Of course I'm liberal, I believe in liberty.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Dr. Dobson

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that anyone can edit and has entries on almost everything. As time goes by I've been amazed how many google searches end up at Wikipedia. Now the blogger who goes by the name Hammertime and I have had many conversations over the past month or two; we disagree on virtually everything, but we get along reasonably well because we've convinced each other our hearts are in the right place (even if he is a terribly misguided conservative enslaved to tradition, unable to see the value in loving, caring couples different than himself). Anyway, Hammertime is a big Dr. James Dobson fan so I thought I'd point out Dobson has a page over at Wikipedia he might want to edit. Here is what it says:
Dobson advocates the spanking of children from 15-18 months to eight years old. According to Dobson, "pain is a marvelous purifier." (Dare to Discipline, p.6) He argues that "it is not necessary to beat the child into submission; a little bit of pain goes a long way for a young child. However, the spanking should be of sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely." (Ibid., p.7.)

In The Strong-Willed Child (p.73), Dobson writes: "Some strong-willed children absolutely demand to be spanked, and their wishes should be granted." As for the magnitude of the spanking, he argues that "two or three stinging strokes on the legs or buttocks with a switch are usually sufficient to emphasize the point, 'You must obey me.'" (The Strong-Willed Child, pp. 53-4.)

Dobson directly connects parental authority to social authority: "By learning to yield to the loving authority...of his parents, a child learns to submit to other forms of authority which will confront him later in his life -- his teachers, school principal, police, neighbors and employers." (The Strong-Willed Child, p. 235.)

He frequently portrays the child as the natural enemy of the parent and emphasizes that it is necessary to punish the child to uphold parental authority. "When you are defiantly challenged, win decisively." (Dare to Discipline, p. 36.)

In The Strong-Willed Child, Dobson draws a strong analogy between child rearing and dog rearing. He tells a story in which the family dog refuses to leave his resting place on the lid of the toilet seat. According to Dobson, a "vicious fight" between him and the dog resulted in which he "fought him up one wall and down the other, with both of us scratching and clawing and growling and swinging the belt [sic]." He concludes that "just as surely as a dog will occasionally challenge the authority of his leaders, so will a little child--only more so." (emphasis Dobson)

To deal with crying, Dobson recommends: "Real crying usually lasts two minutes or less but may continue for five. After that point, the child is merely complaining, and the change can be recognized in the tone and intensity of his voice. I would require him to stop the protest crying, usually by offering him a little more of whatever caused the original tears."

Anti-spanking groups have criticized Dobson's views as highly simplistic and dangerous to children.
Other than family.org itself, I believe all the links are to anti-Dobson sites. I have no idea if these quotes are accurate, in context or genuine examples Dobson's view on raising children. If Hammertime or anyone else wants to write a rebuttal, I'll link to it and quote it here.

UPDATE: Hammertime's rebuttal:
As I am at work, D2D is not with me, so I stopped by the library...it doesn't even have a page 6 with text on it. Or a page 7 with text, for that matter. I read the first two chapters and couldn't find those, either. I'll check my edition at home, which is updated.

The last comment has no reference - likely another fake.

I have read "The Strong Willed Child" and would not characterize it as ever portraying the child as the enemy of the parent, ever. Nor does "win decisively" mean "hit the child". An example is when my child argues about a restriction, I increase it. The child is not spanked, and he loses, and therefore learns that continued resistance to authority has negative consequences. Perhaps you think I should teach him to argue until he is blue in the face - insted I provide him with a known boundary that he tends to not cross.

He does get to voice his opinion on the issue, once. When he has said his piece, we acknowledge it and make the final decision