It’s not what defines us that determines our quality of life. It’s how we define ourselves.

In episode 25, Dr. G discusses her path from family physician to founding and becoming a sought-after author and speaker. Dr. G shares some strategies for raising resilient, responsible, respectful kids with character.

This episode is also available via iTunes and Stitcher.


Respected parenting and youth development expert, Deborah Gilboa, MD, is the founder of Popularly known as Dr. G, her passion for raising kids with character makes her a favorite family physician, media personality, author, speaker and social influencer.

Dr. G is a board certified attending family physician at Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill Health Center. She is the author of multiple books including Get the Behavior You Want, Without Being the Parent You Hate! She’s also a frequent guest on TV shows like Today show and Good Morning America.

Show notes:

Helping parents with behavioral guidance

  • 90% of questions parents ask are about how to get their behaviors to benefit them
  • She doesn’t offer expertise in their own kids, but strategies they may not have tried yet

How she built her expertise

  • Worked as camp counselor and worked at a daycare through college
  • Family medicine resident and physician
  • Worked at a federally-qualified health Center – working with families from over 100 countries
  • Became a parent of four kids

I’m an expert on parenting my four kids. You’re an expert on the kids who live in your home.

On deciding to go from helping her patients to scaling the teachings out to broader audiences

I think it was 85% hard work and 15% serendipity.

  • From observing that her patients’ happiness was more about attitude vs. their medical condition, she realized she wanted to teach her kids And teach other parents to instill it in their kids.
  • At one point her employer asked her to speak about parenting. Parents would always ask afterwards if she has a book or a website.
  • Starting writing a book and asking around about publishing.
  • Learned she needed to build a website. Started finding opportunities to give parenting talks, linked her talks to her website to help drive traffic.
  • Started using (“Help a Reporter Out”), contributing content, and then getting links back to her site. Helped her google ranking. Started getting calls for conference speaking.
  • Still struggled to get a book deal. Needed much bigger presence, social media followers, etc.
  • Started shifting my thinking and realized the message is actually the goal, not just the book deal.

  • Wanted something to sell at conferences, so she used to self-publish three small guides with parenting tips.
  • I’m all about strategies and tools. I’m not about philosophies. You know the values you want to instill in your kids.

  • Learned she did not want to self-publish the big book. Realized she needed to focus on what she is good at (content, marketing, etc.)



  • Some kids will hit their head and keep going. Some cry a bit and then continue playing. Some will have their day completely ruined.
  • Need to teach our kids not to be in the last group.
  • It’s not what defines us that determines our quality of life. It’s how we define ourselves.


Biggest obstacle she sees parents face:

  • Pressure from society to make our kids “happy”
  • Problems with happiness being the success measure for parenting: 1. You can’t make everyone happy 2. Do you give someone a fish or teach them to fish?
  • I want my kids to grow up to be good people, who know how to find and make their own.

  • Learning emotional regulation takes decades. Telling our kids they must always be happy or there is a problem that has be solved by someone else, teaches them to be passive.

My kids’ happiness is not my responsibility.


The Three R’s – teach our kids to be:

  • Respectful – respecting themselves and other people
  • Responsible – recognize and meet obligations
  • Resilient – handle it when things don’t go their way.

If we do these things for our kids, they will be able to find and make their own happiness.

  • Study showed that happy people have three things in common: confidence, competence (in something that matters), and have good relationships

On kids doing household chores

  • Her audiences always report that they did meaningful household chores as kids, but very few of those same parents report that they ask the same of their own kids
  • Many parents says their kids have so much to do to get achievements that help getting into a good college, don’t have time for chores.
  • They need to learn these responsibilities that they will have to do as adults.
  • This teaches our kids they are the center of the universe.

Best advice for parents

Just because we can give our children something, doesn’t mean we should.