Westmont Magazine A Parents Guide to Raising Great Kids
After working for 28 years as a therapist and raising two daughters, Ed Wimberly ’68 has decided to share some of his ideas about parenting through a new Web site, www.raisinggreatkids.com. There he lists 21 questions parents can ask themselves if they want to raise healthy children.
He resists the temptation to provide easy answers. “There are no formulas that alleviate the necessity of good old-fashioned hard work and sacrifice,” Ed says. “The point of this guide is not to make parenting easy, but to make good parenting a possibility.”
The Web site suggests ways parents can help children develop qualities such as self control, independence, healthy self-esteem, values, morals, and an attitude of responsibility.
Ed also addresses the distinctions between discipline and punishment and parental authority and power. “In families today there is often too much punishment and power coming from parents and too little healthy discipline and authority,” he notes.
One of his concerns is giving kids “a clear and well-balanced estimate of their worth and value.” He explains: “The healthiest and greatest kids are those who know how to deal effectively with life’s struggles. What lies at the core of our kids’ ability to cope and deal well with ‘life’s curve balls’ is a strong sense of their own value and worth — a healthy and well-balanced self-esteem.”
“Our kids’ self-esteem is designed,” he adds. It doesn’t just happen, it’s not primarily genetics, and it’s not luck of the draw. It’s learned through our efforts to design how they grow up feeling about themselves.”
This conviction shapes Ed’s purpose “This book is about how we parents can give our kids the messages that will help ensure that they grow up to become adults who have a healthy view of their value and worth.”
However, he quickly adds, “How our kids develop is not totally and completely in our hands . . . as they grow, our kids must take responsibility for their actions and their choices. They are not the total product of our mistakes; nor are they the total product of our successes. Rather, our kids are more a product of how they choose to respond to both our successes as their parents, and to our failures, as well.”
Ed addresses actions by parents and not the behavior of their children. “If we want to see a change (growth) in the other person (our kids), we must look at ourselves to see what part we might be playing in actually perpetuating and reinforcing (not causing, but reinforcing) the very behavior or attitude in the other person that we dislike,” he observes.
Examples of the questions include: “Do I listen to my kids?” “Do I excessively protect my kids?” “Do I establish appropriate guidelines within which my kids can freely function?” “Do I make some of the same mistakes with my kids that my parents made with me?” For the others — and the answers — see the Web site.
“Kids simply don’t need perfect parents,” Ed contends. “What they do need is parents who love them, and who consistently try to be on the right track in their efforts to raise them.”
Ed Wimberly ’68 is a marriage, family, and child therapist with a private practice in Santa Barbara. His wife, Joan, works in the Career and Life Planning Office at Westmont. They have two daughters. Ashley graduated from Seattle Pacific University and is working on a master’s degree in social work at San Diego State, and Allyson attends Point Loma University.