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Parenting Thoughts

Giving Them Wings

Giving Them Wings

By Pam Henderson

I’m feeling kind of melancholy these days as one of my daughters nears another milestone birthday. The feeling hit over the weekend while we were out to lunch, and “Surfin’ USA” came on the radio. You know the song – the catchy Beach Boys tune that makes it feel like summer even when it’s 12 degrees with 25 inches of snow on the ground. That song will always remind Rick and me of her.

At 42 weeks of pregnancy, my obstetrician decided to give nature a little nudge. I was healthy and it was a great pregnancy, but babies aren’t meant to live in their mommy’s belly forever. And, I was already as round as I was tall. Just a few days before, a stranger in a restaurant asked me when I was due. Imagine his surprise when I replied, “10 days ago”.

We arrived at the hospital at the crack of dawn, knowing that by the end of the day, we would have a baby of our own. After a routine medical procedure, Rick and I walked around the hospital for two hours in an effort to trigger labor. Still, no baby (but it was fun to get curious looks from hospital guests).

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Home Alone 2017

Home Alone 2017

By Pam Henderson

While students are jumping up and down at the announcement of a Snow Day, the day off of school leaves parents scrambling to figure out what to do with them. Most grown-ups don’t have the luxury of a Snow Day. I know that when that cancellation call comes at 5:10 am, my jealousy sets in and I’m left wondering why I didn’t become a perpetual student.

Sometimes, the anticipation of a snow event gives parents time to plan ahead. Yet, here on the south shores of Lake Michigan, weather has a mind of its own and that early morning call-off leaves parents with their first worry of the day – what to do with the children.

For working parents, a Snow Day means more than calling home at noon to make sure your children are out of bed and have remembered to take out the dog. You might be grappling with whether or not your children are old enough to stay home alone.

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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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