I am a Mama Bear. My kids can do no wrong in my eyes, and I will protect them with every breath in me. Okay, that’s probably a little extreme, but I will defend them at all costs. Culturally speaking, growing up black can be a little harsh sometimes. We are taught from an early age to be “seen and not heard”, “do what I say, not what I do”, “you don’t have an opinion, do what I say”, and many other things. I was lucky, my parents allowed me freedom of speech, and respected me as a person from a young age. I raise my kids with that same concept. Not all agree, especially in my family. I notice the glances that I get from family members and friends when I explain how I do things in my house, compared to how they do things. Oh well, not my battle. As for my house, this is how we do things, and below are three rules for interacting with my kids.
Don’t yell at my child! I do not agree with yelling at kids all. Now I can’t say all the time because, well, life happens. But I put an effort towards using a calm, firm, tone instead of yelling. Why? Because it has a negative effect on children, and I hated being yelled at as a child. Recently, I was at a family member’s home, and my 4-year-old was getting on the couch trying to see the game that was being played. He put his feet in the couch, and an elder member of the family stood up and got in my 4 year old’s face and yelled “SIT DOWN! YOU SIT DOWN AND GET YOUR FEET OUT OF THAT COUCH, AND DON’T MAKE ME HAVE TO TELL YOU AGAIN”. The world literally stopped, and I turned my head and in that split second (that seemed like an eternity), I had to decide if I wanted to either address my family member who just took their rage out on my child, or comfort my child who broke completely down into tears. Everyone was staring at me because everyone knows that I do things a little different with my children. Honestly, comforting my child was more important because he didn’t know what he had done wrong, and why he deserved to be talked to in such a harsh manner. But believe me, I was breathing fire. In my head, there are so many other ways to talk to a child, and if an adult cannot speak to my child with respect, find the adult responsible for said child and let me handle it. It took 20 minutes to calm down my son who, like me, hates to be yelled at. Yelling, for us, is literally like taking a piece of our soul and stomping on it until it is nothing but ash; it hurts that much.
Don’t put your hands on my child! This is the ULTIMATE disrespect. There are many different ways to discipline a child without using physical punishment. When I teach parenting classes, I focus on Response vs Reaction. Reactions generally come from emotions, and that can lead to hitting or any sort of physical attack on a child. Responses are thought out answers to the situation at hand. Reponses can include timeouts, time-ins, redirections, etc. At any point if my child is around, and you feel a reaction coming on, please step away, because I can guarantee, I will REACT to you placing your hands on my child. Any sort of physical touch should be approved by the parent, and that includes if the child is at someone else’s house. If I didn’t approve for you to touch them, and things have gotten to that point, call me, let me make that final decision.
Don’t expect me to force my kids to go against their gut! I had a family member who was upset with me because I did not make my then 3-year-old hug their child when he asked. Apparently, I shrugged it off and didn’t force him do as he was told. Well, my child has body autonomy and I want them to know that if they don’t want to hug, kiss, or shake hands with a person, they don’t. I believe this is what open the door for child predators to sneak in. If we force our kids to ignore their GOD GIVEN INSTINCT to show that we have CONTROL, we teach kids that they cannot say NO to an ADULT who MAY or MAY NOT have bad intentions. I will ask my child one time to give someone a hug; if they say no, I am going to shrug and move on. If you become upset, I am going to allow you to pout. If you try to force my child to do something, I am going to intervene and question why you feel the need to gain affection from someone so young. I will go there…I don’t play games…Don’t try me.
So, these are 3 things that I don’t allow. What are some things that you don’t allow with your children?