and parenting to have evolved significantly within the intervening years. Such is not the case. Admittedly, the social backdrop for the original Dare to Discipline has changed dramatically, which is why this book needed to be revised and expanded. The student revolution that raged through the late sixties and early seventies has subsided. Woodstock and the Viet Nam War are distant memories, and university campuses are again quieter and less rebellious. But children haven’t changed, nor will they ever. I’m even more convinced now that the principles of good parenting are eternal, having originated with the Creator of families. The inspired concepts in Scripture have been handed down generation after generation and are just as valid for the twenty-first century as they were for our ancestors. Unfortunately, many of today’s parents have never heard those time-honored ideas and have no clue about what they’re trying to accomplish at home.

I’ll never forget a mother in that predicament who asked for my help in handling her defiant three-year-old daughter, Sandy. She realized that her tiny little girl had hopelessly beaten her in a contest of wills, and the child had become a tyrant and a dictator. On the afternoon prior to our conversation, an incident occurred which was typical of Sandy’s way of doing business. The mother (I’ll call her Mrs. Nichols) put the youngster down for a nap, but knew it was unlikely she would stay in bed. Sandy was not accustomed to doing anything she didn’t fancy, and naptime was not on her list of fun things to do in the afternoon.

On this occasion, however, the child was more interested in antagonizing her mom than in merely having her own way. Sandy began to scream. She yelled loudly enough to upset the whole neighborhood, fraying Mrs. Nichols’ jangled nerves. Then she tearfully demanded various things, including a glass of water.

At first Mrs. Nichols refused to comply with the orders, but she surrendered when Sandy’s screaming again reached a peak of intensity. As the glass of water was delivered, the mischievous child pushed it aside, refusing to drink because her mother had not brought it soon enough. Mrs. Nichols stood offering the water for a few minutes, then said she would take it back to the kitchen if Sandy did not drink by the time she counted to five.

Sandy set her jaw and waited through the count: "three . . . four . . . five!" As Mrs. Nichols grasped the glass and walked toward the kitchen, the child screamed for the water. Sandy dangled her harassed mom back and forth like a yo-yo until she tired of the sport.

Mrs. Nichols and her little daughter are among the many casualties of an unworkable, illogical philosophy of child management which has long dominated the literature on this subject. This mother had read that a child will eventually respond to reason and forbearance, ruling out the need for firm leadership. She had been told to encourage the child’s rebellion because it offered a valuable release of hostility. She attempted to implement the recommendations of the experts who suggested that she verbalize the child’s feelings in a moment of conflict: "You want the water but you’re angry because I brought it too late" . . . "You don’t want me to take the water back to the kitchen" . . . "You don’t like me because I make you take naps." She had also been taught that conflicts between parent and child were to be perceived as misunderstandings or differences in viewpoint.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Nichols and her advisors were wrong! She and her child were involved in no simple difference of opinion: she was being challenged, mocked, and defied by her daughter. No heart-to-heart talk would resolve this nose-to-nose confrontation, because the real issue was totally unrelated to water or the nap or other aspects of the particular circumstances. The actual meaning behind this conflict and a hundred others was simply this: Sandy was brazenly rejecting the authority of her mother. The way Mrs. Nichols handled these confrontations would determine the nature of their future relationship, especially during the adolescent years.

Much has been written about the dangers of harsh, oppressive, unloving discipline; these warnings are valid and should be heeded. However, the consequences of oppressive discipline have been cited as justification for the abdication of leadership. That is foolish. There are times when a strong-willed child will clench his little fists and dare his parents to accept his challenges. He is not motivated by frustration or inner hostility, as it is often supposed. He merely wants to know where the boundaries lie and who’s available to enforce them.

Many well-meaning specialists have waved the banner of tolerance, but offered no solution for defiance. They have stressed the importance of parental understanding of the child, and I concur. But we need to teach children that they have a few things to learn about their parents, too!

Mrs. Nichols and all her contemporaries need to know how to set limits, and what to do when defiant behavior occurs. This disciplinary activity must take place within the framework of love and affection, which is often difficult for parents who view these roles as contradictory. Dare to Discipline is addressed, in part, to this vital aspect of raising healthy, respectful, happy children.

The term "discipline" is not limited to the context of confrontation, and neither is this book. Children also need to be taught self-discipline and responsible behavior. They need assistance in learning how to handle the challenges and obligations of living. They must learn the art of self-control. They should be equipped with the personal strength needed to meet the demands imposed on them by their school, peer group, and later adult responsibilities.

There are those who believe these characteristics cannot be taught—that the best we can do is send children down the path of least resistance, sweeping aside the hurdles during their formative years. The advocates of this laissez-faire philosophy would recommend that youngsters be allowed to fail in school if they choose . . . or maintain their bedrooms like proverbial pigpens . . . or let their puppies go hungry.

I reject this notion and have accumulated considerable evidence to refute it. Children thrive best in an atmosphere of genuine love, undergirded by reasonable, consistent discipline. In a day of widespread drug usage, immorality, sexually transmitted diseases, vandalism, and violence, we must not depend on hope and luck to fashion the critical attitudes we value in our children. Permissiveness has not simply failed as an approach to child rearing. It’s been a disaster for those who have tried it.

When properly applied, loving discipline works! It stimulates tender affection, made possible by mutual respect between a parent and a child. It bridges the gap which otherwise separates family members who should love and trust each other. It allows the God of our ancestors to be introduced to our beloved children. It permits teachers to do the kind of job in classrooms for which they are commissioned. It encourages a child to respect other people and live as a responsible, constructive citizen.

As might be expected, there is a price tag on these benefits: they require courage, consistency, conviction, diligence, and enthusiastic effort. In short, one must dare to discipline in an environment of unmitigated love. We’ll discuss the methods by which that can be accomplished in subsequent chapters.

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The New Dare to Discipline 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great book!!!! Lots of practical information...I didn't know about it until I saw ugly things written about it on a website and it intrigued me. Loved the book!! Thanks B & N for selling it!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Some the of these people have absolutely no concept of what this book is about. This book is NOT about child abuse, name calling, or degrading a child. In fact Dobson spends almost as much time on positive alternatives to spanking as he does on spanking. He gives many great tips on discipline, including advice on teaching. He does not advocate any forms of physical discipline other than spanking on the buttox and lightly squeezing the muscle between the neck and shoulders, neither of which cause any permanent physical damage to the child. For those of you who believe that Jesus would not discipline, grab your Bible and look up Matthew 21:12. It was love, but it definitely wasn't peaceful, mushy love. It was a love that said 'I love you guys, but what you're doing is wrong.' And it definitely was physical. Don't try to explain away the verse 'he that spareth his rod hateth his son', because in the same book, it says 'Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.' (Prov. 23:13-14, ESV) The culture is different today from what is was in the Old Testament, but people have always been the same. People have needed and always will need love, but they also have needed and always will need discipline. See Hebrews 12:5-9, 11 This is great book and I recommend it to anyone. And by the way, read the entire book before you review it.
vicki1954 More than 1 year ago
I read this book many years ago when i was confused how to properly discipline my children. Every book i read contradicted the next book i read. I finally came to the conclusion that none of these authors had the foggiest idea how to raise children. Then came "Dare To Discipline." This book (and all his books) was like a breath of fresh air.The books are refreshing, and at times humorous. It is biblically based and solid in it's teachings. My children have grown to be very responsible adults. They each contribute to society, they have self respect, and they respect others. I attribute much of that to the guidance we recieved through Dr. Dobsons books. I would recommend his books to any parent, especially those who are frustrated, confused, and are just plain fed up with teachings that don't work. Thank You.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I reread this book at least once a year to 'refresh' me. This book very helpful. Dr. Dobson is realistic with his advice. I recommend this book to anyone with children.
jada7268 More than 1 year ago
This informational book takes a Christian-based approach on how to balance control while loving your child so you can achieve a happy home and an emotionally-healthy family. If your child has serious behavior problems then this book will help you take a step back to look at the situation from a different point of view and extinguish the defiant behaviors. It will help you understand why everything is going wrong so you can change your actions and reactions to the situation, by taking control and letting him know who is in charge. The changes will not happen overnight, but being persistent and consistent will pay off. The book is a great reference on how to successfully guide your children from preschool to high school and addresses any problems you might face like having an underachiever, slow learner, or late bloomer. As Dobson says, "you have to treat him with respect and dignity to expect the same from him." To sum it up, love and discipline go hand in hand; your child has to know he is loved and that he deserved the discipline that was given to him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's plain to see how biased people when theytake Dr. Dobson's book out of context. Moveover, how clear it is that they have failed to read their Bibles. 'Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.' (Pr 22:15) ''He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.' (Pr 13:24). Regardless of what you think of Dobson's book, the Bible is very clear how Godly parents are to discipline their children. If parents don't teach their children about authority and how to be Godly people, who will? You wouldn't hand keys to your child and say, here you go figure out how to drive and which side of the road to drive on and what the rules are to follow so everyone is safe. Why would you send your children out and say, here you go figure out which rules you can break and which you have to obey? Don't you see that's what's happening in today's world? Children who aren't disciplined don't obey their parents, their teachers, or worldly laws, and finally don't obey God's laws set to protect us. Dobson is very clear to point out that spanking is not abusing your children. Unfortunately, people still continue to misunderstand the concept of disclining their children.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book addresses many of the concerns of parents today. It talks about common sence and your child, disciplines in learning, barriers to learning etc...This is a great resource for parents of children of any age.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Frankie1429 More than 1 year ago
I found this book when my children were young. I followed the Doctor's advice, although sometimes it was hard, and ended up with 3 very good children. When my wife and I decided to raise our children according to the advice in the book, we had to spank our children frequently the first 2 weeks. We always explained why we were spanking them, never used our hands and never more than 3 swats on the behind. Especially when they are still in diapers, a swat on the behind doesn't hurt, but makes lots of noise. After the first couple of weeks, we had to spank the children less and less. After about a month, they were seldom spanked at all. The most important thing was to be consistent in their training and disciple. Now I am buying this book again for my granddaughter. Her daughter is now about 20 months and soon to enter the 'terrible twos'. This should help her in training our first great grand child.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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GodsKid633 More than 1 year ago
This is the most solid child rearing book and advice I have ever come across. All of my points below address directly many of the arguing points over the contents of this book and are relevant to this review. 1) Discipline is not punishment. Discipline is done out of love, punishment is done out of anger. 2) God never changes, He wouldn't be God if He did. (Remember: Omnipotent and omnipresent. He is not bound by time. To say that God changes is to say that God lies, thus calling satan god) 3) Remember: Jesus in the temple that had been made a market place 4) We want to avoid discipline because it isn't easy. Being a Christian is not easy. 5) It is not "spare the rod, spoil the child", it is "he ho spares the rod, hates his child" Proverbs 13:24. Remember love never changes 1 Cor 13. God is Love 1 John 4:8. 6) Since God is Love, and he disciplines us, does that mean that God is a liar? Or does that mean that discipline is a form of love? 7) Sure this book was written in the 60s, before all that research on childcare was done that said that we shouldn't spank our children. Sorry, but look at our children now! How has child discipline been done for ages? Maybe there is a coincidence in the fact that after thousands of years of good discipline and good children, we change the discipline and the world becomes much more rebellious? 8) Those who call this form of discipline abuse are selfish and blinded by their concept of love. For instance: A pastor was in front of his congregation, preaching his sermon, when someone runs in and up to the podeum, where he hands the pastor a note. The pastor reads the note, sets it aside, and continues with his sermon. After the sermon is complete, everyone goes home and Mr. Smith comes running back to the church building, stating to the pastor that his house had burned down. The pastor said that he knew. In upset, Mr. Smith asked why the pastor didn't tell him that his house was burning. The pastor replied that he didn't want to upset him with the news. We are avoiding upsetting our children with the news, while their house is on fire. It takes help to mis-interpret the Bible, and trust me, there is a lot of help out there. Be sure to listen to the Holy spirit and not your flesh or the enemy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a grade school administrator of the past 25 years, I have seen consistently positive results---happy, well adjusted children---for those who adhere to the Biblical principals Dr. Dobson teaches in this book. First Rate!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be very helpful when my children were young. It has good ideas about how to handle situations in public and at home. It helps the child-parent relationship.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has wonderful, biblical teaching that will help any parent to properly train their little ones. How many times has a parent failed to get a child's respect because they have listened to the world above God's Word? We love our children, and that is why we train them this way, not with our knowledge but with HIS--our Creator. 'He disciplines those He considers sons.' And we should imitate Him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
BH This book saved my son, 20 years ago. Today he is a well-rounded respected firefighter in the US Air Force. Had it not been for this book, my son would have ended up as a criminal. I now recommend this book to all mothers with children. Those bashing Dr. Dobson, should never have children themselves, as clearly they are the reason we have so many problems with our youth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Our children are gifts from God. We are responsible for teaching them. The advice that Dobson gives is in line with the Bible. The Commandment 'Obey your Father and Mother' is stressed as the main objective to teach your children. Dobson says if they don't learn respect for you, they won't respect authority figures in adulthood. In his book, New Dare to Discipline, Dobson has his principles and priorities straight. His teaching is with much love and care for children and their future.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this wonderful book 31 years ago when my first born was 6 mo old and I have applied all Dr. Dobson had to share to both my children. I raised well behaved, wonderful children who were incredible even through their teenage years because of the advice given in this book, I am now purchasing this book for both of my children to raise their children by. Thank you Dr. Dobson
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dr Dobson gets his inspiration from the Bible itself, this book is a pearl. Isn't it written 'He who witholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently' Proverbs 13:24 and 'Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod , and rescue his soul from Sheol' Proverbs 23:13? Yes, I dared to discipline my son with love when he was a little boy, he is 14 now, and now I have a wonderful adolescent who knows his limits. I highly recommend this book to every parent who loves his child.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book really helped me to understand my son's real needs and to identify signs of defiance. To discipline with love works ! He just understood that his parents are in charge and that he has to obbey because we know better . As usual Dr Dobson didn't dissapoint me . I have recommended this book to some friends and they've all thanked me for it .
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book states the facts: Children need discipline. Yes, they are little tyrants - they don't mean to be perhaps, but they are- and they only become so when parents allow them to be. Some one else reviewing this book thought Dobson should not describe children with 'spindly' or 'fat little legs' Well, children do have legs and they just might be spindly or fat, depending on the child. Does this mean we can not write about 'fat' people anymore? I wish this were so, as I am one of them myself and find the word 'obese' as a substitution even more obscene. A good whack, is the equivalent of 'no pain, no gain' A brutal beating is something else. We have a country filled with angry children, who if given a good whack, would have diverted their energies to becoming good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just as the title indicates Dr. Dobson focuses on what he sees as the child's deficits rather than the underlying parent-child relationsship. I think Dr. Dobson basis his book on a faulty and potentially destructive premiss - the child is inherently flawed and the parent must intervene (for which he provides much advice). Rather, I think I prefere a healthier premiss - my child's behavior and personality are greatly influenced by the quality of the parent child relationship (the degrees of intimacy, empathy, and emotional safety). I think Dr. Dobson's understanding of these qualities are a bit skewed or misguided. James Dobson has been around for a long time. He certainly has a large body of literature. If you are familiar with his writing I think you will find that 'The New Strong-Willed Child' is more of the same. If you have found his previous work insightful and inspirational this may be the book for you. Personally, I find my role as parent to be too important to blindly accept everything Dr. Dobson presents. Rather, I suggest you read 'The New Strong-Willed Child' as well as other resources to gain a more rounded and insightful understanding of this most important job (parenting). I really liked to work of Mark Gaskill, MFT (family therapist and parenting expert) as a balancing perspective. His book 'Systemic Parenting: An Exploration of the Parenting Big Picture' is superb. These two books are worlds apart. If you are attached to Dobson, great 'The New Strong-Willed Child' will be your thing. However, you might want to treat yourself to some newer and fresher ideas by looking elsewhere.
Guest More than 1 year ago
James Dobson is an intelligent man who admonishes parents to live up to their God given responsibility - teaching children to be obedient, polite, respectful, responsible... While some people have a problem with this (the new generation thinks we should be our kids' 'friends' and make life as wonderful and peachy-keen as we can for them) the truth is that life isn't all wonderful all the time! There are lots of hills and valleys and the world does not revolve around ANY of us! No...we shouldn't abuse our children - but a firmly directed swat on the bottom speaks volumes. My 3 kids are grown and married now. I raised them by Dobson's advice and they are fine upstanding people. I have a wonderful relationship with each of them and they tell me all the time how thankful they are that I raised them as I did. Read this book! Ignore the 'kid coddlers' who don't have the guts to be firm and teach their kids what they need in order to survive in this world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have not yet read this book but found a website called stoptherod.net in which I found many quotes from this book. I thoroughly agree with every quote I read in Dr. Dobson's book 'Dare to Discipline'. I am 27 years old and have noticed a rapid decline in just the last 10 years in the obedience of children and the respect they have for their elders. A couple, who are relatives of mine, lived by not disciplining their child as he grew up and he has been in and out of jail for the past 5 years. He is only around 21 years old. Dr. Dobson is not saying to abuse a child. He is saying to let them know who is in charge. The child must know authority. Children from at least 10 months on know how to push their parents and get what they want. They are very intelligent from a young age and learn problem solving skills very quickly. I have watched my nephew try to get away with quite a bit from the time he was about 10 months old. I think a lot of times parents praise their kids for learning so quickly and are amazed at how smart they are and I think that's great. But you have to realize the other side of the coin here. They're also learning bad habits that need to be dealt with. What would it be like if no one was punished for anything in the world, it would be complete chaos. God chastises us for our disobedience, we need to do the same with our kids. The writer of the review for this book on stoptherod.net quoted things like 'acts of defiance' like Dr. Dobson was wrong in saying this. I have seen it first hand that kids do push the limits of their parents to see how far they can get, to see what they can get away with. We all have a natural tendency to rebel. It's called sin. The only way to deal with sin is repentance, the only way to repentance is to realize what you've done is wrong. We must teach our children how to obey good godly authority and how to live right, otherwise all we have are a lot of self-willed chaotic people.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure what book that most of these folks have been reading, but from what I have read in reviews and from the book itself, it seems as though several people 'skimmed' through the book, taking several things out of context. I think this is an incredibly helpful book, it gives guildelines for discipline, and basically suggests it as a last resort and gives suggestions on how to handle children. The most important thing Dr. Dobson points out is to love your children, shower them with it, make them feel special and that they are special and cherished by you. I think this book is excellent.