Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » JAMES DOBSON Q&A

    Filed at 7:06 am under by dcobranchi

    I don’t recall Dobson being quite this enthusiastic before.

    Many of our friends have begun to home-school their children with seemingly positive results. My wife and I are considering this possibility as well, but aren’t quite sure. What are your views on this educational option? What would you do in my shoes?

    This is a subject on which my mind has changed dramatically over the years.

    There was a time when I subscribed wholeheartedly to the notion that early formal childhood education was vital to the child’s intellectual well-being.

    That was widely believed in the ’60s and ’70s. I no longer accept that idea and favor keeping kids with their parents for a longer time.

    Dr. Raymond Moore, author of School Can Wait and an early leader of the home-schooling movement, had a great influence on me in this regard.

    The research now validates the wisdom of keeping boys and girls in a protected environment until they have achieved a greater degree of maturity.

    Not only do they benefit emotionally from that delay, but they typically make better progress academically.

    That’s why home-schooled individuals often gain entrance to the most prestigious universities and colleges in the country.

    What their parents can teach young children in informal one-on-one interactions surpasses what their little minds can absorb sitting among 25 age mates in a classroom.

    You asked what I would do in your shoes?

    If Shirley and I were raising our children again, we would home-school them at least for the first few years.

    10 Responses to “JAMES DOBSON Q&A”

    Comment by
    December 31st, 2004
    at 10:10 am

    Would he also stop hitting his dog and his children, and insisting that others follow his fine, loving, Christian example?

    Just wondering.

    Comment by
    Eric Holcombe
    December 31st, 2004
    at 11:03 am

    Daryl, he’s been more than enthusiastic the last couple of years. I’ve heard on more than one occasion (via radio) a more explicit “get your kids out of public schools”. I think he sees homeschooling as the best scenario, but realizes not all families will/can do it.

    Comment by
    December 31st, 2004
    at 5:40 pm

    In response to Dobson hitting his children, I was hit as a child and so were my 2 brothers; not often because we knew not to mess up and didn’t want to get hit. We had no father at home and our mother refused to collect welfare and worked as a secretary for low wages. We did not dare misbehave while she was absent after school nor did we dare have a messy house for her to come home too.

    I have tried this “no hitting” policy, which by the way, Spock has been publically recanted and appologized for pushing.

    What I have noticed is that my brothers and I had a better work ethic, were more responsible, more respectful and much more mature at age six than most teenagers, including my own, are today. Each of us was self sufficient and moved out within 6 month of graduation. We each earned our university BS degree, (the oldest went MS ivy league), with no parental support.

    My teens have no fear of telling me they completed a task when they didn’t even begin. I have had numerous employees (adults), on my payroll, do the same thing. My brothers and I wouldn’t have dared to lie to our mother about completing a task, shirked off assigned duties or attempt to pass off faulty work. We would have been caught and there were consecquences. If caught in a misbehavior, even an accidental one, and a priviledge was taken away in lieu of a spank, I remember sighing in relief.

    I remember smirking under my breath when friends would get caught misbehaving and an adult would say “they didn’t know any better” and not punish them. I knew those words would never come out of my mother’s mouth. She wasn’t that stupid and we knew it.

    I also remember overhearing a conversation around age 12 regarding that some parents were quitting spanking. I thought “Wow, if my mom did that, then we could do what ever we want”.

    If it isn’t the lack of threat of spanking causing this immaturity, then what is it?


    Comment by
    January 1st, 2005
    at 3:17 am

    I don’t object to spanking, but I think it should be reserved for extremely important instances. On other occasions, a different punishment is better.

    Also, punishments should ‘fit the crime’. You loose your winter jacket, you don’t have a new one until next year. Don’t eat your vegetables, then you can’t be hungry, and you don’t get dessert, and no snacks.

    Basically, if the parent reacts promptly to misbehaviour, then it is rarely repeated. If it is ignored then all hell breaks loose.

    Comment by
    January 1st, 2005
    at 9:19 am

    Whereas I was also spanked as a kid, and it *did not* make me a better behaved, more moral, person. As a matter of fact, it had precisely the opposite effect, making me far more rebellious and resentful.

    I remember being about 9 or 10, with my mom (also a single parent, btw!) beating my rear with a belt, and coming to several interesting conclusions.

    1. Even with belt in hand my mother didn’t have the physical stength to really hurt me. I could do anything I liked, and she couldn’t do much about it. This was the absolute worst punishment she could manage and it wasn’t that bad. With this thought came a frighteningly deep sense of contempt for my mother.

    2. Beating my butt with a belt was pointless. I wasn’t going to change my behavior, unless I wanted to. And frankly she could her belt and shove it.

    3. I decided (yes, way back when I was nine) that I would never beat my own kids, because I never wanted them to see me as weak or contemptible. I never wanted them to feel about me the way I felt about my mother right then and there.

    My mom’s resources for dealing with me had run out, which is why she resorted to the belt. I’d won, and it wasn’t a happy thing. To be honest, I can’t even remember what I’d done to earn it, but I do know it didn’t stop me from doing other stuff (I picked up shoplifting as a hobby a couple months later – which she never found out about!).

    I don’t spank my kids. I expect I never will, because if I do it’ll mean I’ve lost the battle. Isn’t it interesting how our own childhood experiences shape our choices in childrearing?

    My discipline “toolbox” includes a wide variety of responses for every conceivable occasion – prevention, redirection, removal, time out, reparations, apologies, threats, bribery, negotiation, natural consequences, imaginative consequences, browbeating, guilt, shame, hugs, love, sympathy, understanding… All it takes is a little imagination, some flexibility, and a lot of perseverance. And I think my kids are turning out to be pretty neat people.

    Comment by
    January 1st, 2005
    at 9:23 am

    P.S. I should mention that shoplifting was only a brief diversion in my youth. I think I decided it was immoral a year or so later, when it occured to me to consider the real personal impact it has on shopkeepers.

    Comment by
    January 1st, 2005
    at 4:58 pm

    Thank you for your feed back. I have been doing those things you mentioned and they are not working anywhere near my mother’s strategy.

    I thought of a couple other variables that could be key:

    1. We were punished wheather the misbehavior was unintentional or not. If we were unaware it was wrong, too bad, punishment was still forthcoming.

    I chose to explain and instruct in lieu of punishment and allowed them to claim “they didn’t know”. Maybe this short circuited their ability to think things through before acting on a whim. From a young age, I probed for danger before acting because thoughtless mistakes meant pain. I still do.

    2. In the times of Socrates and before, learning was mainly through memorization because there were few if no books to refer back too. While giving lessons, teachers would slap their students to help them remember.

    We got slapped in the face. This sting which never was hard enough to leave a hand print did have an accompanying emotional pain that seemed to travel – nose, forhead, back, chest. I don’t remember ever getting in trouble for the same mistake twice.

    My kids have been repeating the identical misbehaviors for years. I have talked, explained, made them practice, drilled, made them watch videos, modeled desired behavior, drew pictures and mathematical equations, rewarded correct behavior, asked their advise on agreeable solutions, taken away belongs and priviledges, I explain to them it is unpleasant for both of us and the benefits of cooperation, everything but spank or slap and the same mistakes and misbehaviors continue over and over and over….

    The few problems I have spanked over have stopped years ago.

    It may be the “humiliation” sting in the slap. I remember at age 4, being at a park and deciding it would be fun to stand on a boys head who was beneath me on the slide ladder. He cried and I was confused; I was having a great time. My father grabbed me, pulled my pants down and spanked my bare bottom. I was more humiliated than in pain, but I was careful not to hurt other kids from that point on.


    Comment by
    January 1st, 2005
    at 6:16 pm

    Well, my kids (7 and 8) are nowhere near “finished products” but what seems to be working for us is that:

    1. There’s a heavy moral componant to just about everything, and I don’t hesitate to point it out. Yeah, maybe they didn’t know it was wrong, but it IS and here’s WHY. I also point out to them when they’ve done something I consider honorable or good or right.
    2. It all comes down to, “What kind of person do you choose to be?” My kids seem to really want my respect and they’ll work hard to keep it. I have to be careful here because my son is a bit on the overly-responsible and painfully self-critical side, so he requires a lighter (metaphorical) hand than my dd who can be somewhat self-centered and oblivious.
    3. Nothing seems to devastate the children more than when I yelp, “That was RUDE!” or “That was MEAN!” I call it when I see it, and their reaction is immediate – shame, humiliation, and guilt.
    I can’t think of any behaviors they do that I have any issues with right now. Sometimes the girl gets a little annoying because she’s too bouncy (and she sings a lot), but that’s just her bubbly personality, not disobedience. They do their chores, they do their schoolwork, and they stay out of our hair. We spent this afternoon playing Monopoly.

    But, they’re still young, and maybe we got lucky, or maybe it’s the whole homeschooling thing (meaning I’m practically on top of them 24/7, so they don’t have time to misbehave). I don’t know. I do know my kids are great at memorizing their lists in our schoolwork without slaps. 😉 (We’re electicly classical in approach.)

    I honestly can’t see why I’d ever need to spank either of them. I have a friend with adult daughters who seems to have been very successful with them, and I’m looking to her for guidence as the kids get older. She’s never spanked, either.

    Maybe it’s overly optimistic, but I like to think our kids (and us!) are smart enough to recognize right from wrong without fear of pain. Wrong is still wrong, even when it doesn’t hurt. Evil is still evil, even when it feels good, and even when there are no consequences to ME. That’s what I want my kids to understand.

    Comment by
    January 1st, 2005
    at 6:39 pm

    O.K. I think I’ll actually respond to the post.

    I was surprised to hear Dobson say that he supported home education, but then I recalled that hindsight is 20/20. It’s always easy to say what we would’ve, could’ve or should’ve done.

    Comment by
    January 1st, 2005
    at 7:30 pm

    I read that Dobson, a couple years ago (2002?), went on radio and something like, “I’m going to catch heck for this but it is time for religious families to pull their kids out of the public schools.” I think he start by saying California, then included the entire USA.

    Dr. Laura Slessenger jumped right in and said she agreed. I met Dr. Laura’s son when he was around 7 or 8 at a book signing with her. He was a very nice little boy. My kids were talking to him; they were a little younger and they were learning Spanish and French. He was interested in German and they were showing him the Berlitz “Teddy” books in German. He is probably 17 or 18 now.

    There are posts on this still on the internet.