The New Strong-Willed Child

The New Strong-Willed Child

2005 Gold Medallion Award finalist!
Dr. James Dobson has completely rewritten, updated, and expanded his classic best seller The Strong-Willed Child for a new generation of parents and teachers. The New Strong-Willed Child follows on the heels of Dr. Dobson’s phenomenal best seller Bringing Up Boys. It offers practical how-to advice on raising difficult-to-handle children and incorporates the latest research with Dr. Dobson’s legendary wit and wisdom. The New Strong-Willed Child is being rushed to press for parents needing help dealing with sibling rivalry, adhd, low self-esteem, and other important issues. This book is a must-read for parents and teachers struggling to raise and teach children who are convinced they should be able to live by their own rules!


  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum; First Edition edition (July 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0842336222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0842336222
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (659 customer reviews)
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  1. I have the older edition of this book; I absolutely love it. I re-read it every few years because there are so many ideas in it that I will forget the ones I do not immediately need–thus the need for review as my children grow and change.

    Spanking is advocated, but there are so much more to this book that a parent who does not believe in spanking–and is a reasonable person who understands that other good parents do use spanking–could read this book and take much out of it.

    For one, the book is short. There isn’t enough time once the children are here to read a huge tome. This book is brief enough, you can high-light what you like and come back and read all of the high-lighted parts in three hours, for a refresher.

    Secondly, Dobson advocates spanking only for specific behavior under specific circumstances. Namely, he advocates spanking for outright defiance–if you are certain it is defiance and not over-hungry child or something your child cannot do, etc.

    If you were to spank as a last resort, you would be frustrated and possibly out of control. Instead, he suggests you spank the instant the willful defiance rears it ugly head. Take the child aside, explain why he is being punished, spank him on his bottom, and then offer comfort.

    (He also believes this only works for young children and that doing it to older children not only doesn’t work, it backfires and is unhealthy. However, reasoning with a very young child is a waste of breath; their minds are not developed enough to reason with–this is scientific fact. And when your 3 year old will not sit in time out or he kicks the walls in his room and throws things when sent there–then what? You loose the battle or you need another parenting tool or you loose your cool.Read more ›

  2. I distinctly remember reading the first edition of Dr. James Dobson’s THE STRONG-WILLED CHILD. I was desperate. My first son was not sleeping through the night, was eating nothing but mashed bananas, and was not obeying. The kicker: He would look at me, grin wildly and defiantly dump his entire toy box after I told him, “No.”

    Cajoling, negotiating, threatening — nothing worked to get this kid to do something he didn’t want to do. I was taller and stronger and, at least in my mind, smarter, but I became stupid and turned to mush when it came to him. It was a battle of wills, and he was winning.

    I admit it. I was one of those mothers who would start out sweet and soft-spoken, telling my son kindly, “No, Sean. No, Sean. No, Sean” — only to switch gears and yell, “SEAN NOOOOO!!!” seconds later. The result: He still blissfully ignored me.

    Friends and family began pushing parenting books at me. Thankfully, THE STRONG-WILLED CHILD was one of them. I read and tried to absorb everything. Dobson advocated spanking. Yikes. What would my Baby-Boomer friends think of me? We were spanked and seemed none worse for the experience, but…

    Dobson’s arguments favoring discipline, structure and routines made so much sense — especially in light of the chaos I was wreaking, placing such a high premium on reasoning with a 2-foot high toddler, as I was. His style is encouraging. I remember thinking, “I’m doing EVERYTHING wrong, but there’s hope.” But then again, reading “The temperaments of children tend to reflect those of their parents” made me remember my mother’s words (under duress) to me: I hope you have a child just like you.

    I took Dobson’s advice, feeling empowered, balancing love with discipline, and to my relief, things around here started to improve.Read more ›

  3. I almost didn’t buy this book because of many negative reviews it got. However, I am so incredibly glad that I went with some personal recommendations about the author and tried it out. Many of the people who wrote reviews obviously either didn’t read the whole book or pick and chose sections to listen to. Taken out of context, things can often sound very different than what they mean. In all situations in life, I think you need to be very careful when taking things out of context. Yes, Dr. Dobson does advocate spanking (as do many, many other professionals out there.) If you are absolutely against spanking, and feel so strongly about it that you are unwilling to be open minded to any opinions otherwise than this is probably not the book for you. However, this book does NOT revolve around spanking. It is not the main point of the book, just simply one item that is discussed.

    This book does give many examples of strong willed children, which for me were extremely encouraging to read about and know that I was not alone. It helped me to realize that there was hope for reigning in my son but NOT breaking his spirit–which Dr. Dobson gives strong advice about being careful not to do. If you have a difficult child this book can definitely give you hope and some perspective. Like any self-help type book, you should read with an open but analytical mind. There are many different ideas out there advocated by different professionals, and at least for me, I have done best by looking at lots of different information but then finally having to figure out for myself what works for me and my family. May God help you to do the same!

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