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A Developmental Pediatrician's Amazing Parenting Advice

Don’t you just love when a¬†medical professional spends seven minutes with your child in an unfamiliar¬†office and suddenly knows everything about them?¬† Me too.¬†(Enter sarcasm.)

No education, degree, continuing¬†education or journal article could have made me the kind of clinician I am¬†today like Hank and Gus have. Hank and¬†Gus are not my crotchety neighbor men who¬†sit on the front porch and kill¬†flies with a can of Raid.¬† They are my¬†kids. I don’t give birth to babies; I¬†give birth to old men.

hank and gus

There was a time in my life I knew everything about your child. I knew what they should be playing with, who should be working with them, what they should be eating and how much they should be sleeping. I know none of these things anymore. I know how to help them talk and eat, and I know how to help you help them do these things.

That is all I know. Let’s get¬†real here.

My own kids never sleep. Hank prefers to play with fly swatters, and¬†Gus’s favorite toy is a tiny fake bale of hay. ¬†Hank had cereal and fruit snacks for breakfast. Gus had breast milk and chased it with some¬†residual chocolate on the remote. I am¬†in no place to tell you what you should be doing with your own kid. I was only qualified to do that before I had¬†kids.

I was recently helping out in a¬†clinic with an amazing developmental pediatrician. He was calm and patient, warm and kind.¬†I was quite sure he knew the secrets of the universe. We finished the evaluation and met with the¬†parents. I was ready. I had my legal pad and my pen. I was going to write down everything he¬†said. He was surely going to tell these¬†parents exactly how to raise a child. I¬†couldn’t wait. He was going to change my¬†life.

And what did he tell them?

He said, ‚ÄúI was a general pediatrician before¬†I became a developmental pediatrician. I¬†have been practicing for a very long time. However, you are the only person with a Ph.D. in your child.‚Ä̬†

What?

No. I needed more. I needed him to hand me the key to perfect parenting. He was supposed to tell this family exactly how to raise a child and I was going to write down everything he said.

Turns out he gave me (and those¬†parents) something more. He gave me a¬†moment away from the panic of ‚ÄúI have no idea what I’m doing.‚ÄĚ He validated my feeling that I know more¬†about my child than any pediatrician, therapist or educator.

Don’t get me wrong. I need those people to guide me in the¬†development of my children. However, at¬†the end of the day I am the one with the Ph.D. in Hank and Gus.

mom with hank and gus

If your pediatrician, educator, daycare¬†provider or therapist thinks they know your child better than you do ‚Äď fire¬†them. If you are looking for someone who¬†knows everything about raising a child, well I have a brother without¬†kids. I can get you his number.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s the best thing a medical professional has said to you related to your (or a loved one’s) disability, disease or mental illness? ¬†Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.