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For those of you who have already been following our blog, you will probably be thinking that this review comes out of the blue.  This book doesn’t run in accordance with our usual genres, and I hadn’t mentioned it was coming up.  But nevertheless, I have just finished reading this book and am eager to share with you my review.
First of all, why was I reading this book?  It’s obviously not a book for general reading, and it’s not something I stumbled across. It’s a book I went looking for. My eldest daughter is 2.5 years old and a handful.  I realise that she is currently going through the “terrible twos” and all children are blessed handfuls at this stage but you should hear the sass that she gives me.  I am often left speechless by her obstinance, willfulness and defiance.  Don’t get me wrong, she is also an angel, very loving and very switched on.  I just know there is a streak in there that I’m not familiar with and I need help handling it.  (My mother is often telling me, “I don’t know where that has come from.  You and your sister were not like this.)
The New Strong-Willed Child” by Dr. James Dobson was very helpful.  It’s titled “New” because it is the revised edition of the original “The Strong-Willed Child” which was published in 1978.  Dr. Dobson spent 14 years as an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, where he also obtained his PhD in child development.  He’s written over 30 books and has decades of experience with children.
The book begins by sharing the stories of mothers of strong willed kids.  I must admit I was having quite a giggle at the antics, but I was also laughing our of nervousness.  These kids sound like my daughter and I started to get really worried about the teenage years.
After the finishing this book however, I’m not so terrified anymore.  I’m still apprehensive, but I feel a little like I’m prepared for battle.  I understand the battlefield and the “enemy” better and I feel like I am heading towards the future with some tools under my belt.
Dr Dobson goes through explaining why strong-willed children are the way they are and how to discipline them by “shaping the will” without breaking that spirit that makes them so unique.  He deals with common mistakes made by parents, handling sibling rivalry and dedicates a chapter to the strong-willed adolescent.
Dr Dobson is an unashamed advocate of corporal punishment, and I was interested to read his opinions, explanations and methodology.  I believe he puts forth a sound argument in it’s favour, though I’m sure it will remain a controversial subject for many readers.
The New Strong-Willed Child” is written in a relaxed manner, with strong and sound advice, is easy to read and full of helpful and often humorous anecdotes.  It was easy to relate to as a mother of a strong willed child, and I’m thankful that I went in search of information at an early stage and it lead me to Dr Dobson’s book. It’s refreshing to read such good, solid, biblically based, tried and tested advice.
If you have a strong willed child, and often feel like you have no control, are wondering where your child came from and how you are going to manage their defiance and willfulness, I can’t recommend this book enough.  I’ve started employing some of the principles and techniques, and already I can see an improvement in my ability to handle my daughter.
This book comes in a special 3-in-1 book called “The Dr. James Dobson Parenting Collection” with the other two books being “The New Dare to Discipline” and “Parenting Isn’t for Cowards”.  I am keen to read these other books too.


The Dr. James Dobson Parenting Collection
Available @

If you are interested in Dr. James Dobson’s general family advice as well, he founded Focus on the Family which has a regular radio broadcasts and other resources for marriages and parenting.