As a pediatrician and mother – along with all the other roles that we play in life – I spend most of my waking hours in the company of children.  They are amazing — at times delightful, sweet and just plain funny.  And at other times they are challenging and nerve-wracking.I often find the need to be able to relate to them, so I’ve accumulated many tips that I share with all parents.  I’ve tried them all — after all I’ve been at this for 30 some years now — but the one tip that has remained consistent and unfailing is what I have coined as “the 3 YESs.”  Here is what I mean.

You are trying to get something done — me in the office during a check up or you trying to have a conversation with someone — and the kid just won’t cooperate.  They fidget, they squirm or they keep interrupting.  Or even worse, your sulky pre-teen completely ignores you after several attempts get them listen to you.

I always start by trying to figure out what it is that the child wants.  Then I ask the child a question that I know the answer will be “yes”.  For example:

  1. You want to go home right now?
  2. You want your mom to take you to the park?
  3. You don’t want to get a shot?

Usually, the exchange is enough to settle the child down and give yourself a few minutes to move on with your task.  Eventually you do have to grant your child one of those wishes, but this will be more easily accomplished after the storm has passed.

This technique is well recognized in many arenas of life such as business, politics and pediatrics.  The trick is to first figuring out what the other person wants: make it your own technique and it should settle any fussy kid or grumpy teen (or for that matter, reluctant adult; just ask my husband!).

Take care and enjoy –


Dr. de Freitas


Dr. de Freitas