All Articles Tagged "discipline"
Deeper Than Twerking: For Parents of Little Black Girls, Hold Off On The Whoopings And Try Open And Honest Communication First
I understand that frustration, disbelief and even rage aren’t foreign emotions for parents. I know because I have a mother who didn’t pull any punches. I can empathize with parents because though I wasn’t as bad as many of the kids I grew up with – I was NOT an easy child to deal with.
Where my concern increases is when it comes to black girls. We’re quick to beat them, ground them, and punish them for their behavior or acting out, sometimes (most horrifyingly) in suggestive ways, but my question is this: How often do we talk to them?
In the 2nd grade, I was dared to write a dirty love letter to a kid in my class. Being the Billy Jean Bad A** that I was, I did it with no qualms. Never dreamed that the kid I wrote it to would give the letter to my teacher who then called my mother. How embarrassing for my mother to get THAT call about her pig-tailed daughter. Best believe I got a whoopin’ when I got home that day.
The embarrassment and subsequent anger of being confronted with your 2nd grade daughter’s rather sophisticated and graphic version of a love letter has to be through the roof. But the fear in wondering where she could have possibly learned all of this has to be even greater. And so, although my mother did ask why I wrote it, I couldn’t give any kind of soul-bearing answer at that age so she truly believed a good slap (or 15) on the butt would set me straight. It did, sort of. I never wrote anything like that again. But all the things leading to that love letter wouldn’t be discussed and a healing process wouldn’t begin until I was 22 years old. That’s a long time to be walking around with insecurity, shadows of bad memories, and emotional trauma you can’t quite work out no matter how many church services you go to or journals you fill.
So, when I saw the story of the girls who were beat for creating a twerk video, I understood both sides. I understood that the video they created was only a symptom of much deeper insecurity they’re dealing with. I understood their father’s anger, because as many of my male friends have expressed to me, where daughter’s are concerned, the black father’s role, in their mind, is to keep their daughter(s) off the pole. So I understood, but I grieved as well. I grieved for the root that was planted in those young ladies’ minds that caused them to believe popping their butts on camera would bring them admiration, respect, or love. I grieved for a father who never wanted this for his daughters, but who acted out of rage and embarrassment more than out of love. I grieved for the society that praises black women for being voluptuous but not for being value-based. But more than anything, I grieved for the generational curse of non-communication we face as a race.
While my mother and I have built an amazing relationship over the past few years, she’s been honest with me in saying that there were always things she never wanted to discuss with my sister and me, for fear that she would put the wrong ideas in our heads. I asked if she had had a communicative childhood with her parents and she told me that she hadn’t, not really. While there was unconditional love, communication wasn’t as free-flowing. I now see the pattern that had plagued not only my family but today plagues millions of families nationwide. The Internet and the media are a big machine. Our children are small wonders getting caught in that soul-crushing grind before they even get a chance to know and love themselves.
While I do believe physical discipline (not abuse) within reason and administered out of LOVE can be useful in parenting, open and honest communication MUST always be our first line of defense. There is a WORLD of things beyond a child’s comprehension and emotional maturity that young people are dealing with nowadays. If they can’t know that they have a safe space to express themselves with their own parents, where will they go and to whom will they run for affirmation?
La Truly writes to encourage and catalyze thought, discussion and positive change among young women. She is a contributor to MadameNoire. Follow La on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly and AboutMe www.about.me/latruly.
For the past couple of days I’ve been avoiding the almost viral video of a father beating his daughters after he found out that they had recorded themselves twerking and then uploaded the video onto YouTube. If you haven’t seen the video, I’m embedding it below; but beware, it’s graphic and a bit hard to stomach.
Does this remind anyone else of slavery? It’s akin to something we saw in Django Unchained. It’s brutal. The only difference is that this man is related to the girls he’s beating. It’s honestly disgraceful.
Now, I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t get spankings when I was a child. I’m not anti corporeal punishment. But there is such thing as taking said punishment too far. The girls were screaming and apologizing, pleading for their father to stop as he whipped them, angry overseer style. It’s too much. When I was growing up, my mother was the one who spanked my sister and I. It wasn’t until I got older that they did this because my parents didn’t want to send mixed messages. We tell girls and eventually women that you shouldn’t stay with a man who beats you; but if that man is your father, it’s okay. It’s counter intuitive. Furthermore, if you’ve really done your job as a parent, you shouldn’t still need to beat your children as preteens. There are more effective punishments. Something like your child posting their twerking videos should require a conversation about respectability and standards not a beating. Because when these girls and eventually women are out of your care, what is to keep them from wyling out when you’re not physically there to beat them? (How many girls raised in overly strict homes only to get to college and completely lost their minds?)
And not only was the force of the beating too much, the most disgusting thing about all of this is that it was uploaded on YouTube for the world to see. This father sounds like a hypocrite to me. You punish your children from trying to get a little shine on YouTube and then turn around and upload a video of your own. For what? To embarrass them? To highlight yourself as a concerned father who goes to great lengths for his children? I don’t get it. The advent of social media has shown us that everyone doesn’t know what to do with internet access. Your daughters are still being highlighted in a way that is much more embarrassing than a twerk video would have been. Maybe that was the goal. And if that was the plan, it just might backfire. I’m sure this type of beating violates some type of Child Protective Services law. If his daughters or someone who knows the family decides to report this, this father could be taken away from the daughters for whom he was so “concerned.”
What do you think about this video? Did the father take it too far? Should he have uploaded the video?
While Mariah might end up being the fun parent, Nick will be running around making sure they don’t get out of line.
Cannon recently told US Weekly that when it comes to the twins, Moroccan and Monroe, he is making sure he puts his foot down. Knowing the “terrible twos” are upon him, he jokingly said:
“I got my belt out already. It’s ready!”
The twins will turn two years old on April 30th and Nick says he is, without a doubt, the tougher parent. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise because although Mariah is notorious for being an ultimate shade thrower toward adults, she’s always had a very soft spot when it comes to children.
Cannon also openly admitted to a double standard when it comes to his son and daughter, just like most dads.
“Oh, no, my son can date at, like, 3 if he wants, but my daughter, never.”
You’ve got to love the protective dad, right? But seriously, Nick has always comes across as the more serious parent. If you recall, when the Cannons spoke to Barbara Walters in 2011, Nick was adamant about wanting the kids to get an education while Mariah said she wouldn’t mind at all if they wanted to be entertainers.
Somehow, I see Nick shelling out a spanking or two if Roe gets beside herself or Roc wants to “buck up” to his parents.
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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Word on the street is (or via a study that is) that while many people like to play like they’re against spanking or “whoopings” of their kids and don’t discipline them in public, they’re likely lying. Or at least, that’s what I took away from it. *Kanye shrugs* In the study, researchers from Michigan State University anonymously observed the interactions of more than 100 caregivers with children between the ages of three and five outside of a laboratory and in a natural setting, and jotted down their findings. They were surprised to find that more than 23 percent of the caregivers they watched punished the children through “negative touching” aka, old-school discipline, through spanking, arm pulling, pinching and even slapping in public. This happened more than many caregivers have claimed or showed when asked to do lab surveys and experiments on disciplining children. A trip to the mall on the weekend probably could have proved that many folks are fans of public punishment.
Kathy Stansbury, who led the study had this to say about the behavior of these parents:
“I was very surprised to see what many people consider a socially undesirable behavior done by nearly a quarter of the caregivers. I have also seen hundreds of kids and their parents in a lab setting and never once witnessed any of this behavior.”
Well of course not, Kathy. But when they think nobody’s looking, that’s a whole other story.
Also in the study, they found that while mothers did a majority of the tugging, spanking, pinching and slapping in public, fathers did do some form of touching, but it was more on the positive side. The study found that more fathers were trying to calm children and talk to them after-the-fact.
“…researchers said they found that male caregivers touched the children more during discipline settings than female caregivers – and the majority of the time it was in a positive manner. Positive touch included hugging, tickling and patting. She said [Stansbury] this positive approach contradicts the age-old stereotype of the father as the parent who lays down the law.”
In Stanbury’s eyes, fathers who are involved are trying to have more of a say in the disciplining of their kids. So while mothers are usually known as the nurturing type, roles are starting to be flipped as fathers are getting their nurturer on from time to time with more moms becoming disciplinarians. As crazy as that sounds, I could agree somewhat that this is happening more and more these days. My brother and his wife have squabbles often over disciplining my nephew. She’s ready to spank and send him to his room while my brother thinks she needs to cut him slack. Safe to say, he’s spoiled. My own mother did more of the disciplining when it came to us via her red leather belt, while my father did more talking…or better yet, watching TV during those moments.
In the end, Stansbury seems to be anti-public discipline and thinks “positive touching” can go further than straight up embarrassing your child in public. She says that all that quick slapping and spanking doesn’t get the child to comply as easily as parents think. Instead, they spend a good minute sulking and pouting instead of doing what you want or ask:
“If your child is upset and not minding you and you want to discipline them, I would use a positive, gentle touch. Our data found that negative touch didn’t work.”
That’s cool and all, but I’d like to see how Stansbury really handles a rambunctious child when her patience and that whole concept of “positive touching” starts to wear thin…
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The Olympics is one of the view institutions that celebrate feminine toughness as much as its masculine counterpart. The London Games are be no exception with women outnumbering men on the U.S. roster for the first time in history, and the debut of women’s boxing where the United States is represented in each of the three weight categories. Hopefully, the grit and toughness displayed by female Olympians will influence perceptions of women competing in areas outside athletics.
Making it to the top of any field is a daunting task that requires dedication, resiliency, and more than a little toughness. Here are six lessons from world-class athletes to help you overcome adversity on your climb up the corporate ladder.
1. Be Resilient.
“‘Falling in life is inevitable—staying down is optional.’” -Carrie Johnson, two-time Olympic kayaker
It is easy to get caught up in the glory of the Olympic Games and forget all of the missteps and faulty starts that lead up to the defining moment of an athlete’s career. When you experience your own setbacks, never let staying down be an option.
2. Tough it out.
“‘One word: ‘Fight.’ Anyone can do it when it feels good. When you’re hurting, that’s when it makes a difference, so you have to keep fighting.”
-Erin Cafaro, 2008 rowing Olympic gold medalist in women’s eight
The difference between being an amateur and an Olympian may just boil down to how much pain a person is willing to endure. Pain and discomfort weed out the candidates who just don’t want it bad enough. Your career trajectory won’t always be easy, but if you’re willing to put in the work even when it doesn’t feel good, you’re already beating out most of your competition.
3. Push yourself.
“‘If you think you’re done, you always have at least 40 percent more.”‘
-Lauren Crandall, captain of the 2012 U.S. Olympic field hockey team
“I ask myself, ‘Can you go any harder? Are you hurting enough? Are you going hard enough?’ I keep asking myself: ‘Can you go any harder?’”
-Kristin Armstrong, 2008 road cycling Olympic gold medalist in women’s time trial
What you think you can do and what you are truly capable of are vastly different from one another. We rarely tap into our full potential. Olympians regularly test their limits and push their boundaries. Don’t let yourself get comfortable, even when you’re satisfied with your work. You can always go a little harder.
4. Stay positive.
“‘Everything is going to work out—there’s no other option.’”
-Kari Miller, 2008 Paralympic sitting volleyball silver medalist
The mind is a powerful tool and our way of thinking has a profound impact on our performance. If you’re feeding yourself thoughts of failure, you’re creating the perfect environment for self-fulfilling prophecy. Continually remind yourself that there is no other option than for you to succeed.
5. Have fun.
“‘If you’re not having fun, then what the hell are you doing?’ It reminds me to find the reason why I’m doing it and why I’m out there, which makes things more manageable when I’m stressed and fatigued.”
-Allison Jones, six-time Paralympian
When was the last time you heard an Olympian saying that they hated their sport? Part of the passion that comes with competing at such a high level is the sheer joy the athletes gain from the experience. If you are going to dedicate your life to a career or venture, make sure it is something that you love to do.
“‘My competition isn’t resting!’”
-Kim Rhode, five-time Olympic shooter
There are benefits to focusing on your own lane, especially in the heat of competition. But, when you’re training for your big moment, don’t forget that there are other people vying for the same dream you are. If you’re not actively working at getting better at what you do, you are probably getting worse, and someone else is certainly surpassing you.
As I made my way down the street today,with a lot on my mind as I headed to a doctor’s appointment, I found myself stopped at one of the many lights that separate me from my train station. While waiting, thinking that I should have checked the weather before I hit the streets in tight black jeans, I heard a mother say the following to one of the two children she was trying to give orders to. I guess he might have been calling himself having an attitude:
“Unfold your damn arms! I don’t know why the f**k you be actin’ like yo a** don’t know how to listen.”
…When I was young, most parents didn’t embarrass their children like that when at home, let alone curse them out like they stole something on the streets. They might put a finger in your face or put some bass in their voice in public, but you got yourself together just in time before they let you know you were going to get tore up when you both got home. In fact, my mother could make me feel just as guilty and bad by simply giving me the “Girl, you had better stop unless you want to see my belt when we get home” face or letting me know that she was truly disappointed in my behavior. But these days, people are talking uglier to their kids, referring to them as even uglier names and just can’t discipline them without calling them something you can find in Urban rather than Webster’s Dictionary.
Not only was this woman’s statement to the little boy embarrassing as people watched him get berated on the street, but it was unnecessarily harsh. I know that children can often be a hardheaded pain, but it always makes me cringe when I hear an adult curse like a sailor at a child who will most likely soak in that language and use it on someone else; Whether that be a classmate or a teacher who gets called everything but a child of God because they tried to keep them in check. People underestimate how much their outbursts or explicit conversations with other adults around their children can influence the language kids use with others. And sadly, using strong and unacceptable language to address children has become all too common.
Need another example? Well, just a few days ago, as I walked with a friend back to her place post-church, I heard a young mother talking to her friend while pushing around her son in a stroller. Out of nowhere, instead of calling him by the name she gave him, she chose to say, “Yeah, that little n***a tryna walk already.” As I watched my friend’s face turn up, I asked her, “Did she just call that little boy a “n***a”? She had, and after the fact, she laughed about it and went on with her day with her friend. I’m sure as the day went on she probably called him a lot more than that.
I don’t know about you, but it seems as though if folks aren’t cursing out their kids like Mo’Nique in Precious, they’re referring to them as everything from little “n***as” to “muthaf****s” and more. And they’re clearly doing it everywhere too: on the streets, in the stores (grocery AND retail), at the parks and at restaurants. A few are older parents, but many I find cursing up a storm are young parents, ones barely out of high school, maybe a few years into college who don’t seem enthusiastic about the responsibility that’s become a constant in their lives. I often wonder if these parents are the same ones who we hear about holding their babies under scalding water because they cried too much and too long, and starving them because they resent them. These stories get people’s blood boiling and remind folks of why not EVERY woman is fit to have children. I guess it’s a testament to the fact that if people aren’t ready to handle their responsibilities, and only find themselves yelling rather than talking to their kids, they might want to rethink their sexual activities and doing what’s putting them in these positions in the first place.
Maybe I’m being too judgmental, but I can’t see how cursing a child does them any kind of real good. All I know is that patience is wearing thin and the results are hurt and confused faces like the little boy I watched on the street today. And if you were wondering, after his mother’s rant, he looked like someone told him that he wasn’t and was never going to be anything. I’m not saying she was is a bad parent, but that behavior would probably rip her out of the running for “Mother of the Year.” Nowadays, both parents and kids are having the tantrums, and it seems as though it’s the parent who could use a time out…
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For many of us growing up, it was nothing to hear stories of someone getting beat with a “Hot Wheels” track, or an extension cord or even a switch if your family was old school enough. While these shared occurrences have often served as a source of humor amongst our community, the issue of beatings or “whoopings” can also be physically and emotionally traumatic for a child.
The most recent, high profile example of this, came out in an interview with rapper DMX and Dr. Drew. In his book, DMX writes that he was beaten as a child. DMX tells Dr. Drew that while he feels the beatings made him a better person, to some extent, some of them were extreme.
“It got pretty bad…there was plenty of days I couldn’t sit down at school. She used to have these three extension chords that she braided together. Sometimes we would get it with that. THAT was rough!”
As a child who was spanked and not beaten, I can’t relate to this type of discipline; but, I can understand where it comes from. The practice of beating our children for many black parents was a protective measure. A measure that reaches back to an ugly time in our nation’s history.
Dr. William H. Grier and Dr. Price M. Cobbs state in their book “Black Rage” that beating comes from slavery.
Beating in child-rearing actually has its psychological roots in slavery and even yet black parents will feel that, just as they have suffered beatings as children, so it is right that their children be so treated. This kind of physical subjugation of the weak forges early in the mind of the child a link with the past and, as he learns the details of history, with slavery per se.
While this logic is a little off, I understand it. Beating a child during slavery could serve as a protective measure. If I, as your parent, beat you and train you to obey authority at the threat of physical punishment, maybe you won’t have to endure the beatings of a less amicable, less concerned overseer or slave master, who might ultimately take your life.
The logic makes sense for that period and even far after when blacks were still expected to submit to whites during Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era. But what is the reason for beating a child, particularly a black child, in modern times? Aside from the notion that old habits die hard I don’t get it.
Fortunately DMX is raising his children differently.
DMX -”You don’t really have to beat them. That one time…smack them on the a__ with a belt a couple of times and they’ll get the point. It was not continual beating. Anybody you’ve got to beat over and over again, evidently it’s not working.”
Dr. Drew – “More like spanking?”
DMX – “…you give them a spanking that one time. After you explain to them not to do it…”
Dr. Drew – “But with your mom it got out of control?”
DMX – “Yeah. That’s why I talk to my kids first. I sit them down and explain to them what they did wrong. If I see that they are genuinely remorseful about the situation, then I’ll let it go.”
It seems that DMX, despite his own upbringing, has gotten it. Hopefully we can learn something from him.
What do you think, do beatings have a place in modern day child rearing?
You can watch this segment of the interview in this clip below.
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Out of all the kids I have, my fourth child, the little girl peanut, is the two-est two-year-old I’ve ever had. She smacks her little brother in the face sometimes if he gets too close and she’s not in the mood for butterfly kisses; her favorite word is “No”; she thinks my laptop, which I frequently use because, uhm, that’s how I make a living, is the enemy, and swats at it if I don’t give her my full, 1000% attention.
Oh…and then there is the tantrums.
A parent’s number one job is to love their child unconditionally; and, for most of us, that comes easily. Difficulties come with figuring out to how to best demonstrate our love and effectively communicate it to our children. Love is not an emotion but an action and children have to see their parent’s love at work.
We are inclined to love our children in much the same way our parents loved us, good and bad. But, we only owe our seed the good as the goal is for every generation to get better. Love isn’t always gentle and it doesn’t always speak in a soft voice, but it is selfless and committed to generating positive outcomes. The act of love encompasses many things and it’s important to tackle areas of weakness individually.
These are a few of the components we should focus on to help convey love to our children: