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Articles for Parents

Teaching Your Child Not to Be a Bystander

Teaching Your Child Not to Be a Bystander

By Pam Henderson

I finally found a term that describes the situation when an individual leaves the toilet paper roll empty, ignores the cats’ depleted food dish and refuses to discard the box after eating the final cracker. It’s “diffusion of responsibility.” This occurs when one thinks that someone else will take care of the problem, and therefore doesn’t personally address it.

I came across this term when I was trying to understand what causes some people to act, and some people to stand by. My husband recently slid on the ice at a gas station, and no one came to help. He wasn’t hurt; still, I couldn’t believe that not a soul came over to see if he was okay.

McCombs School of Business at Texas writes “Diffusion of responsibility occurs when people who need to make a decision wait for someone else to act instead. The more people involved, the more likely it is that each person will do nothing, believing someone else from the group will probably respond. Diffusion of responsibility makes people feel less pressure to act because they believe, correctly or incorrectly, that someone else will do so. And, when we don’t feel responsible for a situation, we feel less guilty when we do nothing to help.” The writers go on to say, “So, in this way, diffusion of responsibility keeps us from paying attention to our own conscience.”

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Prenatal Oral Health

Prenatal Oral Health

By Pam Henderson

It was an end of an era for my family this week. After 12 years, we had our final orthodontist appointment – my younger daughter got her braces off. Any parent who has endured the consultations, Phase I and Phase II, mid-afternoon visits every 6 weeks, broken wires, tearing the house apart looking for the misplaced fox-size and rabbit-size elastic bands and wax strips and taken side trips to the oral surgeon for extractions, can appreciate the magnitude of this occasion. Honestly, I’m going to miss my 30 minutes of solitude in the waiting room reading the People magazine book reviews. For all of the adolescents who endured being called “Tinsel Teeth” or were denied the joys of things like bubble gum and caramel apples, their pay back is blinding – a pearly white killer smile.

Good oral health is imperative for anyone, especially for those donning braces. The metal wires and brackets create as many nooks and crannies as an English muffin for food particles and sugar bugs to take cover. Actually, long before a child gets braces, has teeth, or is even born, good oral health is important. Babies can get infections in their mouth even before they have teeth. How is that so?

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Believe Children When They Tell You

Believe Children When They Tell You

By Pam Henderson

Over the past week, many women came forward to address their abuser in a Michigan courtroom.

It might have been an easier course for these women and young girls if they had been traumatized by the kind of imaginary storybook monster who dons heavy fur, a deafening roar and sharp teeth.

Instead, their monster was anything but imaginary. He was the seemingly everyday guy, a physician to some and family friend to others. He was the monster that no one recognized – except for his scores of victims.

This monster used his power, trust and lies to access some of our nation’s most storied gymnasts and athletes. He was charged with treating the injuries of young athletes. But, the healing he practiced was a misnomer, deepening the wounds and widening the aches.   

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Children and Shelf Ice

Children and Shelf Ice

By Pam Henderson

If you’ve wandered up to the lakefront at Washington Park recently, you might have felt like you were transported to Greenland. The shelf ice along Lake Michigan’s lakeshore has again blessed us with a magnificent glacial-looking seascape. Almost as far as the eye can see is a blanket of white; and, if you listen closely, you can hear the waves lapping against the icy shoreline.

Yet, the majestic shelf ice is as dangerous as it is beautiful. The shelf ice creates the illusion that it is deep like a glacier. One can’t tell where the sand ends and the water begins. The shelf ice, though, is actually part of the shoreline, not the bed of the Lake. As a result, it is not supported by a stationary piece of land. The constant motion of the waves, along with the extreme temperatures and winds that whip around from every direction, help the shelf ice to be an ever-changing phenomenon. 

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