by Michelle LaRowe
Editor in Chief
If anyone understands the plight of the working mom, it is Deborah Gilboa, MD., a board certified family physician and mother of four. Dr. Gilboa, better known as Dr. G., shares parenting advice and answers parenting questions on her website www.AskDoctorG.com. Recently I had the chance to connect with Dr. G and ask her some of the most pressing questions parents have. Here’s what she had to say.
eNannySource: With four boys and a medical practice how do you manage kids, career and home?
Doctor G.: I am incredibly lucky! My husband and I each work part-time and structure our schedule so that one of us is always free to be home with the kids. Also, we had the good sense to move close to my mother-in-law, who is very involved with us and the boys.
eNannySource: What’s your best advice for new moms?
Doctor G.: There is no “right” answer. You will not always feel like you have it all together. Guess what? No one does! Even that mom who shows up with her two month old in an adorable outfit with no stains and the matching car seat cover, who looks like she stepped off a magazine cover? She gets frustrated, overwhelmed and stuck often too. Give yourself the gift of some forgiveness and remember that no one knows this baby better than you and your partner do. Trust your instincts.
eNannySource: What about moms who struggle with guilt? What do you say to working moms?
Doctor G.: I say that you have to look at your life and make sure you are passing on to your kids the values that matter to you. Working moms pass on great values – independence, responsibility and resilience are just a few! If guilt is telling you that your life has gotten away from your priorities, then look for a way to make a shift. If you are living your necessities and priorities, then let the guilt go, it’s an indulgence you don’t have need (or time) for!
eNannySource: When it comes to tragedies, how much information should parents share with their kids? What should say they say?
Doctor G.: Parents need to first look at the ages and development of their kids. When tragedies occur in the world, but don’t directly touch your kids, sometimes they do not need to know. The tragedies that do touch your family need to be shared with kids, so that they can get experience and practice at expressing their emotions and recovering from adversity. When you do share difficulties or tragedies, give kids information in small bites so they have a chance to ask the questions they have. Then, don’t try to tell them how to feel, just reflect back to them what you hear. “I hear you say you are angry that happened, and scared.” Lastly, point out the acts of compassion and humanity that surround tragedies, and give kids that want to an opportunity to do something meaningful to help.
eNannySource: What’s the most common behavioral problem today’s parents are experiencing? What’s your best advice?
Doctor G.: The behavioral problem I hear about most often is “a bad attitude.” This usually describes a child who is talking back or refusing to do what a parent or other adult has asked. My answer is this: Kids need very badly to learn what respectful communication looks like. We need to model it, give examples and require them to speak to us this way. If we don’t do all these things, children and teens will be shocked when a teacher or boss refuses to listen. Explain what you expect, give good examples and set down consequences if your child doesn’t speak respectfully, all the time, no matter how bad their mood. Then enforce those consequences. And do your very best not to take your own bad moods out on your kids.
eNannySource: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Doctor G.: On YouTube, I have a series of 1-2 minute parenting tips, each with one way to make kids as respectful, responsible and resilient as you want them to be. I hope your readers will check these out and subscribe or share them!
Lastly, I’m thrilled to be hosting a new parenting show for PBS, “iQ SmartParent.” This is a show with tools for parents (and nannies!) to raise media-savvy kids in the 21st century. Our first episode, all about video and online games, will be available in its entirety in late February online. I hope you’ll all check it out!
Doctor G. (Deborah Gilboa, MD) has been empowering parents around the country to increase their knowledge and utilize the parenting instincts they already have, but that have been dampened by stress, doubt and guilt, so that they may raise their kids to be people they respect and admire. As a Board Certified Family Physician, mother of four and a professional parenting speaker and writer, she follows four basic principles when guiding parents from toddlerhood to young adulthood – Respect, Responsibility, Responsiveness and Resilience. To learn more about Doctor G. visit www.askdoctorg.com.