Friday, October 17, 2014

Happiness For Life

I am a mother of four children.  When they were all little, people would say things like "are they all yours?"  or "boy, you've got your hands full."  I wore those comments like badges of honor.  A successful trip to the grocery store with a kindergartner, preschooler, toddler and a baby in the carrier made me feel like I could do absolutely anything.  I wanted to reply to those people by saying "Why yes, they are all I mine, I do indeed have my hands full and look what I just did...I'm sort of amazing!"

Those years when the kids were so little are a little bit of a blur.  They were busy and fun and wonderful and amazing and very, very full.  During that time I read parenting books, joined moms' groups, chatted online with other busy moms of toddlers and watched shows like SuperNanny.  

Now I find myself an expert in all things toddler with no toddlers.  Funny how that works.  

As my kids get older, parenting is different.  In some ways it's harder.  It's less about herding my crew successfully through the aisles of the grocery store without losing a toddler or one of us having a meltdown.  Now it's more about making sure they are understanding the why's, the what's and how's of life.   It's more mentally tiring than physically.

Now I'm liking tween pages on Facebook, reading scary articles online about tweens and teens sexting and worrying a lot.  Is it too late to teach this lesson or that lesson?  Do I put too much pressure on them, or not enough?  Homework battles, scholastic concerns, friend drama, allowance negotiations, chores, sex talks, don't forget the manners, value systems....there is a lot to this.  And don't forget the fun, because when kids get older there is fun to be had with them too.  Right? I mean when they aren't totally annoyed with you for teaching so many life lessons.  So, these years with four older kids are busy and fun and wonderful and amazing, but a little more overwhelming than I ever anticipated.  

My friend Deborah Gilboa, MD, also a mom of four, recently wrote a book about raising kids.  She's not just my friend, she is also a family physician, an international speaker, author and TV personality.  She is known as "Doctor G."

Not only do I love the title Get the Behavior You Want...Without Being the Parent You Hate!, but I love the easy-to-read, practical advice she gives.  Advice that doesn't scare me like some of the tween sites or overwhelm me.

For example, her advice on why titles matter is simple yet brilliant.  She gives reasons how titles help kids.  Reasons like "adults will listen to them more" and "titles are verbal boundaries, reminding kids to treat adults differently than peers."  I think it is also good for some of the adults I know to remember that they aren't friends or peers with their own kids or their kids' friends. I think that is incredibly important as we move into the teen years.  After reading that chapter, I am on a full-fledged "we are now using  ma'am and sir around here" campaign in my house. 

The book is geared for parents with kids that are toddlers through age 12.  It's a wonderful guide for parents of young children that prepares the whole family for the teen years and beyond.

The book is broken down into four parts:
Part I: Respect--That's My Kid!
Part II: Responsibility--Count On It
Part III: Resilience: Raising Problem Solvers
Part IV:  Making Change Happen: How to Actually Get Kids To Do This Stuff

Gilboa tackles a range of topics from kids dressing themselves and picky eaters to allowance and technology.

"This book is to give you new ideas, and provide structure for your consistency," Gilboa writes in the introduction.  "Choose the goals that ring true for your family and pursue those."

She writes about getting off the "happiness hook."  "When we give our kids boundaries we make them unhappy.  It's still the right thing to do," Gilboa writes.  "When we give our kids the ability to show respect for themselves and others, the responsibility inherent in a strong work ethic, and the resilience to overcome hardship, we hand them the ability to find and make their own happiness for life."

The book is helpful, positive, practical and something that I will use as a resource and a reminder that I am not alone (or the worst parent ever! geez!) when I say no to my kids, set boundaries or give them chores.  

Click here for more information about the book Get the Behavior You Want...Without Being the Parent You Hate!.  It is now available on Amazon, click here to buy the book.

Check out Deborah Gilboa's web site,, click here.  And Follow Doctor G on Facebook.  Be sure to check out her YouTube channel for really good, informative, helpful videos. 


  1. Giggling as I remember thinking I was so wonderful at motherhood when I managed all three out at once. I have successfully purchased the groceries! And you're right; the book is wonderfully helpful without being preachy. It feels like you're talking to a friend who's giving you the best practical advice imaginable.

    1. That is the best compliment - I wanted it to feel like coffee with a friend, 'cause we're all in this together!

  2. I'm at that stage when I feel amazing because I managed to get all four kids cleaned, clothed and fed by 9am. Don't tell me otherwise.

    Dr. G really is awesome!

    1. You ARE amazing - that is a huge accomplishment!

  3. I loved the part about the happiness hook. I actually told me kids the other day that it was not my job to make them happy; it's my job to be their mom. Not sure if they really got it, but someday they will.