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Oh My - Dobson books

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
I was holding an Open House yesterday for some clients of mine .. I just love this family, they are very mainstrean, but also so very sweet. They have an adorable 3 year old and a new baby.

So the Open House was super slow, and I forgot to bring my book. I sat down in their library trying to find something to read to pass the time and what do I find? A whole collection of Dobson books. : I couldn't help myself, I started scanning through them. I've never read anything by them, but just from reading here alone, I knew they were looked down upon.

Well, I had no freaking idea! There are actually chapters in there about how to hit your child with objects other than your hands, and they also advocate slapping a baby's hand, shaping the "will" .. oh God, it was just awful.

It really got me thinking .. do these people hit those babies with wooden spoons, etc? It was so hard for me to have friendly conversation with them after the open house because all I could think about were those awful books.

I don't know what my point is in sharing this .. I guess just to vent. I would have loved to have slipped that Mom some different parenting books, but in all honesty, I don't see a way to do that without offending her. These people are my clients, and I have to keep our relationship professional.

I can't believe some of the things Dobson recommended, and even worse that sweet, well meaning parents and going to follow that awful advise.

Thanks for letting me vent.:
post #2 of 34
My biggest beef with Dobson is how warped I think his opinion of the essential nature of children is. It's all based on that, on dehumanizing these little people. A while ago I bought a copy of Dare to Discipline because it's my mom's absolute favorite parenting book of all time, and I wanted to actually read it and "know the enemy", so to speak. I also wanted to see if there was anything that I considered true/good in it. I didn't find much good. I found a lot of negativity about children. The attitudes he encourages parents to have regarding their children are nothing short of poisonous. For a supposedly devout Christian, he has a lot to learn about thinking charitably and living by the golden rule.

I don't know what to do with that book. It's still on my shelf. I don't want to donate it, I kindof want to just destroy it (rip and recycle?).

Originally Posted by mistymama View Post
do these people hit those babies with wooden spoons, etc?
Yes, they do. The idea is that the child will associated punishment with the object used to spank them. For that reason, he (and many other advocates of spanking) believes that a parent's hand should not be used to spank, because the hand should be associated with parental love, not spanking. He encourages use of a "neutral object" to be used for delivering the spanking. I heard about this theory repeatedly through my childhood. I think it's one of the biggest piles of garbage I've ever heard. Kids know who wields the object. And the spoon my mother used is far from "neutral" to any of us. It's a big wooden salad spoon and still, to this day, lives in the kitchen drawer. None of us would ever, ever use it for serving food.
post #3 of 34
I wouldn't jump to conclusions. Maybe they do this stuff - maybe they don't. For a while I had a copy of Babywise on my shelf. And I still have the Weissbluth book. But I have never, and would never, let my child CIO.

OTOH, I don't think there's anything wrong with bringing it up if you feel strongly. Maybe just say "oh I saw you have some dobson books on the shelf - I've heard alot of negative things about them. What do you thnk?" And maybe they will give you sort of an idea of where they stand? You know, try to me non-confrontational and just sharing info mom to mom (Oh I really love the XXX book - have you ever read that?)

Maybe wait until after you've sold their house? LOL
post #4 of 34
There's a mom here who has written before that she likes the Dobson books. She takes what she likes and leaves the rest.

I think it's nextcommercial, but I'm not sure. Anyway, there might be something redeeming in every book.
post #5 of 34
Reminds me of this quote:
"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."
- Steven Weinberg, quoted in The New York Times, April 20, 1999
US physicist (1933 - )

My mom read Dobson when I was growing up. What arrogant garbage. I find it so disgusting that he is associated with "good" and "moral" and "righteous" in America.

I'm kind of bitter.
post #6 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies .. I really, really like this Mom and just can't see her hitting. But then again, maybe that's just naieve of me.

I almost wished I'd never scanned through those books, she had 3 or 4 different books by him, I do know one was Dare to Discipline. I forget the name of the one I was reading that had an entire section devoted to corporal punishment, but that one was pretty bad.

I didn't study them in depth but I sure didn't find anything I could remotely identify as positive or something I agree with .. and I'm NOT ultra GD, we do time outs sometimes around here.

I really don't want to jump to any conclusions about this family because I've found them to be nothing but delightful and kind, that's why it was such a shock to find all of those books in their library.

If I get the nerve maybe I'll throw a parenting book into their closing gift basket!
post #7 of 34
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by gwynthfair View Post
Reminds me of this quote:
"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."
- Steven Weinberg, quoted in The New York Times, April 20, 1999
US physicist (1933 - )

My mom read Dobson when I was growing up. What arrogant garbage. I find it so disgusting that he is associated with "good" and "moral" and "righteous" in America.

I'm kind of bitter.
Yeah, I found his tone so .. arrogant really is the best word to describe it. The book I scanned had a question and answer section in each chapter and his answers each and every time had me cringing.

These people are very, very involved in their church and we live in Alabama where the majority of the church communities not only advocate corporal punishment, many feel it is necessary to raise a godly child.

I wonder if the books were recommended by someone at church? I could really see that being a possibility.

I just don't get it. As a christian I feel I am supposed to model my life after Christ .. could anyone seriously tell me with a straight face that Jesus would have advocated hurting a child? The man who "turned the other cheek" would hit a child with a wooden spoon? Riiight. Complete and total BS.
post #8 of 34
I read a few Dobson books... and they are on my shelves. I've never read any on parenting though. But just because I disagree with a book doesn't mean that I'm going to throw it away either.

As a Christian I have tons of books on Christianity... not that I agree with all of them. I also have books on various other religions. I have some on cults. I have read books on hitler and stalin, neither of whom I think were right about most things. Although I like that hitler was anti-smoking I don't find much I could possibly think he does right.

It doesn't mean I don't want the books on my shelves.

Maybe once your business with your client is done, you can bring up the subject of parenting and tell her about some "great books you've recently read"... and not have any hard feelings.
post #9 of 34
Originally Posted by mistymama View Post
I really don't want to jump to any conclusions about this family because I've found them to be nothing but delightful and kind, that's why it was such a shock to find all of those books in their library.
I think you're absolutely right not to jump to conclusions. There are good people who believe that they *must* parent their children this way. I myself grew up with a real adult-in-control model of parenting and still held it when I started having children. My first child was about 9 mos old before I started having a glimmer of understanding of GD. Before then, I believed (because I had been taught) that the types of practices/ideas that are behind GD were "permissive" and that parents who did them were not good/smart parents. I would have spanked my kids because I believed it was what should be done. Good people with good intentions sometimes make illogical choices.

I have read posts from the mama who likes some Dobson and tosses the rest, can't remember which member she is right now. I disagree with her, she disagrees with me. My opinion is that there is more to Dobson's negativity than just the specific practices he suggests. His writing is infused with negative attitudes about what children are and what the nature of parenthood is. I found reading DtD difficult because his core beliefs appeal to the angry, frustrated parent in us. I find it toxic - even a little can be dangerous to your mind, IMHO.

To the OP - maybe you could say "while I was here I noticed that you have a few parenting books on your shelves. I recently read (enter great GD book here) and I think that as a loving, thoughtful parent, you might really appreciate the things the author has to say and the suggestions they give."
post #10 of 34
I also have read quite a few of Dobsons books and am able to take what I deem usable and leave what I don't. Like one of the other posters said, I have also read and have on my shelves books regarding different religion, differnt parenting styles, different theories, ideas and topics. Having them in my home and reading them doesn't mean that I am following each book to its core or using anything of it at all. I actually have a book about Amish parenting someone gave me years ago that HORRIFIES me every time I open it. Don't ask me why I still have it!

I would hate for someone whom I consider a friend to be unable to look me in the eye simply because of the books I have on my shelf. If you have spent enough time around this person to see that she is loving towards her children, perhaps you are reading more into her having Dobson on her shelf than is there. I know that Dobson get villified quite often, but perhaps she had that book simply to see what the fuss is about. There are so many reasons that she could have his books on her shelf, but as women and mothers its really easy to judge one another and I think we should be really careful before we do that. The most I would do, if it ever was a good time to work it in the conversation, was suggest a few books that I love on parenting. But I certaintly would not presume that she was beating her child with a wooden spoon.
post #11 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys. Honestly, the books (and there were several of them) just really had me rattled. I'm not a judgemental person and I'm not assuming she is hitting her children with spoons .. I honestly just couldn't see her doing it!

I appreciate all of your input. We are in more of a professional relationship, so I don't feel it's my place to discuss parenting with her, to be honest. But that's ok, I've never seen her be anything but a wonderful parent who loves her children dearly. I'll push the Dobson spoons out of my mind and continue on to help sell their home and find them a new one.
post #12 of 34
After you sell the home you could give them a housewarming gift of some kind like maybe a a plaque that has deseridata on it... something that is sugestive of peacful living... may this be a gentle home. something to ease you conscience?

as for the "object"... I cook with wooden spoons but it took a while for me to get over a constant association in my head... say 7 years... they were always breaking and my butt was respondsible... and then of cousrse I don't much like to buy hairbrushes either... I wonder if my brother wears belts...:
post #13 of 34
I again echo the "give her the benefit of the doubt" comments. I have all kinds of parenting books- Dobson, Babywise, Gentle Disciple, etc. I like to read a broad variety of opinions, since I don't usually agree with EVERYTHING that any author says, you know? Some books I disagree with more than others, but usually I get a good idea or two from them, even when I don't agree with 99%. Also, my job is parenting other people's kids and I work in a close community of other houseparents. . . . many of whom parent very differently (ie: mainstream) than I do. I like to be able to go home and pull out a book that they've talked about and see what it says.

Perhaps that mother was given them, it doesn't necessarily mean she does everything in the book. There is probably a good reason you can't see her spanking- she probably doesn't! But at least now you know what the "other side" says (the books that is)!
post #14 of 34
You never know. Maybe someone gave them to her as a gift and she just doesn't know what to do with them? Just because there is something on the shelf doesn't mean the book gets used or followed. Or maybe they thoguht this was good and then have changed their mind.

I also agree that this is a professional relationship and you shouldn't bring it up at all. Give them the benefit of the doubt and dismiss it from your mind.
post #15 of 34
my sister idolizes Dobson. Come to think of it, most people I know idolize him. It makes me sick. My mom brought me a "focus on the family" magazine the other day. I threw it away, right in front of her and told her that she knew I didn't agree with anything he would have to say.
post #16 of 34
Give her the benefit. We're a GD family, yet we have a few Dobson books. NOT for the spanking or authoritarianism, but b/c there are some really appropriate insights about raising boys, and we can use all the help we can get. We skip the junk, and go for what's useable.
post #17 of 34
DH came home with a Dobson book, Bringing Up Boys, from the supermarket one night. I expressed my disapproval; he said he wanted to read it and make up his own mind. That would ordinarily be fair, but the book is still sitting around - unopened. I hope I wouldn't be judged just by having a book in my house.

Two or three, I could see. :
post #18 of 34
When it's known you're a Christian these books just arrive at your door.

I have a whole shelf of Dobson books. I won't say much one way or the other about him, his views or family...other then I haven't read them and don't like the way he speaks when I hear him on the radio (we're only several miles from his hub, Focus on the Family).

But we have people we barely know, they see you pregnant and give you books. The see you with a large family and give you more! Have boys? there is abook for that too! MIL is in publishing and passes on anything she's read or been given a copy of. I mean she's no longer parenting little people but we are!

I keep them because I don't want them in circulation.
post #19 of 34
I also wanted to chime in that while I own Dobson books they were all gifts. Yes, they sit on my shelf - right next to my Bradley, Sears, etc books.
post #20 of 34
well, if you read my other thread, and you walked in my house right now, youd see an EZZO potty training book. oops, accident but oops!
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