I'm sorry for being so behind. It's been far too long since my last post. Hopefully I'll be able to keep up with this community in future.
Today I'm looking at chapter three of Dare to Discipline.
Nothing brings a parent and child closer together than for the mother or father to win decisively after being defiantly challenged...for this reason, parents should not dread or shirk back from confrontations with their children. These occasions should be anticipated as important events because they provide the opportunity to convey verbal and nonverbal messages to the boy or girl that cannot be expressed at other times. Let me again stress that I am not suggesting that parents use excessive punishment in these encounters. However, the spanking should be of sufficient magnitude to cause genuine tears. (Pages 34-35)
I really don't know where to start. First, the assumption that discipline or parent/child conflict is what builds a relationship is kind of sick. I doubt Dobson would tell and husband and wife that fights (especially physical fights) lead to a better relationship. There might be a momentary emotional connection, but I can say from personal experience that it causes great mental distress to be first abused by a parent and then need to go to that same parent for comfort.
Secondly, I would say that any physical punishment that brings a child to genuine tears would be by definition excessive.
Next is one of the more disturbing passages of the chapter:
A confrontation my wife once had with our daughter, Danae, can illustrate the point. Back when Danae was but a fifteen-month-old ankle-biter, Shirley wanted to build a fire in the fireplace and needed to go out behind the garage to get some wood. It was raining, so she told Danae, who was barefoot, to wait in the doorway. Having learned to talk quite early, Danae knew the meaning of the command. Nevertheless, she suddenly came skipping across the wet patio. Shirley caught her her and took her back, repeating the order more sternly. But as soon as Shirley's back was turned, Danae scooted out again. It was an unmistakable act of disobedience to a clear set of instructions. Then, on the third trip, Shirley stung Danae's little legs a few times with a switch. (Pages 35-36)
I don't think I need to explain what's wrong with that. Excuse me while I barf. But wait! There's more:
When a parent's calm request for obedience is ignored by a child, Mom or Dad should have some means of making their youngster want to cooperate. For those who can think of no such device, I will suggest one: it is a muscle lying snugly against the base of the neck. Anatomy books list it as the trapezius muscle, and when firmly squeezed, it sends little messengers to the brain saying, "This hurts; avoid recurrence at all costs." The pain is only temporary; it can cause no damage. But it is an amazingly effective and practical recourse for parents when their youngster ignores a direct command to move. (Page 38)
I suppose Dobson doesn't believe psychological damage counts--funny, as he's a child psychologist, not a medical doctor.
I need to go scrub my brain with bleach and pray for the millions of kids whose parents follow this man's advice.