Patricia Brown, MD
Dr. Brown is a mom of two daughters, ages nine and seven, and a three-year-old son and a psychiatrist at Columbia-New York Child and Adolescent Telepsychiatry and in private practice in Cresskill, NJ.
How many children do you have? I have two daughters, ages nine and seven, and a three-year-old son.
What’s your specialty? Child an adult psychiatry.
What’s your favorite parenting tip? Own your own problems. If something is my problem, then I need to deal with it. But if something is my child’s problem, then I need to help her try to deal with it. For example, I found I would get upset about things that didn’t really matter. If my kids were making noise and annoying me, it really wasn’t their problem; it was my problem. I found that if I approached it this way and said to them, “Mommy has had a long day and it would really help me if you could be more quiet.” I’d get a positive reaction. When my kids have a problem, I tell them, “What do you think we should do? How can we fix this?” This encourages them to do their own problem solving.
What has surprised you most about parenting? How much emotion my children can invoke I me. I never realized how much I would at times want to kill them and at other times how I have more love for them than I thought I was capable of.
How do you get your kids to eat healthy food? I load the fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables, and we don’t have junk in the house. My kids love edamame, and I buy it in boxes of individual packages you an microwave.
How do you work exercise into your family’s life? All of my kids are involved in stuff. My older daughter does taekwondo and soccer, my younger daughter does gymnastics and softball. They also run around outside with their cousins who live next door. A favorite thing in our house in the pogo stick. They love playing with that. We also have a gym in our basement, and we all exercise together.
How do you recharge your batteries? Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, I take a Latin Top Jazz Funk Dance class. It’s great exercise, but I never feel like I’m exercising! I also belong to a book club, which is perfect because otherwise I’d never have the chance to read books for fun. We took about the book, but also about personal things, and it’s wonderful.