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Published on October 04, 2013

Time is the Best Gift You Can Give to Your Family

Dr. Jeanine Kies reminds us not to sweat the little things

This is the fifth in a series of Dr. Mom blog posts. As physicians with children, our Dr. Moms will share their personal and professional insights to help you navigate your role as a parent. Learn more about our Dr. Moms.

Dr. Jeanine Kies specializes in family medicine and urgent care in Columbus. Active in community care as well as in the community, Dr. Kies participates in several professional groups and enjoys reading, playing piano and outdoor activities.

She also shares much of her non-working time with her husband, two teenagers ages 16 and 14, two dogs and multiple tropical fish. Even though her specialty caters to urgency, she suggests slowing down and taking time to enjoy and appreciate your family and life in general.

Like most moms with two teenagers, I find that life is never dull. Everything changes when your kids become teenagers. Discipline, eating and sleep habits, school, friendships and relationships with adults. Fortunately for me, my kids have made it fairly easy and normal for me. Having a mom who is a doctor is no big deal for them. As teenagers, they see my role of being a doctor as something I do, not who I am. In fact, on “take your child to work day,” they go with their aunts, not me.

Tap into your own experiences

I think it’s only natural for most of us to tap into our own family experiences growing up when we raise our children. How can we not? We’re all human and that’s what connects us to our parents – how we were brought up.

So drawing on memories of growing up with my brother and sister, I use the things that I thought were good. On the other hand, in some cases I do the opposite of those things that I thought were not handled so well.

Make time for your family

Whether you’re a working mom or stay-at-home mom, you have to find the right balance of time you spend with your children and your spouse. It’s not so much the things you do, it’s the quality time spent together.

So make time with them, as a family and individually. And don’t sweat the small stuff that pops up. Those things will always be there. In the grand scheme of life, they should never interfere with family time.

Being a typical mom

Even though I’m a doctor, I’m probably just like any other mom. I face the same crazy stuff that happens to any mother. Like having your kids run a 104-degree fever and acting sick at home, and the minute they get to the doctor’s office, they’re running around as if everything is okay. I think every mom feels silly at that moment and says, “Honestly, they were sick at home.”

Another time, I had to take my daughter to ER for a visit. Before we left, they gave us the survey they ask you to complete. My daughter wanted to fill it out by herself. She was treated by one of my colleagues so I thought I better check it over when she finished. She wrote: “the doctor had great hair and smelled great.” Great review, huh?

Random thoughts and suggestions

In no particular order, here are some things I’ve found helpful in raising my kids, especially as they became teens:

  • Watch the use of electronics – TV, computer, iPad, phone, video games, etc. Too much time spent on these is not a good thing. Put a time limit on their use. Better yet, suggest fit and healthy alternative activities involving the whole family.
  • As your children get into the pre-teen and teenage years, their use of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter will only increase. There’s no way to avoid it these days. That’s why you have to become familiar with them, even if you’re not comfortable or interested doing it. Knowledge is always a good thing.
  • Many parents think that the toddler years demand the most attention. Not necessarily so. Sometimes the teen years require extra attention, but in a different sort of way. You need to stay involved and stay in touch.
  • Always keep communication open.
  • Have dinner together as often as you can.
  • Sneak veggies in foods without your kids knowing they’re there.
  • Water is the best fluid, at any age.
  • Know your kids’ friends. Make your house the house to be at. That way you’ll be in the know regarding any “drama” going on in the group.

(We invite you to comment on this article or to ask Dr. Kies a question.)

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