How to Be Good Parents, According to Pediatrician Carlos González
Carlos González is the pediatrician that we all wish we had nearby to ask about almost any issue in the world of babies. Author of books like Kiss Me!, How to Raise Your Child with Love, and Breastfeeding Made Easy, he’s a reference in the field of parenting, food and children’s health. Keep reading to learn more about what he says it takes to be good parents.
If there’s something we know as parents, it’s that the arrival of a new child always comes with doubts and challenges. There’s lots of literature about pediatrics. In fact, it can be overwhelming to see so much conflicting information.
Dr. Carlos González makes things very easy for us. He’s a defender of natural upbringing. Also, if there’s something he achieves in his books, it’s to encourage parents to trust themselves. In each of us, there is the ability to raise a child. We see this every day when perceiving the needs of each child.
Biologically, all children establish a first attachment relationship with a caregiver. That primary attachment figure is almost always the mother.
Interview with Carlos González about how to be good parents
Parenting is often surrounded by a sphere where there are lots of variables. Work, relationships, our personalities, society… We all want to do our best, without a doubt. However, being good parents doesn’t require having an instruction manual. In reality, you just need two simple things that Dr. Carlos González points out: time and love.
Today, this approach to natural parenting is once again gaining ground. Therefore, this encourages us to trust ourselves a little more. Within this context, the value of taking time, patience and affection is recovered. In addition, there’s value in taking time in a world that sometimes goes too fast.
Being a good parent isn’t a mystery to unveil. It essentially means showing trust and love every day. In our interview, we talked about this and other interesting questions with Dr. González.
Currently, there’s a lot of information on how to be good parents. Everyone has opinions, but what are the consequences of all this extra information?
Well, I guess it depends a lot on what information everyone finds. Some information is correct, others facts are close, and some are entirely false. Additionally, those who spend all their time reading and contrasting sources may be neglecting spending time with their own children, which is really important.
Today, many women opt for breastfeeding on demand. As a professional, what can you tell us about this?
This has been going on forever. Since women have existed – about 200,000 years if we limit ourselves to sapiens, millions if we include other hominids – almost all have breastfed on demand. A little over a century ago, most people had no clock.
For a long time, the belief of not holding children every time they cry was thought to be positive. We would like to know your opinion as a parent about it. What worked in your case?
Children need to be held. Therefore, all human cultures – except Western culture in some decades of the last century – carry their children all the time. It’s not “hold them every time they cry.” They carry them without waiting for them to cry. Therefore, they know that if they didn’t, they would cry.
It’s not always easy to balance work and family life. We know you chose to spend time raising your children. Could you tell us what led you to make that decision?
I received traditional education in a school of priests. They explained to me that work- “You will earn the bread with the sweat of your forehead” – was a divine punishment. I’m surprised by the position that some people today identify “life” with “work.”
Traditionally, work was what we did to make a living. Life was what you did when you weren’t working. Therefore, raising my children has been the most important thing in my life. If work doesn’t allow you to take care of your children; that is, if work allows you to make a living, but prevents you from living… what is it for then?
What does it take to raise a child?
Time and affection.
Do you think that parents now are more or less aware of the role they have both in teaching and raising their children?
Fathers have seen their role change many times in recent decades. Now, it’s considered necessary to change diapers and bathe children. Before, it was necessary to work overtime to let the mother be with her children and not have to go back to work. However, both roles are very noble.
Are new technologies a distraction and danger only for children, or for parents as well?
They’re especially so for parents. Parents who have a lot of screen time pay less attention to their children. To be good parents, we cannot expect children and teens to show more self-control than adults.
Teaching children is usually related to the role of mothers. However, why do you think it’s still difficult for fathers to be a relevant figure?
Biologically, all children establish a first attachment relationship with a primary caregiver. In fact, that primary attachment is almost always with the mother. The only way for the father to be “primary” would be for the mother to be “secondary.”
What mother would want that? Therefore, during the first months, the relationship with the mother is much more intense. In addition, for years – sometimes throughout life – children have a preference.
Studies show that today, there are more divorces than before. How does this situation affect children?
It’s very bad. Divorce, even in the best circumstances, is bad for kids. In addition, the circumstances usually aren’t good; there are arguments, fights, insults, and children are caught feeling like they need to take sides.
Regarding the previous question, are there alternatives that don’t affect children so much?
Of course, the first thing would be to avoid these fights, insults and conflicts. Stop trying to hurt the other person through the children. Of course, it would be better not to separate. We complain that 25 or 30% of C-sections are done, we talk about “unnecessary,” we claim that the real medical causes don’t justify more than 10 or 15% of C-sections… and yet, we accept that it’s normal to have a 50% divorce rate.
I cannot believe that all of them are really necessary, that they’re caused by abuse and ill-treatment. Surely, many could be avoided if you decide from day one to maintain the relationship. We do this with our children. If a 12- or 15-year-old son disobeys us, doesn’t do his homework, lies to us, we don’t just “divorce” him. We’ll endure anything, and even seek professional help if necessary.
Can you tell us about the importance of spending time raising children to be good parents?
Oh, what an odd question. Well, if you have children, you’ll want to enjoy them, right? In fact, there are many people who make huge efforts and face enormous expenses to have children. Sometimes, they have repeated in vitro procedures, go through long lines or trips abroad to adopt.
In addition, many others would have made similar efforts to have encountered the same difficulties. Generally, most people dream of being firefighters or pilots, but we give up on those without a problem. Clearly, having children is something that many people want very intensely. When you finally have them, will you give up?