“The Strong-Willed Child” — Dedication

I will be reviewing the original print of this book. I know it has been updated and republished several times over the years (shudder) but my mother read the original, so that is what I will do. I bought this book used for literally 1 cent on Amazon. Upon reading it, I’ve concluded that I paid too much for this drivel. But let’s begin, shall we? The book’s text is centered and bolded; my text is left-aligned and non-bolded, for ease of reading.

Wow. Perhaps it’s naïve of me to be surprised by this, but the first red flag comes in the book’s dedication. The dedication! I reproduce it for you:

“This book is affectionately dedicated to my own mother, who was blessed with a brilliant understanding of children. She intuitively grasped the meaning of discipline and taught me many of the principles which I’ve described on the following pages. And, of course, she did an incredible job of raising me, as everyone can plainly see.”

 Whoa, nelly! Look, it’s fine to love your parents, to think they were great, to think they did a great job raising you. But to say “as everyone can plainly see”? I … I … Ego, much? Holy hubris, Batman! Anyway, moving on…

“But I’ve always been puzzled by one troubling question: why did my fearless mother become such a permissive pushover the moment we made her a grandmother?” 

I’m sure he means this to be light-hearted and funny, but as someone who was raised on his toxic books and now sees my own mom as a grandmother, I don’t find this funny. I find it triggering. My own mother has the hugest pair of grandma blinders I’ve ever seen in my life. My nieces and nephew can literally do no wrong. She CONSTANTLY makes excuses for them when they misbehave. “He was tired.” “Her asthma was acting up.” And while I want to make it abundantly clear that I would never in a million years wish what I went through as a child on my nieces and nephew, or any other child for that matter, when she gushes over how good they are, when they behave exactly like I did as a child, it really hits a trigger. I was punished in some form for every tiny little thing I did from about nine months onward, and believe me, NOBODY cared if I was tired or sick.

Stay tuned…



  1. As someone who was designated a strong willed child by my mother due to this particular book, and beaten for infractions that mostly I did not know I had committed, Thank you. This guy is toxic and nasty and owes a lot of apologies to strong willed people everywhere. I have two strong willed kids of my own, and I didn’t have to spank them to get them to behave. I just treated them the way I wished my Mom had treated me. And they turned out awesomely, if I do say so myself. Loving, empathetic, willing to work hard when I ask, snarky, sarcastic, witty, almost adults with whom I love to converse.

    1. My copy of the horrible book won’t be here for awhile. I will read your other posts, then try to catch up. It was my brother who prompted my parents to get the book and they hit him a lot.

    2. Thank you for your comment. I agree, Dobson owes so many children an apology, not that we should be holding our breaths or anything. I’m so sorry for what you went through as a child, but so happy for your kids that they have such a great parent who realized what utter crap all this is.

  2. My parents had this book, too. I got my own 1 cent copy on the way. I’ll be reading along as you blog. Thanks to LA at Love Joy Feminism for providing the link.

  3. Hi, I’ll be following along. This is going to be so hard, already you are hitting dozens of triggers in me. My mind is to muddled to get in to it all…where to start. Another “strong willed child” here, whose parents had to “solve” with dobsen. I’m a mom now, watching her overbearing dobsen mom put on “grandma bliners” as are you. Feeling the same triggers, wishing my mother could have shown me one dose of the forgiving attitude she shows for the grandchildren. My parents (actually probably must my mother, but my father was an enabeler) knew I would need a hard hand when my grandmother “had a vision” that my heart “was black” before I was even born, so I came out with my family ready to go, training the black heart out of me. Even as a thirty year old adult, my “black heart” is still discussed. I cringe and cringe.

    1. I’m so sorry. It’s good to know someone else understands those “grandmother blinders” triggers. It’s not that I want her to be harsh, it’s that I don’t understand why she couldn’t have shown me just an ounce of that compassion when I was little.

  4. I have a free ebook on corporal punishment in the Bible working to show some of the problems with books like this. I could link it if you like. Let me know. Peace from Jerusalem.

  5. I’m surprised by that dedication. I believe he has mentioned on the radio that his mother and father left him behind to be raised by his grandmother while they were doing missionary work overseas.

  6. I seem to remember a story of his about his “wonderful” mother beating him with a corset. (Not sure where I read it).

    For those too young to remember– The “corset” of those days was built out of several layers of stiiffened fabric which was shaped by heavy metal strips called “bones”, which looked like…Well. Like bones. You could put a child in hospital by beating him with one. I have always suspected that his mother was most likely a sadist.

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