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Articles for Parents

Fear of Santa

Fear of Santa

By Pam Henderson

I opened my “Column” manila folder to prepare for this week’s column. It’s a file bursting at the seams with a collection of news clippings and Post-It Notes relating to parenting and child development. Topics about how to respond when your child wants a tattoo to teaching your child about managing money are waiting to be referenced in a column. Meanwhile, my favorite topic – mnemonics (e.g. My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas a/k/a the order of the planets from the sun) makes at least an annual appearance.

So, I thought this would be the week to pull out one of those articles I’ve been saving about why it’s important to look children in the eye when you speak to them. But, it will have to wait another week or so. Unfortunately, as I was reaching for the folder, a black, furry critter jumped into the folder. “Silly girl, one little spider” you’re thinking. No, actually it was the brother of the one who just crawled across my keyboard onto my hand. I flung the folder onto the floor of my office where it will sit in quarantine until a braver soul agrees to thumb through it and take the critter outside.  

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Talking with Children about Violence

Talking with Children about Violence

By Pam Henderson

Last Sunday, I enjoyed a typical Sunday with my family at church. As a special treat, my daughter and I went to lunch. We must have talked for an hour about anything and everything. Anyone with a teenager knows how few and far between those moments are. On the way home, we listened to Christmas music. She chose the old songs – Ella Fitzgerald, Perry Como, Glenn Miller.

Once home, we settled into our lounging clothes and I spent the rest of the day until midnight cleaning out kitchen cabinets. I went to sleep that night feeling satisfaction from all that I had accomplished.

Not once during the entire day did I turn on the television or the radio. I was blissfully ignorant of what had happened earlier in the morning.

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Cost of Raising a Child

Cost of Raising a Child

By Pam Henderson

A recent online news headline grabbed my attention: “How long $1 million will last in retirement in every state.” You may be thinking what I’m thinking – that I wish I had one million dollars so I could see just how long it really would last.

Play along and imagine for a moment that you are retired and have indeed stockpiled that much money. For how long could you live off of it? According to this article that appeared on MSN, if you retired in Indiana with $1 million, it would last for 24 years and 9 months. At No. 9 in the ranking, Indiana came in as one of the most affordable states for retirees, ranking just behind states in the Deep South.

The article, which was written by GObankingrates.com, puts annual retirement housing, transportation, groceries and healthcare costs at an estimated $27,021 for Hoosiers. Of course, it’s only an estimation, and one size doesn’t fit all. If retirement has you racing expensive cars in Monte Carlo and deep sea fishing in Fiji, you’re going to be blowing through your money much more quickly than the retiree who is driving his 15-year old pick-up truck to fish off the pier at Washington Park. Lifestyle, health needs, travel, hobbies and whether you indulge your grandchildren with a gift card for birthdays and holidays or a shiny new Jaguar convertible, will determine for how long you can stretch your dollars.

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Responding to Baby’s Cries

Responding to Baby’s Cries

By Pam Henderson

I remember being told before my oldest daughter was born that I would be able to distinguish her cries from all of the other babies’ cries in the hospital nursery. It was true. And, when I heard those cries, I just had to hold her.

As it turns out, mine was the universal response to my baby’s cry. A recent study from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which has been widely reported by news outlets, followed 684 first-time healthy mothers from the United States and 10 other countries scattered between South America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Researchers found that these mothers were rather consistent in picking up their babies within 5 seconds of crying. The babies were picked up, held and talked to. It’s almost as if new mothers are hard-wired to respond to their baby’s cries. Surprisingly, researchers found no measurable difference in response despite the mothers living in different cultures, in different parts of the world.   

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Baseball and Parenting

Baseball and Parenting

By Pam Henderson

I pretty much thought that I knew everything there was to know about baseball. My brother played ball as a Little Leaguer, Red Devil, VU Crusader and Michigan City Star. Every free moment I had was spent in the bleachers. Our family’s love of baseball intensified in our home the summer when the knob on the television set broke. For months, the channel was stuck on WGN Channel 9. We watched endless Cubs games, and loved every minute of it.

So, it’s been an interesting, yet bizarre, experience learning all kinds of new baseball rules over the past several days while watching post-season games. I learned that you can no longer take out the second base man on a slide; a bat in the face mask of a catcher isn’t reviewable; a player can’t block a runner from home plate if he doesn’t have the ball; and, if the momentum of a slide takes a base runner off base – too bad for him.    

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