The title of this week’s Dad4Kids newsletter is taken from Dr James Dobson’s ground-breaking book “The New Dare to Discipline” recently republished in 2014. It was originally published in the 70s. I did read parts of the book in the early eighties but I had already formed my opinions on the need for proper boundaries and discipline for children, even before I had my own. Fortunately, both my wife and I had roughly the same ideas, which was fortuitous in the extreme.

When it comes to discipline, the critical thing, perhaps more than anything else, is agreement. Of course, this presupposes that discipline for children is always carried out in a fair and reasonable manner.

The role of the father is to show unconditional love, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have rules, and consequences. We cannot shelter our children from consequences. We live in a world where the consequence of not performing at work, or doing the wrong thing, will get you the sack or a fine, or worse still, jail.

The first duty of parents is to show love, care and respect for their children. But if we don’t create boundaries and develop clear expectations for our children, that are mutually agreed on and enforced by both mum and dad, we do our children a huge disservice.

Let me be very clear! To love your children is to discipline them. If you love your children but do not discipline them, you will destroy them. Former Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie said, “A whack on the bottom never hurt anyone”.

The world is full of pain when we cross certain boundaries. I would much rather give my 2 year old son a gentle whack on his nappy covered bottom when he reaches out to touch a red hot radiator with a loud ‘NO’ than allow him the anguish of third degree burns and 3 weeks in hospital. Mind you a good parent will have already endeavoured to explain the risks of ‘hot’ and the need for care in the kitchen before such a situation occurs. Discipline is all about anticipating problems before they happen and trying to get your children to understand the all-important dangers associated with the consequences.

Another thing I believe, is that it is okay to smack your children if necessary. Shock horror!! How could you Warwick? You are so politically incorrect! Don’t you realize that we have risen above that in our evolutionary development? Our children need love Warwick, and love alone. Only troglodytes still believe in corporal punishment.

That means that the majority of Australian parents, and parents around the world who give their children a whack on the bottom when they need it (I mean billions of parents) are troglodytes. That is something I just don’t buy. In case you have not guessed, I hate political correctness in all its malignant forms.

How can a government official who does not care about your family make decisions about how you should discipline your children. You love your children and you are close to them. You and your wife are the best persons to make  decisions about how to discipline your children.

I received the cane at school and it hasn’t emotionally scarred me; quite the reverse. I learned the need to respect authority (my teachers) and obey the school rules. I have done a lot of work in schools over the last thirty years and I really feel sorry for teachers. Things have changed for the worse at many schools since the removal of corporal punishment.

Discipline has become lax and teachers and school staff are not properly supported or protected. Four decades ago any damage done to a teacher by a student was a major incident. You would be expelled and you probably would not be able to find a school that would allow you back in! The reverse is the case today.

Teachers these days can get stabbed in high schools and not much is done about it. Bullying in schools, particularly against teachers, is in ever-growing proportions. Sexual assault at school is not uncommon against both teachers and students.

A little bit of discipline can save a lot of pain. Our grandfathers would have said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

I was also spanked at home and although I didn’t like it at the time, here I am today, a relatively normal member of the human race. I would agree with James Dobson that spanking should always be a last resort but sometimes it is still necessary. If punishment meted out hurts you more than it hurts your child, then it is probably a good indicator that it is the right action.

Unfortunately, there are those parents that take things too far, but I know plenty of young men who are in gaol today because their parents never set clear boundaries with clear consequences and who didn’t follow through with effective discipline.

In my experience boys need firmer discipline than girls, whilst every child is different. Each situation must be approached on its own merit.

Children grow on love and appreciation, not rules and regulations. However, some rules are needed to preserve peace in the home for the greater good of the whole family.


  • Don’t discipline your children in anger.
  • Avoid smacking where possible.
  • Time out, ‘Three Choices (123 Magic) or the removal of privileges is a much better starting point.
  • Consistency is the key.
  • Fairness in your disciplinary approach with the support of your spouse is imperative.
  • Avoid public humiliation of your children at all costs.
  • Agree beforehand with your wife on the rules in your house that are important.
  • Don’t major on the minors i.e. be firm and consistent with the major issues and compromise on the minors where necessary.
  • If you love your children and actively listen to them and respect them, you will reduce the need for discipline massively and have a much happier home.

Yours for a Happier Home

Warwick Marsh

PS. The Adventure in Marriage Weekend that my wife and I are going to is all booked out. The saying goes, “There is the quick and there is the dead.”  The good news is that there is another Adventure in Marriage weekend in November. Be quick to avoid disappointment.  Check it out here:

PS2.Fathering Adventures is holding a five night adventure for fathers and sons in September. Make sure you ask Darren about the Dads4Kids Scholarship Funding?  Please pass this blog info onto your friends especially info on the weekly Dads4Kids Newsletter who want politically incorrect parenting advice and ask them to sign up here.

PS3. Another invitation RE protecting marriage and family. The Australian Family Association based in Melbourne are an amazing organisation. They have a great team and they are advocating for marriage and family all year round. Alison and I will be attending their conference in Canberra on Sunday 13 August and also attending a special Family & Marriage Dinner at the National Press Club, Canberra on Monday night 14 August 2017. We invite you to join us at this premium Marriage and Family Conference should you have the time.


Published On: July 29th, 20170 Comments

About the Author: Warwick Marsh

Warwick Marsh has been married to Alison Marsh since 1975; they have five children and nine grandchildren, and he and his wife live in Wollongong in NSW, Australia. He is a family and faith advocate, social reformer, musician, TV producer, writer and public speaker. Warwick is a leader in the Men’s and Family Movement, and he is well-known in Australia for his advocacy for children, marriage, manhood, family, fatherhood and faith. Warwick is passionate to encourage men to be great fathers and to know the greatest Father of all. The Father in Whom “there is no shadow of turning.”

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