The suggestion for dealing with willful defiance is to ignore it or to allow the child to engage in “something pleasant.”
What ridiculous advice that is! Notice how hard the parent is supposed to work to avoid being the leader at home. What’s wrong with explaining to a child exactly what you want him or her to do, and then expecting obedience in return? What’s wrong with a parent insisting when a child engages in destructive or irritating behavior that he immediately cease and desist? What’s wrong with telling the child, “Kitties have feelings, too. You will not hit the kitty”? The answer in each case is, “Nothing!”
This man has no idea what he's talking about. My wife and I have read the Positive Discipline books and it's the core of how we deal with our kids. We most certainly don't ignore it (sigh).
Being firm does not mean spanking or using some other kind of physical coercion to get kids to stop behaving badly. Spanking may stop behavior, yeah, but it's a "quick fix." Beware of what "works." As for "how hard the parent is supposed to work to avoid being the leader at home," wow, where to begin.
First off, "how hard!" I'm sorry, I wasn't aware that being a parent was supposed to be easy. What, your kids aren't worth the extra time and effort to make sure they grow up into kids who know what consequences are and experience both positive and negative consequences for their actions? This, as opposed to kids who know how to "buck the system" and manipulate folks so they don't get punished?
Then, "avoiding being the leader." Mmm. Say my toddler is fixing to pitch a fit about dinner. Her mother attempts to push her chair in to the table so she can reach; this, to the toddler, is unacceptable. "Mommy, NO! Push me back out!!" is the response. As this is unacceptable in terms of how one speaks to an adult, we ask her to rephrase in a softer tone and with "Please" (kids can get caught in the moment and blurt out things, as apparently everyone but Dobson knows). If she refuses or goes into a rage, we pick her up and take her into her room to pitch the aforementioned fit until she's ready to respond nicely (without crying).
Because we're consistent in this, it works 90 percent of the time. Consequently, we often have very pleasant meals that are chock-full of "Mommy, could you please pass me a napkin?" and "Thank you for my water, Papi." (She's three, y'all). She's already learning to give her baby sister distracting alternative toys to play with when baby is trying to disrupt what toddler is trying to do. I do believe she has attempted to swat her sister once, and that was only when baby was less than a year old and grabbed a fistful of toddler's hair. Which is understandable. Mostly those two are thick as thieves.
Yes, there will come a day when they are supposed to obey authority figures without defiance, but for crying out loud, why would we expect from a three year old something reserved for folks much older than they? "That day" has not yet come, so let's re-direct (yes, re-direction works, Dr. Dobson) and, if we are to teach them something, let us teach them that THEIR actions have their own consequences -- consequences which are often much less desirable than the fact that "the man in charge is gonna get me."