Most helpful critical review
take it with a grain of salt
on October 29, 2002
Overall,I believe that the book provides some good commonsense
advice.I do not doubt Dr. Smalley's credentials or his sincerity.However,I have a major with Smalley's overemphasis on the importance of spanking.In fact,the spanking method smalley used on his own kids was much more harsh,cruel,and potential injurious than anything advocated by Dr. Dobson.
Dobson's idea of spanking is a maximum of three light strokes with a switch.Smalley would force his kids to lie flat on their stomachs on a bed,and then he would paddle them at least until they cried.My friends who paddle their kids make them bend over a chair,and never use more than 4 or 5 swats.Forcing a kid to lie on his/her stomach and then insisting on making him/her cry is foolish,especially for kids with tough seats who resist crying.Smalley's advice could inadvertantly lead to abuse.Smalley did not mention whether he did it bare bottom or not,but parents who choose to paddle their kids bare and use Smalley's technique could very easily bruise their childen.It is obvious from the doctor's description of the punishments that his kids were terrified of him and his spankings.The eldest child got in trouble with the law as a teenager.I was only whipped in school,not at home,and I was never arrested-case in point.I was better behaved and a better student than Smalley's heavily spanked oldest.Be careful with this stuff.Only very strong and resilient kids can be tortured like this without harm.