Last time I saw Dr. Deb Gilboa, we chatted for a while about teaching our kids how to pay it forward. It’s important to both of us that our kids have empathy and understand the value of helping others. One of my children is naturally empathetic, while the other… not quite so much. We talked about the lessons we want our own children to have through our teaching, and Deb described several of the ways her family practices the art of giving to others.
Dr. Gilboa’s expertise goes way beyond paying it forward. She is a pediatrician who has seen thousands of children in her own practice. Her new book, Getting the Behavior You Want… Without Being the Parent You Hate, is a wonderful guide to parenting children of all ages, helping them grow to be well-mannered, kind, confident individuals.
In all honesty, I was never a huge fan of parenting books, because I found that only a fraction of it would apply to my particular issue at the moment. Yet here’s what I love most about this book. You can scan the Table of Contents for the issue(s) concerning your family most right now. It is split into four sections, each of which deal with a different theme. Each chapter addresses a particular issue within that theme.
The first section is about respect. This includes teaching your children to treat you with respect, to be respectful towards others, and to respect themselves. Respect is a certain precursor to success, so it is important as parents to teach respect from the get-go.
The second section focuses on responsibility. Again, when we give our children age-appropriate responsibilities we are essentially preparing them for adulthood. This is the area where I am struggling the most right now, as my kids are needing too many reminders about their responsibilities. Yet I know that my kids need to learn that their school work, responsibilities at home, and extracurricular commitments must become their priorities – in that order.
The third section of the book is about resilience. For some kids, learning how to handle life when it does not go their way is a big issue. It is where the notion of helicopter parenting comes from, that feeling of wanting to rescue our children rather than seeing them be hurt. Fortunately, this is not much of an issue in my own home. Since my oldest has had to deal with his fair share of adversity and has had no choice but to handle it. And fortunately he has handled it all with incredible grace.
The last section in the book gives real life tips for getting your kids to do all of these things on a regular basis, and how to respond if it does not come easily.
And this?? This is perhaps my favorite part of the book. It’s the harsh reality we parents all need to remember. “Where does it start? It starts with the mistaken impression that feelings are more important than actions.” Of course, how our children feel matters. However, helping our children to understand that a mood or emotion is not an excuse for poor behavior is vital to their future success. (As someone who went through a difficult time at a very young age, that has always been one of my biggest pet peeves.) After all, how many times have you had to go to work in a bad mood over something that happened at home? How many times have you had to go somewhere or do something that was not your first choice simply because it was the right thing to do? This book is a great guide for teaching your kids how to always do the next right thing.
Get the Behavior You Want… Without Being the Parent You Hate by Deborah Gilboa is available now at Amazon.com. There is so much to be learned from it.
So, tell me. What are some of the most valuable lessons you want to give your children? And in what ways are you doing that?