Where the world comes to study the Bible

27. Book Review -- The New Dare to Discipline

Book Title: The New Dare to Discipline

Author: Dr. James Dobson

Year of Publication: 1970, 1992

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc

Pages: 251

Author’s Web-site:

Full Book Available in: English, Czech

You should read this book if you…

Want to learn how to effectively and lovingly discipline your children. Through the encouraging words of Dr. Dobson, you will learn how to enforce boundaries in your home.

“In a nut shell”…

Dr. Dobson’s book explains how to tenderly apply discipline through common-sense child rearing and using the law of reinforcement to instill positive behavior and change negative behavior. This book also helps educators break down the barriers of learning and discipline within the classroom setting.

Key Ideas…

When properly applied, loving discipline works. There is a difference between discipline and punishment: discipline is directed at the behavior, punishment is directed at the individual. Verbal rewards to a child are great and a parent needs to make sure to tell the child that they love them and make a big deal of actions that the parent wants a child to repeat. In other words, ignore the actions that a parent does not want a child to take.  Serious discipline, such as spanking, occurs when there is willful defiance toward the parent and not for childish irresponsibility.

The teacher/educator section of the book is the second half of the book and discusses how to have enough structure and discipline in the classroom to require certain behaviors from their students. One of the purposes of education is to prepare the young for responsibilities later in life (being on time, homework assignments, being prepared, getting along with others, staying focused to get the task complete, etc.)

Action Steps…

Common Sense Child Rearing:

Developing respect for parents is the critical factor in child management.

During the toddler phase is the best time to establish yourself, gently but persistently, as being in charge.  Spanking should be an immediate response to a defiant “I will not” or “You shut up”.  By interpreting the meaning behind the behavior, a parent can apply the appropriate discipline and seek the ultimate goal of maintaining the child’s respect.

The best opportunity to communicate occurs after a disciplinary event.

Children will seek out parent’s love after discipline and by having open, welcoming arms, you show your child that is the behavior – not the child – that you reject.

Control without nagging (it is possible).

Don’t saturate the child with materialism.   “If you never allow a child to want something, he never enjoys the pleasure of receiving it.” Pg 45

Establish a balance between love and discipline.

Make sure your child knows who is in charge, show them that you love them and treat your child with respect and dignity, and expect them to treat you the same way.

The Law of Reinforcement is another topic that Dr. Dobson discussed in his book. He states that “behavior which achieves desirable consequences will recur.” We are all motivated by what pleases us and this can be useful in teaching responsible behavior with boys and girls. One way is to use rewards, but they must be granted quickly. These rewards need not be material in nature as anything desirable can reinforce behavior (such as words of praise). Anything that is considered desirable to a person can be reinforcement for their behavior. Children are so variable that for some children a stern look is all that is needed to help a child know who is in charge, while others seem to require strong and even painful disciplinary measures to make an impression.

When disciplinary measures fail, it is usually due to errors in their application. There are a few basic reasons for the lack of success. The biggest problem is infrequent and unusual discipline.  Parents must be persistent and consistent when disciplining children. Also, the child may be more strong-willed than the parent, and they both know it.

There are three types of barriers to learning with some children, the Late Bloomer, the Slow Learner, and the Underachiever. The Late Bloomer is a developmental lag and can be helped if “held-back” a year in school. The Slow Learner has the inability to learn as quickly as his peers.  Accommodations can be made to help slow learners thrive by teaching them to read in a one-to-one environment, shield them from the devastations of failure, and remember that success breeds success. The Underachiever is a student who doesn’t quite have the self-discipline to motivate themselves to do well. So, create a way to motivate an Underachiever by setting goals with positive reinforcements.


“Parents who are cold and stern with their sons and daughters often leave them damaged for life.” Pg 12

“The parent-child relationship is the first and most important social interaction a youngster will have.” Pg 18

“The parent’s demonstration of authority builds respect like no other process.” Pg 35

“Discipline for adolescents and teens should involve lost privileges, financial deprivation, and related forms of non-physical retribution.” Pg 72

“Verbal reinforcement can be the strongest motivator of human beings.” Pg 92

“…valuable formula for managing children and teenagers: give them maximum reason to comply with your wishes.  Your anger is the least effective motivation…” Pg 118


From “Chapter 11: A Moment for Moms”

Reserve some time for yourself – put yourself on the priority list too.

Don’t struggle with things you can’t change.

Don’t deal with big problems late at night – all problems seem more unsolvable at night, and the decisions that are reached then may be more emotional than rational.

Try making a list – there is comfort in making a list of duties to be performed.

Seek Divine Assistance – all the parenting solutions can be found through prayer and personal appeal to God, our Creator.

How this has changed my parenting…

I now have tools to use so that I can be prepared to help raise my children in a disciplined and loving environment. I am no longer afraid to discipline them or spank them (when it is necessary) because I know that all the love and positive time spent with them will enable these discipline occasions to strengthen our bond. I am also equipped to work on positive behavior reinforcement.

© 2011 The Family Project

Related Topics: Christian Home, Mothers, Fathers, Parenting, Book Review, Parent Resources

Report Inappropriate Ad