M. Maitland DeLand, MD
Dr. DeLand is a mom of a 24-year-old daughter and a 21-year-old son, a children’s author, and a radiation oncologist who specializes in the treatment of women and children. She is also the founder and former owner of OncoLogics, a group of cancer treatment centers in the southern United States, and the chairman of the Health Education Authority of Louisiana Board that serves to promote medical education, research, and healthcare throughout the state.
In The Great Katie Kate series, Dr. DeLand helps young patients facing cancer, diabetes, asthma, and epilepsy understand and cope with their diagnosis. For more information, visit www.delandbooks.com.
What’s your favorite parenting tip? Develop a close and open relationship with your children while maintaining the parental role. Always emphasize honesty, helpfulness, and forgiveness.
What has surprised you most about parenting? What has surprised me most about parenting are the challenges and joys at every age of a child’s development. Sometimes parents can miss certain “stages” and look back with a longing for times past. For instance, it might be easy to miss the toddler years if a parent is currently facing the challenges of having a grade school-aged child. However, a new stage provides adventures that are completely new and fulfilling.
When your child has learned from you and views you as a good role model, it is so gratifying. For example, my own son was frequently bullied because he had to wear an eye patch and had diabetes. In high school he made a point to prevent bullying and, by his own initiative, included other “not so popular” schoolmates in social events.
How do you get your kids to eat healthy food? Healthy snacks should always be available in the home. Parents should, of course, set the example and eat healthily themselves. With my children, I made it a point to teach them to pay attention to labels and we frequently pointed out and discussed foods that have too much salt, fat, and sugars in them.
How do you work exercise into your family’s life? Our outdoor walks began with daily carriage and stroller rides. Our pets have always played a large role in exercising, as well. We have always enjoyed going for walks with our pets and playing with them – throwing a ball and running around the yard.
An ordinary walk can be made fun by incorporating games. Looking for different kinds of dogs or cats or even trying to locate different types of birds is a good way to keep children engaged and distracted from the fact that they’re exercising.
How do you recharge your batteries? To recharge, I enjoy calling friends and family to catch up, watching classic films, and reading enlightening passages.