parenting video old school Instagram kids Alicia Barnes

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A video of a woman laying down the law for a group of kids with “old-school parenting” has social media users sharing strong opinions. 

Charlotte, North Carolina, news anchor Alicia Barnes reposted the video on Instagram in November 2023. The clip shows a Black woman firmly directing children on what would and wouldn’t be appropriate behavior before they all went somewhere together.

Essentially, the woman strictly told the kids they shouldn’t be seen or heard. She told them she would be away from them — with the other adults — and that she didn’t want to be disturbed for any reason. She warned them against delaying when it was time to leave, begging for sleepovers, breaking anything, or asking the hosting family for food or water during their visit. 

The woman made it clear that she didn’t want to hear about the children’s gripes, wants or feelings. She also instructed the kids to “knock” the heads of any other children who got violent with them. 

She threatened to “knock the fire” out of their throats if the children disobeyed. At the end of her schpiel, she added, “Don’t play with me! Is y’all ready to go?!”

In the caption, Barnes said, “THIS IS ME! They call this old school. I call it pre-structuring. #itworks #growingupblack #parenting #parentingtips.”


The video didn’t specify whether the woman was the children’s mother. Regardless, most social media users assumed she was. 

Many commenters agreed with the “old-school parenting” displayed. They argued that it produced well-mannered, productive and law-abiding citizens. Pulling from their personal experiences, the netizens noted that they were better people for growing up with intense discipline.

Some claimed that setting guidelines for the children like the woman did was a part of parenting’s essence. 

“This right here is a lost art…. It’s called PARENTING.”

“Wasn’t abuse at all! This was the way it went! And guess what? All of us finished college and are productive citizens in our society! Kids need rules!”

“This is REAL PARENTING!!!! And we would be the best behaved kids on the planet with hella manners!”

“GEN X stand up!! This was our childhood and we turned out just fine!!”


Meanwhile, several social media users felt the woman’s delivery was threatening, hostile and more detrimental than disciplinary. They contended that children shouldn’t fear their caregivers or be dissuaded from sharing their feelings and thinking for themselves. 

“Old-school parenting? I refuse to raise my children in fear of me!”

“I’m an ’80s baby, so she doesn’t scare me. But as a parent with four kids of my own. I rarely raise my voice to them unless we are laughing together… I have high emotional intelligence and will not dim their light or disregard their feelings…”

“We are breaking from the authoritarian model as a human collective… I am raising confident critical thinkers who respectfully exert their thoughts, needs and opinions to other adults and children around them.”

Old-school versus gentle parenting continues to be a hot topic online and a balancing act for parents IRL. Read more below.

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