Dr. Doug Green’s Advice to Prospective Parents


Dr. Doug Green’s Advice to Prospective Parents

Twitter: @DrDougGreen


  • I was recently invited to a baby shower for my massage therapist. In addition to a card and some money, I included the following advice. It was very well received and appreciated so I thought I would share it with the readers of this blog who can pass it along to any expectant parents and parents of young children they know.


  • Congratulations on almost being parents. While I’ve only raised one child my wife and I must have done something right given her success in the New York City art scene. I think the big idea is to always encourage, and never discourage.

Don’t Stifle Artistic Interests

  • When my daughter told us she wanted to “make cartoons” when she was five it would have been easy to pooh pooh the idea and not support it as neither of us were artistic and we both had other ideas about our child’s career options. Our vision, however, was to do just the opposite.
  • We made sure that she always had lots of art supplies, took her to every museum possible, paid for some private art lessons, and sent her to a summer program at the Ringling School of Art and Design prior to her senior year in high school.
  • We then helped her with her application to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and dug deep to pay for it. After graduating with high honors she has been working nonstop since 2006 in a field she loves.
  • Like most non-starving artists she is working for a company and doing what the boss wants. (The Tampon Hall Show on ABC) While she likes her work, it isn’t exactly the work she would do if left to her own passion. This is what she does in her free time, which seems to be typical in the art community.

What Else Did We Do?

  • Here are some other things we did. There was no TV in her bedroom. If she wanted to watch TV at least one of us was nearby. We made sure that she engaged in exercise including dance lessons.
  • When we went somewhere she almost always went with us and we never took a vacation without her. We engaged her in lots of conversations and asked a lot of questions. I read to her every night at bedtime until she could read just about anything herself.
  • We had high expectations of her performance in school and helped with homework when she asked for help. When necessary, we intervened with her teachers.
  • In one case when she earned a bad grade (35%) on her first algebra test we meet with the teacher who suggested that she drop out of advanced math. We politely told the teacher that was not a option and that we would help with her homework.
  • Nearly every day before dinner I sat with her and helped with her homework. I realize that many parents might not be able to do this, but do what you can and find help somewhere. At the end the year we were rewarded with a 100% on the New York State algebra regents.

You Are Not too Young to Spill Paint or Break Eggs

  • I let her paint the basement floor when she was three. This made sense as there was no downside to spilling the paint. I let her crack eggs in the kitchen when she was five. It’s hard to miss when the goal is to break an egg and any five-year-old can fish pieces of shell out of cookie dough.
  • I let her mow our lawn with our gas-powered lawn mower when she was nine. It automatically shut off if you took your hands off of the handle so it seemed safe. Unfortunately for me, this chore only seemed like fun a few times so it wasn’t long before I had that job back.
  • She painted all of our woodwork when she was twelve. By then she could paint a strait line as least as well as I could so I just got out of the way. Unlike the lawn mower she stuck with this chore.
  • Prior to leaving for college she executed her own redesign of one of our bathrooms. This involved designing and making templates for patterns that were applied around the ceiling and on the walls. She also got a job painting her own designs on local clothing donation bins.

You Don’t Learn Much Doing Unskilled Labor

  • We did not even mention the idea of getting an unskilled part-time job and she never mentioned it as it would take time away from her artistic endeavors.
  • As a result of the skills she had honed with our support, she earned a total of $36,000 in merit-based scholarship money from Pratt. This was far more than any unskilled part-time job would have brought in.

Know Their Friends

  • We always knew who her friends were and got to know the friend’s parents. When she was invited to parties in high school I always took her and went inside to say high to the parents. If I didn’t like the atmosphere we both left.
  • In short, she was more of a friend than a child, but she knew who her parents were and that we were in charge.
  • I believe you will be great parents and I’m so glad that people like you are having children. Please consider using this money to start a savings account for your baby. Someone did that for my parents when I was born and it had a lot to do with making me a saver. Not having to worry about money is a real blessing.

Good luck and God bless: Dr. Doug Green.

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