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Talk show host gives parenting advice

Sylvia Rimm of public radio's Family Talk tells parents not to over-empower their children.


© St. Petersburg Times, published March 28, 2001

Sylvia Rimm of public radio's Family Talk tells parents not to over-empower their children.

TAMPA -- The 15-year-old mother sat in the back of the church, lightly tapping her 2-month-old daughter's pink sweater and listening intently to Sylvia Rimm, talk show host and family expert.

"I want to be a good parent," she said.

A lot of different kinds of mothers were in the audience Tuesday at Bayshore Baptist Church to hear Rimm, author and host of public radio's Family Talk : a retired librarian with her daughter, an occupational therapist, lawyers, stay-at-home moms. Also attending were about 15 mothers-to-be from Alpha House, a pregnancy crisis center. In fact, the 15-year-old, whom the Alpha House allowed to speak only if her name was not used, was not the youngest. Another was 14. About 150 people -- mostly women -- filled the pews. Why should they seek out Rimm's help in parenting? "You can't know too much," said Patty Martin, who came with her 14-year-old daughter, Jennifer.

Rimm, 65, is the mother of four. She lives in Ohio and was a stay-at-home mother for many years, until she went back to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin and got a doctorate in educational psychology.

"When I was a little girl, women were truly oppressed," she told the audience. Now, the situation is different, but that doesn't mean you can just relax, she said.

Rimm has written 14 books on parenting. The most popular is How Jane Won, which earned her a spot on Oprah. It is a collection of personal histories of successful women, in their own words, including Sandra Day O'Connor, who wrote about how drama class helped her overcome her shyness.

Rimm's common-sense advice: Be a role model, enjoy the learning experience with your child and don't over-empower children.

Tuesday's lecture was sponsored by the YMCA, Operation PAR, which runs counseling centers, the Children's Board of Hillsborough and the Juvenile Welfare Board, among others. Rimm speaks at 7 tonight at East Lake High School's Theater Auditorium, 1300 Silver Eagle Drive.

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