Tuesday Tome Week 45 – Bringing Up Boys

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Bringing Up Boys came out first, before Bringing Up Girls. Dr. Dobson considered that boys were in danger, much more so than the girls, so he focused on them first. Many factors were at play during the 70s and 80s, with the rise of feminism. The book picks up twenty years later, to show the results of secular progressive movements and the pro-homosexual agenda.

Bringing Up Boys

I’m all for women’s lib, but when moms go to work and sons get placed in classrooms which cater to girls, we have a problem. Homeschooling would solve it, but I understand that some people simply cannot afford to homeschool and live on one income.  Continue reading »

I bought this book when I was pregnant with my son but never read it until now. He is nine. The urgency of his physical needs as a baby and toddler steered me toward books like “What to Expect…” and “The Fussy Baby Book.” Then, he became of school age and homeschooling books arrested my attention.

Now that parenting switches slightly for me as we enter the next phase, I remembered I had this book on my shelf and decided to give it a go. Of course, I did not find new principles in it. If you have already done your fair share of reading on parenting issues from magazines and other books, you will not be discovering anything new in this book.

Of course, Dr. Dobson is a conservative Christian man and he writes from that perspective. I’m conservative and I like his writings, but I know people who would be offended by some of the things in this book.

The subtitle is “practical advice and encouragement.” Personally, I think we all could use some encouragement on a regular basis. Parenting is not a sprint. It’s a grueling marathon and sometimes our gear needs an update or at least a thorough cleaning.

Definitely a good read if you have a son and not that hard to finish, as the book is around 250 pages. If you read 9 pages a day, you should be able to get it done in a month, which is not bad. Of course, you could also finish it over a weekend while daddy takes the kids and gives you a break.


Tuesday Tome Week 43 – Dare to Discipline

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Dr. James Dobson has written several books on discipline and how to raise children. The New Dare to Discipline is a must-read but they all are. If you are a Christian parent, you should read Dobson books. Period.

Dare to Discipline

Now and then, there are voices in the educational realm who throw mud on discipline of any kind. Dr. Dobson documents such books and magazine articles all the way back to the end of the Second World War. The result of these approaches in education have been – among other things – an increase in lawlessness, a decreased reading fluency and comprehension among high school graduates, and the sexual revolution of the 60s.  Continue reading »

James Dobson also shows common problems in families and schools when discipline is lacking. So many parents, turned off by the strict rules imposed on them as children, now take the opposite approach – a laissez-faire attitude which harms children just as much as too much control and strict discipline measures.

For instance, Dobson details some of the problems he used to see in schools when he worked as a school counselor and teacher – before going to graduate school. He writes about the IQ ranges of the school population and how only 2% of children can be labeled as “retarded.” But then there are about 23% in the 70-90 IQ range for whom there is no help in school. They don’t fit the category of kids who need special education, but they really cannot perform at the regular speed of an average classroom. As such, they get lost in the shuffle. Their needs are ignored due to the limitations on the teacher’s attention and time and the school structure, and they become the high school dropouts of the next decade.

Dobson also addresses the needs of the underachievers and the late bloomers. He offers solutions for parents and schools as to what to do with these youngsters, homeschooling being one of the solutions. I’m glad he reaches that conclusion.

Dr. Dobson mentions homeschooling in a positive light and recounts how Dr. Raymond Moore had a big impact on him in the early 80s. Dobson goes as far as to say that he and his wife would probably have homeschooled their children in the first years of the elementary years, if they had known about it back then.

This book (the New Dare to Discipline) is a great read and makes the case for discipline of the right kind and intensity, the discipline that rewards small children right away for their accomplishments while doling out appropriate consequences for their wrong choices.


Tuesday Tome Week 42 – Parenting Isn’t For Cowards

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When I got desperate about one of my children’s attitude recently, I reached out to a friend who told me about Parenting Isn’t For Cowards by Dr. James Dobson. Most things coming out of Dr. Dobson’s mind are 100% pure gold for the family and this book is no exception.

Parenting Isn't For Cowards

Maybe it hit me right because I felt my need for a better way to handle my children. I was ready for its message. This book may not have the same impact on you, because you may already know how to apply its principles or you may not agree with his discipline methods etc. To me, this book was the right thing at the right time. Continue reading »

In a couple of days, I had a different child on my hands. That’s because I changed by acquiring some parenting skills I did not have before. The whole experience inspired me to write a newspaper column about reaching for help instead of resorting to unhealthy behavior to deal with crises in our lives.

This book also sparked interest in other books by Dr. Dobson and Dr. Kevin Leman, which I should have read a long time ago. I will review them all in here if I have not done so already.

Dr. Dobson points out what to do with disrespectful, disobedient children. He also gives an overall view of the entire parenting experience. His chapters on teenagers will raise the hair on your back. My problems with my six-year-old seemed like small potatoes compared to what lies ahead in the teenage years. Yikes!

Perspective helps though. It’s good to be reminded this is a journey and nothing is final. It’s not over till it’s over.


Tuesday Tome Week 40 – Bringing Up Girls

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Of all the books I have been reading from Focus on the Family, this one brought me to tears several times. Oh, and I promised myself to be tough and just “get the principles!” I knew what Dr. Dobson was trying to do. He was being Oprah – making me cry about raising a little girl. And I was determined not to let him.

But he got me anyway. Once I read the poem about the hope chest song, I lost it. But there is so much more to this book than just sentimental ideas and feel-good little poems to move a tired mom from bitterness to sweetness again.

Bringing Up Girls Cover

Dr. Dobson shares not just research findings on raising daughters, but also simplified brain facts. The brain of a girl is different from the brain of a boy. Sorry, feministas of the world, we are simply different from the guys. Different does not mean inferior or weaker. Different means different.  Continue reading »

We are told the self-image of girls is very fragile. Successful women like Oprah Winfrey and Chris Evert kept pushing themselves to achieve in order to feel like they had some worth. While the whole world was wowed by their feats, Oprah and Chris and others like them went home wondering if they have any self-worth. See any successful women around you? They are probably pushing themselves to succeed because of their low self-esteem (emphasis on probably).

There is also practical advice on how to interact with daughters. One of such advice is how to teach the art of conversation by using a game with a tennis ball: talking together is a game called conversation. It only works if the ball is tossed back. When a person throws a question at you and you hold it by not answering fully or properly, you are not playing the game right.

The book also covers some manners and gives at least two other books we could use to teach children manners. Of course, Dobson insists on making clear that a daughter’s relationship with her daddy will haunt her for the rest of her life. (I know because I married somebody who looks like my dad, though they could not be more different in other ways).

Then, there is the relationship with their mammas: promiscuity happens in girls who are not well-connected to their moms. You probably know one or two girls who made that mistake in their life, as I know some.

Dr. Dobson shares a John Adams quote which is essentially about homeschooling (in a broader sense) and, at the very least, it is about parenting. Here’s brief part of it: “The foundations of national morality must be laid in private families. In vain are schools, academies and universities instituted if loose principles and licentious habits are impressed upon children in their earliest years. The mothers are the earliest and most important instructors of youth.”

More practical advice: are you too exhausted to put your children to bed? You are making a mistake. Children share things at bedtime that they would not otherwise share with their parents. So be there for one last talk and build a stronger relationship with your children by listening.

The female brain is explained in the book, as I said above, and, frankly, I understood myself a little bit better. Expect a full presentation on hormonal changes from birth until adulthood.

“Girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice, but boys are made out of snakes and snails and puppy dog tails.” I used to see that on my children’s newborn nightgowns. From this book, I found out these were quotes from Robert Southey, What Folks Are Made Of. You learn all sorts of things when you read.

The book ends with a list of resources for further study – lots of books and CDs to listen to with your adolescents or pre-adolescents when the time comes.