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The New Strong-Willed Child: Birth Through Adolescence.

THE NEW STRONG-WILLED CHILD: Birth Through Adolescence. James Dobson. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007. 219 pp. Paperback, $14.99. Educators and parents today are struggling with disciplining children, especially children with a strong will. Oftentimes, strong-willed children are considered defiant or problematic. Educators tend to blame parents and parents blame educators. The New Strong-Willed Child: Birth Through Adolescence is a revision of James Dobson's original 1978 book, The Strong-Willed Child; this update offers practical strategies to help the newer generation of parents and educators struggling with strong-willed children.

Among the strategies shared, Dobson discusses the controversial issue of using corporal punishment "appropriately" to counter willful defiance. The corporal punishment Dobson refers to is disciplinary spanking, which he distinguishes from "abusive, harmful forms of corporal punishment" (p. 131). He offers research and guidelines to help parents evaluate when and how to utilize disciplinary spanking.

Within the 12-chapter book, Dobson shares personal stories from mothers of strong-willed children and discusses what makes children and adolescents strong-willed, how to shape their will without breaking their spirit, common mistakes that parents make with their children, discipline and corporal punishment, sibling issues, and dealing with children who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Dobson outlines practical suggestions and strategies to help the growing numbers of children identified with ADHD, such as using consistency in rules and discipline, being aware of the tone of your voice, establishing clear routines, and reading the "pre-explosive warning signals" (pp. 200-201). At the end of each chapter, he answers questions raised by various parents and concludes with words of encouragement.

Dobson's overall message is practical: understand what makes children strong-willed, shape their will without breaking their spirit, and discipline children appropriately while maintaining a balance between love and avoiding child abuse. The initial step is to understand what makes strong-willed children the way they are.

Over the past 20 years, Dobson has been recognized with numerous academic honors and awards. He is a licensed psychologist with expertise in marriage, family, and child counseling. He is the author of 36 books and continues to be an advocate for the family. As the founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, Dobson produces internationally syndicated radio programs in which he shares stories and letters from parents and his own family, answers questions, and provides suggestions on dealing with the strong-willed child as well as addressing many other family concerns. Reviewed by Karen Ho, Doctoral Student, Azusa Pacific University, Teacher, Montebello Unified School District, Montebello, CA.

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Author:Ho, Karen
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jan 1, 2008
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