Putting Kids First

That’s precisely what child and adolescent psychiatrist and long-time Montclair resident Dr. Rosalie Greenberg is doing in her new show, “Kids First.” In the show Greenburg created and hosts on HomeTowne TV, she is bringing timely topics and key concerns facing parents to the fore.

“I want to explore issues that parents should think about,” said Greenberg, who has been named as one of the Top Doctors in New York Magazine, New Jersey Monthly Magazine, New Jersey Life Magazine and Inside New Jersey, a Star Ledger magazine. “The most important thing you have in life is your kids. It’s a big responsibility. That’s why I wanted to do this program.”

Greenberg hopes to engage inundated parents caught in a rapidly changing world in the central idea of the show: “How do we parent our kids?” She stressed, “That’s what we need to focus on.”

After working with children for 30 years, authoring two books and numerous articles and co-producing a video on bi-polar disorder in kids, Greenberg draws upon her vast knowledge and experience to help guide parents through this most difficult of jobs.

“Parenting is the hardest job without a manual.” She added, “So I just thought I’d teach my philosophy to the world.”

Her philosophy began developing when Greenberg was a medical student at Columbia University, grew as a member of Columbia’s faculty and deepened when she opened a private practice and became a mother herself. “There are choices as a parent, but making a choice requires thinking,” Greenberg said, “and I think sometimes we are under so much pressure that we don’t think things through. We have to think about the individual kid and what he or she needs, and that takes time.”

Time, Greenberg notes, that seems to be in shorter and shorter supply in the ever-increasing pace of the modern world. She emphasized, “You can’t do everything.” Or at least you can’t do everything well, and Greenberg is trying to bring attention to the massive role and enormous duty involved in being a parent. A job understood to be incredibly important yet sometimes gets carried out without careful consideration.

“As parents we need to take charge of what we are doing with our kids. We need to be proactive not reactive.”

Greenberg believes discussing the act of parenting and the challenges will aid parents in really contemplating their actions rather than making quick decisions, which may have unintended consequences. She pointed out some parenting pitfalls. “Parents sometimes are trying to be their kid’s friend, but that’s working on assumption that kids know the difference between right and wrong.” Greenberg stated it is the job of the parent to teach the child. “I think parents don’t realize kids learn by example.”

The doctor’s concerns extend beyond the here and now. She worries about the future. “We have kids with self-esteem but without substance.” Greenberg added, “We want kids to be able to achieve for themselves; to care to be part of this world.” She points to the younger generations disengagement with the world and with personal interactions. She argues a lack of interest exists among young people in participating in the world around them and in acting as caring citizens. She believes technology, while offering benefits, also negatively impacts society, damaging social skills and training the human brain to require instant feedback. Greenberg further maintains the omnipresent media can have negative consequences on impressionable children. She fears the message kids are getting emphasizes the importance of fame and wealth without placing value on the hard work that goes with it.

With her show Greenberg hopes to tackle some of these issues. “My goal is to educate people as much as possible because that’s how you make people powerful.”

And the good news, according to Greenberg, is kids are “a work in progress.” She added, “That’s the exciting thing about working with them. You can get in there early and really make a difference.”

A new show airs each month with topics ranging from the impact of technology on families to body image and eating disorders. Broadcast on Comcast’s channel 36 and Verizon’s station 33, the program shows in 30 towns across four New Jersey counties. Check the schedule at kidsfirstrgmd.com. Customers not in the viewing area can always watch online.

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