Personal Narrative: Motherhood And Family

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My life has been devoted to children and families—my own, and those I 've encountered in my career as a pediatrician. My first baby was born only a few months before I started medical school, and my fifth child arrived seven years later, on the final day of my pediatric residency. These two paths—medicine and motherhood—have been inextricably intertwined; they 've often enhanced—and sometimes competed with—one another.

But over the years, as I 've helped my own children journey into young adulthood and worked with countless families in my career, I 've gained some hard-earned perspective and insights into raising kids. No parent will have all the answers all of the time, but these simple parenting guidelines can help make your time together as a family that much richer.

Marianne Neifert, M.D. is the author of three books, most recently Dr. Mom 's Guide to Breastfeeding.


As her parent, you 're the first one to convince a child of her worth and help her venture into the world with confidence. You can make her feel cherished by giving her your time and attention daily, whether by reading a book, playing, or talking together. For instance, try to spend a little one-on-one time with your child when you get home, before you do anything else. After picking her toddler up at
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One of the best gifts you can give your child is to help him understand that he 's responsible for the choices he makes as well as the consequences of his actions, and ultimately, his own happiness. The first step toward building self-reliance: Offer your child choices that are right for his age. Toddlers are capable of picking what they want for breakfast or which shirt to wear (as long as you give them two choices). A 3-year-old can also pitch in and do simple chores—helping you pick up toys or unload the dishwasher, for instance. Delegating these tasks not only lets your preschooler make a contribution to your
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