I asked several of the doctors from the Emmy Award-winning daytime talk show The Doctors about the successful ways they are parenting their own kids. My first blog on this topic was, "'The Doctors' Get Personal About Parenting: What Experts are Telling Their Kids About Sexuality, Drugs, Bullying and More." This time around, I'm focused on topics including the joys and frustrations of having kids.
Dr. Jennifer Ashton is an Ob-Gyn, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor, and author of Your Body Beautiful and The Body Scoop for Girls. She has a daughter, 15, and son, 16.
Dr. Jennifer Berman is a urologist specializing in female sexual medicine. She is the mom of a son, 14, and daughter, 11, as well as co-author of the New York Times best-seller For Women Only and Secrets of the Sexually Satisfied Woman.
Dr. Drew Ordon has been a surgeon in the areas of aesthetic, plastic and reconstructive surgery and is the father of a son, 27, and a daughter, 26, both in medical school. He is the author of several books including Revealing the New You and Better in 7.
Dr. Jim Sears is a pediatrician who has a daughter, 16, and a son, 12. He has co-authored several books including Father's First Steps and best-seller The Baby Book.
What is your biggest frustration as a parent?
Ashton: My concern is how I am negatively affecting my kids. We all have both positive and negative influences on our kids, and I am just wondering how I am 'scarring' them! Hopefully, I am doing more good than bad, but ya never know!
Berman: Feeling like you can't do it for them. You can't feel it for them. You can't completely pave the way for them. You can't totally protect them. It's a feeling of helplessness, especially for control freaks. To allow your kids to fall down, make mistakes and suffer is really hard.
Ordon: When you see them having a tough moment. For example, my son just took the first part of the national medical boards. They're hurting; it's tough. They don't know how well they did... You feel their struggle and you can only do so much. You can reassure... but it's frustrating that you just have to go though it.
Sears: Not having enough time with each of my kids, especially now that they have such busy lives as a high-schooler and college student.
What is your biggest joy?
Ashton: My biggest joy, for sure, is seeing my children develop into happy, confident and independent young people!
Ordon: Seeing your kids happy as people, happy with who they are, happy with what they've picked to do as a career, and that when they do have down time, they know, 'I'm gonna have fun.' I think that's one of my qualities, I know how to relax and recharge my batteries and I think they both have that same quality.
Sears: When we make the most of the time we do have together.
Berman: Seeing them evolve and experiencing them, but when they go off into the world, whether it be in a sport or on a play date, and I am consistently told how wonderful they are, I feel like I'm doing something right. When I see how the world reacts to them, it's like a nudge from above saying 'You're doing okay,' because we're very hard on ourselves as parents. We never do it perfectly and there's no book.
Dr. Berman, What do you think you're hardest on yourself about?
Everything! ... There are some moms that can just play and play and that was something that was really challenging for me... But as they've gotten older, they're starting to see me as a mother, but also as a person.
How does the way you were parented affect your parenting?
Ashton: It is my template, but I have definitely put my own mark on things. I had and have amazing parents, but I grew up in the 80's. Things are very different now. I think I am more open and communicate more and better than my parents did.
Ordon: My father and mother were very supportive. He really wanted me to go to medical school. I think he pushed that more than I did with my kids. There was a time where I wasn't sure, but then finally I said, 'This is in fact what I want to do,' so they guided me.
Sears: I'm the oldest of eight kids, so I got to see a lot of parenting happen by the time I had kids. One thing I learned was that a child's in-born temperament has so much to do with how they behave. In other words, all eight kids were parented in very similar ways, yet each kid turned-out differently. We had our rebels, and our goody-too-shoes -- me!
Dr. Berman, what is an important parenting strategy for you?
Giving them freedom to express negative feelings to where everything doesn't have to look like it's okay and everything doesn't have to be okay.
Dr. Ordon, what do you tell your kids about dating?
Back when there were younger, I talked more as a doctor than as a parent -- be safe, think of the consequences, don't take chances. Now it's more about medicine, which is a long haul and they've decided to do that, so you have to put your career and your education first.
What is something special/unique that you're doing as a parent?
Ashton: I don't put my head in the sand, figuratively, about what teens are up to... I ask my own kids about what their friends do; I am not afraid to have the difficult conversations with them.
Sears: To share a passion with your kids. With my daughter it was musical theater... With my son, it was mountain bike riding for a while, and now it's surfing. Sometimes your kids just won't get into one of your passions, and that's when it's important to look at their passions and try to connect through one of those.