Raising a happy, healthy and thriving child is the ultimate aspiration of all parents. But the challenges of parenthood, especially for black mothers is enough to lose sight of the concept of preparing offspring to care for themselves. While juggling the stress of work and the pressure of paying bills, finding the time and energy to productively interact with the children can be a challenge. The guilt of single motherhood manifests itself in different capacities.
The overly protective black mother is not only a hinderance to development of our people but a handicap that proves to be counterproductive in the developing citizens who can contribute positively to society. As I have observed parent behaviors at playgrounds and playdates, I have noticed that little black children are told what they can’t do more often than what they can. These parents are deathly afraid to let their kids climb to the top of monkey bars, swing high in swings or take a daring leap from the top step only to land in a pile of woodchips.
The in an attempt to “protect” their child from potential “danger”. Falling on a playground is a rite of passage for children to experience. The concept of falling down and getting back up is an important life lesson. It teaches the concept of striving and should be encouraged not prevented.
I also noticed that little black girls are taught to take care of their brothers and black mothers help their sons before they assist the girls. The superwoman complex is instilled early into girls as early as 4 years old and the boys are taught to depend on women to do things for them around the same age. Furthermore, I have observed two extremes in which black boys are being brought up. There are mothers who train their sons to respect women by holding doors, saying please, thank you, ma’am and sir. These boys are nice and usually well-behaved children who follow rules, shares their toys and makes friends easily.
There are other mothers who don’t care what their children are doing as long as she can have her phone conversation in peace. This parenting style breeds confusion in the child who gets to school and can’t seem to understand the concept of consequences. This child may feel like the teacher is “picking on” him or her because every time they break a rule they suffer a consequence unlike at home. This child may get “whippings” or other form of punishment but it only comes after doing something serious only to be determined by the mother. There are no lessons being taught about how to behave, only chastisement for major offenses.
The problem with this parenting style is the child doesn’t learn right from wrong. He learns to think in terms of what he can get away with, i.e. kicking is ok but spitting is not or ignoring an adult when they are called is ok but raising their voice at an adult is not. The problem with that for our black boys is outside personal motherly care and compassion, is a big, wide world waiting to convict an innocent black man to years in prison for any minor offense. We must prepare our boys to be disciplined and mannerable. We must also chastise with love and correction because if we don’t someone in the world will. We can give them freedom to express themselves without allowung them to be disrespectful. Allowing your child to throw rocks on the playground, spit on classmates or even use abusive language will not be cute to others, not even you after a certain age. Making sure you teach your child to protect themselves is different than allowing them to bully and attack people at free will.
Bringing up children who will be a good citizens in the free world takes preparation and training. It takes patience and a keen sense of right from wrong in the adult to be introduced to the child. We can’t allow our children to do wrong at home and expect them to know it is not acceptable outside the home.