Photo credit: Deborah Gilboa
Deborah Gilboa, M.D., aka "Doctor G," has become an online resource for mothers everywhere. Although a Pittsburgh-based parenting expert and family physician, her social media presence and new book make her advice sought after from coast to coast. I spoke with Gilboa about her new book based on the concept of the 3 R's. They're not what you think they are, and they're absolutely brilliant.
Wanted: A doctor who's like a girlfriend
Dr. Gilboa is the doctor I seek out when something comes up with my children during our physician's off hours. Her plethora of articles and YouTube videos cover the gamut of issues every mom faces — whether she wants to or not. From allowances to sexuality, if your child is somewhere between diapers and college, she's likely to have you covered with an online resource you can access in the wee hours of the night (or morning). Besides her accessibility and knowledge, Gilboa has something else that makes her so sought after: She offers her professional advice in a way that makes you feel like you're sitting mom-to-mom, girlfriend-to-girlfriend, talking about your kids.
Found: Dr. Gilboa
So when I reached for her new book, Get the Behavior You Want... Without Being the Parent You Hate, my expectations were high. I wasn't disappointed. The book is written in Gilboa's trademark succinct style that's interlaced equally with humor, heart and expertise. Gilboa says, "This book is meant to be a reference for parents. With 65 very short chapters (many are just a page or two), this is a resource parents can pick up during the play date that isn't going well, or before going to the store with a child who asks too many times "CanIjusthavethatpleeeeease" or in the bathroom where they fled after being asked where babies come from. I wrote this book to answer my own questions, my patients' parents' questions and the questions I receive on my website by the dozen from parents and educators who want kids to grow up to be the best they can be."
What you see...
Gilboa's take on what this looks like is clearly laid out in the beginning of the book. She developed the "3 R’s of Parenting" to empower parents to raise respectful, responsible and resilient kids and the book mirrors this philosophy. It's laid out in four easy-to-read sections. The first three cover the 3R's and the fourth is appropriately titled, "Making Change Happen: How to Actually Get Kids to Do This Stuff "
Sixty-five chapters sounds like a lot, right? But these are bite-size tidbits of information that parents want and need. It can be read just as easily and effectively cover to cover or a page or two at a time. Gilboa was purposeful in the amount of information she shared and how she shared it and the format comes down to parents needing the same thing that children covet: choices. Gilboa explains, "I learned that parents need options. Two different kids in the same family will often not be able to learn the same lesson from the same technique. Two different parents of the same kid prefer to take a different approach from each other. Even the same child at two different points in her development may need different ways to get to the same result. The more tools I can offer for parents, the better they're equipped to raise their kids into the amazing adults they can become." Those last 10 words are the reminder that Gilboa comes back to again and again: Keep your eye on the (parenting) prize; parent today to raise the adults you want your children to become. This mantra works as a grounding in Gilboa's writing and in our reading of it.
... Is what you get
I asked Gilboa what she most hopes readers will glean from her book, and her answer both surprised and delighted me. She said, "More than anything, I hope parents will laugh." Isn't that exactly what we all need to hear from each other and from a parenting expert? Gilboa explains, "This is a book of stories and ideas. The stories are to give us back the humor in frustrating moments and to remind us of our big goals: to raise kids we can respect and admire. If we can [use the ideas] to raise kids to be respectful, responsible and resilient people, then those people will be able to change the world."
So what's the best advice this parenting expert has ever given? With over 39,000 tweets, hundreds of videos and a whole — fabulous — book on the topic, this is something I needed to know. Once again, her answer is delightful. She says, "Keep one eye on the kid you've got in front of you and the other eye on the adult you know she can become." And the best advice she's ever gotten is a gem from the late, great Erma Bombeck, "The rules of parenting are these three: Love, limit and let them be."