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Interview with Dr. Reimers

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Interview with Dr. Reimers

Interviewer: Well, joining me today is Dr. Tom Reimers. He has just written a book that's just out to help parents with toddlers. Thanks for joining us today.

Dr. Reimers: My pleasure.

Interviewer: Talk a little bit about why you decided to write this book.

Dr. Reimers: Well, I've worked for over 20 years with families, and I've seen many, many parents with toddlers. Parents come into my office with all kinds of what they would call, "common behavior problems." And if you're a parent of a toddler, it's not just a common problem, it's often a challenging problem. And often you're dealing with more than one problem, maybe two or three. So I just felt it would be helpful to take all of the ideas and strategies that I've given to parents over the years and put them into one place.

Interviewer: And talk a little bit about your experience with parents and children over the years.

Dr. Reimers: I've worked in a number of behavioral outpatient clinics, everywhere from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Iowa, Children's Hospital in Omaha, and now at Boys Town. So I feel real pleased to actually be the Director of the Behavioral Health Clinic here at Boys Town.

Interviewer: And I looked at this book and have read it and some great tips in here. And I also like how you have the book set up into chapters, that parents can really go to that specific chapter. Why did you write it that way, or what were you hoping for?

Dr. Reimers: Sure. When I looked at the parenting books that have been written for toddlers, I noticed that a lot of them were written more with some general philosophy and general parenting advice, and they were kind of light on specific strategies for particular behavioral problems. And my work has really been focused on providing strategies for those specific behavior problems. So I decided to organize the book from the standpoint of looking at the most common behavior problems that parents have experienced and giving lots of strategies and ideas to deal with those problems.

Interviewer: Well, it definitely worked. Is there one piece of advice that's in this book that you can pinpoint as something parents really need to remember?

Dr. Reimers: The one thing I think parents will kind of see throughout the book is that I talk more about the importance of action versus words. And parents spend maybe too much time talking to their toddler and less time acting and looking for ways to respond, both to their positive behavior and to their negative behavior. And so I think, "Act, don't yak" is a term I sometimes use.

Interviewer: And I know you also talk in here about timeouts, and some of the things that we do wrong. We use that a lot as parents, timeouts, but we don't necessarily do that the right way. Is that correct?

Dr. Reimers: Well, I would say that timeout is probably one of the most used and also one of the most misused behavioral techniques. The idea with timeout is that nothing should be happening while the child is in timeout. It is not so much about location, it's really more about the experience. And what I mean by that is parents, when a child's in timeout, nothing needs to happen. Nobody talks to them. They don't talk to anyone. Parents have a hard time with that. And so I spend some time in the book talking about not only the experience of timeout, but also what do parents do when a child won't stay in timeout.

Interviewer: All right. Well, Dr. Reimers, thanks so much for joining us today.

Dr. Reimers: Thank you.

Interviewer: And the book is coming out. It's called, "Help, There's a Toddler in the House." 

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