Victoria Strong Analyses The Strong-Willed Child by James Dobson

Victoria Strong blames her abusive childhood on the teachings of Dr. James Dobson and is now reviewing his book, The Strong-Willed Child.  She explains why in this heartbreaking quote:

So that is why I’m reviewing this book. I need to know what it says. I need some answers as to why my parents seemed to hate me so much. Why they were constantly angry with me. Why I was beaten with belts, punched in the stomach, slammed into walls, slapped across the face, and berated constantly, all in the name of tough love, the Bible, and most often, “Dr. Dobson says…”. Why I was never permitted to tell my side of the story or explain myself. Why they always, always, always assumed the worst about me. I need to know. I need to heal. So without further adieu, let’s dig in, shall we?

She starts here with the Dedication, and already has 7 posts up and is only on page 19 of the book at this writing.

It is very sad that her parents tried to raise her under Biblical teachings and yet failed to raise her to believe the Bible as an authority in her life.  This is just another example of how these kinds of harsh teachings fail both children and their parents.

Disclaimer: this blog contains mild profanity.

Sparing The Rod And Parental Discipleship

This article,“Sparing the Rod: Biblical Discipline and Parental Discipleship,” by Anne Eggebroten was published in the newsletter,  The Other Side in 1987.  In this long article, she not only explains why she gave up spanking and examines the link between discipline and discipleship, but she looks at the history of attitudes towards children.

Is Raising Children The Same As Raising Animals?

            Many Christian pro-spankers such as James Dobson and Michael Pearl equate animal training with child rearing.  Pearl claims that training children is much like training “stubborn mules.”  Dobson uses an example of whipping his tiny dog into submission to taming a toddler.  They believe that training children and animals require fear and pain with “love” in order to achieve absolute obedience.  Is this true?  Is animal training similar to child rearing?  What does God have to say about this?

            I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately due to a recent incident with our cat Patches.  Patches is a calico cat.  She has always been a very oral kitty.  She chews cardboard boxes and lightly bites us whenever she’s happy, playful, or loving.  She never bites aggressively.  Recently, my husband got up in the morning and went into his home office to turn on the computer and his ham radio equipment before getting dressed, making coffee, and feeding our two cats their breakfast.  There is a fan in his office door as the cats are not allowed in there due to all of his electronics.  It can get quite warm in there, so the fan keeps the air flowing.  As usual that morning, the cats greeted my husband in the hallway then eagerly waited for him outside his office door.

All of a sudden there were two loud bangs outside his door then the loud sound of our wooden TV dinner table crashing over.  All the noise alarmed my husband and woke me up.  My husband found Patches in our utility room on top of our water heater very freaked out.  [Read more...]

Christian child abuse: more works-based carnality

Churchmouse has posted an extensively researched look at Spiritual and Physical Abuse in Christian child abuse: more works-based carnality.  This is a long piece and well worth the time it will take to read it.

Christians Who Don’t Spank and Why

I came across 2 Christian bloggers who very eloquently explain why they don’t spank.

Spanking…..The Post I Finally Had to Write and Spare the Rod: What Spanking Teaches Children by Amanda at Not Just Cute

To spank or not to spank? by Raqual at Connected Christian Mom

Behaviorism at the Root of Child Training

Carissa Robinson explains that “If you observe most recommended Christian parenting practices today, you might be surprised to discover a secular influence: behavioral psychology” in Awaken Their Hearts.

Meanwhile, Greenegem explains the error in thinking that we have to DO anything more than believe in order to be saved in No Assembly Required.

Breaking The Will

God gave man free will so that we could choose Him. He could have made us without free will and unable to sin, but He did not want that. And yet, many parents have believe that they should break their children’s will, which Molly discusses in her post, Breaking The Will.

Damaging Effects of Punishment on Children

GreeneGem explains the damage  which was done to her by her mothers trampling on her Boundaries.

Speaking of damage, did you know that when babies are left to cry it out, their little bodies are being flooded with Cortisol?   Discipleship Parenting looks at what  effect that has on them.

Meanwhile Pearl, from An Apprenticeship in the Art of Gentle Discipline, looks at the Spiritual Discipline of Parenting to Sleep.

Deb’s Review of TTUAC – Part 3

Deb has posted the 3rd and final part of her review of Michael Pearl’s book, To Train Up A Child. In this post she looks at how Pearl prevented “sissies” and trained his children to always be happy. She also looks at what he teaches about the rod. She says that what Pearl teaches about persistence bothered her the most. I totally understand that. It is exactly this emphasis on persistence which I suspect killed Lydia Schatz.

For your convenience, here are Part 1 and Part 2 and here is the Intro.

A Study of “Spanking” Scriptures

Discipleship Parenting has started a series of  Biblical evidence against spanking in, Rightly Dividing the Word: A Study of “Spanking” Scriptures.

She has also posted 2 addendums to her Letters to Dobson:
Addendum to “Grace”
Handling Disputes Biblically

The Christian History of Spanking Part 1

This page was part of the rough draft of the soon-to-be-released book, “Gentle Firmness,” by Stephanie Cox.  You may read a few chapters from the book  here.

Letters to Dobson

Discipleship Parenting wrote a Letter to Dr. James Dobson. It is a lovely letter, you should take a look at it. In it she gives a testimony of how his teaching on spanking hurt her family and how they found something better.

She got a reply from Focus on The Family defending their stance.

She then wrote another letter where she explained further how his teachings are damaging and dangerous.

She received another reply from Focus on the Family which reiterated what was said in the first letter.

I highly recommend that you read these letters.

Edited to add that  she has posted 2 addendums to her first letter to Dobson:
Addendum to “Grace”
Handling Disputes Biblically

How Punitive Parenting Shames Parents

Dulce de Leche has written a post explaining how Punitive Parenting Shames the Parents in This  Hurts Me As Much As It Hurts You.

Dare to Disciple

Greenegem has started a blog to refute Dr. Dobson’s teachings, called Dare to Disciple.  She starts with her powerful and touching testimony: My journey toward Grace-based Parenting begins.

Paula Lilly’s testimony

This is my personal account of my experiences with following the advice of Micheal Pearl, author of To Train Up A  Child

I had many fears and apprehensions about parenting even before my first child was born.  Many of them had to do with discipline.  I was all too aware of what would be expected from me as a parent/disciplinarian and what types of behavior would be expected from  my children by friends, family members, church and school figures, etc.   As I waded nervously past the 6-month mark with my first son, I experienced the challenge of setting boundaries for a very mobile and emotionally intense little boy.   I began to try out different approaches–relying heavily on the religious and cultural  common knowledge of my society, and following the advice of authors/teachers who were endorsed by the circles in which I moved.

Some of the books I read, such as Dobson’s widely-heralded Dare To Discipline, left me feeling confused and powerless.  He recommends spanking as the response to most misbehaviors, but prohibits it for children under 18 months of age.  He speaks of showing grace toward childish, age-appropriate behavior, but paints children themselves as wicked, rebellious creatures who are bent on mounting a willful–even malicious–challenge to parental authority.   He provides very few solid, specific suggestions for dealing with normal developmental behaviors (other than encouraging parents to require absolute obedience).  He pulls his readers into an adversarial stance toward children with stories of  “little tyrants” whose unchecked behavior holds their trembling, pathetic parents hostage.  Parents are repeatedly drilled on the necessity of utterly defeating the enemy–their children.

Pearl was different.  Although many of the basic premises he taught matched up with what I had heard and believed my entire life,  Pearl offered something that was missing from the other books I had read–something very significant to me as a young and totally inexperienced mother.  He offered [Read more...]