Review by Roots and Sprouts

Book review by Lis Garrett, Root & Sprout


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 behaviors and discipline problems in our kids, 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 also believes that kids-along with their struggles-too often become the “identified patient”, when in fact, they are the symptom of other things that are going on around them.  He believes that when kids are sent into therapy as “the problem” rather than being seen as the symptom of problems that are taking place in their social system, i.e., their family, then treatment is usually ineffective for the long term. Their issues will either continue, or they may later pop up in some other problematic form.  As a general rule, treating kids for their emotional problems or their unacceptable behaviors can be like cutting off the weed 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 working with their child, that I prefer to meet with them first to see if the issues with their kids might be eliminated by fine tuning what’s going on with them as parents.”

He goes on to explain: “I usually suggest that it is common for kids to act out and to have unacceptable behaviors in response to difficult life circumstances that are going on around them. For instance, their parents may be struggling with their own self-esteem, or they may be having difficulties in their marriage; or perhaps they just need to look at ways they can improve their parenting skills. These issues and more, often lie behind what is going on with their kids. When they are addressed, remarkable improvement in the behaviors and attitudes of their kids is often realized.  And all without subjecting their child to therapy or to the stigma that being in treatment can carry for a child.”

Dr. Wimberly believes that it is often the subtle attitudes we parents have toward our kids that lay behind what troubles them. In Parenting With An Attitude, he suggests and addresses 21 questions that he has found helpful to parents who want to evaluate the attitudes they may have that affect their parenting efforts.  While there are no doubt others, these specific 21 questions seem to address many of the most common and troublesome areas. For instance, one of the questions he addresses in his book is: “Do I respect my kids?”

“I often find that what lies behind adult insecurities, low self-esteem, or a general sense of not knowing what one has to offer, is a little kid who seldom felt he/she was respected, or that if they did at times feel the respect of their parents, that they could have lost it if they had not behaved, obeyed, or lived up to the expectations their parent’s had of them.  I make an important distinction between rights and privileges-which can be lost as a result of unacceptable actions-and respect as a person, which should never be in jeopardy based on mistakes, or inappropriate behaviors.”

Another question Dr. Wimberly suggests that is important for all parents to consider is this: “What do my kids hear me say about them?”  He explains that the messages our little kids hear about themselves often goes a long way in shaping and forming how they see, view, and value themselves throughout their lifetime. He has seen and heard of the damaging results of those careless 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 a very early age and at a time when their little sponge-like brain simply absorbed without question, what they were told.  Of course they can change and overcome those views and perceptions. That’s a large part of what the goal of adult therapy is all about.  But he is convinced that we can help spare our kids the pain and trouble of therapy and counseling later in their lives by providing them with what they need in order 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.


About the Author

Ed Wimberly, Ph.D. began his professional career in private practice 36 years ago.  During his career he has 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 Magazine in Ventura, California.

He has been married for 37 years and is the father of two grown and wonderful daughters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current day month ye@r *