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Pediatricians are trained in medicine, not in parenting

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Dear Dr. Laura,
I've used gentle parenting techniques since my second child was born almost 12 years ago, before I even knew there was a name or that it was an "acceptable" method of raising a child. This was after having done things very differently with my now 21-year-old daughter and realizing that my abrasive methods of dealing with her did not work well at all in the long run and have hurt her. I now have another baby who just turned one. I took him today for his one year doctor visit. It's a new doctor due to new insurance. She began lecturing me about how my son understands what I'm saying and that I need to start using negative consequences when I say no and he doesn't respond. I tried to explain that the method of parenting I've been using is more of a gentle method and that it has worked really well with my older child. I could tell she thought I was crazy. Do you have any words of advice moving forward with this doctor? She was actually the only pediatrician in our area who was accepting new patients. It's just very depressing because our last doctor was right on the same page with me and it was very easy to talk to him. Just curious if you have any words of advice as to how to respond to future comments from her. Thank you, Lisa


Dear Lisa,
With all due respect, pediatricians have almost no psychological training. They are way out of their league in giving psychological advice. So just smile and say "We've got that all covered. I am very happy with my approach, thank you. Anything we need to know about how he's doing physically?" If she pushes you, tell her that we we have made huge advances in health care in the past thirty years based on constant research, and we have also made huge advances in psychological understanding of children. Suggest that she get her hands on my book. You might even want to take it with you to your next appointment. It is very well respected in the field. If that is hard for you, then that is valuable information for you. Why would you take any expert's word against your own intuition and experience? That's like letting the waiter eat your dinner. She can't refuse to see your son as long as you are "compliant" with any physical prescriptions she gives you. She has no right to impose discipline practices, since her pediatric duties have nothing to do with that.

Best wishes,

Dr. Laura

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