All Articles Tagged "child"

Coping With Loss: Helping Your Kids Through Death

August 20th, 2014 - By Rich
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The moment we welcome our little ones to this world we instinctually feel the need to shield them from pain, suffering and anything else that could potentially cause grief, sorrow and heartache. As the years pass and our kids start to take tumbles and fight illnesses, we kiss boo-boos, break fevers and find ways to make to keep them as comfortable as possible through those moments. As time progresses, so do life’s hardships that we as parents cannot prevent, specifically suffering the loss of a loved one.

In my own personal experience with my son, this was by far one of the most difficult circumstances we’ve ever encountered as a family. He and I were both very close to his grandmother on his father’s side and she fell ill; her health deteriorated very quickly. We spent a lot of time with her as my son was the pride and joy of her life. She was so proud to be his grandmother and doted on his intelligence and the conversations she had with him that she thoroughly enjoyed. As one could imagine, my son was equally happy to be her grandson – who doesn’t have a deep affection for their grandparents anyway, right? Especially Grandmas.

A few seasons passed and this wonderful woman who I considered a surrogate mother, friend and family member was given months to live and me, my son and his father spent as much time with her as possible. In the beginning, she was happy we were there and participated in family dinners, movie nights and sunny days on the patio and within weeks she became unresponsive and just wanted to be left alone. This was particularly hurtful to my son, who was six-years-old at the time. He understood that she was sick but couldn’t grasp the idea of how final it was. That is until one day when he asked: “Is she going to die?” At that point, it became an agonizing reality for me as also. His father and I were trying to stay strong for him but we’d gone without preparing ourselves for the loss we were facing as well. It hurt me to have to reply to his question with the answer he wasn’t ready to hear. He immediately threw himself onto my lap and wailed…and so did I. He asked all the questions I had no answers to, like: Why? When? And why can’t we fix it? He was out of touch for days and was really upset about the circumstance ahead and a few weeks later when we got the call, and as prepared as we were, it was just devastating.

It took weeks for us to come to grips with everything and sort of resume life as usual but it felt like an open wound that was going to take time to heal and eventually accept as a scar. Even years later, we still have our days where he gets overwhelmed by her physical absence and I’ll find him rifling through pictures of her or quietly crying remembering her and he finds comfort in the fact that I have those moments too, along with his Dad.  She’s sorely missed.

Relying on the idea that it gets better with time, if there’s any unsolicited advice that I can share with a family coping with the loss of a loved one, I would say this: it is absolutely necessary to grieve and don’t be reluctant to expose yourself to your children in this vulnerable time. For us, it helped our son to know we were just as grief-stricken as he was and reassured him that we were going to get through it together as a family. It sucks to cry an ocean in front of your kids, but sometimes it’s appropriate and healing in nature. Also, as hard as it is to handle, this is a part of life that we’ll never get used to or understand. It’s timing and circumstance but we’re all here to support each other when it gets this tough.

We all miss her dearly and in my times of weakness, my son always reminds me of a certain guardian angel who’s keeping watch over all of us and somehow it quiets my soul and for that I thank the both them.

We Are Not All Selfish And Spoiled! Popular Misconceptions About Only Children

June 25th, 2013 - By Blair Bedford
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It’s like judging a book by its volume the way people make assumptions about individuals with no brothers or sisters. We know older siblings have it rough and lord knows middle children get pinned with all sorts of labels, but if we’re being honest, singular children tend to get the brunt of family dynamic misconceptions. Popularly labeled the “Only Child” syndrome or “Little Emperor” syndrome,  only children have been labeled everything under the sun, from spoiled to self-isolating. Allow me to debunk some of these myths and stand up for sibling-less children everywhere!

Half On A Baby, Perhaps? The Benefits Of Having Children

June 14th, 2013 - By Blair Bedford
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Made up your mind about not having kids in the future? You might want to think again. Although there are some benefits to not having children (as we featured previously on Madame Noire here), having children also has its variety of benefits, from physical to emotional.

Although having children is a major life change and responsibility, a family might do more good than harm. Check out a few life benefits of being a parent.

Ain’t Nobody Got Time — Or Money — For That: The Benefits Of Not Having Children

June 12th, 2013 - By Blair Bedford
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With the ups and downs of the current economy, Americans are becoming more acquainted with the thought of living a child-free lifestyle. According to a recent article in The Daily Beast, having children is becoming more of a preference than an absolute for many single and married men and women who are now giving the option of a childless life and marriage more thought.

For many, the choice of not having kids seems selfish and combats the ideal of a woman’s “obligation” to be fruitful and multiply, but given the cost of raising a child and the rise in women who are becoming more educated and more motivated to become a bigger part of the C-level workforce, a childless lifestyle seems to have more advantages then it does disadvantages for some.

Going against the grain, have you ever thought about the benefits of not having children? Here are a few reasons how this choice might benefit you and your lifestyle. (And on the flip side, check out some benefits of having bambinos right here.)

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Ten Tips For Going Back To Work Post-Baby

April 26th, 2013 - By Blair Bedford
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

Maternity leave for a new parent averages usually up to 12 weeks after giving birth, leaving time for bonding with your child, getting adapted to a new role as a mother and time to heal physically (and maybe emotionally) after the process of childbirth. As those weeks wind down, you may find yourself unprepared to pick up where you left off at work.

Use these ten tips to help you get back on the bandwagon at work post-baby without all the strain, stress, and shock of leaving your newborn.

The Drama You Want, is the Drama You Won’t Get! How To Handle The Negative Reaction Negative People Want To Get Out Of You

April 16th, 2013 - By Liz Lampkin
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woman arguing with guy

Do men really desire a drama free relationship, even if the relationship is casual? Or, do men like drama from women on a certain level? A few years ago, I was blessed with one of the smallest and greatest gifts known to mankind by giving birth to my son. Not only was I blessed with this gift, but I was given a long-awaited title of mom. While I was blessed with the gift of my son and the privileged title of mom, I also had the burden of encountering confusion, unnecessary drama and a lack of respect from the father of my child. From the day my son was born, his father constantly did and said things that infuriated me, brought me to tears and damaged my self-esteem. He would always try his best to break me down, rather than lift me up. Oftentimes I wondered why he would do such a thing, especially now that I had given birth to our child (because of course everything was fine before our son was born). Then I finally realized that he wanted a drama filled reaction out of me so he could say that he had a typical “baby mamma” that came with the expected drama. Once I realized what he was doing, I stepped back and told myself that I would not react foolishly (not that I ever did) to any of his negative comments or actions towards me and our child because I realized that I could not waste my precious time reacting to him and wasting energy when I had a child to care for. I decided that I would be stern with him, but I would no longer be attitudinal or irate with him. I also realized that the more I responded to him negatively, the more mental power I gave him over me. So after consciously deciding to stop reacting negatively to his actions and feeding into him, my life became more peaceful; and to my surprise, he was more enraged and upset with my positive actions or non-reactions. He eventually figured out that I was not going to react out of pocket towards him anymore, so he stopped for a while. To this day, he still tries to get a rise out of me, but his antics don’t work.

After I realized that my son’s father wanted a drama-filled relationship, I thought to myself…WHY? Why would any man want a relationship with a woman that is a 24/7 headache? Then I realized that unfortunately, this is what some men want because they get a rise out of it and they just like women with a little extra fire in their bones. I also came to the sad conclusion that some men are simply used to having relationships with women who like to perform dramatically because it is what they are used to. Now, some women may say that the men they are involved in relationships with make them behave in a certain manner. This may be true to some extent because oftentimes, when something doesn’t go the way it was anticipated, we allow our emotions to get the best of us, and we instantly react without thinking. However, it is always better to walk away from a person and a situation before you allow it to get the best of you. My relationship with my son’s father taught me some valuable lessons, but the most valuable lesson I learned is not to allow someone to take me out of my character as a woman. This lesson is a simple, commonsense one that is known, but it is often overlooked and not applied. With learning this lesson, I also had to learn how to put aside my ego and control my emotions. Putting aside my ego and controlling my emotions allowed me to listen to the person and filter through what they were saying and how they were reacting, giving me the advantage when I responded because I gathered all information needed to render a calm, intelligent response…which in turn angered them, insulted their pride, or caused them to back down and apologize. How and why do I put aside my ego and control my emotions? I pray and ask God to show me how He wants me to handle situations, and every time I do He shows me. The drama my son’s father wanted out of me was something I refused to give him. In fact, the drama that anyone wants me to give them is something I refuse to give because a moment of drama is not worth me laying aside the woman I am. What would it prove? Nothing.  How would I benefit from it?  I wouldn’t. Is it worth it? Not at all. Maintaining your character is worth more than a moment of ego driven drama. Let it go and let God.

Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin.

Maybe Baby: Celebrity Women Battling Fertility Issues

April 10th, 2013 - By Kelly Franklin
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One of the most beautiful and rewarding things about being a woman is the ability to have a baby – to feel life grow from within and bring a baby into this world to care for and love. So when you struggle to conceive, imagine the heartache and frustration one must feel. According to Redbook magazine, one in eight women in the U.S. will suffer from infertility, and black women are 1.5 times more likely to experience infertility. This is a heart-wrenching experience that hits home for me and many other woman, including celebrities. They ride the same emotional rollercoaster of fertility treatments – from metformin and Glucophage to IVF in an attempt to conceive. Let’s look at 15 starlettes who’ve dealt with this issue firsthand, fearlessly opening up to the public.

Mariah Carey

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Mariah Carey

Singer Mariah Carey miscarried and quickly sought treatment for infertility. Carey went on progesterone every month, even through the first 10 weeks of her pregnancy. This treatment helped reduce the risk of miscarriage by half, and eventually she welcomed twins Roc and Roe in 2011 .

Oh No My Child Didn’t…

March 24th, 2013 - By Rich
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As a parent, you know your child. It may take three attempts and some bass in your voice to get your kid to behave (and let’s not forget the hushed murmurs and rolled eyes). So if we are aware of our children’s propensity to not listen and behave in a certain manner, why is it so hard to accept this realization when it comes from an outside party?

Hearing something negative about our children from someone other than ourselves is a very large and hard pill to swallow. One that seems to point the finger at us for poor parenting or one that we feel forces us to choose between our child and another adult.

We have heard stories of teachers getting the business for simply bringing to a parent’s attention an undesirable action that their child may have exhibited in the classroom. Personally I have witnessed accounts where the child was not even asked if they participated in a said activity before the parent was on fire and ready to tell the teacher a thing or two.

As mothers, it is natural to want to jump on your child’s side so they know that you support them, but there comes a time when we can’t let our loyalty lie on the parent-child relationship. There is an extremely thin line between letting our children know that we stand behind them, and letting them get away with murder.

Children are very resourceful, and if they know we will always take their side the ramifications could be long term and detrimental to their growth as a person. We surely don’t want to groom them into that person that never takes accountability for their actions. The reality is – mama won’t always be there to pick up the pieces. We must start teaching our children valuable lessons early on in life.

When it comes to accepting criticisms regarding your (children), how do you handle the situation?


When Is It Too Early For Kids To Work?

February 24th, 2013 - By Rich
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While on vacay in Bermuda, I made a pit stop at a mini mart to pick up some water and a few snacks to take with me into town. At the end of the check out line stood an adorable curly haired ten year old boy bagging my groceries. I jokingly asked him if he was working and what time he would be getting off work. The cashier, a.k.a. his grandmother, quickly turned and answered my question for him.

“He sure is working, knocks off around 9 tonight, and only works on Saturdays making about $150.00 a day”.

I turned to my boyfriend mouthing a mild expletive. I was blown away by the fact that at the age of ten, children were actually working for pay. I couldn’t help but think of my own son back in the states, who happens to be the same age. Was I slipping in terms of instilling values and setting expectations for my own children?

It was an ‘in-your-face’ reminder of how parenting in the states is different than it is in many other countries. To a certain extent – our kids feel entitled. I know there’s more that I can do in order to avoid crippling my kids by making things too easy for them. There’s definitely room for improvement on my part. While I don’t plan to suit my son up in his Sunday’s best and take him to fill out job applications when he gets out of school this Friday, I do plan to revamp the earning system that I currently have in place. Working for what you want instead of just getting what you want has its rewards.

Do you think children should work for pay before sixteen?


Never Forget: Sybrina Fulton Talks About First Holiday Without Trayvon And More

December 29th, 2012 - By MN Editor
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Ten months after her son was killed, Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, says she’s ready for justice to be served in 2013. She spoke with about her first holiday season without Trayvon, her thoughts on the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, and her hopes for 2013:

This year has been bittersweet. The bitter part is that I lost my baby boy. The sweet part has been the show of support that we have received from our community and from the world. We are thankful. 

This is our first holiday season without Trayvon, and I have to admit, I’m having a difficult time. I’m an emotional rollercoaster. Trayvon loved the holidays, especially Christmas and Thanksgiving. He always looked forward to those holidays. But while I am sad I’m reminded that I have another son that I’m trying to help get through not having his younger brother around.

Sybrina continues to ve a very strong woman. You can read the rest of the touching message over at ESSENCE.