Dr. Mom’s: Ready, Set, Parent

Ready set parent

“Please don’t do that. Don’t do that again. Stop!”

“No. Why? Because I said so.”

“Do not (insert appropriate verb) tease, hit, annoy, taunt, bother etc. your brother/sister.”

How many times do you find yourself using the above (and many other) phrases in a day when talking to your kids?  Do you ever feel just completely overwhelmed and at a point where you don’t know what else to do?  Where do you turn?

We all feel like we are at our wit’s end at one time or another, but we are not alone in this quest to raise our children. Enter Dr. Moms with their amazing new book Ready, Set, Parent: Dr. Moms’ Guide to Parenting.

You may be thinking, “Not another parenting book. I couldn’t follow the last ten that I tried to get through.”  This one is different. Elizabeth Marsh Vantre, Ph.D and Samantha Levine Dawson, Ph.D (don’t let the letters at the end of their names scare you) have expertise as child psychologists but also the experience of being in the parenting trenches allowing them to talk the talk and walk the walk.

Liz and Sam have been best friends for two decades and have supported each other through many successes and some disappointments. Through it all they have always found a way to laugh, both at themselves and with each other. They have dealt with the same issues that all parents deal with from breast feeding  and sleepless nights to potty training and wondering if they will ever make it though the ever changing stages of childhood. Liz and Sam are real moms who have dealt with real issues with their families. They have professionally helped parents solve a variety of child-related dilemmas.  Their insightful and practical parenting advice and tips have been a lifesaver for many a family.

In talking with Liz, I was desperate to know what the magic word or trick was to getting my children to listen and behave immediately. Her answer was “consistency.”  This, I knew, was something that I was not very good at. I didn’t feel so bad when she let me know that she struggled with this too, especially when her husband was working late and she had a rough day and the kids were wreaking havoc in the house. It would be easy to just let them slide, but then they’d keep repeating the same behavior and nothing would change.

“Sometimes you just have to be the bad guy and you have to stick to it,” Liz laughed a bit as she said this. “I know it’s hard, you want to give in and make life easier in that moment (especially when they are in the middle of a tantrum in public) but follow through with what you say.  Staying consistent in the moment will make parenting so much easier in years to come.”

I asked Liz if she could give parents just one piece of advice, what would it be? Her response made so much sense, but it was nothing I had ever thought of before. “Be proactive. One tried-and-true way to be a firm yet effective and pleasant parent is to give children suggestions as to what they should do instead of immediately jumping on them about what not to do.”  Enter the Dr. Moms’ “One Finger Rule.”  For example, they suggest before going into a store, in order to prevent chaos and breakage, remind kids that if they have to touch something (which, of course, we know they do), to touch it with only one finger.  Liz explains, “Kids may touch a hundred things in the store with one finger, but they will follow the rule because they have been given a direction and focus.”

This next question was a tough one to address as I find myself falling victim to it again and again. What do you do when you’ve been doing so well for so long, being proactive and thoughtful and consistent and then, BOOM, you fall off the wagon? Maybe it’s been a long, hard day and the fact that someone forgot to clean up the Legos in the den and you walked over them (in bare feet) sends you into a tailspin. What then?

Liz’s voice was calm and sympathetic, “Forgive yourself and say you’re sorry. Kids are very forgiving and they know that they make mistakes, too.  Model the behavior you want your kids to have.  When they observe you asking for forgiveness, they will know that they can, too.”

Ready, Set, Parent is a book that shares practical advice that you can follow. It covers temperament, the importance of seeking help and maintaining a positive and realistic perspective, discipline, and the keys to proactive parenting.  The Dr. Moms also weigh in on some hot parenting topics such as spanking and when to send a child to kindergarten.  It’s not a book that you have to read cover to cover, but can use as a point of reference, finding the chapter or section that relates to what you are going through at the moment. More importantly, when you read it, you feel like you are getting the advice from a friend, without judgment or condemnation. The Dr. Mom’s are there, lifting you up saying, “we get it, we’ve been there too.”  It is easy to read and filled with many humorous examples.

So grab a cup of coffee and curl up with Ready, Set, Parent, the stories that Liz and Sam share will make you laugh and maybe shed a tear but most importantly, they will make you feel like you are not alone in the adventures of raising children.

Ready, Set, Parent is currently available online on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  You can also catch Liz for a lighthearted discussion and book signing at 7pm on Wednesday, November 13th at the Barnes and Noble in the Chesterfield Town Center.