James C. Dobson
Turn Your Heart Toward Home
Film #1: "A Father Looks Back"
- Filmed in Cincinnati, Ohio, 16,000-seat, Riverfront Coliseum for a
- At least half the film deals with so-called mid-life
crisis. "I ought to be going through a mid-life crisis ... but
I'm not ... a lot of my friends have." Proceeded to go through all of
the "characteristics" of this crisis in men " ... they wear
it like a neon sign.":
- owns a 'hot' car
- wears a silk shirt open to the navel
- wears a medallion with a gold chain
- is probably fighting with his wife
- might run off with his secretary ("which seems to be part of the
- "One of the things that causes mid-life crisis for men,
because when you hit your 40s it's not unusual to lose your father -- that's
an emotional impact that makes you think about life and how short it
- " ... in that faith [Christianity] I find meaning, purpose, and dignity,
self-respect, self-control, and identity ... I know who I
Film #2: "Power in Parenting: The Young Child"
- "Knowing how to ventilate feelings is a very important part
of a good marriage." (Freudian?)
- "Children come with no instructions ... you have to kind of assemble
them on your own." (I guess the Bible has nothing to offer in the way
- "deep-seated characteristics within us ... desire for power, desire
for control, desire to take charge, desire to have our own way ... A
scientific study shows that a child one day of age already begins to behave
in ways to manipulate adults around him -- that's the essence of
who we are."
- "Siblings hate each other when they begin to tear down the
self-esteem and attack the self-worth of the other -- that's
where hatred comes from and you've got a lifetime of it, not just a
childhood of it."
- "Almost every child alive, with very few exceptions, will stop
working sometime between the 6th and 9th grades ... most kids quit working
in school -- they're distracted -- I mean there's such an enormous assault
on self-worth at that time that they can't and don't want to think
about schoolwork." (I've never known even one person who
"quit" in any grade level!)
- "A person with anorexia nervosa is usually a very compliant
person who has this need to control and have power, and this is their way of
- "A strong-willed child doesn't need a battlefield -- he'll
ambush you because his interest is in control and power."
- Security in defined limits -- they push you because they want the wall to
- Power in human relationship -- deep within the human spirit is this desire
- "Power is the ability to control your circumstances, other people,
and especially yourself. It's a natural desire for children to control all
- "The desire for power is insatiable -- a very basic human
characteristic, and a dangerous one."
Film #3: "Power in Parenting: The Adolescent"
- "I haven't found this in a textbook. It may not be true [about
teenagers], but I am absolutely convinced that the rebellion, and the
instability, the conflict, and even the desire for power, and much of the
struggling that goes on with an early adolescent, is not primarily
sociological or psychological in nature -- it is hormonal in nature. It has
the look of pre-menstrual tension, or menopause, or a man in a severe
mid-life crisis, or some of the other intense hormonal changes that are
going on inside ..." [Dobson seems to be saying that mid-life
crisis is hormonal; i.e., medical, and thereby, one's sinful response
to its so-called characteristics (see notes to Film # 1) is not one's fault.
Appears to also be saying that teenage rebellion; i.e., sin, is medical in
- Dobson claims that fathers need to plot the menstrual cycles of both
mother (wife) and daughter, because if they come together, you've got a
potential "Molotoff cocktail."
- "Are you aware that the cross-sectional relationship [mother/son;
father/daughter] has a profound impact on all future romantic
relationships. And when the mother/son relationship has been good, and
when the father/daughter relationship has been good, they tend to spend the
rest of their lives trying to find a duplicate of that relationship, and
when it's been bad, they tend to spend the rest of their lives trying to
find something different?" (Freudian psychic determinism?)
- "My advice in raising adolescents is 'get 'em through it.' Hold your
breath, grit your teeth, and get 'em through it' ... You can cause the
crisis that will affect them the rest of their lives [psychic
determinism again?] ... If you don't allow some rebellion, if you don't
allow some power, they'll find it, folks, in a more extreme way."
- Dobson contradicts what he just said above by saying, "determinism
is a lie." He then goes on to give another contradictory example that
shows he doesn't really believe that "determinism is a lie:" A
child's "self-esteem is assaulted" in their environment,
and as a result (determined?) they cope in the only way they know
-- total rebellion; i.e., the total rebellion is caused by (determined by?)
the assaulting of the child's self-esteem.
- Quotes Dr. John White from Parents in Pain, as helping him
greatly in his understanding of the Book of Proverbs.
Film #6: "The Heritage"
- Dobson lists four principles on which the family rests, one of which is,
"the worth of the individual regardless of the circumstances
in which they find themselves." Abortion is the most serious issue
"due to the worth of every individual." (No mention of
the fact that abortion is wrong, not because the unborn is so
valuable, but because the child bears God's image, and thus abortion is an
indirect attack on God Himself.)
- "Women who have had an abortion will have a harder time forgiving
themselves than God forgiving you." Dobson then urges them to find
a counselor to help them work through it.
Biblical Discernment Ministries