Dr. G (or Deborah Gilboa, MD) will be releasing a new book titled Get the Behavior You Want, Without Being the Parent You Hate on September 10th, 2014, but it is already available for pre-order on Amazon (affiliate link)! Dr. G is a family physician & mother of 4, & she outlines strategies for various age groups (ages 18 months to 12 years old) in various situations in her new book. You can also also reach out to her at AskDoctorG.com
As a mom of a 4 year old boy, the title immediately caught my attention. Without realizing it, I have been becoming the type of parent that I hate. The type of parent who yells, has little patience, & is annoyed with their children for the majority of the day. I have recently been working on my own parenting behavior, & I was motivated to read Dr. G’s new book for further advice!
In the beginning of the book, she explains that she does not expect any parent to read the book cover to cover – we are just too busy. So I followed her advice to target the chapters that would make the biggest difference in our lives, & I came up with 5 Dr. G tips that I plan to implement immediately:
- Ask “why else?” – Matteo has to deal with a little brother always being by his side, & it is very frustrating for him. It is also very frustrating for me to hear the constant screaming, crying, & fighting; & it tends to make me resort to screaming, crying, & fighting – not a recipe for a proud parenting moment. We have all heard about how it is important to help children name their feelings, but I thought it was interesting that Dr. G recommends follow up questions. “Matteo why are you upset?” “He destroyed my legos!” “Why else?” “I worked really hard on them!” “Why else?” “He laughed when he did it!” The follow up questions, give me a better understanding of how monumental the moment can be for a 4 year old.
- Don’t control the feelings, control the actions – We have little control over our feelings. We fall in love, we get enraged in traffic, we feel sad when we experience a loss. We can’t expect to control a child’s feelings, but we can teach them about how to respond to a situation. It our job to teach appropriate coping mechanisms & lead by example. It is also our job to let natural consequences occur, & let our children test the limits of acting on their emotions.
- Give Matteo more responsibility – Matteo loves to help with certain chores. He cries if I do the laundry or clean the couch without him! But there are other areas that need work. I need to be more consistent in requiring these chores of him – cleaning up his toys, putting his dirty clothes in his laundry basket, & putting his own dishes in the sink seems like a good place to start.
- Worry less about making him happy – He is my first born, he was a colicky baby, & he is very determined & particular. As a result, I am used to always thinking about what will keep Matteo happy. I need to work on worrying less about what will make him happy in the present moment, & more about what will make him happy in the long-run. I also need to think about what will make our family happiest as a whole, & what will make me happiest as an individual.
- Hold family meetings – Matteo loves to chat & loves to plan. He likes to be in the loop & be involved. My husband & I need to sit down more regularly & go over schedules & plans, but it is also a good idea to involve Matteo. Family meetings are a good reminder of what our goals are as a family. We can discuss things that we are working on, things that we would like to learn & accomplish, behavior that we would like to change, & how we can help each other attain those goals on a realistic level.
I will definitely continue to refer back to Dr. G’s book as my children grow & enter new stages with new challenges. I feel that it is important for us to gather as much information as possible, & then utilize the tools that will work best for our own family. Thank you to Deborah Gilboa for adding to my tool kit & reminding me that parenting can & should be a positive experience!
Use my affiliate link here to pre-order your copy of the book at a temporarily discounted price!