All Articles Tagged "boys"

Tips For Building Your Son’s Self-Esteem

July 25th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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A loving parent wants nothing more than to see their child happy and fulfilled so when their self-esteem is low or they are depressed, it can be devastating.

Good self-esteem is built when young boys have positive encouragement and experiences, a healthy living environment and when they can express what they are feeling. Little boys are taught from a very early age that “big boys don’t cry” and that expressing your emotions is a sign of weakness. Therefore, when they do feel down and have low self-esteem they tend to keep it to themselves. Young boys need to be surrounded by positive role models and involved in meaningful activities that make them feel good about themselves.

Here are a few things that may help your son develop good self-esteem:

* Develop An Openness In The Household
Make sure that your son knows he can talk to you about anything. You may even want to put a no judgment jar in your house and leave a pen and little paper next to it. Your kids can anonymously put their feelings in the jar if they are more comfortable doing it that way. Then you can privately go to lunch with them to discuss what is in it.

* Let Him Know You Are His Biggest Cheerleader
Make sure you come to as many sports games and school activities as you can. It will show him that you care about all aspects of his life. Even if he takes up a hobby that you think is a little bazaar, still go and support him like it’s the greatest thing ever

Check out the following tips From

  1. Develop a culture of helpfulness in your family. When helping is normal in a family, it’s normal to help. If you have an elderly neighbor, rally the family to shovel their walk or mow their lawn as a gift. Think about walking the dogs at the local shelter, helping out at a soup kitchen once a month, or sharing music at a senior center. Get involved as a family with a charitable activity. Do a run for charity. If you’re not the running type, your family can still help out at such events by helping with the check-in or passing out T-shirts and water. Lending a helping hand to neighbors or raising money for a good cause creates positive family memories and makes everyone feel great.
  2. Welcome your son’s friends to come along any time you are doing something fun. Open your home (and your refrigerator if you can afford it) to the gang. You’ll know your son better if you know his friends. Further, it’s much healthier for boys to work together to beat a video game, watch TV or shoot baskets than for them to be in isolation.
  3. Encourage him to find a part-time paid job. If paid work is hard to find, help him consider an unpaid internship or volunteering at the same place for a while. Network with your friends and coworkers to introduce your boys to work they might want to do someday. Hospitals, animal shelters, and other nonprofits are always looking for extra help. Work gives the kids meaning and experience and helps them start to build a resume for when they apply to schools or look for work after graduation.

Summer Shopping: Classic Tops for Boys from H&M

June 10th, 2015 - By Rich
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Keep your baby boy fresh in these simple yet classic tops and graphic tees from H&M. Beat the shopping mall blues by shopping online, these adorable tops range from $4.95-$14.95. Click continue and browse our selections!

Summer Shopping: Classic Tops for Boys from H&M

Main image, H&M

Brooklyn’s Shaakir and Naazir Muhammad And Their Ballet Dreams

May 12th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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Brooklyn Ballet’s wonder kids, 16-year-old twin brothers Shaakir and Naazir Muhammad, star in this beautiful montage about being in ballet and following their passion. Dubbed “the Billy Elliots of Brooklyn,” back in 2011, they won full scholarships to the prestigious American Ballet Theatre in Manhattan. Like the Broadway character, the boys had to overcome some major hurdles to fulfill their dreams. Read more about their journey here.

“The second I tell someone I’m a classically trained ballet dancer, they just look at me like, what? You? You’re a dancer? Look at the way you dress. And I’m like, you’re not seeing only the way I dress, you’re looking at my skin. That’s what you’re telling me,” says Shaakir.

“I remember when I first walking into xix Studios, me and Naazir walked in…the room got quiet. Like drop dead quiet. You could feel the people stare at you and I just felt like everyone here is scared of me. My hair is not flowy and stringy like a white boys hair. I don’t have the delicate features, you know, the soft colored eyes…I don’t have that. This is me, this is how I look and I’m not going to change it for you go so I can get some part.”

“The internalized racism was crazy…you shouldn’t be wearing tights with them white boys, you might turn gay…if you stand next to Naazir for more than 30 seconds you can turn gay…all of a sudden I look up and there are no kids around me. That didn’t bother me, honestly, because they can’t give me anything to make me prosper. I want to be the first African American principal dancer. Just to get written down in Black history and kids int he future are gonna do reports on me when I’m dead, well, me and my brother, not just me. We’ll see who gets there first.”


Obama Launches My Brother’s Keeper Alliance

May 7th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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President Barack Obama is helping launch a foundation to take up his campaign to help minority young men by improving education, training and job placement in communities across the country.
“If you work hard and play by the rules, you should have the opportunity to succeed, and your ability to get ahead should be determined by your hard work, ambition, and goals – not by the circumstances of your birth.”

— President Barack ObamaState of the Union, January 25, 2014

Every youth, including boys and young men of color, should have the opportunity to succeed regardless of who they are, where they come from, or the circumstances into which they are born. My Brother’s Keeper Alliance is committed to working collectively and collaboratively to address many challenges facing boys and young men of color and we welcome your commitment to helping us make real and sustained progress. Get involved today!

What Will My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Do?

In catalyzing a national ecosystem of support to help boys and young men of color, MBK Alliance will support program interventions targeting six key life milestones:

  1. Entering School Ready to Learn (Early Childhood)
  2. Reading at Grade Level by Third Grade (Middle Childhood)
  3. Graduating from High School Ready for College and Career (Adolescence)
  4. Completing Post-Secondary Education or Training (Adulthood Transition)
  5. Successfully Entering the Workforce (Adulthood)
  6. Reducing Violence and Providing a Second Chance (Throughout Life)

“All lives matter. We care about your future. Not just sometimes, but all the time.” — Barack Obama#ChangeTheNarrative

The Mission

My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (“MBK Alliance”), a new, independent nonprofit, aims to eliminate the gaps in opportunity and achievement for boys and young men of color – making the American dream available to all. This will require strategic evidence-based interventions from community, private, public and social enterprise partners that holistically tackle these gaps from cradle to career.

What’s Wrong with My Son Rocking Natural Hair?

February 26th, 2014 - By Rich
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When my son was born he came out with the fullest hair you could see on a newborn…even the doctor was amazed! As a naturalista going on five years strong, I have always had a game plan to make sure my children stayed as natural as possible when it comes to their mane. When I found out I was having a boy that made me stop and think, do natural hairstyles apply to boys as well?

I’d say yes!

In fact, it’s pretty silly to think otherwise considering most men do not put tons of chemicals in their hair like us women. Technically, they are natural when it comes to their hair, yet it seems like society has a problem with boys rocking certain hairstyles.

“You’re hair is really cute and all but you can’t expect your son to wear it the same way,” one of my close friends told me.

I’m not trying to put him in pigtails (for the record, I don’t even wear those), but no one, including me, should feel pressured to have to do “the big chop” on a little boy’s hair because society is uncomfortable and think it will make him any less of a man. Have y’all seen the shade “Instant Mom” actress Tia Mowry-Hardrict received on social media for letting her son Cree grow his hair out? He has a beautiful Afro and sometimes rocks cornrows, so cute! I am starting to realize that I may come across the same backlash and have already got it from some of my family who think he may have gender confusion if his hair is left long.

Child, please.

Now I’ll be honest and say that one nurse mistook my son for a girl while I was in the hospital, but did that make me think, oh, I need to cut his hair. No. Those newborn baby blankets are full of blues and pinks so it’s hard to really differentiate the gender of a baby solely off a face – and let’s be honest, some girls don’t look too girly themselves. I digress.

The bottom line is: many have made silent declarations of individuality and self-pride by making the choice to wear their hair natural. It’s something that is thankfully starting to become more acceptable in society with media outlets using people with natural hair in their projects. Who would have thought that this “movement” was only for us girls? Does that even make sense? I have photos of both my mother and father rocking perfectly fluffed fro’s in their day and no one thought anything of it. Fast forward to today and I know of plenty of men who rock dreads, twists and Afros very well.

My son will still be a boy whether he has short hair, an Afro, twists or braids. When he is older he can make his own decisions about what he wants to do with his hair, but at least he’ll know there are other options out there and to embrace them. And who knows, he might become the next Maxwell and you can’t tell me that brother is anything less than perfect.

2013 Holiday Gift Guide For Boys: 20 Of The Best Toys Out!

December 2nd, 2013 - By Rich
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Alright, alright, alright! Who else is trying to do a flip because the holidays are almost here? I think I get more excited purchasing gifts for others than I do myself – well, kinda. This holiday season I have total boy stuff on my mind as I not only prepare for the arrival of my little one, but try and scope out ideas for my two nephews. Even though most boys can be entertained by with wheels, there are an assortment of other gifts that should grab their attention. Here are some holiday gift ideas for the little gents in our lives.

2013 Holiday Gift Guide For Boys: 20 Of The Best Toys Out!


A Letter to My Son About Manhood

September 11th, 2013 - By Rich
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Dear Son,

I hope you know how fortunate you are to have a father who is a very active part of your life.  From the moment you were born, all I had to do was look at your father’s face and I knew he was fully committed to doing everything in his power to help you turn into a wonderful man.

Manhood is a complicated thing, and because of that I decided to write you this letter. Although your father and I share the same values, as a woman I think I have a slightly different view of manhood than he does.  And, although I know you will meet women throughout your life who can tell you what they think it means to be a man, I think there is some added value in getting that information from the first woman who met you – the woman who gave you life.

One of the most important things you need to know about manhood is actually one of the most important things I want your sister to know about womanhood – you have to know who you are.  Don’t ever let societal pressures cause you to behave in a manner that isn’t consistent with who you know you are.  Remember that everyone has their own perception of how a black man should behave, but what matters is how you define yourself.  It’s not about being macho, or tough, or hard – it’s about being real with yourself. Always.

Over time, you will form relationships with women who honestly have no idea what it means to be a man.  Maybe it’s because they’ve never had a relationship with a strong, positive male figure. Whatever the case may be, they may have this inaccurate perception of what your role is in their life and what you should be bringing to the table.

I can tell you that as a woman, being a man means that you are kind and you know how to stand up for yourself and for others.  Being a man means that injustice makes you angry.  Being a man means that you are in touch with your emotions and you know how to express yourself.  Manhood means being able to cry and making no apologies for it.  It also means you are able to just walk away from any conversation or situation if you feel like your temper is escalating and may lead to a bad decision. Manhood is about knowing yourself well enough to keep yourself out of trouble.

I also want you to know that a man knows how to provide, but let me clarify this point. You are to be no one’s sugar daddy.  Buying a woman presents because you are courting her is one thing, but spending countless dollars on a woman who makes you feel like spending money is the only way to keep her – well, that is a bunch of crap.  Wait until you find the right woman – the one who is truly worth your time – and then spend all you’d like, because you will know she is worthy.

Although some women will make you think your manhood is directly connected to how much you make, how much you are willing to spend on them, what kind of car your drive, or how angry you get over them (or on their behalf), I want you to know that manhood is so much deeper than that.  It’s about knowing right from wrong, being strong in your convictions, following your heart, and protecting what matters most to you in life.

I have no doubt you will be a wonderful man.  As long as you never let anyone tell you how you should act or who you should be, you will make your dad, yourself, and me proud.


Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Martine Foreman is the editor and co-founder of JustDiva, a lifestyle email publication for today’s Modern Black Woman. To follow her funny and candid take on balancing life as a wife, mom and entrepreneur, you can also check out her personal blog, CandidBelle

I’m Gone Marry Him! Teen Crushes We All Had

July 11th, 2013 - By Meg Butler
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Remember being young and boy crazy? We do too. So we collected all of our favorite celebrity boy crushes from the ’90s. These boys made our hearts throb, filled our walls on posters, and were our favorite obsessions. Check out the list of guys every girl went crazy over back in the day. Did we miss anyone?

Building Your Child’s Self Esteem | Mommy in Chief

June 17th, 2013 - By jade
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In this episode of Mommy in Chief, we are discussing how to build your child’s self esteem. It is very important as a mother to build your child’s self esteem from birth. We also have a special treat for you at the end of the segment. You don’t want to miss the cutest little kids expressing how confident and beautiful they are!


Iris L. Johnson, LCSW, PC, is a graduate of Hunter College School of Social Work, Ackerman Institute Externship and Hunter College’s Adoption Therapy Programs. Ms. Johnson has served in leadership positions at several New York City social service agencies and has extensive experience working with young children, adolescents, and families who have experienced trauma and socioeconomic oppression. She has presented nationally on issues that impact women and children, especially families of African descent.

She is a mother of two-one biological and one foster care/adoption.

Ms. Johnson maintains a private practice in New York City and Brooklyn, working with individuals, couples, families, and groups.


Want More Mommy In Chief? Watch these episodes:

 Season 3

Season 2

Season 1


To Fight or Not to Fight? Kids Handling Confrontation

February 19th, 2013 - By Rich
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Every parent has that moment when they have to decide if they’re going to tell their child to fight or walk away from a confrontation. For twelve years, my oldest son has lived a peaceful life. He goes to school, makes good grades and gets along with his peers and is active in sports. He is a normal 12-year-old, obsessed with video games and music. Sure, there have been instances when he got into a disagreement with a classmate but nothing that would have came to blows. That is, until today. My son came home upset because some kids on the bus were ‘picking’ on him on the bus. To make matters worse, one of the boys decided he was going to take the ‘picking’ further by taking an item that belonged to my son and walking off with it. When he came home he was upset and when he told me what happened, I had a flashback of what my mom told me as a 12-year-old when I came home upset about an altercation with another child.

Growing up if anyone messed with us, my mom’s first response was, “Did you fight?” If I said no, I was immediately marched back up to where the incident occurred and ordered to take up for myself. My mom didn’t care if I lost or won—her big thing was to not let anyone ‘bully’ me. There were many times that my mom would even come up to the school, ready to throw fisticuffs with kids if someone was messing with me. She would even confront parents if necessary—my mom was ruthless. Needless to say, I learned early to take up for myself.

As I snapped back to my son’s reality, I couldn’t help but want to drive to the middle school and handle this for him. But I knew that going to the school and threatening children would not be a smart move. I wanted to tell him to fight—defend himself—but I didn’t want to take him from a well adjusted 12 year old to a fighting thug-in-training. So I did something I never do.  I just sat a thought for a moment thinking about what I was going to say while he fixed himself a snack. As I thought  a thousand questions raced through my mind: Why as parents to seemingly good kids do we have to defend them from apparent thugs-in-training? Is fighting  a rite of passage that all boys have to go through? If I tell him to fight will he then begin to fight every day over minute issues?

As questions still swirled through my mind, I decided to call my husband; this was a ‘Dad issue’. He broke it down calmly and straight to the point. He told me, “He has to defend himself. Call the school, arrange a conference but tomorrow let him handle it.” I hung up the phone and I called our son over to me.

I calmly asked him what he did in response to these children and their foolishness on the bus today. He explained to me how he had confronted the boy then decided to ‘walk away’ because he didn’t want to be suspended over something stupid. I further prodded him about what will happen if the boys do something to him and he said (like any wise 12-year-old would do), “Mom, I’ll handle it. I’m not a baby anymore.” And with those words he had forgotten about the confrontation and was engrossed in his math homework.

Despite his reassurances, I emailed the assistant principal of the school and will be making a visit to the school, all without him knowing just to make sure that these children don’t get away with harassing other students. But I have to let him handle certain situation—she’s not a baby anymore—despite him always being my baby. I had to let go a little bit.

Now my MommyNoire family, do you tell your children to fight  or walk away?