All Articles Tagged "child-rearing"
About This Episode
In this special episode of Mommy In Chief, we’re posing all our questions about parenthood to real dads. We’ve welcomed three spirited fathers to share their joys and pains of fatherhood with us. Moms you don’t want to miss this because it’s one fiery discussion once the dads loosen up.
Want More Mommy In Chief? Watch these episodes:
- Episode 1: Mommy-To-Be: Pregnancy In 3 Stages
- Episode 2: The Truth About Breastfeeding
- Episode 3: Delivery Debate: Natural Birth Vs. C-Section
- Episode 4: The Perfect Mother’s Day Gift
- Episode 5: Actress Kym Whitley Talks New Baby & Food Allergies for Kids
- Episode 6: Keeping Your Child Entertained This Summer Without TV
- Episode 7: Ask a Black Father | Mommy in Chief Father’s Day Special
- Episode 8: Building Your Child’s Self Esteem
- Episode 1: Are You A Good Enough Mother?
- Episode 2: New Motherhood and Balancing A Busy Work Life
- Episode 3: How to Decorate an Eco-Friendly Baby Nursery
- Episode 4: Foodie, Nicole Friday on Kids and Career
- Episode 5: Melissa Beck, From Hollywood to Stay At Home Mom
- Episode 6: Single Mom in The City
- Episode 7: Mommy Mogul and Marketing Wiz Monique Jackson at Home With Her Boys
- Episode 8: Beauty Maven Jodie Patterson Talks Four-Day Work Week for Moms
- Episode 9: Tonya Lewis Lee on Motherhood and the Importance of Women’s Health
- Episode 1: Back 2 School
- Episode 2: Happy Halloween
- Episode 3: Socially Responsible Kids
- Episode 4: Money Talks
- Episode 5: Keeping Families Healthy
- Episode 6: Thanksgiving Madness
- Episode 7: Highlights and Best Moments
- Episode 8: Stylish Moms
- Episode 9: Best Apps for Moms
- Episode 10: Socialite Kids
- Episode 11: Hair Talk with AfroBella
- Episode 12: Happy New Year!
Let’s face it, marriage isn’t for everyone. As a matter of fact, Nia Long made headlines recently for declaring that marriage wasn’t a “priority” for her, despite having a baby with her long time boyfriend – her second child out-of-wedlock. While we know that you can be in a loving relationship without having a piece of paper to legitimize your commitment, that piece of paper can reap greater benefits to couples who make it “official” as opposed to those who are simply shacking up. Society, communities, congregations and even the IRS tend to make things a little easier for those who decide to say “I do” – so while marriage may not be YOUR cup of tea, for those who ARE considering it, here are a few reasons why uttering a few vows in front of friends, family or the courthouse officer may be worth your while.
There’s this certain cry that children do that makes a parent feel that if they don’t give that child exactly what they want, they will surely suffer from paralyzing pain. If it’s not a cry, it’s a look, all bright-eyed and bottom-lipped, that demolishes your defenses and makes you completely forget anything your little one has done wrong. As I see my thirties anxiously approaching, I am surrounded more and more by friends who are falling victim to that cry or that look. As the holidays approach they break their backs working overtime to afford Christmas presents so that their kids can live the holiday fantasy sold by Macy’s and Target commercials. Instead of implementing a routine of rewards and consequences, some children are being taught that any and everything is worth celebrating and regardless of what behavior they choose to display, in some way they will be recognized and rewarded. I’ll never forget a student I once had who received a party bus celebration to the Jersey Shore, despite the fact that she had been suspended from school several times during the year. When I asked how she managed to pull off still getting a Super Sweet Sixteen type of bash despite her disobedient behavior, she and her girlfriends responded, “But it’s her Sweet Sixteen!?”
In some ways, I understand the want for parents to provide their children with a lifestyle they’ve never experienced. Some single parents, especially burdened by the guilt of a “broken family” feel the need to make up for the absence of the other parent, and end up overcompensating for this absence materialistically ignoring the reality that all the Air Jordans in the world can’t replace an in-the-flesh father. What some parents fail to realize is that by buying and doing everything for their children, even when they are young, they are doing them a huge disservice in the long run.
I can appreciate that my parents raised both me and my sister with a healthy balance of comfort, work ethic, and responsibility. We had nice things and never had to worry where our next meal was coming from or fear being embarrassed by our clothing. But we also witnessed how hard our parents worked for all of the nice things we possessed and we had a decent understanding that our behavior had a direct influence over any “extras” we received.
It’s important to encourage your children’s independence and allow them to make mistakes because this is how they learn to make positive decisions and navigate the real world without you. It troubles me when I see mothers out job-seeking for their teenagers and filling out job applications on their behalf, but it explains why we have a generation of young adults who don’t know how to write a check, fill out a form or advocate for their wants and needs.
Many parents spoil children out of worry that their children will hold resentment or not love them if they don’t give them everything they want. They fail to find a balance and either give their children everything they ask for or giving them nothing at all.
So where do you draw the line between attending to your child’s wants and needs and not getting taken advantage of? It’s important to realize that children are needy by nature. You are not spoiling your child by showing them affection; there’s no such thing as too many hugs and kisses. A big part of being a nurturing parent is comforting your children when they are upset or in pain, feeding them and playing with them. You shouldn’t substitute these basic duties with money or material items.
Think you may be creating a monster? Here are few clues that you are spoiling your child rotten:
by Marissa Ellis
One of the most emailed stories on The Wall Street Journal in the past few days has been “Billionaire Says Her Kids Aren’t Fit For Inheritance.” You can pretty much tease out the essence of the story just from the title, but for information’s sake, the article is about Australian mining billionaire Gina Rinehart, who herself inherited a “mining empire” from her father. As things usually go in the case of inheritance, the grandchildren (in this case, Gina’s children) were also left with ownership stakes in the business; however, Gina sought to block her children from their ownership stakes. Now, three of her four children are battling it out with her in a high stakes court case.
Why would a mother bar her children from an inheritance? In court papers, Rinehart said that “none of the plaintiffs (her children) has the requisite capacity or skill, nor the knowledge, experience, judgment or responsible work ethic to administer a trust in the nature of the trust in particular as part of the growing HPPL Group.” Basically, the kids who are all in their 20s and 30s, never even held jobs and have failed to act as responsible adults.
At first listen, it seems that Gina’s case stems from a good place – the sentiment being that she doesn’t want her children to be further corrupted by the spoils of money. But upon second thought, like many observers have pointed out, one has to wonder how Gina, who is said to be worth $17 billion, got to this point? Did she not raise her children to be the responsible adults she apparently wished them to become? If not, why is she now disciplining and condemning their spoiled ways in their adulthood?
One problem that wealthy people have is raising their kids to be humble and to have a work ethic. According to the Wall Street Journal, “most of today’s self-made rich didn’t grow up with money (surveys show 75% of millionaires didn’t inherit their wealth).” It’s funny that the qualities that many self-made millionaires (the public, celebrity ones at least) admire and extol about themselves are virtues that they pretty much discourage in their offspring. The MTV show My Super Sweet 16 provides a good example of wealthy parenting gone wrong for the most part. How is it that a child whose whims are catered to and whose lavish desires are instantly fulfilled is expected to have a balanced perspective on the world?
“Spare the rod, spoil the child,” is the proverb that most parents turn to when justifying a form of discipline that is most likely heavily influenced by memories of their own upbringing. You were “whooped” when you were a child and you turned out alright, right? But in fact this quote isn’t completely correct. The truth is any success you’ve experienced as an adult has less to do with a rod to the rear than you think.
The old adage is actually an adaptation from King Solomon’s Book of Proverbs and states: “He that spareth his rod, hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (Proverbs 13:24)” When translated exactly, this means that if you choose not to use corporal punishment then you must hate your children, but if you love them then you should hit them, at least sometimes. The truth is that if there is anything that discipline is NOT about, it’s hate.
Effective discipline begins with a true understanding of the difference between punishment and discipline. Punishment is a negative consequence for inappropriate behavior. It’s often a first resort because it’s a quick and easy response to penalize improper conduct. It’s much easier and quicker to yell or slap a child that is playing in the street or acting out instead of sitting down and explaining why that behavior was wrong. Punishment paints the parent as a harsh dictator rather than as a respected authority. It’s important to assess why you’re disciplining your child. Is the occasional cuss out really teaching your child why the behavior is wrong, or is it simply cathartic for you? If your child isn’t the only one who ends up throwing a tantrum, the only thing you’re teaching is that concern is best expressed as anger. Children who are punished learn that the ones that love you the most are also the ones to hurt you and that violence is the first alternative when things don’t go as they should.
Seemed like a cute idea. For just four bucks, you can buy a rubber bracelet that proclaims “I Love Boobies” from the Keep A Breast Foundation, a breast cancer awareness organization. The bracelets are meant to be conversation starters. Two middle school girls in Pennsylvania decided to wear the bracelets to school on Breast Cancer Awareness Day back in October. Their school had already banned the jewelry, but the little girls’ parents gave them the okay to wear them and they did. By lunchtime, the girls were suspended for their act of defiance.
Their parents didn’t believe the punishment was warranted, so they contacted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and now the school has a lawsuit on its hands. The girls were not only suspended from school, but also prohibited from attending the upcoming school dance—pure devastation for a girl that age. The little ladies and their parents are not backing down though and they all vow to keep fighting the school and sticking up for breast cancer awareness.
This case brings up two interesting points of discussion. One, how far should a parent go with encouraging a child’s activism? How does a parent decide which battles are worth it?
Secondly, do bracelets like these trivialize breast cancer? New York Times writer Peggy Orenstein thinks the bracelets are part of the sexualization of breast cancer and she says there’s nothing Hot about the disease.
Would you let your kids go to school with those bracelets, knowing they were banned? Do you think some breast cancer awareness tactics have gone too far?
Children are remarkable little bundles of joy, and they can also be bearers of great misery. Honestly, they ask for a lot and don’t give much in return. In fact, they probably won’t thank you for your hardship until they’re in their thirties, and that’s only if you’re lucky. Now that I’ve finished telling you the good part, let’s get on to the bad news.
What’s most interesting about kids is that they are always going to keep coming. The fact that something as exciting as sex can produce the cute little human beings who follow us around all day has to be one of the cruelest jokes to ever be played by Mother Nature. When you meet that Hot person who makes you want to get naked, do you ever really consider the possibility that you might end up creating life together? I thought not.
But beyond the stress, joy and contemplation of child rearing, there’s also the financial hurdle of raising a child. According to BabyCenter.com, if you live in the suburbs of the Northeast, have a two-parent household, and earn between $38,000 and $64,000 per year, it will cost you roughly a quarter of a million dollars to raise the baby you might decide to create during the year 2010. The number doesn’t assume you want to send the baby to Harvard or Yale. It actually factors in a public university. Throw in private university tuition and you’re talking about a cool $330,000.
The cost of raising a child can be analyzed in a few ways. First, it assumes that you only have one child. So, if you decide to imitate Claire and Cliff Huxtable, you need to increase the number to an even $1.25 million. That doesn’t count taking care of Denise’s husband Martin, little Olivia, Sandra’s husband Elvin, and her two kids. Now we know why Cliff was working all the time and had to keep wearing the same tacky sweater – it was all to save money.
Beyond the financial commitment that children require, there is also the investment of time, love and attention. In fact, those assets are far more valuable than money. So, the irony of child rearing is that the astronomical cost of raising a child causes us to have to work more, but by pushing harder to take care of our kids, we deny them the time they deserve. Raising a child is a beautiful, complex and essential process. In fact, it is the reason that we exist.
Another point to consider when analyzing these numbers is that these results assume you have a two-parent household. Many families in the African American community don’t have both parents, so this increases the challenge of rearing kids. The baby cost calculator I mentioned argues that a single parent would pay $340,000 to raise a child, even if they send the child to a public university. This is because the cost per person rises when you are doing everything by yourself. This also creates a scenario in which children are fighting that much harder to get a finite amount of energy from their custodial parent that they need in order to become successful. So, when you choose to lie down with the guy you met in the club, understand that he could be a husband, father or “baby daddy” to your kids some day. If the other party doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain, you could be getting good service one night and footing the bill for the next 18 years. Keep that in mind when you choose to “get busy.”