Dr. Ed Wimberly is the author of Parenting With An Attitude...21 Questions successful Parents Ask Themselves. What is interesting about his book is that, rather than suggesting ways to address unacceptable childhood behaviors, he encourages us to first look at ourselves and the attitudes we have toward our kids. He believes that in relationships of all kinds, when we want to see a particular change in the other person, it is usually helpful to consider the possibility that we might be doing something (or not doing something!) that could actually be encouraging the very behavior in the other person that we dislike. He believes that this principle must also be applied to parenting and the relationship we have with our kids. Dr. Wimberly believes that kids and their struggles can often become the "identified patient", when in fact, they are the symptom of other things that are going on around them. He believes when kids are sent to therapy as "the problem" when they are actually the symptom of other problems that are taking place in their social system, ie., the family, then treatment is usually at best a band aid, if not ineffective altogether. Their issues will either continue, or they may pop up in some other problematic form. It is not unlike cutting a weed off at the surface and leaving the root system in place-only to sprout once again. "I receive many calls from parents who ask if I will treat their child for any of a variety of problems and difficulties. I usually respond by saying that while I am open to doing so, I prefer to first meet with them to see if the issues with their kids might be eliminated by fine-tuning what's going on with them and the family". Since Dr. Wimberly believes that it is often the subtle attitudes we parents have toward our kids that lay behind what troubles them, he suggests 21 questions in his book to help us evaluate our attitudes and how they may be interferring with our parenting efforts. One of the questions he asks in his book is: "Do I respect my kids?". "In my work with adults, I often find that what lies behind chronic insecurity and low self-esteem is a little kid who seldom felt that he/she was respected. And if at times they did feel respect from their parents, it felt like it could have been lost if they did not obey, behave, or live up to the expectations their parents had for them. I make an important distinction between rights and privileges-which can be lost as a result of unacceptable behaviors, and respect as a valuable person which should never be in jeopardy based on mistakes or innapropriate behaviors". Another question Dr. Wimberly suggests for parents to ask is this: "What do my kids hear me say about them to others?". He explains that the messages our little kids hear about themselves often goes a long way in shaping and forming how they will see, view and value themselves throughout their lifetime. He has seen and heard first hand, the damaging results of careless and constant childhood messages in the lives of many of his adult patients. So he has carefully chosen each of the 21 questions in response to having heard stories and recollections from adults (who just happen to have been a kid at one time!) whose view of themselves has been formed and shaped at an early age, and at a time when their little sponge-like brain simply absorbed without question, what they were told. Wimberly believes those views and perceptions can be changed; that's what adult therapy is all about. But he believes we can help spare our kids the pain and expense of therapy later in life by providing them with what they need to be healthy and well-balanced from the beginning. Helping parents give their kids this head start is what PARENTING WITH AN ATTITUDE IS ALL ABOUT. Discussion questions provided for discussion --Lis Garrett, Root & Sprout
About the Author
Ed Wimberly, Ph.D. began his professional career in private practice 36 years ago. During his career he has also served on various non-profit organization boards, including the Santa Barbara YMCA, Shelter services for Women, Sports Outreach, and Kid's Cancer Network. In addition to writing PARENTING WITH AN ATTITUDE, he has published articles in various magazines and newspapers, including Kid's Vermont News, Melbourne's Child, Mom and Dad's Florida Magazine, Maryland's Parent, Parent's News in Illinois, Santa Barbara Family Life, Sydney's Child, and Ventura County Parent's Magazine. He has been married for 37 years and is the father of two grown and wonderful daughters.