Looking for answers to your mommy questions? Curious about popular parenting topics or wanting to hear from various national experts? If so, the website www.drstevesilvestro.com is for you!
The man behind this great resource, Dr. Steve Silvestro, shares his personal experiences as a pediatrician as well as his vision for his parenting podcasts.
Why did you want to become a pediatrician?
Looking back, I think that there are three reasons that I went into pediatrics. The first is I spent a lot of time in my pediatrician’s office as a kid. I had so many ear infections that I needed surgery, and my asthma was bad enough that I still remember many late nights sitting on the bathroom floor of the shower, steam running, or breathing through a nebulizer, which we affectionately called my “astronaut mask.” My pediatrician was amazing and always made me feel good about myself even when I was sick. I want to be able to do the same for kids today.
The second reason is that I love having the opportunity to guide families and be there for them as they raise their kids. It’s a pretty amazing thing getting to see kids grow from babies into young adults, and it’s incredible to share that with parents.
And the third reason is that, like many pediatricians, I’m really only 9 years old on the inside!
How did you get interested in starting a podcast for parents?
One night a few years ago while I was on call, I got a voicemail from a mom who was in tears because her 18-month-old had a fever of 100.8. There were no other symptoms, the girl was acting fine, and the temperature was just barely a fever—but it was her first fever, so her mom was petrified. When I called back, I did my best to comfort and reassure her. But I was taken aback by how this low-grade fever—in the face of an otherwise happy child—had shaken this mom to the very core.
So I went onto Facebook and wrote a public post that I called “Fever Lesson for Parents,” in which I detailed 15 or 20 points defining a fever and advising parents how to manage them. In just a matter of days, it had hundreds of likes, comments, and shares and I thought, “Wow—people really want this information!” And so The Child Repair Guide was born.
How can we find your podcasts?
There are two ways to listen: You can search for my name or “The Child Repair Guide” on any podcast app and find it there. You can also go to www.drstevesilvestro.com, where you can find every single podcast episode and all of the blog posts and articles that I write.
What are your goals, hopes and long term dreams for the podcast?
As both a parent and a pediatrician, I’ve come to recognize that scattered in amongst all the fun and joy involved in raising kids, there’s also a great deal of fear and anxiety and worry. I think we all have this constant voice in the back of our heads making us wonder whether we’re doing things wrong. It’s made worse by the constant stream of opinions and parenting articles that pop up multiple times a day on our Facebook feeds. I want to put a dent in that anxiety.
My goal is to deliver a podcast that offers parents tools that they can use to feel confident in their role as mom or dad. There’s no reason this knowledge needs to be a secret kept by us doctors. The initial vision for this podcast was to give parents a primer in how to best ensure good health for their kids.
As time has gone on, I’ve come to recognize both as a doc and a dad that so much more of “ensuring good health” involves caring for our kids’ social, emotional, and mental health. That’s why the podcast evolved pretty early on to include not only straightforward medical topics, but also general parenting and behavioral topics. In fact, I’m currently writing a script for an episode and an article on, “The Kid’s Guide to Success: In School, Sports, and Life.”
I’ve been thrilled to have some top-notch guests on the show, including Patch Adams, author Susan Kaiser Greenland, and Parents editor-in-chief Dana Points, and I’m always working to bring more outstanding guests on board.
I’m also working on a book and some online courses that I hope parents will find valuable not just for raising their kids, but also for taking care of themselves.
If you could give parents three pieces of advice for raising happy, healthy, confident kids, what would they be?
I love this question and think there are so many possibilities, which is why I ask it of all of my guests at the end of each episode! My three (right now) would be these:
1) Listen. I think a natural trap that many of us parents fall into is believing that we have to say the right things to our kids all the time. But if I’ve learned anything as a dad—and especially as a husband—it’s that listening to our kids is so much more important. When I spoke with Molly Barker, she said that she would often limit her responses to either, “Wow,” “Bummer,” or, “I’m here for you.” I love that. With those three phrases, you can convey so much while also giving your child room to keep talking. Listening also teaches both you and your kids to process and reflect instead of reacting, which is huge.
2) Take care of yourself. Sacrificing ourselves for our kids—that’s the other trap many of us fall into. It sounds blasphemous to even think about putting ourselves first sometimes. But you can’t be a good, balanced parent if you can’t be a good, balanced individual. You might think you can, but it’s not true. Our kids learn by watching us. If your physical and mental health are being thrown by the wayside, think of the example that you’re setting for your kids. Those best intentions aren’t realized unless you can show that it’s important to care for yourself, too.
3) Have fun. Parenting is full of challenges. I’ve been a dad for almost nine years, and I don’t think I can point out a single day that was totally, completely easy. But every day has moments to enjoy, no matter how hard the rest of the day is. You simply have to decide which you want to focus on. I choose to have fun.