Ari Brown, MD
Dr. Brown is a pediatrician with Capital Pediatric Group in Austin, TX; author of Baby 411, Toddler, 411, and Expecting 411, and a mom of two.
How many children do you have? Two, ages 11 and 14
What’s your specialty? I’m a pediatrician.
What’s your favorite parenting tip? Trust yourself. Parents so often second-guess themselves, wondering, “Am I doing the right thing?” And thinking they should listen to the advice from their mother, grandmother, and friends. But you know your child better than anyone else. For example, if your child is having a medical problem, you might not know what’s wrong but you’ll know instinctively that something is wrong.
What has surprised you most about parenting? Many people say parenting is the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do. But it’s not instantly rewarding! So often parents think, “This is the 20th time I’ve told my child not to throw the remote at the cat. This isn’t working!” But looking back, watching your kids grow up, you’ll realize that “Wow, I’ve done something right.” You’re planting the seeds of discipline now, but you can’t expect the tree to grow overnight. You’re in this for the long haul.
How do you get your kids to eat healthy food? We’ve created a healthy lifestyle for our family. When parents come to me and say, “All my children eat are chicken nuggets and french fries,” I think, “Well who’s buying them?” In some developing countries, kids eat bugs because that’s all there is to eat. If all you have on the table are healthy foods, that’s what your kids will eat.
How do you work exercise into your family’s life? We try to make it a required extra curricular activity. My son is very sports-oriented, and we don’t have to give him any external motivation. My daughter on the other hand, does need that. She loves singing and acting, and so we tell her that she can do those things as long as another after-school activity involves exercise.
How do you recharge your batteries? Even though my husband and I both work full-time, and our kids are running all over the place, we make it a priority to eat dinner at home just about every night. My husband is the cook in our family, and he spends a few hours on weekends preparing the meals so on weeknights the require very little work. Eating dinner together as a family centers us and helps us recharge.