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Parenting Thoughts

Children and Decision-making

Children and Decision-making

By Pam Henderson

During a recent fit of insomnia, I watched a late, late 1940’s movie, “The Green Promise.” Despite its single star rating, I was drawn in to see its young star, Natalie Wood.

Natalie Wood’s character, Susan, was one of four children being raised on a farm by a grouchy and stubborn widower, played by Walter Brennan. While this father loved his children, he treated them more like farm hands than offspring. Managing the farm and household were all-consuming responsibilities.

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Children and Holiday Foods

Children and Holiday Foods

By Pam Henderson

Did your 6-year old look at the Thanksgiving table and ask, “Why do I have to eat Brussel sprouts? The Pilgrims didn’t.” It’s a hard argument to make when your child is correct.

Indeed, according to National Geographic, the first harvest celebration meal that the Pilgrims shared with the Wampanoag Indians did not include Brussel sprouts. Instead, it included foods like spinach, swan, deer, porridge and mussels with curds. Ask your little history buff he would rather that you serve those foods for your next holiday feast.

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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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