All Articles Tagged "parents"
Parents with kids know all too well how easy it is for your privacy and “adult time” to go out the window. As much as you love your little ones, sometimes you want a night to yourself — that doesn’t include changing diapers, bottles and dealing with attitudes. Here are some ways parents can get back to dating, even when a babysitter, family member, or friend isn’t available.
A couple of days this week, I woke up to emails and Facebook messages from a Tracey Cox, Robert McCready, and full on harassment from Johnathan Bartles telling me I’m a “stupid racist.” About a year or so ago I sent my daughter to school with her curls out. Contrary to the self-hating sisters who commented below the article, curls mean curls in this instance. When I picked my daughter up from school her white teacher took it upon herself to “braid” my daughter’s hair.
Yes. this was a problem, and you can read all about it here.
No, I didn’t and still wouldn’t want a white teacher “doing” my daughters hair. Yes, it still would be an issue for me if the teacher was Black. My daughter’s hair was freshly washed and moisturized. She showed up to school with her hair done just as she did every other day.
The issue here that everyone is missing, partly due to my poor articulation, is that in 2016 Black girls are still being told their hair, and their appearance is substandard by Blacks, Whites, and others. It’s 2016 and Gabby Douglas is a highly-decorated Olympian yet all people can manage to say is she has bad edges and a bad attitude. It’s 2016 and Black girls and their families are still fighting school districts with POLICIES dictating and regulating how a Black child is allowed to wear their hair to school.
No one is telling Susan her is too long and must be worn in a bun, lest she face suspension. No one is telling Tommy he must cover his tattoos and get rid of his eccentric hairstyle lest he cannot walk at graduation. Andrew Jones however, the valedictorian was denied the privilege of walking his own graduation because he wore a beard. Maybe I am a stupid racist, maybe I’m reaching and this particular incident was innocent. There is, without a doubt, an undeniable compulsion from people who are not of color to control, regulate and police the physical appearance of people of color.
At the time, my daughter was about two-years-old, she was the only Black student in the entire daycare. There were no teachers of color at all. At two-years-old, daycare is where children learn and pick up many things from their interactions with their teachers and peers. I am always going to be “that mom” advocating for my daughter’s rights and self-esteem and confidence until she is knowledgeable and strong enough to do so on her own.
At almost 30-years-old, I’m working in a corporate, medical setting and I still hear white women say things like, “That’s your real hair? That’s not typical for you guys to have such long hair, right?”
Ignorance is truly bliss. To sit behind a screen in your home-office trying to berate and intimidate someone based off their personal experience must be nice. Unfortunately, I will not let you police me either. If you don’t like what the world has to offer stay in your gated-communities with limited perceptions of the social paradigms.
I am a Black woman who grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey, and attended Clark Atlanta University in Georgia. I know very well what racism and microaggressions look like.
How would you react if your daughter’s teacher did her hair?
Last summer I went on a pub crawl with a friend of a friend for his 30th birthday. The plan was to hit 30 spots (and have a drink at each one) but well before the 30th mark I knew someone had had too much — not because we were drunk and stumbling around, but because the conversation had turned from fun in the streets to broken homes and daddy issues. There, in the midst of my Saturday sangria, I was asked about my relationship with my father as my friend explained she hadn’t spoken to her own dad since she was in high school. The reason: He cheated on her mom and she never forgave him.
Though my friend’s sister had moved past the breakdown of her family unit as she knew it (the girls’ parents divorced), she couldn’t accept what her father had done to her mother and to her family. And so, a decade-and-a-half had gone by without a word spoken between the two.
I thought about that situation again this week as I read an article on Amy Schumer’s memoir, The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, which was released Tuesday. In the collection of essays, Schumer discusses the breakdown of her relationship with her mother, sharing in this excerpt on PEOPLE how her mother revealed she was having an affair with Schumer’s best friend’s dad:
“One day after school I came home and saw my mother slumped on the couch. She’d clearly been crying hard.” Her mother was a teacher of the deaf, and signed what she was in no shape to say out loud. “I am leaving your father. Lou and I have fallen in love with each other.
“I was a child, new to my teens, and she was treating me like a seasoned psychiatrist,” she wrote.
Like my friend, Schumer was a teen at the time — 13 to be exact — and also similarly, her relationship with her cheating parent hasn’t been the same since. She told USA Today of where things stand with her mother now:
“We love each other and I’m really grateful to her and for her, but we’ll never be how we were. I wrote that family is a constant negotiation so it’s constantly evolving, but we’ll never be close again.”
Considering 22 years have passed since her mother’s revelation, it would reason Schumer is right about the outlook of her strained relationship with her mom. Often, when conversations of infidelity arise concerning parents, people forget the spouse isn’t the only one who was betrayed; children often feel cheated on as well. It’s not just the pain of divorce that brings about those feelings of abandonment and disloyalty, it’s the idea that your mother or father would sacrifice his or her relationship with you and your other parent in favor of this other person. And just as some husbands and wives never get over an ex-spouse cheating on them, neither do a number of kids who’ve witnessed their families torn apart (even if only for a brief time) as a result. What would you do?
Last year, a photo was circulating on the internet of a little girl, who had just gotten her hair done by her teacher. To no one’s surprise this garnered reactions on both ends of the spectrum from the cyber world. As a mother, I was torn in my opinion of the situation, with no reason to think it could ever happen to me. As I read through the responses of Facebook friends, and their friends I thought, If I was a teacher, and a student came into class with her hair matted and linted, yes I would probably take it upon myself to spruce her up. However, in regards to my daughter this was not the case.
Then it actually happened to me and my daughter. One day, after a fresh hair wash, we were running slightly behind to school and I decided–against my better judgment–to let my daughter go to school with a headband and her curls out. BIG MISTAKE.
Thursday afternoon, like every day I went to pick up my daughter from her school playground. As she ran toward me, all I could do was mouth to myself was, WTF!? Seeing my reaction her teacher scurred behind her, quickly offering an exonerating explanation as to why my daughter didn’t look the way she did only a few hours earlier. “I did her hair, I hope you don’t mind?! She said she was hot.”
I was furious. My blood was boiling, and there were no nice words I could find. I offered a limp smile, and could barely utter, “it’s fine.” I was fuming. My daughter’s hair had been brushed, with whose brush? I couldn’t tell you, parted, and braided in plaits, and embellished with rubber bands and barrettes, out of the teachers own supply.
After about 30 minutes to an hour, I called the school and spoke with the director and asked that Lyric’s hair not be touched by anyone, at all, for any reason. She assured me she would talk to the teachers, but I could tell she really didn’t care. For days I debated with my cousin, a former daycare teacher about the violation, boundary infringement, and the subliminal message being taught to my daughter. My cousin argued the teacher had no ill intentions toward my child, and that she thought she was doing a good thing. She assured me her actions meant that Lyric was a favorite in the school, and now that I have made this an issue they will probably treat her differently now.
While I’m 100 percent sure the teacher had no ill intentions when she decided to do my childs hair, but more so just wanted to get her hands in some Black hair. Against my better judgment, I assumed the unspoken rule about not touching Black hair was well known. Needless to say, no matter what the circumstances may be, no matter how tired I am, that hair gets braided down daily! I refuse to allow my child to be mislead into believing her beauty, and worth are defined by what pleases the pale faces of the world. I am a patron of the facility not for beauty treatments, but to first educate, and second care for my child. Unfortunately, I have stigmatized myself as “that mom”, and prayerfully my daughter doesn’t suffer of any ill treatment because of this.
Would I feel as strongly about this situation had her teacher been Black, and decided to do her hair? Nope, because to me that would of been a sister looking out, a homegirl hook up because of the unspoken understanding all Black people share. Is that biased, ignorant, racist? Call it what you want, but because of the history of the Black body, in relation to White people, (ownership, and exhibition) I will never be ok with White hands in my childs hair.
What would you do if your daughter’s teacher did her hair?
Have you had a tricky situation that needed to be addressed at your child’s school? How did you handle it?
How well do you know your mom? Most of us would say we know our moms pretty well. Maybe we know her favorite color, flower, dessert or music. We probably know who her friends are, what she likes to make for Thanksgiving dinner, whether she prefers high heels or flats. But what about her nickname when she was in grade school? Or the most important influence on her decision to become a doctor? Or the reason she was so dedicated to volunteering at the local meal program for so many years?
Kevin King of Big Bend, Wisconsin didn’t think about asking the “hard” questions until his mom had suffered a stroke and had memory loss and confusion, and those conversations were not really possible anymore. “I realized the time with my mom was precious and I didn’t know all the things I wanted to know about her,” said King. “She wasn’t one to talk about herself, she always turned the conversation back around to you, and with the memory issues, the conversation never quite got as deep as I hoped or would have liked,” he continued. King shared that when he and his four siblings had to put together her funeral service, “we struggled to create something meaningful and personal to her. We knew the little things but wondered if there was more we should have included. It was a beautiful service, but even today, we cannot help but wonder ‘was it what she would have wanted and did it reflect what mattered most to her?’ If only we had known more about her wishes, hopes and dreams.”
Like King, many of us don’t think about asking those kinds of questions until perhaps an illness or the end of life is imminent, or else we struggle to find that information while planning a funeral. Our moms are always there – taking care of everyone and doing what they’ve always done, year after year. As King said, “I wish we could have shared and enjoyed my mom’s stories, and laughed and cried about them together.”
This Mother’s Day is the perfect time to give the gift of your interest in your mom’s stories, memories or family lore. If you’re a mom or even a grandmother, you can prompt these discussions with your kids as well. However, you don’t have to figure out how to do it all by yourself. There is a national initiative to help people get conversations started called Have the Talk of a Lifetime. Have the Talk of a Lifetime (www.talkofalifetime.org) offers free guides and even a forum where other families have shared their experiences in having the talk.
So, how do you begin to Have the Talk of a Lifetime? Simply ask questions. Ask for stories. Things like:
• What is your proudest achievement?
• What was the one piece of advice you received from your parents or grandparents that you never forgot?
• Tell me about the most memorable summer you had growing up.
• Tell me about your favorite teacher. What did you learn from him or her?
While Mother’s Day is an ideal time to talk with mom or grandma, you can have the talk of a lifetime with anyone you hold dear — your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, a spouse. It can happen anywhere you and your loved one are most comfortable — over a meal, at home, on a walk, while playing a game. The talk can be between you and your mom, or you could include others, such as family or friends. Yourconversation can take place at any time — not just at the end of life.
For more information or resources to get you started with the Talk of a Lifetime this Mother’s Day, visit www.talkofalifetime.org .
When I was in high school, I swore that the dress code existed for the sheer purpose of making my life miserable; that and gym class. How was I supposed to attract the senior boys without strapless shirts and short skirts? My glowing personality?!
As a parent I find myself defending the school’s policies — both the reasonable and the somewhat ridiculous– explaining to my child that they do have a purpose, and taking every opportunity to remind them that they go to school to learn, not for a fashion show; a line that’s completely lost on them.
However much of a nuisance dress codes may be to the students who have to abide by them and the administrators who have to enforce them, they’ve long been an important part of both public and private educational systems. And we even heard of a school board member taking things to another level, pushing for a different kind of school dress code for parents, arguing, “If we’re going to train little boys and little girls to dress appropriately at school–no sagging pants, no hair curlers, no short shorts–parents should follow the same rules.”
To that I say: Thank you!
Not that I’m completely for the whole thing. A formal dress code for adults and parents may be going a bit too far, and realistically it would be pretty difficult to enforce, but I at least applaud someone for actually standing up and saying something about it.
Yes, teachers and administrators have a lot more to be concerned about when it comes to educating our children… I’d much rather have them mulling over ways to boost literacy rates and keep our schools safe than how to regulate what I’m wearing when I drop my kids off in the morning. But is this something that the school should even have to address? Shouldn’t we, as parents, already know better?
I get it– somewhat. Most mornings it’s hard enough to get my one kid together ( I could imagine if I had more than one), let alone make myself look at least halfway decent before stepping out the door. Have I been guilty of wearing my pajama pants stuffed into Uggs on the occasional drop-off when we’re running late? Umm…yes. But in my defense, I always throw a coat or long cardigan on over it so no one can see it. I try to keep it classy–as classy as you can be wearing sleepwear outdoors.
I’ve also seen some unique attire worn by other parents, sometimes downright offensive…yoga pants with no underwear, anyone?
I don’t do it because I’m trying to spare my child the embarrassment. (Some mornings I’m tempted to do just the opposite.) I do it because I respect myself and the institution enough to try to look like I give a damn when I’m there.
Is it really too much to ask that other parents do the same?
A story my girlfriend shared with me the other day about a phone conversation with her mom…
“Tell me what you want from the house when I go.”
“Go where?” Bree said to her mom.
“You know, when I die.”
“Die!? What’s wrong?? Are you sick???” Bree panicked.
“No. I just want to be prepared.”
This was so weird.
“I can’t, ma, just write down whatever you think I’d like.”
“I don’t know what you’d like because I don’t know you like that.”
“You don’t know me like that? Ma, are you serious? All the times I’ve tried to get to know you over the years and all you’ve ever done is shut me down. You only came to visit me once in 25 years and that was when I got married, and I had to beg you and pay for your plane ticket.
And then there’s the grandchild that you completely forgot. Now you wanna act like it’s my fault?”
“So it’s my fault?” Bree’s mom said. “Do you remember how you left?”
Whoa. She was bringing that up? They had never spoken about the way she left home. How she had just graduated from high school and had her heart set on becoming a singer- her mother wanted her to go to college. As a compromise, Bree applied to schools with music programs out-of-state, but her mother had her own plans and changed the applications to local colleges in Mississippi where they lived. Bree realized then that the only way she was going to be able to live her own life was by leaving. So one day she bounced, leaving nothing but a note telling her mom that she was heading to New York and would call her when she got settled. They did eventually talk, but the relationship never recovered.
Read the full article here.
When it comes to meeting the parents of someone you’re dating, there is no such thing as being prepared. You can ask your significant other a million questions about family history, lifestyle, and essential facts, but you will never be prepared to actually meet and interact with them. All that you know is irrelevant. I was reminded of that when I met my boyfriend’s parents for a nice Saturday brunch in Baltimore on a cold and dreary day.
Think back to when you were a teen, and you had your first boyfriend or girlfriend and the first thing you had to do was tell your parents…unless you were sneaky. You had to endure the chaperoned dates, family ogling over you two sitting in the living room watching TV because you weren’t allowed to be in your room. Remember those days? Well, it’s just a little different as adults. You’re still ogled. But when you meet the parents, that’s when you know it’s serious. Therefore, the questions go beyond family history, lifestyle and essential facts. They get a bit deeper and are a lot more purposeful.
The day I met his parents, I was extremely nervous. I kept smiling and reassuring him that I was okay, telling him, “I’m usually good with parents.” The food was good, the ambiance was lively, but after some jokes and laughter and the cliche introductory “So, how did you two meet?” questions, they turned up the heat a bit. Make that a lot.
I knew that my boyfriend was strong in his faith, but he also has a lot of open-minded, laid-back qualities. His parents are another story. I wasn’t prepared for his parent’s traditional ways. They are devout Christians who attend Sunday services all day, put on their Sunday best, love Tyler Perry, and don’t play when it comes to their faith. In comparison, while I come from a similar type of family dynamic, I’ve since grown distant from the church. I wouldn’t consider myself a practicing Christian as I don’t attend services, and I haven’t touched a Bible in years. That’s why it was so awkward when his parents asked me repeatedly about my home church, who my pastor is, if my parents are saved, and if I’m saved. I couldn’t lie, but I felt exposed in a way. My boyfriend knows my struggles with the faith, struggles I didn’t necessarily want to share with his parents. But it brought me back to the idea that when you make a commitment to someone, you also are committing to their family in a way.
Soon after meeting mom and dad, I started getting offers to accompany his mother to church. I ended up at the mall in the MAC store getting the Sunday best makeup and in Nordstrom, LOFT, and Arden B holding piles of skirts, dresses and cardigans. It was all too overwhelming for me. Especially since I haven’t gotten to a place in my life where I want to spend my Sundays in a church again. I’ve adopted the rest and relaxation rituals that come with Sundays. I enjoy my face masks in bed while watching shows on the DVR as my hair is deep conditioning. I have my own schedule to follow and stance on the church to keep in mind, but I don’t want to make a bad impression.
So, while his parents seem to like me, I’m facing a dilemma: Should I oblige them by agreeing to go to church with them sometimes and take part in other traditional Christian things I no longer practice or enjoy?
If you’ve ever been a child, at an event, waiting for your parents to show up, you know how important it is for them to be there. It is with this fact in mind that California Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a Democrat from Los Angeles, proposed that employees get three, paid days off each year to attend their children’s school activities.
KTLA reports that in a news release from last week, Gatto said, “Being involved in your child’s education shouldn’t be limited by your family’s income, and it shouldn’t come down to a choice between meeting with a teacher or volunteering in the classroom, versus paying the bills.”
Currently, parents, grandparents and guardians can take up to five, unpaid days for school-related activities and emergencies without losing their job. Gatto’s legislation wants to compensate employees for those days.
When he announced the bill, Gatto cited a study that showed that children with involved parents perform better and have fewer disciplinary issues at school. Yet, less than a quarter of parents with an income below $30,000 were very involved with their children’s education. Most of these parents said that there was a lack of time due to work schedules.
Gatto said that instead of continuing to complain about the state of public schools, we should begin to work to fix them. He’s hoping that the legislation will give parents a chance to be more active in their child’s lives without worrying about not being able to feed them.
“You shouldn’t have to be a cast member of the ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ to be involved in your child’s education,” Gatto said.
What do you think about the legislation? Do you think other states should adopt the policy?
“Give her some Doritos, too. Don’t be a hog,” a mother told her teenage son on the train, pointing to her daughter that couldn’t have been any older than six. “Pass her Doritos?” I thought to myself. “Naw, she definitely needs to chill on that.”
This dialogue happened nearly six months ago, and it’s still heavy on my mind. Why do parents feed their kids junk food? Seriously?
As a kid, my mother wasn’t strict about what I ate but everything I digested was of good quality. There was no dark soda (just Sprite sparingly), no super-sugary treats drenched in high fructose corn syrup or pork allowed. Every now and then I would indulge in something sweet, but even well into December I’d have candy still left over from Halloween that would remain untouched and then ultimately thrown away. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me, but I never was sugar crazy. Even today, the only candy I ever pick up when I’m craving something sweet is a pack of Sour Patch Kids.
As a kid I didn’t understand why exactly my mom didn’t allow me to eat certain things, but as I got older I started to understand importance of what I was putting in my body and how it directly affected my health. So, when I saw that mother willingly giving her child a bag of Doritos I couldn’t understand why she would start a deadly cycle of incorporating junk food into her child’s diet that can be addictive. Sure, the occasional treat is acceptable by all means, but if the young girl happens to be consuming them in large quantities or on a daily basis, there’s trouble on the horizon.
“Health experts say diets of children in the United States have deteriorated dramatically over the past two generations, leading to skyrocketing rates of obesity and diabetes, both of which put children at risk for other diseases and shorter lives,” Live Science reports.
Eileen Kennedy, a pediatric psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, also chimed in on the topic of parents feeding kids junking, explaining that those that have poor eating habits early in life are usually attracted to those certain foods because they learned “at home and at school that they are OK to eat.”
In no way am I saying that parents are being bad caretakers by giving their children junk food, but with 17% of all kids and teens being obese, which is triple the rate of one generation ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, something has to wake people up.
I also understand that a lot of this has to do convenience, money and lack of meal planning. So, sometimes a quick stop to McDonald’s for a sausage biscuit may seem harmful but the long-term effects if such behavior is continued can be life threatening.
What are your thoughts? Do you allow your kids to eat junk food on a regular basis? If so, why?