By Dr. James Dobson
Dear Dr. Dobson:
More than anything else in this world, I want to have a happy family. We have two girls, ages three and five, and a boy who is ten. They don’t get along at all. The boy and his father don’t get along either. And I find myself screaming at the kids and sitting on my son to keep him from hitting and kicking his sisters.
His teacher of the past year thought he needed to learn better ways of getting along with his classmates. He had some problems on the playground and had a horrible time on the school bus. And he didn’t seem to be able to walk from the bus stop to our house without getting in a fight or throwing rocks at somebody. So I usually pick him up and bring him home myself.
He is very bright but writes poorly and hates to do it. He is impulsive and quick-tempered (we all are now). He is tall and strong. Our pediatrician says he has “everything going for him.” But Jake seldom finds anything constructive to do. He likes to watch television, play in the water, and dig in the dirt.
We are very upset about his diet but haven’t been able to do anything about it. He drinks milk and eats Jell-O and crackers and toast. In the past he ate lots of hot dogs and bologna, but not much lately. He also craves chocolate and bubble gum. We have a grandma nearby who sees that he gets lots of it. She also feeds him baby food. We haven’t been able to do anything about that, either.
Jake’s teachers, the neighbor children, and his sisters complain about his swearing and name-calling. This is really an unfortunate situation because we’re always thinking of him in a bad light. But hardly a day goes by when something isn’t upset or broken. He’s been breaking windows since he was a toddler. One day in June he came home early from school and found the house locked, so he threw a rock through his bedroom window, broke it, and crawled in. Another day recently he tried the glass cutter on our bedroom mirror. He spends a great deal of time at the grandma’s who caters to him. We feel she is a bad influence, but so are we when we’re constantly upset and screaming.
Anyhow, we have what seems to be a hopeless situation. He is growing bigger and stronger but not any wiser. So, what do we do or where do we go?
My husband says he refuses to take Jake anywhere ¬ever again until he matures and “acts like a civilized human being.” He has threatened to put him in a foster home. I couldn’t send him to a foster home. He needs people who know what to do with him. Please help us if you can.
P.S. Our children are adopted and there isn’t much of anything left in our marriage.
Justice In The Home
Never Give Up
"Above All Else"
The Influence of Friends
From Mourning to Morning
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Dr. James Dobson is the Founder and President of Family Talk, a nonprofit organization that produces his radio program, “Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.” He is the author of more than 30 books dedicated to the preservation of the family, including The New Dare to Discipline; Love for a Lifetime; Life on the Edge; Love Must Be Tough; The New Strong-Willed Child; When God Doesn’t Make Sense; Bringing Up Boys; Marriage Under Fire; Bringing Up Girls; and, most recently, Head Over Heels.
Dr. Dobson served as an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine for 14 years and on the attending staff of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles for 17 years. He has been active in governmental affairs and has advised three U.S. presidents on family matters. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (1967) in the field of child development. He holds 17 honorary doctoral degrees, and was inducted in 2008 into The National Radio Hall of Fame. Dr. Dobson recently received the “Great American Award” from The Awakening.
Dr. Dobson is married to Shirley and they have two grown children, Danae and Ryan, and two grandchildren. The Dobsons reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
How to Raise a Brat
A Message To Husbands and Wives
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