Bobbi Kristina: We Have To Change How We Rear Our Children

February 10, 2015  |  

First things first: Prayers to the Brown and Houston family. As a parent, this is unimaginable pain. Hopefully it is God’s will that she survives this.

Like most, I was momentarily in disbelief when I heard that Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, was being kept alive by life support. I thought to myself, “How did this happen?” We can run through the “what if” scenarios all day.

I am not the one to judge the Houston Family or Bobby Brown’s, but I just feel that collectively we have to think differently about how we raise children into adulthood. Bobbi Kristina was 18 when her mother died tragically. She is 21 today. By most people’s accounts she was an adult, but I disagree.

A young adult that is faced with perilous or extraordinary circumstances must be coddled and mentored extensively, in my opinion. Shoot, some regular kids need this under normal circumstances. This is not the American way any more. First of all, African American families are under duress more and more just to survive. So, we often have adults trying trying to get by and the kids are often left to fend for themselves. Imagine having an inheritance of $15 million and still longing for familial and psychological support.

This is a prime example of how we are failing our children.

Bobbi Kristina and those like her are microcosms – real world examples – that it takes a village to raise a child. With the turbulence surrounding Bobby and Whitney, I’m not certain of how Bobbi was raised or looked after in her earliest days. When Whitney was alive, they seemed vibrant and happy together. How she was reared (as an adult) after Whitney was found lifeless in a bathtub? Who was checking on her in the aftermath of that personal catastrophe? Who was protecting her during the period her parents were going through their tumultuous, public relationship? We do know she needed some good solid love and care.

When my family lost my dad, it was a god-awful situation for the family and we were never the same. I’m not chastising anybody, but there were times when nobody was there. I remember like yesterday, I told a good friend, “I miss my dad” and she continued to talk like she didn’t hear it (maybe she didn’t – I never asked). My brother was a boy when my dad passed and I am certain the both of us should have had some sort of counseling or mentorship. But we didn’t have much of that. It was different when I went through my divorce, which was hard on my daughter. I have to thank my close friends that looked out for my kid (Shout out to the Brown and Fisher Families), because I believe their intervention and love made all the difference. In hindsight, we had minor life issues compared to Bobbi Kristina, but when those matters happened, everybody looks around for blame.

For Bobbi Kristina, the Angela Bassett-produced TV movie “Whitney” has come under fire. This one movie didn’t do this. Certainly, if we want to place blame, then we have to look at how we approach celebrity. The public is fixated on celebrity until their lives, and possible deaths, resemble pigs in a feeding frenzy at the trough. People watched Whitney melt down and it was a raving obsession to see every detail of her life. Some publications even ridiculed her death and the surrounding details.

Bobbi Kristina was also fodder for blogs to eat up and poop out.

As a person in media, I have always pushed to approach celebrities with compassion, especially when those people are of my culture. We have often covered for them when we could have posted extremely unflattering, potentially damaging videos or stories. We must realize these are living breathing feeling human beings with children and families – not just headline subjects. I also know that most people slow down for a car crash. I realize that folks will watch a good ol’ fashioned street fight. The game is the game, unfortunately.

It is my hope that Bobbi Kristina Brown serve as a reminder to be compassionate, loving and more mindful of how we treat celebs, their issues and their families. We are steadily dehumanizing people as a steady rate. It can be Bobbi Kristina or Bobby Shmurda (I already know most people could give a damn about him) – they may not be physically our child…and yet they are.

Just give it some time to hit a bit closer to home.

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