All Articles Tagged "parenting advice"
Will Smith stars alongside his son, Jaden, in his latest movie, After Earth. It’s a story about a father-son pair who crash land on the Earth 1,000 years after humans were forced to evacuate the planet. In an interview surrounding the movie, Will Smith takes a leap bigger than the one that catapulted him from his mythical planet on the big screen while discussing parenting and the tradition of slavery.
Asked about the way he and his wife, actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, parent their children, Smith said “I think that, specifically in African American households, the idea coming out of slavery, there’s a concept of your children being property and that was a major part that Jada and I released with our kids. We respect our children the way we would respect any other person.”
I’d like to say that I see what Will Smith is getting at here. What he seems to be saying is that he doesn’t believe in stifling his children, in controlling their lives and personalities down to the letter. The right to a child’s personhood — the space to be who and what they want to be — seems paramount, and is evident in the expressive ways that Jaden and Willow dress and wear their hair (see also: Willow’s angsty pre-teen anthem “I Am Me” where she yells about how unimportant your validation is to her). Their kids, I think, are essentially black, famous versions of the little kid you see at the grocery store with his/her parents wearing cowboy boots, a cape, and a tutu because their parents let them dress themselves that day.
And that’s great! As someone who doesn’t yet have children (and who may never have them unless Obama does something about these student loans of mine), I’ve had time to sit and make a list of things I swear I’ll never do as a parent. One is that I’ll never make my kids eat brussel sprouts because I don’t even like brussel sprouts. I also won’t force them to take up piano because it’s something that I always wanted to do, or not allow them to study art because I don’t want to risk them getting paint all over my walls.
What I will do, though, is give them curfews to keep them safe, give them chores to teach them the value and importance of work and responsibility, and put punishments in place for unacceptable, disrespectful behavior. Treating a child like an adult, it seems to me, is folly because they aren’t adults and don’t know how to be one. It’s like giving someone a car without teaching them how to drive it. Guiding your children, setting boundaries and parameters, telling them to clean their rooms (something that Will says they don’t do with their kids) isn’t acting like an overseer — it’s acting like a parent.
Even more than the blurring of the line between being overbearing and being a simple responsible parent is Smith’s implication that black parents are even more domineering and controlling than parents of other ethnic groups because of our duration of slavery. Ever seen an episode of “Wife Swap” or “World’s Strictest Parents”? Those shows are filled with white families who run their houses like a military barracks. Further, black people are not the only folks who were enslaved or mistreated. Why would that penchant for slavery-like parenting only persevere in black people?
So, I get what Will was trying to say; he just made a pointless detour in saying it. He was in the air, inches from the rim, ball in hand, perfectly poised to make a slam dunk — but then he said, ‘wait, let me do something completely left field like throw the ball at the ceiling and see if it still makes it in.”
Some of us are still struggling to understand the friendship that exists between President Obama and the Carter family. Whatever the nature of their relationship, we can certainly understand how both parties benefit from having each other in their respective corners. The president gets the backing (and financial contributions, $4 million just last month to be exact) of some of the biggest stars in the music industry and Bey and Jay get to expand their empire by kicking it with the president all the time.
At a radio station in Cleveland, Ohio, the president continued to speak about the budding friendship with Jay-Z and Beyoncé by sharing the fatherly advice he gave to the rapper/mogul when Blue Ivy was born.
“I’ve gotten to know these guys over the first several years. They’re good people. Beyonce could not be sweeter to Michelle and the girls. So they’re good friends. We talk about the same things I talk about with all my friends.”
“I made sure that Jay-Z was helping Beyonce out [with the baby], and not leaving it all with Beyonce and the mother-in-law.”
You can’t believe your luck. You meet the man of your dreams – he’s tall, dark and handsome, hot to death and has all of his teeth. You think the relationship Gods have smiled upon you and you can’t wait to introduce your new love to your family. You think your new boo has won them over and that everyone loves him as much as you do – until you discover that he didn’t..and they don’t. The verdict is in – your parents don’t like him. Not even a little bit. You love your parents, but you love him too – so what to do? If you find yourself in this situation, here are some things to ponder before you consider inviting him back over for Thanksgiving dinner.
America’s favorite television father, Bill Cosby, has some parenting advice for you.
Find out how you can become a “genius mom” at Black Voices.
Few things are as strong as a mother’s love for her child. But when it comes to boys, little will rival the connection he shares with his mama. The intricate nature of a mother’s love for her son has been covered by everyone from Maya Angelou to Sigmund Freud and when passed through the lens of class and race in America, that relationship takes on entirely new dimensions. Black men that get caught up in the system of imprisonment and frequent unemployment start off as someone’s baby.
Regardless of whether men grow up in a single parent household or not, moms typically lead child rearing efforts. Much of that time is spent sheltering your boy, protecting his knees and elbows from boo-boos, answering to his call and making him happy. And rightly so. He’s your baby and deserves your love. The problem is that often, the way in which we raise our boys doesn’t always match up with what we and the rest of society expect of them as men.
The term “mama’s boy” probably comes to mind. Clearly a man should have a cherished place in his heart for his mama but that shouldn’t interfere with his ability to have an adult relationship with another woman or be a productive member of society and his community. Even as you spend your last dime to give that perfect little angel love and attention as only a mother can, it’s important to keep your eyes on the end goal: raising a good man.
Kids grow up fast but not over night. There will be plenty of time for your little man to be your baby but along the way, help him be the kind of man any mother can be proud of.
Our children know us better than we know ourselves. Unless we are psychotic or capricious, they know what makes us mad, happy, satisfied and downright disgusted. They also know how to push our buttons, and have memories like elephants for stuff we would rather they’d forget. Ironically, they can’t seem to remember to take out the trash, change their underwear, bring all their books to school, so they call you in the middle of the day to just drop everything and deliver them.
Years back, I remember asking my mother a very inappropriate question, “Did you and Daddy have sex before you got married?” She paused and said something that burned a hole in my memory: “I needed to try what I was buying.” With that mental picture emblazoned in my mind like a thousand not-so-splendid suns, in retrospect, I wish I’d never asked.
Now with four kids of my own, I know my daughter might feel, at some point, comfortable enough to ask the same question. Saying I was a virgin won’t fly; she was born before I met my husband. It won’t work on the others, either.
Since I’ll be faced with the same dilemmas, I’ve prepared a quick-and-dirty list of possible questions and good answers to shut things down before they know too much.
Summer is slowly, but surely winding down and pretty soon all the kids will be in back in school. Before you get too caught up in parent teacher conferences, soccer games, school plays and piano lessons, enjoy these last few unstructured days. Here are five things you should do with your kids before that first school bell rings.
A water park is a great way to cool off and have quality family time. Nothing says love like hanging on to your child for dear life as you both sit in a hollowed out log plunging down a 20-foot waterfall. Today’s water parks have something for everyone–from toddlers to teens to grown ups. That crisp fall air is right around the corner. Soak up the sun and water while you can!
Put down that to-do list and that crazy schedule. Spend a whole day doing…anything. No plans. No pressure. Maybe you and the kids will go to a museum. Maybe you’ll pile up on the couch and watch goofy cartoons all day. Whatever happens, happens. Once school starts and the weekdays are filled with school and weekends are filled with them hanging out with their friends, you’ll have precious little time for an Anything Day.
Movie theaters are the perfect way to take a break from those hot, sticky August days. Plan a whole day of movies! Help your kids learn the art of democracy by voting on which movies to see and in which order. Take a lunch break and sit and chat about the movies you’ve watched so far before you dive back in. You might be surprised at the budding Roger Eberts you have on your hands.
Preparing a meal with care is an act of love. Share the joy with everyone by making it a family activity. Plan out a meal that is fun, but relatively easy to make. Give every person an age appropriate task and let the fun begin. Whenever possible, let their creativity seep in. Maybe that salad needed a few chocolate chips. Use the cooking time to catch up on what everyone has been doing and be sure to heap praises on their concoctions. The result will be a dinner table full of love, laughter and family time.
Summer Reading Book Club
Yes, summer and reading in the same phrase. If presented properly, this could be an awesome way to further bond with your child and encourage a love of reading. Pick “fun” books with a good pace that you know your child would like. Both of you read the book by a certain date and then you share your thoughts at a regularly planned lunch, just the two of you. This also helps to make the start of school a bit easier because the summer wasn’t a book desert for your child.
Those are just a few activities to do with your child as the summer winds down. Do you have any special things planned before school starts?
When I heard about Lashanda Armstrong, the 25-year-old single mother of four (!) driving herself and her children into a watery grave, I couldn’t help but feel pity for her. First, because this woman was obviously suffering from untreated mental illness. As a woman who has had my own struggles with General Anxiety Disorder, I know how pain, stress, no help and four needy children can cause a mother to go to the brink.
“It’s hard for women to seek the mental health they need. And when you have four kids, when do you get the time to seek help? It’s hard for a lot of people who have to work and take time off to see a doctor. And if you’re poor, you don’t have that option. Access and availability to quality healthcare is key.” says Danielle Belton, founder of the popular blog, Black Snob, and managing editor at TheLoop21. Belton has spoken openly about her bipolar disorder in an effort to de-stigmatize mental illness in the black community.
That said, let’s not act brand-new about the struggles black women go through raising children with no protection, support, or commitment. This woman had four kids by age 25, the oldest she bore presumably at 15, with three others by a man whom she forever fought with because he kept cheating, cheating, and cheating.
The one silver lining in this cluster-cuss was that her oldest son, ten-years-old, was able to escape, but not without Armstrong, in her last minutes of life, trying to grab at his pants to ensure he stayed down in that abyss with her.
Motherhood is one of life’s greatest joys, so it’s not surprising that some (well, a lot) of women become consumed with their new role. Feeling a child grow for nine months and then bringing them into the world conjures up a lifetime’s worth of emotions and each and every milestone they hit opens a new window. Babbling on and on about goo-goos and ga-gas, mothers sometimes exaggerate the abilities of their children and inflict their enthusiasm onto others.
While it is great to be excited and commendable to wear your joy, be careful not to become “that mom.” You know, the types of mothers who drive people (including other moms) crazy:
Every parent endures those precious toddler and pre-school moments when the only thing her son wants to watch is Finding Nemo. Or the only story her daughter wants for bedtime is Little Red Riding Hood. As adults, we are constantly looking for new stimulation while children get all they need doing the opposite.