Dr James Dobson has been speaking and writing about parenting for decades, providing advice on marriage, parenting and life in general from a Christian perspective. That voice of experience is immediately apparent, although some of what he says sounds somewhat old fashioned, in style if not in content.
Dr Dobson's Handbook of Family Advice has been adapted from radio broadcasts and two previous books (Home with a Heart: Encouragement for Families and Coming Home: Timeless Wisdom for Families), and at times it shows. This isn't so much a book as a series of unconnected homilies.
There are some pretty odd subject changes, like from eating together as a family to writing letters to politicians. Frankly, the book would have been improved if there had been some evidence of an overall theme or structure. Some of the stories just don't seem to have a point. In one, Dobson comments that you can learn a lot about people by watching them. But the anecdote didn't actually tell us that he had learnt anything. Odd.
I've read several previous books by Dr Dobson that were much better and didn't suffer from the de ja vu sensation of feeling like I've read all this before. Actually, I have read most of this before - in those previous books by Dr Dobson. If you have children and have never read a Dobson book before, this might be worth reading. Otherwise, this is a pass.
Thanks to Harvest House and NetGalley for providing a free book for review.
If you're a fan of Dr. Dobson, you're going to love this book! Written in a 90-second format that makes pieces of wisdom sharp and to the point, Dr. Dobson has complied commentaries taken from his radio and television programs. Further, they are organized into sensible categories such that when the reader would like enlightenment on a subject, (marriage, teens, or getting older, etc.) all he need do, is turn to the pages of that section.
I think that this book will serve many as an excellent resource for practical help.
Thank you to FirstWildCard and Ginger Chen at Harvest House Publishers for my copy.
Dr. Dobson has long been an author I turn to when I am looking for practical, easy to read parenting guidance, and the Handbook of Family Advice does not disappointment. The book is written in short snippets or commentaries on various subjects, covering such areas as communication, discipline, divorce, fatherhood, self-esteem, sex, dating and purity. You can either read the book cover to cover all at once, or go to the section of the book you are most needing guidance in. I found the book to be a breath of fresh air, as Dr. Dobson gives parents and children permission to just be human, to not focus on the unrealistic expectations of society, but allow kids to be kids and parents to do the best they can raising them. I'll give just one example. In the chapter that discusses homework, Dr. Dobson suggests that young kids in elementary school don't need to be saddled with tons of homework at such a young age, that they need time to play and just be kids. Such advice may bring utter relief to parents who are stressed out trying to help their child be the best and brightest in the class! This book helps remind us all as parents about what really matters in life, and to celebrate who God has made our children to be.
I guarantee that if you were able to put all of this advice into practice as a parent, that your family would be greatly blessed as a result. I encourage you to consider picking up this book if you are feeling at your wits end and don't know where to turn as a parent. Dr. Dobson's advice is sure to point you in the right direction! 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Harvest House, and FIRST Wildcard tours.