Parenting Thoughts

Parent-teacher Partnership

A new school year is upon us. As much as it’s a time for students to turn over a new leaf and start the year off right, it’s a time for parents to start the year off right…with the teacher.

Consider this – if you were looking at yourself through the eyes of your child’s teacher, what would you see?

Would you see the parent who volunteers for the holiday party and shows up on time, ready with snacks and decorations? Or, would you see the parent who shows up 15 minutes late without the promised juice boxes?

Would you see the parent who vows to proofread the next history paper in an effort to help the student raise the grade from a C- to an A because you know that your child has the potential? Or, would you see the parent who demands that the teacher raise the grade because the paper is “A quality” as written?

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Sun Safety

These hot summer days welcome beach goers for a cool dip in Lake Michigan. You can almost see the heat radiating off of the pavement these days.

It’s hard to believe that just a few short months ago, my doctor advised me to increase my Vitamin D. “The dark, gloomy winter…”, he said. He had been seeing a lot of patients with low Vitamin D. The vast majority of our Vitamin D comes from the sun. Our bodies rely on it to boost our immunities, strengthen our bones and support our heart’s health, among others.

As with so many things in life, too much of a good thing is bad for you, and sunshine is no exception. “It only takes one severe sunburn to potentially double your child’s chances of getting melanoma later in life,” says Andrea Cambio, MD, FAAD, a board-certified pediatric dermatologist who was interviewed by WebMD.

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Encouraging Children to Drink More Water

I never would have guessed that these words could come out of my mouth, but there is a thing as “too much ice cream”. Back in my younger days when I worked at Dairy Queen, my co-workers and I would tire of eating ice cream. While there was no official protocol as to how much ice cream we could eat, we pretty much ate ourselves into a coma every time our boss left for Mr. Steak.

In those moments when chocolate chip milk shakes, root beer floats and chili dogs lost their allure, we would drink soda water with lime slices. (In those days, Dairy Queen offered old-fashioned ice cream floats; the soda water is what made the “fizz”.) Especially on a hot, sultry day, soda water and lime was a crisp and refreshing alternative to dairy.

Nothing can replicate the fresh taste of soda water made from its source – a fresh blast of carbon dioxide when combined with Lake Michigan water makes the best cocktail of water and air. Many flavored waters today contain added sugars and other ingredients, so they are not a true replacement for water.

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Children and Tobacco

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC) published a chilling fact from a 2014 report by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services: “If smoking continues at the current rate among youth in this country, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 will die early from a smoking-related illness. That’s about 1 of every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger alive today.” The CDC also reported that teens who smoke are also more likely to use alcohol and illegal drugs. (https://medlineplus.gov/smokingandyouth)

With that message in mind, it was good to hear this week that the teen smoking rate has dropped to a new low. A newly released survey from the CDC and FDA (U. S. Food and Drug Administration for Tobacco Products) shows that smoking amongst teens has dropped to 9%.

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Youth and Suicide

The recent suicides of high profile names has incited public conversation about suicide. It’s a topic that is usually relegated to hushed tones.

Our society has come a long way in reframing its ideology about mental illness including depression, but we still have a long way to go. We tend to view depression, for example,  differently than we view other illnesses such as heart disease or diabetes. Some still think of depression as a character flaw, the result of bad parenting, or even personal weakness. That stigma only works against people from seeking help.

The Indiana Youth Institute shared two disturbing statistics in an April, 2014 Brief: Indiana has the highest rate of students who have contemplated suicide and the country’s second-highest rate of high school students who have attempted suicide. (National Institutes of Health). The Brief states, “Deaths from suicide are only part of the problem for Indiana youth; more young people survive suicide attempts than die, and many of these individuals seriously injure themselves in the attempt.”

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