When parents, doctors and teachers disagree

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When parents, doctors and teachers disagree

Gatekeeping is what we call the natural competition between any two adults who are wildly in love with a child and passionate about that child. We see gatekeeping between a mother and father, between a mother and mother-in-law, between parents and teachers, or parents and pediatricians. Any two adults who care passionately about a child are bound to compete with each other, especially when a child is not doing well, a child is not thriving, because everyone wants to figure out how to comfort that child, how to get things back on track again, and everyone feels awful when they can't and they see that child suffering. So this kind of natural competition is to be expected. I see it everywhere I go. And I think if we can be aware of it and put it out on the table when we're arguing with the other parent or the mother-in-law or the doctor or the teacher, then we can all see that underneath our disagreements about who knows best what to do to help this child is the passion that we all share for this child's health and development.

Watch Joshua Sparrow, MD's video on When parents, doctors and teachers disagree...


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Joshua Sparrow, MD

Child Psychiatrist & Author brazeltontouchpoints.org

A child psychiatrist, Dr. Sparrow’s care in the 1990s for children hospitalized for severe psychiatric disturbances, often associated with physical and sexual abuse, and for developmental delays aggravated by social and economic deprivation, prompted his interest in community-based prevention and health promotion. At the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, his work focuses on cultural adaptations of family support programs, organizational professional development, and aligning systems of care with community strengths and priorities, and has included collaborative consultation with the Harlem Children's Zone and American Indian Early Head Start Programs, among many others. He has lectured extensively nationally and internationally on related topics and has consulted on media programming for children and parents, including PBS’s Frontlines and Discovery Kids. Co-author with Dr. T. Berry Brazelton of 8 books and the weekly New York Times Syndicated column, “Families Today,” Dr. Sparrow has also served as a contributing editor to Scholastic Services’ Parent and Child magazine. In 2006, he revised with Dr. Brazelton Touchpoints: Birth to Three, 2nd Edition and in 2010, co-edited Nurturing Children and Families: Building on the Legacy of T. B. Brazelton, a textbook on the ongoing generativeness of Brazelton’s seminal research in a wide range of fields. Dr. Sparrow has authored numerous other scholarly works, teaches and lectures nationally and internationally, and is frequently called upon for his expertise by national and international media. Prior to attending medical school, Dr. Sparrow worked for several years as a preschool teacher and journalist in New York City.

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