'Duck Dynasty' Stars Willie & Korie Robertson Get Candid on Disciplining Kids: 'Sometimes You Gotta Do a Littl
By Sophie Schillaci
Duck Dynasty fans have watched the Robertson kids grow up right in front of their eyes, and now Willie and Korie Robertson are getting candid about their parenting methods in the new book, Strong & Kind.
"It's really not about telling people how to parent, it's more about saying, 'Let's think about it. Let's be intentional about the way we want to raise our children and the values we want to instill in them,'" Korie tells ETonline. "What are the things that they're gonna need, the values that they're gonna need as they grow up, to be good contributors to society and to make the world a better place?"
Korie wrote the book alongside her own mother, Chrys Howard, while Willie contributed several stories of his own. The book aims to help parents identify how to instill solid values in their children from an early age and, while it draws heavily on lessons from the Bible, Korie hopes readers of any faith would agree on the themes included.
"The values that we talk about in this book are strength, kindness, humility, self-control, patience and honesty," says Korie. "It's all values that I think we can all agree are important. Our world would be a better place if we all could stay true to these values."
Korie and Willie are mom and dad to five children, ranging in age from 20 to 13, and the couple admits that they've had to switch up their own parenting methods to work for each individual kid.
"Some of our kids are one way, some of them were hard-headed, some of them were not. Some of them were super sensitive, so you have to take all of that into effect," says Willie. "I could look at Sadie one way, and she would start cryin’ -- like that! -- it wasn't a spanking or anything like that, she was so sensitive. And John Luke was very hard-headed, and his brother, Will, was very hard-headed."
Willie and Korie's methods of discipline often called on both kindness and strength -- but when lying or disrespect were involved, sometimes the strength tactic ruled supreme.
"There was a handful of spankings," Willie says. "I mean, we certainly use that as an option. Not very much -- we try to talk."
But the counting to three warning method? Forget it!
"Sometimes you gotta do a little swat, you know," says Willie, recalling a story from John Luke's childhood with a laugh. "I said, 'Do not touch' whatever I told him not to touch. So he was fake touching, and I popped them fingers. He looked at me and he was thinking, 'I didn't touch it!' I was like, 'You don't even act like you're gonna touch it! We're not playin’ games.'"
"We've lost confidence as parents," says Korie. "We get confused and we think, 'Oh no, is this going to hurt her self-esteem? ... We've lost that confidence to say, 'I'm the mom. I'm in charge here. You're gonna be fine.' … [Kids] need to see a strong role model," she adds. "They need to see somebody who's confident and knows what's up."
Within the last year, viewers watched as John Luke tied the knot, and as Sadie competed on Dancing With the Stars. "I got a lot of questions because our kids, they are respectful," says Korie. "It's always kinda weird because you don't want to come across as like, 'Oh, I know all about parenting.' Because, of course we don't. There's not like a handbook for parenting, you're not gonna do it perfectly at all."
Another topic discussed extensively in Strong & Kind is the role of the media in children's lives today. Yes, Korie and Willie say that they do take precautions to monitor their kids' TV and Internet usage, but, as Willie says, "We're not isolationists by any means."
See what they said about teaching their kids to understand what they see on TV, and whether they'd ever block shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians, in the video below.