All Articles Tagged "teenagers"

Don’t Blame The Parents: Spring Valley High Assault Victim, Living In Foster Care

October 28th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Spring Valley High Assault Victim Recently Orphaned

Source: Cell Phone Video

Update: Shaun King updated the story to say that the girl’s mother has not passed away but she is estranged from her is indeed living in foster care.

In light of the recent Spring Valley High Assault case, I’m seeing a lot of people calling for obedience. Not obedience on Officer Fields’ part. He broke a few rules himself. But they’re asking for obedience from the young lady who was placed in a chokehold and dragged across the classroom floor in front of her classmates.

For once, Raven-Symoné’s trollish-like comments are being reflected by others in our community who want to “blame the parents” for not teaching her to respect authority.

Can I just say respecting authority is an important life skill but it can also be overrated. I’m not arguing that she shouldn’t have given up her cell phone or followed the officer when he asked her to get up the first time. (I work with young, elementary school aged children who bring cell phones to our tutoring classes. They’re distracting and annoying.) But with the way police officers are abusing their authority, degrading, beating and killing Black boys, girls, men and women, perhaps she had a reason for not compiling to Officer Field’s command, particularly when he had a reputation for being overly aggressive.

Or maybe this 16-year-old girl was just having a bad day and she felt like being defiant. We were all teenagers, some of us more recently than others, and I know I had those days. And I thank God I was never abused for it. Thankfully, my teachers and my school administrators saw me for what I was, a young person prone to making foolish mistakes. It’s literally what teenagers do as they’re trying to find themselves and navigate through life.

Unfortunately, too many children of color aren’t given the opportunity or the freedom to be treated as children, as human beings, who inevitably make silly, mistakes like everyone does.

If her teacher thought she was distracted by her cell phone, certainly being assaulted by a grown man took both she and all of her classmates out of learning mode. I don’t know how you go back to studying parabolas once you’ve seen a young lady flung across your classroom floor.

The pressures of being a teenager are challenging enough. But this young lady is facing so much more. Her attorney, Todd Rutherford told Shaun King, for the Daily News that she was recently moved into the foster care system.

When you suffer that type of change, you’re not trying to have someone, even if they are an authority figure, come in and take something else from you.

Trauma will make anyone act out, especially a teenager.

And during what is possibly the toughest time of her life, this young lady is now suffering from injuries on her face, neck and arm (she is reportedly wearing a cast) and is still charged with “disturbing schools.”

Her foster mother is trying her best to protect her identity but she has said that the young lady is devastated and emotionally traumatized by all that has happened to her.

I pray that this young girl finds the strength to process and heal from all that has happened to her because Lord knows she’s had to carry far more at 16 than many of us will endure in a lifetime.


SoulCycle Teams Up With High School Kids For SoulScholarship

September 14th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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We sure wish we had SoulCycle when we were in high school like these New York City teens.

A bunch of New York City high school students are spinning those legs—twice a week for six weeks—as part of the SoulScholarship program, a partnership with The Children’s Aid Society and the Carrera Program, a pregnancy prevention program.

In a school system where 32 percent of schools have no full-time, certified gym teachers and 28 percent don’t even have a gym, according to a recent city report, The Children’s Aid Society wanted to find ways to make fitness a priority.

With SoulCycle, they found a good fit—and an experience most of the kids wouldn’t normally have access to.

“The reality is classes are $35. This is not doable for everybody,” says Courtney Carrera-Ghatan, assistant director for national medical and dental services at The Children’s Aid Society.

The 25 students—from Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School in the Bronx and the Urban Assembly Institute in Brooklyn—were recruited for the program by Carrera-Ghatan and her staff members who work in the schools.

SoulScholarship also includes nutrition classes and help with resume writing and interviewing, and is making a big impact on the students.

“The days I come in, I’m more or less emotionally drained. This boosts my confidence. After I’m done with class, I instantly want to go back, no matter how tired I am,” said Micah, a rising senior at Fannie Lou Hamer.

As part of SoulScholarship, the kids are logging how much sleep they get, how much soda they’re drinking, whether or not they’re enjoying exercise, and how much water they drink daily. As a result, some encouraging stats have emerged.

“For the Brooklyn group, we found energy levels throughout the day increased by 15 percent,” says Kate Monaghan, a graduate student serving as SoulCycle’s program evaluator. “About 80 percent (including both groups) now enjoy exercise when they do it. That number started at 30.”

“We’re seeing directly that their self-esteem and confidence have improved, and they’re feeling a sense of community,” says Julie Koster, director of philanthropy at SoulCycle.

Read the full article here.

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I Caught My Son In The Act — Again

September 11th, 2015 - By MommyNoire Editor
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By Neffi Walker

There is no visual more horrifying for me than catching my child in the middle of a sexual act in our home.

Let me explain:

My son has a beautiful girlfriend who I adore. They have been dating for a while, and I understand how it is to be a 20-year-old with raging hormones. But the rule in this house is NO SEX AT ALL…and that includes me (unless I’m married). There is another rule: no drugs under this roof. This is the second time I caught my son and his girlfriend in the act. I lost my mind and threatened to throw everyone out for not obeying the rules. I was so upset at the blatant disrespect of his actions that I needed to leave my house and cool off, so I wouldn’t end up doing bodily harm to someone!

Sexual behavior can be animalistic and reckless or done with feelings of love, longevity and respect. I realized that I didn’t have a conversation with my son about which way he views sex and felt a conversation was in order. I am not the “cool mom.” I am not going to put condoms in a jar and allow girls to come “hang out” with him in his room. I am more of the if-you-have-time-to-hang-out-then-you-have-time-for-work-and-school mom. I am not comfortable knowing that my son is having sex in his room. Nope…can’t do it.

I called him into my room the next day to find out why he made this poor decision once again. This is how the conversation went:

“First off, I wanted to apologize for the way I behaved yesterday towards you and your girlfriend. I said many things I meant, but I shouldn’t have said them out loud. As a parent I have to show restraint even in difficult times, because I would want you to think before you speak. Ok?” I said.  He looked shocked and slowly shook his head

“Is this a joke? You are apologizing to me because I broke the rules?” he said.

“No I am apologizing for the way I behaved regardless of the situation. I can’t allow you to take me to a place where I am out of control. Speaking of control, are you in love with your girlfriend?”

“I don’t know, I guess so, maybe,” he responded.

“Let me explain something to you about the responsibility of having sex. I understand that you want to get it on and be very physical due to your hormones raging out of control. But most women see sex differently than men. Your girlfriend loves you; she was still googly-eyed yesterday while I was cussing you both out. She traveled over here to see you and displayed every action indicating she is very interested in you. If you are having sex with her without your heart in it, then do her a favor and stop immediately.”

“What do you mean my heart, Mom? What are you talking about?” he said.

“Women take men “IN” we hold you FIRM and try not to let you go. Do you understand that statement? Women are sensitive creatures who, for the most part, have a direct connection between the vagina and their heart. It is your responsibility as a man to spend your time with those you want to really spend your time with. I don’t want you being a man just slinging your thing at every hole that comes your way. It is irresponsible and it hurts women. It hurts us to know that we have let you “IN” yet, you never wanted to be there for more than that moment. Sex should couple emotion and love; it should be done with thought. I hope you are thinking about her heart, or anyone else’s for that matter, before you give them your penis.”

His attitude during the conversation went from laughing nervously to being pensive. Then he said, “I love her, but I didn’t tell her yet.”

“Ok, well, if you love her, treat her with kindness and use thought. Please don’t be a man whore. I will be disappointed if I spent all this time acting like Mother Teresa around you to find out you are an ultimate whore.”

“Mom, OKAY. I understand; I got you. I am not all over the place; it’s not my way, Not everyone can get this.” He said as he walked away


It was the first conversation I had with him about feelings and what to do with them and how to manage them with sex. He is 21. After I spoke to him, I felt like this should have been something I spoke about all along as I do with my daughter. Raising thoughtful young men who are sexually responsible creates men who have a slimmer chance of treating women like a pieces of meat. In a perfect world, he would take that information and be the best boyfriend/husband the world has ever seen, full of compassion and romantic gestures, sweetly in love with his partner.  That is what I wish for him.


What do you think about your children having sex in your house? What message are you sending to them while allowing them freedom to express and grow?  I would love to know!

Don’t Let The Sex Talk With Your Kids Be Taboo

August 28th, 2015 - By Allyson Leak
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Pre-Teens in Texas Having Sex?!

I’m 33-years-old and a mother now, and a few years ago I asked my friends if their mothers ever had the ‘sex talk’ with them. To my surprise they all said ‘no.’ I was in that same boat because my mother never had the ‘talk’ with me either. We all just learned on our own, and in hindsight, I wish someone would have talked to me.

I guess the conversation was a little taboo for my mother’s generation, but sexuality is such an important part of a person’s identity. Sexuality should be embraced as something beautiful that is to be respected. It’s so important to talk to kids about sex because they’re receiving messages about sexuality from TV, music, and their peers–and the messages they get aren’t always positive.

A study from the National Survey of Family Growth held from 2006 to 2008 showed that more than 40 percent of U.S. teenagers have had sex at least once.

If you have a preteen or teenager and you haven’t had the sex talk with them yet, here are some things to consider:

Assess Your Beliefs First
It’s important to first assess your own thoughts and feelings surrounding sexuality before talking to your child. Your tone in the conversation is very important, so if, for example, you have negative feelings surrounding sexuality you should deal with those first.

Keep The Goal In Mind
The goal of sex education with your child shouldn’t only be to scare them to death. It should be for them to gain a positive view of sexuality, understand their bodies better, know some of the cons of having sex too early, and to learn about safe sex practices. You want them to be able to make healthy decisions on their own based off of what you tell them.

Conversation Starters
This can be an awkward conversation for some parents and teens, so you could use an example from a movie that you saw together as a family and ask their opinion about a certain scene. To kick things off, could also make up a scenario question and ask them which answer they think is the best.

You may want to consider explaining why you feel the way you do about sex. This is the time to use any examples that support your values. Sharing a tidbit from a personal experience allows you to connect and may help them feel more comfortable opening up with you in the conversation or in the future.

The Birds And The Bees
You can use an online program for sex education to help guide you or you can use diagrams with images and explain both the male and female bodies. Then you can ask them what they already know and then explain what happens during sexual intercourse.

After you have explained how sex works, talk to them about why it’s important to wait until it’s with the right person and the right time. You can give them suggestions and brainstorm together about ways they can talk with their romantic partners about delaying sex.

Safe Sex
Regardless of whether they are sexually active or not, talking about safe sex is important. Based on the statistic above, if you want them to avoid an unplanned pregnancy or getting an STD then their knowledge about contraception is important. Make sure he or she knows where to get safe sex supplies and birth control. Let them know that you are more than willing to take them to a sexual and reproductive health center if they want to go.

Last Resort
If by any chance your child is so uncomfortable that they refuse or are totally tuned out when talking with you, then tell them their other option is to talk with a professional at a local reproductive health center. Even though you may want to be the one to have the talk, it’s better that they have it with someone versus no one at all.

Suicide Signs To Look For In Your Teenager

August 12th, 2015 - By Rich
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Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth between 10 and 19 years of age and the number is increasing. Although it is not always a comfortable topic, it is essential to know the warning signs and to know the right ways to react if you notice them. Parents, friends, teachers, and sometimes even strangers can help play a part when prevention and helping others is a priority in the community.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics these are the reasons the youth suicide rate has increased and some signs to look for:

Why has the youth suicide rate gone so high in recent years?

  • It’s easier to get the tools for suicide (Boys often use firearms to kill themselves; girls usually use pills);
  • The pressures of modern life are greater;
  • Competition for good grades and college admission is stiff; and
  • There’s more violence in the newspapers and on television.

Lack of parental interest may be another problem. Many children grow up in divorced households; for others, both of their parents work and their families spend limited time together. According to one study 90 percent of suicidal teen-agers believed their families did not understand them. (However, this is such a common teen-age complaint that other factors are playing a role, too.) Young people also reported that when they tried to tell their parents about their feelings of unhappiness or failure, their mother and father denied or ignored their point of view.

If your teenager has been depressed, you should look closely for suicide signs that he or she might be displaying:

  • Has his personality changed dramatically?
  • Is he having trouble with a girlfriend (or, for girls, with a boyfriend)? Or is he having trouble getting along with other friends or with parents? Has he withdrawn from people he used to feel close to?
  • Is the quality of his schoolwork going down? Has he failed to live up to his own or someone else’s standards (when it comes to school grades, for example)?
  • Does he always seem bored, and is he having trouble concentrating?
  • Is he acting like a rebel in an unexplained and severe way?
  • Is she pregnant and finding it hard to cope with this major life change?
  • Has he run away from home?
  • Is your teenager abusing drugs and/or alcohol?
  • Is she complaining of headaches, stomachaches, etc., that may or may not be real?
  • Have his eating or sleeping habits changed?
  • Has his or her appearance changed for the worse?
  • Is he giving away some of his most prized possessions?
  • Is he writing notes or poems about death?
  • Does he talk about suicide, even jokingly? Has he said things such as, “That’s the last straw,” “I can’t take it anymore,” or “Nobody cares about me?” (Threatening to kill oneself precedes four out of five suicidal deaths.)
  • Has he tried to commit suicide before?

Help! I Think My Daughter Has An Eating Disorder

August 11th, 2015 - By Rich
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The pressure to look slim and fit like celebrities is more prevalent than ever in young girls. There has been an increase in more and more celebrities admitting that they get cosmetic enhancement like nose jobs, tummy tucks, breast augmentation and more. In addition to this, more companies have come out with products that help define a woman’s curves like waist trainers and butt pads. All of these things, plus pressure from friends help young girls compare themselves to models and celebrities and develop low self-esteem once they realize their bodies are different.

An eating disorder can be very dangerous and can even lead to death so it is nothing to take lightly or ever be in denial about. If you think that your teen may have some symptoms you can talk to your doctor or call an anorexia hotline. Check out some of these stats and signs below to see if you need to seek help.

According to The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa And Associated Disorders
• Almost 50% of people with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression.

  • Only 1 in 10 men and women with eating disorders receive treatment. Only 35% of people that receive treatment for eating disorders get treatment at a specialized facility for eating disorders.
  • Up to 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S.
  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

Signs and symptoms vary, depending on the type of eating disorder. Be alert for eating patterns and beliefs that might signal unhealthy behavior, as well as peer pressure that may trigger eating disorders. Some red flags that might indicate an eating disorder include:

Skipping meals, making excuses for not eating or eating in secret

Excessive focus on food and healthy eating

Persistent worry or complaining about being fat and talk of losing weight

Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws

Repeatedly eating large amounts of sweets or high-fat foods

Use of dietary supplements, laxatives or herbal products for weight loss

Excessive exercise

Regularly going to the bathroom after eating

Eating much more food in a meal or snack than is considered normal

Expressing depression, disgust, shame or guilt about eating habits

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is the leading 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization in the United States advocating on behalf of and supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. If you think your child displays signs you can call their hotline 1-800-931-2237.

Teenage Terror: Getting Through Life With Your Teenage Daughter

July 6th, 2015 - By Rich
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Once upon a time, there was nothing more precious than that little bundle of joy you toted home in all pink everything! She was the light of your life for so many years and then one day, she morphed into a moody adolescent who now hates pink, or anything you pick out her for that matter. Not to mention the bouts of silence that are often capped off with tears, pouting sessions or really, really long rants over school drama that end with “Mom, you don’t understand” like we’ve never been a teenager before, right? On any given day, she’s bound to be annoyed with someone – if it’s not Mom, it’s Dad or the sibling(s) or her friends, or a teacher or even the dog!

Nothing can prepare any Mom for the teenage terror we experience with each child and as tiresome as these upsets are, there’s always the difficulty that comes with navigating through them! And we’ve got a few scenarios and quick-fixes that will help both Mom and daughter survive emotional meltdowns, silent treatments and mood swings. We’ve all been there before and somebody’s got to come from a space of relation. If nothing else, they’re certainly worth a shot. Take a look …

Teenage Terror: Getting Through Life With Your Teenage Daughter

Black Girls Rock: Could These Teens be the Next Beyonce? She Thinks So.

May 4th, 2015 - By Rich
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We saw sisters Chloe, 17,  and Halle Bailey, 15,  almost a year ago as their soulful voices played across our Youtube screen, now those voices will reach far beyond the video platform. The young starlets along with teen Sophia Beem have been signed to Beyonce’s music management company, Parkwood Entertainment (for six albums).

The New York Daily News reports the teens’ contracts, which are pending in the Manhattan Supreme Court (they’re minors) could make them millionaires. Today’s social media platforms have shown us just how easy it is to create a strong platform, with great talent of course and these young singers certainly have that. The Bailey sisters youtube channel has over 500,000 subscribers and video views up to 8 million. The girls’ cover of Beyonce’s “Pretty Hurts” is what got the attention of the icon’s management company.

But the girls didn’t stop building their brand with Youtube. Chloe ad Halle’s joint instagram has 98.2k followers and shows these ladies have been getting closer and closer to their dreams over the past few years. Starting from humble beginnings the little ladies have been putting in work for a very long time.

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 11.56.11 AM


And now it is paying off, having the opportunity to socialize with Oprah and Bey’s stamp of approval.




This isn’t the first time one of the Carter’s grabbed up amazing talent that spawned from Youtube. Twenty-something songwriter Kirby Lauren wrote a song a day for over a year, posted it on Youtube and her skills picked up steam. She also wrote songs for stars and tweeted them and many took notice. Soon Jay Z was knocking on her door and has signer her to RocNation, much like Beyonce is doing now.

The Carter family is taking their business to new levels and also solidifying (as if we didn’t already know) just how far-reaching social media can be to get the attention of the right people.

Have a child who has been begging to get their own youtube channel and do tech reviews, teen make up tutorials or just sing their little hearts out? We say let them! You never know where that can lead. However, if you are opening the social media star gate one must also turn up their watchful eyes as attention can be both great and sometimes not so good. But we’ve seen the former much more!

We are congratulating these young girls and can’t wait to see what comes from them next. Until then, check out some of our favorite videos.


When Instagram Meets College Bound Teens

April 20th, 2015 - By Rich
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For so many of us parents who attended college immediately after graduating from high school, we can all remember the stress and pressure reeked upon us for the better part of our senior year. Rifling through the file cabinets of the student counseling center searching for brochures and applications for your top University/College choices, gathering SAT scores and somehow finding the time for extracurricular activities and campus visits was the norm for college bound teens.

In this day and age, however, applying to college is quite different. The financial climate has changed to a point where kids are well aware of how pricey higher education has become over the years. They’re hesitant about the loan process, applications fee and the campus visits out of state are almost out of the question until acceptance is official. There was nothing scarier than Freshman moving day your first week in and not having a clue about campus life. Well, this is what happens when Instagram meets college bound teens!

In a recent article published in Time magazine, the author shared a few interesting facts about Instagram and it’s core consumers.

A recent survey found that 76% of teens use Instagram. The graduating class of 2015 will be the first set of students who were able to capture their entire high school experience — from the first day of freshman to the last of senior year — on the photo-sharing app, which was founded in late 2010. So it makes sense that they would use it to not only to follow friends and celebrities, but to research the next stage of their lives as well.

It very well makes sense, right? Not to mention, it’s almost unfair to send your kid off to an unfamiliar place at the age of 17 or 18 and expect them to have a firm idea of what they want to do with the rest of their life and perform to the best of their capabilities! They’re learning a new city, learning new people, learning themselves and learning new material it can be quite overwhelming for some. So kids have now found a way to navigate through the unknown and get a feel for what they need to be as successful student.

For example, my son plays a variety of sports and at the age of 13 is already scouting division one schools. I suggested he follow the schools on Instagram and one university completely turned him off because it seemed like too much of a “party school.” He was uncomfortable with some of the behaviors he thought would be a distraction, i.e. underage drinking, frat parties and fast girls. We’ll see how he feels about that in the years to come but the point is, it’s never too soon to have an idea of the desired college experience. Now imagine how important Instagram is to graduating seniors – it would be remiss for collegiate faculty and staff to let this seemingly trivial mobile app go unnoticed and several colleges and universities have taken heed.

“Bowdoin’s director of digital and social media, Holly Sherburne, is aware that prospective students are following the school’s accounts and hashtags. In fact, Sherburne hired a freshman to work for her this year after noticing that she chronicled everything from receiving her acceptance letter to buying college gear to her first day of class at the Maine college using the #Bowdoin hashtag.”

While there is no way to know whether Instagram will remain relevant in the years to come, it would behoove and parent with college bound teen to download the app and get involved with their selection process. You know your kids just as much, if not more, than they know themselves and what a better way to be influential? If you know your child plans to study human rights and you follow a school who’s got a productive activist community – tag your child in the photo. If your child plans to go to law school and needs a quiet environment, tag him or her in a photo of  school where the there’s an abundance of study spaces.

Bottom line is this, social media has completely changed the way the global society operates and before we get complacent in not exploring these avenues of communication, we must get proactive and get involved! While your almost grown child might loathe your involvement, you’ll rest better knowing you did your fair share of research and they’ll love you for it come Freshman move-in day.

FLOTUS Michelle Obama Jokes Daughters Are Not The Influential Ones

April 7th, 2015 - By Rich
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FLOTUS recently sat down with “Live With Kelly and Michael” and commented on the fact Time Magazine listed Sasha, 13, and Malia, 16, as two of the most influential teens of 2014. While famed blogger Luvvie may not be a mother just yet, she hit the nail on the head when explaining why First Lady Michelle Obama stating her two daughters were not influential was so great. From realizing “Everything in this house is mines” to the notion of working for what’s yours, Luvvie gives us a good laugh while also reminding us the importance of making sure our youth work hard for themselves – as FlOTUS points out.

Watch the interview below (comments at 2:24) and check out Luvvie’s comical realness.

Check out what Luvvie had to say:

I’m not a parent yet but I look forward to the day where I can tell my children that what’s mine is NOT theirs. First Lady Michelle Obama was told that Malia and Sasha were chosen by Time Magazine as two of the most influential teens and she did the Mommy-est thing she could. She disagreed.

“They are not influential. They just live here. They have done nothing to gain any influence.” I LOVE HER. She is such a Black mama because she even laughed at the idea. Like psht. She almost said “those jokers? Nah.”

You haven’t been insulted til your parents bring you back down to life in such a way.

My children will be told they have nothing but their good name. ALL THE SHOES AND ELECTRONICS ARE MINE because I bought them. They better not slam their bedroom door. IT IS MY DOOR AND YOU SLAM IT, YOU LOSE IT. All my petty will come out quick! This is the parenting I believe in.

Don’t mind me, though. I was raised by Nigerian parents who felt NO QUALMS about telling me when I was being an IJOT (idiot). Chile, Naija moms will cut you down to size so tough that when you get to school, you’re rubber and everyone is glue. We can shake things off way easier.

It’s also clear that The Obamas do not subscribe to that over-affirming form of parenting (thankfully). You know the parents who tell their kids they’re special snowflakes all the time in spite of what foolishness they engage in? NAH, B! I ain’t for that. Some parents will “OMG YOU’RE THE BEST THING EVER” their kids to spoiled glory. I’m not for that. At all.

If you do something ridiculous, you will be told. And then LATER, I’ll be all “but you’re smarter than that.” SIT in your mistake, doe. I’m not here for the “everyone gets a participation trophy” parenting manual. Nope. You didn’t win. That’s ok. Try harder next time. You will lose like a champ and deal. NO TROPHY for just playing. NAH.

Get better at what you wanna be awarded for, kid. Children need to be taught to expect to win but know how to lose.

But yes: “They have done nothing.” LOVE.


 MommyNoire, do you agree with FLOTUS’ statement?