Thursday Interview: Elisabeth Wilkins of Empowering Parents
Why and when did you start Empowering Parents?
Empowering Parents was created in 2007 in answer to parents who wanted a place on the web where they could go to get non-generic advice for their parenting problems. We offer real, hands-on tips and techniques for parents that really work—and the best part is that they can start using our advice right away. All of our articles and programs are based in practical, common sense Cognitive Behavioral Therapy principles. We offer articles from respected experts about giving effective consequences, dealing with defiant kids, handling temper tantrums and acting out behavior in teens—and any other tough behavioral problem or situation a parent has ever found themselves in, really.
What do you see as the fundamental flaw in modern parenting? (eg: over-indulgence)
I think the fundamental flaw in modern parenting is that too often, parents want to be their kids’ friends—and I can see how this happens. We want our kids to like us, we want to be seen as “fun” or “cool” in their eyes, and we want to enjoy a good relationship with them. In an effort to be liked by our kids, perhaps we don’t hold them accountable for their behavior as much as we should.
What is a common mistake parents make when dealing with a challenging child?
We don’t give consequences consistently (or at all) and we do too much for them. Instead of building a strong, loving relationship with our kids, this type of parenting only sends the message that we are not really in control—and that we don’t have authority. Often parents realize what has happened only after their child hits adolescence, and then they begin to feel like it’s too late. One of the messages we give our readers at Empowering Parents is that it’s never too late when it comes to our kids—there’s always hope if you’re willing to change your approach.
Check out this link to a great article in EP on this subject by James Lehman, MSW.
Elisabeth Wilkins is the editor of EmpoweringParents.com and the mother of a 9 year old son. Her work has appeared in national and international publications, including Mothering, Motherhood, and The Japan Times. Elisabeth is a graduate of the University of Illinois and also holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine. In 2009, she received the Pen New England Fiction Discovery award for her novel-in-progress. One of the greatest joys in her life, aside from spending time with her husband and son, is helping other parents learn how to manage tough childhood phases and behaviors. Her motto: “We’re all in this together—so why shouldn’t we help each other?”