All Articles Tagged "babysitting"
In the midst of my scrambling to keep up with the avalanche of homework assignments that have poured in since the start of fall classes, my laptop charger broke. I frantically got myself together to head to the Apple store so that I could purchase another charger and get back to the many tasks at hand when my Aunt called and asked if I could look after my four-year-old cousin Nyla* for a few hours. I agreed to bring her along. “What’s the worst that could happen?” I thought to myself. You could probably guess what happened next because chances are I wouldn’t be writing this article if things went smoothly, right? Nyla behaved terribly. And no, I’m not talking about that “Why-do-I-have-to-keep-talking-to-you!” terrible, I mean that blatant and disrespectful I-see-you-talking-to-me-but-I’m-going-to-look-you-in-your-face-and-do-what-I-want-anyway terrible. You know all of those things your parents used to warn you that you’d better not do when you all got out in public? Apparently she didn’t get the memo because she pulled out all of those tricks. Her behavior made me want to take her back home as soon as I got into the mall, which was unfortunate because I’d planned to make the best out of our outing and try to make it fun for her by taking her to get ice cream and to the toy store to pick out a new doll. While her misbehavior was annoying, what bothered me the most was her quick mouth, which she fixed several times to tell me “Relax, girl.” Yes she did, and she’s only four.
During the entire outing all I kept thinking was “Wow, what is the protocol for disciplining other people’s children again?” I do not have children; however, I do hope to have them someday. While I felt Nyla’s behavior certainly had earned a nice “POP,” I wasn’t sure how I would feel about someone else putting their hand’s on my child and even more so how my aunt would feel about it. Sure, there are methods of disciplining children other than corporal punishment, but this child was way beyond time-out and the way that she was disregarding the instruction that I did give her, it probably wouldn’t have worked anyway. I realize that this is a topic with a wide range of viewpoints so I had some parents and child care providers weigh in on the subject as well. When asked how they felt about other people physically disciplining their children this is how they responded:
“I find nothing wrong with it as long as i have given you the “okay” that you’re apart of my village in helping me raise my child. If you’re a random person, then nope! I am quick to help discipline another child, because I know I am coming from a place of teaching, correcting and helping the child learn life. I have always been everybody’s momma!”
- Tishima H., Brooklyn, NY
“This is never okay. There are other ways to discipline children, negative plus negative is only positive in math. I’ve been working with children for about four years now, all ages. I’ve seen the worst behavior and have managed to reverse it with other methods. With all that being said, don’t touch my kid!”
- Tiffani G., Orlando, FL
“Family, meaning people I know to care about me and my child’s well being. They have to have been around my child most of their life, not in and out. They have to know and understand my child from their innocent stages until that moment of discipline. If they see my child doing harm to another human being, by all means snatch them up! You could be saving his/her life at that moment as well as saving their family some unwanted tears.”
- Richard G., Brooklyn, NY
Needless to say, I decided against hitting Nyla. Instead, I told her that I was very unhappy with her behavior and sat in silence during our ride home since I know that talking is one of her favorite things to do. I felt better about this decision since I’m not exactly sure how I feel about physical discipline, yet. Although corporal punishment seems to be an unwritten rule in many black households, my parents never had to hit me growing up. I was such a sensitive kid that a raised voice would set off the waterworks. My brother; however, was a different story. A good spanking was the only language he understood. In the case of Nyla, I can’t say how effective my “silent punishment” was. I guess I’ll know the next time she and I are out in public.
What are your thoughts? Are you okay with other people physically disciplining your children? Should corporal punishment even be inflicted on children at all?
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You know her. She’s was solemn dark face that stared back at you in those black and white photographs, she was the bandana clad woman in “Gone With the Wind,” and she was your Aunt Jemima before she got that make over. She was the mammy and you know her well.
The mammy is a morphing figure; but, in the context of slavery the mammy was the designated childcare provider times a thousand as she virtually served as a surrogate mother for master’s children: babysitting, nurturing and even breastfeeding them in some cases. In theory the mammy is a thing of the past, no one would ask you to breastfeed their children today; yet, just like so many practices from slavery, there are remnants.