About Dr. Jeff Livingston

Dr. Livingston joined MacArthur OB/GYN in 2003. He is a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Parenting Teens, Part 3

Create an Environment of Openness

So this is my little boy —doctor in training —equipped with mom’s purse and dad’s stethoscope. Just before sixth grade I overheard heard him and his friends talking about something that seemed a little bit sexual.

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Find Your Mission

Saying No to Burnout

Have you noticed that your Facebook feed is full of ads asking you if you are tired or feeling burned out? Have you noticed that each company asking these questions then promotes a solution? This constantly negativity can affect the way we feel about our jobs and our lives. I recently appeared on this podcast for Greenway Health discussing physician burnout.  The ideas we discussed apply to everyone regardless of your job or life situation.  Take a few minutes and enjoy this episode.

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The Birds And The Bees, Part 2

Communicating your Families Beliefs

In my last post, The Birds and the Bees, Part 1, I covered the idea that Parents are the Model for their children. Parents are the number one influence on future decisions teenagers will make regarding their sexuality. As parents how do we guide them through this phase of their lives?

The message that most kids get from their parents about sex is simple:

Rule #1 Don’t do it!

Rule #2 Follow rule number one.

It is important for parents to communicate with their kids what their family believes about sex.

I can not tell you what that belief should be. That is up to you and your spouse but this step is crucial —-Tell your kids. Communicate your beliefs. Express your views, tell your kids what your family believes, whatever that is. If your family believes no sex until marriage— great. Communicate that. If your family believes no sex until you are in love —- fine. If your family believes something different—-no problem; they’re your kids, not mine. Discuss your family’s morals and values. I’m not going to tell you what to say, but you should tell them what your family believes. The morals and values of the family lays the foundation for your children. Once you have done that step now comes the harder question —- If I ask your kids, what does your family believe? Could your kids tell me? It’s a little harder. Many parents feel like they have communicated very clearly, but if I ask their kids “What does your family believe about sex?” The kids don’t know the answer. …… Something to think about…If you have communicated something to your children and they can not repeat it back then the message has not truly been received. It has not been internalized.

When your children are young they will accept the parental views and make them their own. As your child transitions to the teen years, things get more complicated…

As children become teenagers things change.

While the family belief system will still serve as the foundation, your child will begin to develop their own beliefs about sexuality. Parental influence is still a factor but it is no longer the only factor in their decision making. The determining factor is actually what is in their own minds ——-Your child beliefs (not yours) will guide their decisions. This is hard to swallow but crucial for parents to understand.

The average age of the first sexual encounter is 16.5 years old. The average age for marriage is 29.5. That’s a long time to wait and if the only information a child has is “wait until marriage” then that answer may not be enough when they are 27 years old. I grew up in a Christian home. I remember being involved in Young Life and we were taught no sex until marriage. I remember many serious debates around the age of 15 on where exactly was the line? Where’s the loophole? How far can we go? I also remember a funny episode of Seinfeld where they debated what exactly defines when sex has occurred. We wondered about that too at that age.

Using data from the CDC YRBSS before age 13 only 3.5% of kids have had sex. But by ninth grade, it jumps to 20%. By twelfth grade, slightly over half of kids have been sexually active.

As your children transition from elementary to the teen years, our parental communication must evolve.

We must transition from a monologue — telling kids what to believe– to a dialogue. When they are young, you tell them very specifically what to do and your kids do what you say. As they get into junior high, this paradigm shifts. They are still very much influenced by what you say, but their actions are more determined by what they think—what they believe. Our children are growing up and they’re becoming independent. If I ask your children what do they believe about sex would their answer surprise you?

In the next post we discuss some specific communication techniques you can use to improve the dialogue with your child.

Learn more about Dr. Livingston here

Further Reading:

The link from this book cover is tied to Amazon. Proceeds generated are donated to the Irving ISD Teen Parenting program, a drop out prevention program for students who are pregnant or parenting.

 

The Birds And The Bees, Part 1

You Are Their Model

Many people ask me how should they talk to their children about sex. My short answer is parents and their children must have an ongoing lifelong dialogue and not a one-time conversation. This next series of posts are designed to help you open your mind to new ideas and different ways of thinking about how to handle this challenging issue with your kids.

Think about this for a second —— “How did you learn about sex when you were a kid?” Reflect back to those awkward years between sixth, seventh and eighth grade—— kids were talking about sex. You had questions and maybe you asked a trusted friend or sibling. Maybe you saw things on TV, the JCPenney catalog, or if you were lucky you found a copy of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Some kids even performed the 1980’s version of Googling and found an encyclopedia to look things up. The key here is that you found ways to get the answers to the questions on your mind. You filled the void.

So what do our kids do in 2019 to find the answers they have about sex? Our multitasking, Facebooking, iPad playing, Tik Toking, Netflix watching, Intagram posting, Snapchatters have immediate access to information. Just like us they have questions about sex, but the difference is they live in a world of information overload. They are one click away from answers to any question. So specifically, how do kids learn about sex? They learn a little bit in school in health class. They learn from their friends. They learn from other media, TV shows, and music. Most importantly, kids learn a ton from the Internet

Despite all of this access to information what actually influences their decisions? The answer is YOU——The parents. Here is the good news. Parents still matter. Study after study shows this crosses socioeconomic, cultural and racial barriers. The number one influence on what a child believes, and ultimately is going to do about sexuality, actually comes from you. It’s good to know we parents still matter because sometimes it does not feel that way.

Parents are the model for their children. From the time they are born, your children watch everything you do. They are learning about sex from you all day every day, even when you think they’re not watching. They watch what happens when one parent comes home from work. How did you greet each other? They notice the intimacy, the engagement, the hugs. They see and feel the love a couple expresses for one another. They notice your reactions and emotions. What happened in a movie when there was a romantic moment? How did you react? When mom and dad are talking about other people’s relationships, they’re listening. When an inappropriate joke comes up in a movie or TV show they watch your response. You are their model.

I once heard a speaker described adolescent sexuality with this metaphor. Think of yourself walking down a long hallway with all of these curtains. As you take a step forward, you pull back the curtain and you answer certain questions. As your child gets older you walk further down the hallway and you pullback the next curtain and the next and the next. This is a great illustration of the ongoing dialogue we must have with our children. I believe children are prepared to understand any question they ask. If your child asks you a question then answer it on their level. Don’t be embarrassed or shameful. Since I’m an OB/GYN, you can imagine dinner conversation at my house is often very interesting. So my kids at a very young age asked me, how do you get the babies out? When they were young, the answer was simple. “When the baby is ready to be born, it sends a signal to come out between the mommy’s legs and sometimes I make a cut to help the baby come out through the mommy’s stomach.“ That was the answer when they were young. As they got older, I was able to explain in different language exactly what my job entails. Answer the question that they have.

In our next post, we will dive deeper into the subject of The Birds and The Bees and how to help parents navigate through this difficult subject.

Further Reading:

Seven Ways to Fall Asleep Faster

 

Insomnia

A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow.

~ Charlotte Brontë ~

My wife is one of those lucky people who falls asleep before her head hits the pillow. I am not so lucky. When I lie down my mind begins to race at Quantum speeds processing a million random thoughts. My parents tell the story of waking up in the middle of the night finding the three year old me playing my Mr Roger’s records while singing “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.” 40+ years later. It still happens…well without the Mr. Roger’s records.

Sometimes insomnia comes in handy for an Obgyn since babies do not seem to follow the Monday through Friday 9 to 5 schedule. I hear from patients every day that they also suffer from insomnia. Over the years I have found a few things that help. I wanted to find tools that avoid addictive medication. Here is my TOP Seven List of all natural ways to treat insomnia.

  1. Cut Screen Time
    Electronics stimulate the mind. Turn the phone off. Instagram and Facebook will still be there tomorrow.
  2. Mindfulness
    I was a skeptic about meditation and now my nine year old daughter Lucia and I do a brief mindfulness exercise together every night. We use an app called Headspace. Insight Timer is great too.Meditation has many health benefits and helps calm the mind. Leave your skepticism at the door and give it a try. Commit to doing it daily for two weeks before you give up. That was my plan, and I am still doing it daily a year and half later. This is an awesome way to help get the kids to sleep after reading a bedtime story. You spend time with your children, you both get health benefits and you both develop habits that can last a lifetime.
  3. Bulletproof Sleep Induction Mat
    This is my favorite product. It looks like a bed of nails. Ok it is a bed of nails. The mat stimulates acupressure points in the back to trigger relaxation, release endorphins and increase blood circulation. It feels great and “hurts” just enough to stop the mind from racing.
  4. Bulletproof Sleep Mode Supplement
    Most over the counter supplements contain too high a dose of Melatonin. Over time they can deplete your body’s ability to produce its own. This is a combination product of bio identical Melatonin, L-Ornithine and Brain Octane oil designed to put the brain into sleep mode. I recommend taking this with an over the counter Magnesium supplement.
  5. Daily Exercise
    Get your steps in. We all make a million excuses why we can not exercise. The truth is we all need to commit to this key health habit. Start with something simple like walking around the block. Do it everyday. Set an easily achievable goal that you can stick with over a long period of time. As exercise gets easier you can increase your goal. The key step is to set the bar low enough that your excuses to NOT exercise just seem silly. I remember telling myself one time “I can’t exercise today because I would have to change my shoes.” #badexcuse
  6. Dodow
    Dodow is a LED light metronome that helps you relax. A glowing, pulsating blue light is projected on the ceiling. You coordinate your breathing to the dynamic light changes. I find it extremely calming and peaceful.
  7. Read a book
    Fill your time before sleeping with a book. Reading books expands your mind and opens you up to new ways of thinking. Reading even a few minutes a day can help calm your mind and prepare it for sleep. If you read for just 10 minutes a day you can complete on average 10 books a year. Reading can be life changing. Here are a few of most recent favorites:
  8. Get inspired with The Seed by Jon Gordon

    Get Motivated with The Miracle Equation by Hal Elrod

    Got Focused with The One Thing by Gary Keller

    Get life started with The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

    The links above are tied to Amazon. Proceeds generated are donated to the Irving ISD Teen Parenting program, a drop out prevention program for students who are pregnant or parenting

Mental Framing

Change the frame

Change your feelings

Placing a picture in a frame changes the way we view the image.

The same is true for our thoughts and feelings. The way we frame a situation in our mind changes the way we interpret it.

Last night I worked all night and delivered six babies. I can choose to focus on my fatigue, or I can be proud of my accomplishments.

Today I did not follow my diet plan. I can choose to beat myself up over BOTH of my trips to McDonalds, or I can view today as an opportunity to start fresh tomorrow.

Today I drank an inordinate amount of coffee. I can choose to wallow in self pity about why I needed it, or I can be thankful that the amazing drink of the God’s was at my disposal.

Whenever I feel down or frustrated I try to pause and to think through how my mind is framing the situation.

If you don’t like what you see then change the frame.
Change the frame and change your feelings.

Control de la natalidad y contracepcion

¿Ya no desea más hijos? ¿Está completa su familia? ¿Está cansado de lidiar con el control de la natalidad? ¿Sabía que hay una opción permanente donde usted puede tomar el control y no preocuparse por volver a quedar embarazada?

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The Power of One

You Got Pregnant, What’s Next? How To Beat The Odds And Live A Successful Life

Dr. Jeff MacArthur Inspires Young Women Who Are Dealing With Unplanned Pregnancy

Your life has a ripple effect. You can make choices today that set you on the path for happiness, success and an abundant life.

Our lives are like a ripple effect. One action can make a big impact. We all have the power to make choices that affect not just ourselves but all those around us, including our future family. With our one life, let us make good choices.

Being A Dad

Dad’s You Are The Model For Your Kids

Dr. Jeff Livingston shares life-changing and amazing truths for young dads.

The greatest thing that ever happened to me in my life was becoming a father. It is magical. It is amazing.

Fathers, you are the model for your kids. They watch everything you do. They watch how you greet your girlfriend or wife, how you work, how you dress and how you talk.

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