Thursday, May 07, 2009
Children learn more from what you do than from what you say
By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Parents teach their children every day. They do that by their actions. Children are much more about doing what their parents do and not necessarily doing what their parents tell them. My parents taught me many lessons. However, most of the important ones I learned from watching. My father was a very industrious worker. I learned the importance of a good work ethic from him. He would give you the shirt off his back. I learned the importance of looking out for others from him. That had a lot to do with me selecting medicine as a career. My mother was very frugal. I learned about money management from watching her. My parents sent me to Catholic school for 12 years. I remain active in the Catholic Church because of that. However, the thing I learned the most about growing up in an Italian family is the importance of family. Nothing was more important to my parents than family. We all traveled together. We ate all our meals together. We spent a lot of time visiting relatives. This was something they taught my sisters and me by their actions. As we all become parents, it is important for us to realize that there are many lessons that our children learn by watching us. Some of those are good and some of those are bad. For example, children who watch their parents drink too much are more likely to do so as well. Children who watch their parents drink in moderation are more likely to drink responsibly. More than 85% of cigarette smokers have parents who are smokers. Language used by parents is repeated by children when they are outside of the home. Churchgoing habits tend to be things that children will follow. If the parents are active in the church, the children are likely to be as well. If the parents do not go to church, it is unlikely that the child will do so. Honesty is another habit that children observe. Parents who have no respect for laws will find their children mimicking their behavior. Parental interest in sports, the arts or entertainment will find that imitated by their children as they get older. It really does not matter what the habit is, children will copy what they see. Parents need to pay attention to what they are telling their children to do. If what they tell them is the same as the way they themselves act, then that is consistent. However, if they tell their children to do one thing and they do the opposite, then there will be problems. Before they tell their children anything, they need to examine their own behavior. They may need to change their actions before they start saying things that are not consistent with the way they act.

Legislation would allow families to buy health coverage for kids Lieutenant Governor Matthew Denn, State Senator Patricia Blevins, and State Representative Terry Schooley recently introduced legislation that would allow parents with uninsured children to buy health insurance for those children for just over $100/month. The legislation would allow parents to purchase comprehensive health coverage from the state's CHIP program, which is currently only available to families earning less than 200% of the federal poverty level. The proposed new program, which would not have a fiscal impact on the state, is modeled in part on Pennsylvania's widely praised "We Cover All Kids" program. The goal of the new program is to take another step toward making affordable health insurance coverage available to every child in Delaware. The coverage for children covered under the "Delaware Covers All Kids" plan would include everything from routine checkups to eye exams to doctor and hospital services. This coverage is currently offered to the children of families below 200% of the federal poverty line, at a premium of between $10 and $25 per month. The new legislation would make it available to the uninsured children of all families, regardless of income. Representative Schooley noted that recent statistics indicate that the number of Delaware children without health insurance has continued to increase. The bill permits the Department of Health and Social Services to adjust the premiums, co-pays, and deductibles for the new program on an ongoing basis so that the program is self-sufficient and does not create a new financial obligation to the state. Based on the most recent statistics for the state CHIP program, a premium of $110/month would be sufficient to sustain the new program, assuming that the newly enrolled children have the same health characteristics as the currently enrolled children. "Nemours Health and Prevention Services is pleased that the Legislature is taking this step to decrease the number of uninsured children in Delaware," said Gwen Angalet, managing director at Nemours Health and Prevention Services, "It is a critical step to help assure that all children have access to health care."

Look Good, Feel Better program Women undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer can receive free professional help to cosmetically disguise the appearance-related side effects of their treatments. LOOK GOOD...FEEL BETTER, a program developed by the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the National Cosmetology Association, trains volunteer cosmetologists to help women with cancer, conceal loss of hair, skin problems, and other side effects that can result from cancer therapy. The next program will be hosted by the Cancer Care Center at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital on Monday, May 18, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Cancer Care Center's 2nd floor conference room. The program is free to all patients in active cancer treatment. Registration is required, and space is limited. To register, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Cancer Care Center at 629-6611, ext. 2588.

Volunteers needed for MS events The Delaware Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society needs volunteers to help with their spring fundraising event Twilight at Baywood Greens on Friday, May 29 in Long Neck. Volunteers are needed on the day of the event from 4 to 8 p.m. and may choose from a range of activities, including registering event participants, supporting participants at rest stops, distributing t-shirts, loading and unloading supplies, setting up refreshments, and cheerleading at the finish line. For more information, contact Jenna Wagner at 302-655-5610 or email

Cancer Support Group The Wellness Community-Delaware offers a General Cancer Support Group for people affected by cancer and their loved ones. The free monthly support group meets in the Second Floor Conference Room of the Cancer Care Center at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford on the third Monday of each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The Wellness Community-Delaware is dedicated to helping people affected by cancer enhance their health and well-being through participation in a professional program of emotional support and hope. All facilitators of these groups are trained mental health professionals. For more information and to register, call 645-9150.

Laurel Depression Support Group There will be a free bimonthly Depression Support Group meeting in Laurel on the second and fourth Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Any person who has signs and symptoms of depression and is under the care of a professional counselor/MD is welcome to attend. To register, call Life Matters Counseling and Consulting at 302-465-6612.