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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Dobson - A Deeper Look

The Moderate Liberal directed his readers to a Wikipedia entry for James Dobson, and included some quotes and commentary here. On top of that, he even asked me to present my thoughts on it! Here is where I started:

As I am at work, Dare to Discipline is not with me, so I stopped by the 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. (I then discovered that I do not own this book - the double-shot book I have is "The Strong Willed Child" and "Parenting Isn't For Cowards".) However, as Dobson has mellowed with age (comparing the new SWC to the old one shows this), I doubt he would have suddenly decided that his D2D needed to be more stern!

The following paragraph has a quote that I could not find about a child 'demanding to be spanked'. In Dobson's chart he draws depicting the levels of consequence, one swat is desribed as a "terrible day". Two swats is the highest it goes, which explains why he says "two or three swats should be sufficient". He also details that one whould not 'lash or whip the child'.

Since I don't have an issue with the authority section, I didn't look it up. However, that would be in the adolescent section of the book, which leads with "A Teenager is Often Deperately in Need of Respect and Dignity. Give Him These Gifts!" Not mentioned in the Wiki, of course.

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.

The last comment in the thread (on crying) has no reference - certainly another fake.

In summary, Wikipedia is worthless. I have students who cite Wikipedia on their research reports, and they are almost always filled with errors. That's the danger of the Wiki. This particular one of Dobson has only about 20% of it cited truthfully. I think that the Wiki format attracts a certain kind of person, generally relativists, who think that they are qualified to produce 'facts' - kind of like college professors!

The next post will illustrate Dobson's point with a recent experience some of you may have shared with Mrs Hammer and I.


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