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123s of Discipline: My Way
Saturday, September 22, 2007
I read from a copy of Family Magazine the other day, while on Ystilo salon, that spanking is part of disciplining the kids. It is even written on that article the things to be used in doing it.

Personally, I don't believe in inflicting pain to children just to discipline them. My way is the opposite - showing more love to my kids, letting them feel that they're loved. Spanking will only invite rebellion and hatred. Unless parents explain very well to their kids the reason why they do that, in a way the kids will understand, but which is not often the case.

When one of my kids did something wrong, I first ask him the truth, whether he did it or not. If "yes", then I talk to him in a nice way, make him understand his mistake, and letting him promise not to do it again. Before we end the conversation, I tell my kid that I love him and that I don't want him to go wrong. My husband does the same when he is the one around. We support each other when it comes to the kids. This method worked so far to both of our children.

Making the child understand his mistake is a big factor in this method. And I think that not only in discipline, but also in setting up rules, in avoiding kids' tantrums, conversation is a big factor.

More often than not, even before the conversation starts, the erring child admits to his mistake, even saying sorry and asking if we still love him after the wrong he had done. I think it is because we shower our kids with love that the fear of losing it makes them obey. Teachers and friends are amazed at how disciplined my kids are - in school, at home, and in public places. Well, its good to say that it's all because of love and not out of pain.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 6:28 AM   2 comments
On TV Viewing
Thursday, September 20, 2007
This article was intended for submission to PMN. It was in a draft mode for quite sometime, unfinished, until a fellow member submitted an article on the same topic. So, I decided to finish mine and publish it in my own website instead.

It was not until a year ago when TV viewing was not discouraged nor limited in my household. Everytime my kids come home from school, even while they do their homework, at mealtimes, until the time to go to bed, the TV was on. I did not question this back then, for I was thinking that it was one way of loosening up from the day's stressful activities, a way to relax. Until one day when I had a chance to talk to a mother of a once-not-so-intelligent child.

This kid was not performing very well in school until last school year when she really did a good job. Her mother told me that the secret was not allowing her child to watch TV on weekdays. So, I did some research on the ill effects of TV viewing. I read from a neurobics book that it is a passive brain activity, meaning the neurons are not in an active state, as what it is in during reading, thinking, or conversing.

Since meal times are perfect times for interaction, of knowing how each family member spent the day, me and hubby decided to discourage TV viewing during meal times. This was how we started implementing the "No TV rule", until gradually we allowed it only on weekends.

It was initially on a trial basis. But by the time we saw some improvements - better communication among family members, reading and playing during free times and not just sitting in front of the television, sleep comes in faster making it easier to doze-off during bedtime, kids are less irritable than before - made us continue with what we have started.

I know not everybody will agree with this set-up. But with little kids like mine - ages 10 and 6- the arrangement will make them focus better on their studies, and to make a way for reading books and playing actively instead of being in front of the boob tube during free time.

I guess it will be different with young adults, teen agers, or bigger kids. These kids already know the right kind of shows to watch, and which will benefit them the most, so I don't think this age group need to be prevented from watching their favorite TV shows.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 6:42 AM   4 comments
I Want My Child Healthy
Saturday, September 15, 2007
This is my first article featured in Pinoy Moms Network under Parenting section. For those of you who failed to read it, I am republishing it here in my own website.

I want my child healthy. This is what a mother often says when
she brings her child to the clinic. What really is a “healthy child?
What are the parameters that tell whether a child is healthy or not?

Let’s take the case of Gloria, a mother of two, Arnold, 7 and Bobby, 5.
Arnold is chubby, he is overweight, and has a very good appetite. He
snacks often, he eats mostly fried chicken, hotdogs, and sausages—the
kinds of food one finds in fast food restaurants.

Bobby, on the other hand eats bread during breakfast and instant noodles
in most meals. Gloria considers him unhealthy, the reason why she brings
him to the doctor for advice and prescription of multivitamins.

Do you think Bobby is the only one who needs proper attention with
regarding to his health? The answer is “No”. Truth is—Arnold and Bobby
both need proper attention.

Arnold may appear healthy but he is overweight as a result of over
nutrition. If nothing is done with his diet and lifestyle, he will
suffer from health problems sooner or later.

Bobby needs adequate attention, too. Gloria must provide him with a
balanced diet—nutritious meals, for him to grow healthy and strong, even
without multivitamins. She should see to it that Bobby avoids frequent
snacking so that he is hungry enough by mealtime.

Tips for Raising Healthy Children

Multivitamins are getting more and more expensive these days. Do not
depend too much on multivitamins for the proper nutrition of your child.
Rather, divert the money to preparing nutritious meals.

Help picky eaters like Bobby improve their appetite by eating together
as a family. Children usually value this practice, it promotes close
bonding between family members, leads to better emotional health and
subsequently to better performance in school.

Make meal time fun time together, so that children will look forward to
it with enthusiasm. Avoid detractors, such as watching TV during meals.
At home, encourage kids to help in household chores. Try involving them
in the preparation of foods. Learning how meals are prepared may
encourage them to eat the food that they once hated.

Make regular exercise a part of the family regimen. Encourage your kids
to join sports activities, either in school or in the community. This
helps a lot in improving their appetites and health in general. Organize
family outings that involve physical activity like swimming, biking,
walking—they can greatly improve one’s health.

Do not allow your kids to always sit in front of the TV or computer
whenever they are at home after class. Let them take breaks, and do
other worthwhile activities.

Teach your child proper hygiene. This will help prevent common frequent

And finally, lace each activity with more love, care, and attention.
With all the right formula, you will soon have a healthy child.

posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 11:35 PM   0 comments
Giving it Free
It's free blood sugar examination, given every last Wednesday of the month in our clinic, from six to eight in the morning. Patients come this early so that they will not be so hungry for breakfast, as they are needed to fast before the examination. We do this to screen potential diabetics, those with positive family history, as more and more people are being afflicted with the disease. This way rich and poor alike have access to free screening. There are times that starter doses are available, and patients, especially the poor, will not be having a hard time with maintenance, as there are lots of affordable but equally effective anti-diabetic medicines in the market.

There are lots of this free screenings going around in other clinics. So what difference do we offer? We offer free consultation regarding the condition at the same time. Aside from that, we also offer free lectures on diabetes, in a way a layman would understand. We believe that patients who understand their illness better will be more compliant with regards to taking medicines religiously and will do the best they can to avoid certain foods that will surely affect blood sugar levels.

Why am I telling you all these? One is to educate potential diabetics that screening is not always expensive, that there's hope for the poor diabetics, that monitoring blood sugar levels is within reach, and most important of all, to encourage fellow doctors to give free consultation at the same time.

In other clinics offering the same screening, or any other medical screenings, it is only the nurse or the medical technology, or the medical representative who is physically present to interpret the result. Patients are just informed that their sugar levels are either normal or increased. They are not given the proper advice on what to take, what to avoid, nor given more detailed info about their condition. Sometimes a doctor would arrive on the place, but way too late for patients to wait. They're just too hungry to wait until ten or eleven in the morning, as they had not taken anything for breakfast. Most of these patients who avail of these free screenings are old, if not the senior citizens of our localities. Let's give better medical care for them by giving free consultations even for only once a month.

For more information about diabetes, please read here and here.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 8:52 PM   0 comments
Oxford Hotel and Mid-Year Convention Experience
Tuesday, September 11, 2007

We attended last week this year's PAFP mid-year convention. It was a 3-day convention and the main venue was at Oxford Hotel at Clark Freeport Zone, Clark, Pampanga. Though simultaneous symposia are being held in Fontana Convention Center, we opted to have our reservation at Oxford's so we won't be having difficulty transferring from one place to another.

The first day of the convention was Thursday, September 6. As the President of the PAFP Pangasinan Chapter, my husband had some important things to attend to on the morning of Thursday, so we left home after we had our lunch. I spent the morning packing and checking on things that my kids will be needing while we're away.

We arrived at the hotel at around 3 PM. We thought we we're just in time for check-in (check-in time 2PM and check-out time 12 NN) but we we're told to wait as all rooms we're still occupied. I decided to look around in the lobby while waiting. That's when I noticed plenty of bags on one corner, sofas are all occupied by fellow doctors, all of them waiting to be informed that their room is ready for occupancy. It took us an hour of waiting for check-in while others who were there ahead of us waited for 3 hours or more. What a day to start the convention.

Oxford hotel is new, we were told. Actually, they just recently opened. And this convention was their first major activity. So maybe they we're still getting used to their work in handling huge groups of people. Anyway, that was the only bad experience we had in the hotel.

On our second day, hubby and I decided to stay in the hotel for dinner. Oh, their food was great! Since Pampanga is known for their sisig, we decided to try sisig in the hotel. It was the best I ever tasted.

Their pasta putanesca was great too and the servings were big enough for one person.

We also ordered chicken sweet and sour. It's not at all bad but I like the sisig better. All in all we paid Php 800. Very reasonable prices. I prefer dining here than on the other restos inside and outside Clark offering exotic foods - frogs, crickets, baboy ramo, snakes - cooked fried or adobo style.

My friends tried camaro and betute from Amasuk. They said they we're not able to enjoy the food. It's difficult with strange thoughts playing in your mind. I don't think I can eat those either even with my eyes closed.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 4:10 AM   2 comments
Ralph Turned Six
Monday, September 10, 2007

My second and last child, Ralph, turned six yesterday, September 9. I made it a point to do as I promised - to give him a birthday party. No matter how hectic my schedule was (I just came back from a 3-day convention the day before his birthday), I did really prepare for his party. It was three years ago since he had his last birthday party. For those 3 years we celebrated either by dining out in new places we haven't visited yet or out of town tours.

The party was at home. We invited his friends teachers, and classmates from his school, fellow doctors and their kids, close family friends, friends from Kilat Serrada, and of course, the neighbors. It was very exhausting for me - I had to do the shopping, part of the cooking, decorating the house, preparing for everything that needed my attention. It was all for Ralph. Sadly, I forgot to order a birthday cake and give-aways for the games. It was good Dr. Simon Brown and his family brought with them a cake. For the entertainment, Magic Sing did it for me.

Six years ago, I never expected Ralph would come into my life, after four years of waiting for another child. What with a difficult pregnancy with my first child, Raymund, I thought God will not bless us anymore with a second child.

It was one day in the year 2001 at three in the morning, while pushing myself to get up from bed to study for my lecture, I realized that it was already weeks since my expected monthly period. I might be pregnant, I thought. But if I was, I could have been bleeding ( had abortion and difficult pregnancy in the past) at that time because I wasn't being careful. But instead of going to the study room, I went down to the clinic for my pregnancy test. It was indeed positive, I couldn't believe my eyes! How could that be when I just came from swimming the week before and I did not bleed. Then it was possible for me to have normal pregnancy after all. I was so excited. My husband also and the rest of the family when they learned the news.

Ralph turned out to be a very intelligent kid. He is now in Preparatory and is on top of his class. After his first quarter exams, his teacher was wondering if he has a private tutor because he got perfect scores in most of his subjects. His tutor is just me. The good thing about him is that he makes it a point to study everyday even without my supervision. He has his time to study and time to play. Just like any child, he also loves computer games and he brings his game boy with him all the time. But he knows when is the right time to open it.

Looking at my child now, he had come a long way, such a blessing, he brings joy to the family. He is now very independent, preferring to do anything and everything on his own. I wish him all the best in the future. Happy Birthday, Ralph!


posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 7:44 AM   2 comments
About Me

Name: Amelyn R. Rafael,MD
Home: San Fabian, Pangasinan, Philippines
About Me: Family Physician, and Associate Professor (Clinical Anatomy and Medical Physiology)
See my complete profile
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