Parenting: Discipline Part II

I told you in last week’s post entitled Parenting: Discipline Part I how Munch had disrespected his teacher and the level of disrespect had me questioning who was this little boy. I know that many of you experienced parents are probably laughing at me right now, but I genuinely had no idea who this young man was. But, I had to discipline him because he had to understand the lesson.

The lesson that I was trying to teach is about learning when to speak. It’s hard. We tend to speak first and think later. I get it. But, that’s a lesson you learn over time and it was something that I had to teach now. I explained to him that the Bible is full of lessons about holding your tongue and how you can make things worse. We read James 3:5 which states:

James 3:5 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.
How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire!

We didn’t stop there. We read Psalm 19:14 which states:

Psalm 19:14 King James Version (KJV)

14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

I explained to Munch that it’s not easy to bridle your tongue in the face of things you may consider unjust, but you have too. We all do. I tried to tell him that we will all fall short but that he needed to learn self-control and it won’t happen overnight. You just have to keep at it.

There was a lesson in there for me. We all need to learn how to bridle our tongues. He didn’t get TV or electronic privileges and no dessert. He was unhappy, but he understood that there was a consequence to the action. We talked, we read and we went to the library. We spent the weekend redirecting negative thoughts and bridling our tongues.

This parenting journey is rough.


Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page


Parenting: Discipline Part I

I told you awhile back that I practice positive parenting. Positive parenting basically means that I embrace positive discipline. That I listen to Munch and don’t physically spank or lay hands on him. Now, this is new age in my family who believes in spare the rod and spoil the child, but I am an advocate for allowing Munch to understand that his choices will have negative or positive consequences, but he needs to understand that.

I treat discipline as a teaching opportunity instead of a physical task of spanking. Pretty much everything becomes about examining the issues, understand why the behavior occurred, making you accountable and still providing love, hugs and kisses. I know this may seem like with craft to some folks, but I don’t believe that you have to go around spanking children to correct their behavior.

Positive parenting tries to strengthen the parent/child bond by creating a more affectionate relationship. This works with Munch. He is a hugger and loves to be hugged, petted (LOL, his words) and encouraged. However, it’s not always easy.

Last Friday night, I got this email from Munch’s teacher:

I wanted to let you both know that Brennan had a problem in English class today. He had a discussion with a classmate about the biography book report. This is my knowledge of the situation. Brennan and the classmate were discussing who they were reading about. When Brennan heard the boy was reading about the life of a white person (students can choose anyone) he told the student he had to read about a black person. The student then called Brennan a racist. The boys both raised their voices and argued. Brennan was yelling I am not a racist. I was teaching, standing in front of the class and immediately raised my voice in order to be heard, and stopped the argument, reprimanded them both and moved Brennan from that table. I reprimanded the boy and we had a mini class discussion about racism. I told them that I was upset with them both for not stopping when I asked. At the end of class I met with the boys. The 1 student said he was at fault, said he should not have said that and admitted to inciting Brennan. Brennan said, right, I was wrong, too. I complimented him for being mature and respectful. But then he immediately told me, I’m being sarcastic, and continued to say he did nothing wrong. I tried to convey the idea that yes, the boy was wrong, but you were rude and disrespectful to me as I was trying to resolve the problem. I felt I had taken the time to discuss and reprimand the boy, in front of the entire class about his name calling. But Brennan was still defiant and defensive about my correction of him. I had a class coming in and no time to continue our discussion. I sent him to class but it was unresolved. I wanted to advise you of the incident. Please let me know if you have any questions.  Mrs. B

Yeah, it was rough. Basically my son told the teacher that he was being sarcastic with his apology as she was complimenting him. Huh? Where does that happen? I was mortified. I really like his teacher. She’s phenomenal and just a good human being. I trust her.

Now the question became how do I approach Munch with this positive parenting? See, I knew that my mom would have smacked my mouth for being disobedient. Positive parenting doesn’t allow for spanking. I needed to teach Munch a lesson. I needed him to see how he was wrong and needed to apologize, but I had to make sure that he understood the rules/expectations of self-control.

Could I do this? Was I ready? The challenges were only going to get bigger. I knew how I handled this would set the precedent for future parenting discipline moments. The key was to teach him, not to break him.

-To Be Continued –


Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page

The Harsh Truth About Spanking – Part 2

In yesterday’s post I talked about how spanking is one form of discipline, but that is one form that we need to get away from. Discipline takes many different forms and you can discipline without spanking. It is possible. There are no statistics that support that spanking makes children better than those who were not spanked. In reality, when spanking leaves a mark it now goes into abuse. Do you want to take that chance?

This is what happened to Tyrese. It wasn’t about men and women. It wasn’t about a bitter ex trying to keep him from his child. It was about a parenting choice to spank your child. A choice about whether or not corporal punishment was better than using the situation as a teachable moment.

I met a young woman in college who grew up in a military family. Her dad was a major in the Army. She said that she had a sister and her dad never hit them. She said that when they got in trouble, he made them do drills. She said that she would have to awaken at 5 a.m. and go on 2 mile runs with her dad and do 50 push-ups and 50 sit-ups. She was exhausted. She said that she never wanted to get in trouble because she didn’t want to  do exercise.

That was the first time that I had met someone that was black that hadn’t been subjected to a belt, a switch, a shoe, etc. This was a different way of parenting. Was it better or worse than a spanking? I wasn’t sure, but it was something that was totally different than what I had experienced.

Now, the basis of positive parenting involves the shift in being both positive and authentic with our children. That’s what I discovered a couple of years ago. Munch’s attitude was always so negative. So, I tried to redirect. I decided to find ways to communicate with my child that didn’t involve lashing out and spanking.

Am I perfect? No, I’m not. I haven’t mastered it all. I have lashed out to Munch out of frustration. Remember last year when I talked about it in my post Mommy Meltdown? I talked about how I had cursed at my son. I felt horrible. I cried. What was wrong with me? I felt like I was taking a huge step back.

Many people assured me that they’ve had breakdowns too. Forgive yourself they instructed. I did. But, I also owed Munch an apology. I was leading him by example and I wanted him to know that I was wrong. That I should not have lashed out at him or cursed at him.

This was something I never experienced growing up. But, parents should apologize when they make mistakes. How could I expect him to apologize for his actions if I couldn’t do it? We hugged and talked and after a while the pain of feeling like I failed him dissolved.

Positive parenting involves a commitment to approaching your children with love, kindness and being authentic. You approach it as a way to teach your children without the fear of punitive damages. I admit it was hard for me to get my head around it at first. Why? Because what about “spare the rod and spoil the child”. Was I going to do more harm by respecting, leading and redirecting negative behaviors than not hitting him?


When I learned that more than anything in this world that I wanted my son to grow up knowing that his mother’s hands were those of love and not violence then it was easy to make the shift. I wanted my son to want to learn and understand without me lashing out or spanking him. I changed my tactics.

I’ve never looked back. I don’t see spanking as a way to teach a lesson. I went to college, I have a degree and I liked to think that I have some common sense too. I see the benefits of creating an environment where Munch is respected and can learn in love. Where he sees that we all have bad days, but ultimately we are accountable for our actions.

To that point, I disagree with spanking in general. I disagree with Tyrese spanking his daughter. It isn’t necessary. He now has his 50/50 custody back with a court appointed clinical psychologist as a monitor until June 2018 and has to go to parenting classes and neither him or his ex can use corporal punishment on their daughter. But, why did it take a judge telling him this? Let’s find a better way of teaching our children’s lessons without resorting to physical punishment.


Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page


Change is Good

Last week I read Michelle Malone’s post where she said “Today I challenge you to seek, identify, and track the signs of change in your life rather than ignoring them.” I was inspired. Inspired to do what? To do what she suggested – seek, identify and track the signs of change in your life.

Here’s what I discovered about myself when I set about the challenge. I learned that when I seek ways to change, I actually allow myself to grow. Grow because I realized that I’m never too old to learn and that it’s okay if I change my mind. I’m a woman and I can change my mind as many times as I want. LOL.  That being said. I wanted to share 5 things with you that I learned this last week about myself.

5 Signs that I’m Changing:

  1. Forgiveness. This was a hard one for me, but I’m actually thankful that I’m able to forgive my dad and spend time with him. When I was home last week I took him to lunch, gave him a birthday card with some money and took care of some of his wants. Forgiveness of all the years of pain and absence allowed me the ability to do this. That’s growth.
  2. Listen more. Speak less. Some would argue that I don’t do that, but I promise you that I am doing that. I’m learning that in order to communicate that I need to spend more time listening and truly hearing what is being said. I’m also learning that not everything deserves a response. Sometimes more can be conquered when you don’t respond at all.
  3. Accepting others at face value. I have little faith in humanity. I’ve seen too much. I’ve experienced too much, but I’m learning that I need to trust more. To love more. To believe more. To try and see the good in others up front and accept what they say at face value. At least until they disappoint me. But, learning to have a discerning spirit is important and not trying to just see the bad in people has allowed me to grow and change.
  4. Advise when needed. I’m learning that just because someone comes to you with an issue doesn’t mean that they want you to respond and advise them of what they should do. I admit that I do that all the time. I am learning to advise only when requested and then apply #2.
  5. Spend time freely. As I’ve aged I realized that I do need to spend quality time with my family and friends. I have brunches, lunches and dinners with friends and take trips home to Tennessee to visit my dad and extended family. This is important because it gives Munch and I time to reconnect. I can’t get so consumed with the day to day that I neglect the folks who haven’t seen me.

There is another way that I just realized that I’m changing and I will share that with you later because it is important. It was my Aha! moment. I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I operate and all I can say is that I am a work I progress.  I’m still seeking ways to acknowledge my changes becaue it shows that I’m growing. Have you sought, identified and/or tracked your changes?


Motivational Monday Moment – 8/15/2016

Happy Monday Folks!

I wanted to share my Motivational Monday Moment with you today. Many of you know my story because I’ve shared it openly here on my blog. But, I want to share something else. One of my favorite things to say to people is that “The difference between me and the next person is that I wanted it badly.” 


That’s my own personal life quote. I wanted it badly. What did I want badly? Life. Success. That simple. I grew up poor. My dad wasn’t around because my momma kicked him out the house. He was an abusive alcoholic so he had to go. Her choice made our lives harder. Her choice to live a life with her children and have peace of mind was worth more than money. But, we needed money. Being poor is no joke. Heck, it isn’t fun.


So, I buckled down and was determined to not repeat her steps. I was determined to get out of poverty in spite of my circumstances. In spite of the incredible odds against me I knew that I never wanted to be a mother with little education and three children working 3 or 4 jobs to feed and clothe them. Believe me when I say that I understand the sacrifices that my momma made. It changed my mindset.


I realized that where I came from didn’t have to be where I ended up. I stayed in school. Focused on my grades. Went to college. I struggled. I stumbled. I worked tirelessly without thought. It hurt when I saw my friends all having cars and jobs and their own places. I was a broke college student.


My momma said to me “You’re working on your degree. They can repossess cars from your friends or apartments for non-payment. They can never repossess your degree if you fail to pay your student loans. They can’t take back your education. You’re investing in yourself. In your future.” My momma is smart ya’ll. She was right. I was investing in myself. I hated catching the bus everywhere, but I was determined to continue to make an investment in me.


That investment has paid off substantially. I am who I am because I had people that believed in me, but more importantly…I believed in me and I had a God that protected me. I am in awe of how I am now managing a team of 4 people and getting ready to hire my 5th person. I had no prior supervisory experience. God did it!

I remember running for junior class president in high school and I had no prior governmental experience. I woke up deciding that I wanted to be junior class president. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to lead my class.

I didn’t know if I could make it. I wasn’t that popular. I was on the modern dance team so I was popular by default as I’d like to say. I was still a nerd. I was taking advanced classes and some of my closest friends were outcasts like me. How was I going to convince these people to vote on the outsider? I didn’t know. The task seemed overwhelming. But, I believed.

I couldn’t afford the nice poster boards or banners. I couldn’t afford the candy perks. We were poor and I didn’t have a job. I had to focus on school. I remember getting up in front of my class during the elections and told them that I wasn’t popular but I had vision. I wanted to make us the most successful junior class ever. I said a whole bunch of other stuff that I can’t remember, but I had hoped it was enough.


And you know what? It was. I won. Little ole me. I couldn’t believe it. I went home that night and told my momma “I think they voted for me because I was black.” She said “It doesn’t matter why you got the job. You got it. Now, show them what you can do.” Told you my momma was smart.

I did show them what I could do. Those same words came rushing back to me as I was praying over whether or not I should take this job. I didn’t think I was qualified. But, God. He allowed my momma’s words to come back to me and remind me that “It doesn’t matter why you got the job. You got it. Now, show them what you can do.”

So my dear friends, I tell you these words from my momma “It doesnt’ matter why you got the job. You got it. Now, show them what you can do.”



Bucket List Update

This is an update to my original post on a bucket list for Munch. I wrote this list over 4 years ago. He was 3 at the time. I wanted to update you on some of the items.

I read on a parenting website about parents creating a “bucket list” of sorts for their children. The “bucket list” is things they would like to do with their children before they become adults. I was surprised at some of the responses from parents from fishing in Alaska to an African Safari to making sure to kiss and hug them every night before they go to bed. So, reading this article got me to thinking…what things do I want to do with Munch before he becomes an adult?

I came up with a list of 21 things that I would like to do with Munch by the time he’s 21. It is in no real order except number one. I would like to accomplish each and every item with him. I know that technically he will be an adult at 18, but we all know that you’re not truly an adult until you can legally take a drink. Here is my bucket list of the top 21 things I want to do with Munch by the time he’s 21:
  1. Tell, show and help him understand about God. I want him to see and recognize that we are not alone and that God is the center of our life and all things are possible through him. He needs to experience the church, the Bible and learn to have unmovable faith in God. Update: Munch is on his way. He accepted Christ as his personal savior and got baptized last year right after turning 7.
  2. Take him to Europe. I love the thought of traveling to Europe to explore the countryside, architecture, the Louvre, the Vatican and all the other landmarks that I have only read about. I want fourteen days so we can spend it on a trek through Europe just exploring.
  3. Take him on a trek through the slave trade. We know we came from Africa, but where? I want to chase our ancestry back to Africa and follow the trail from Africa to Portugal to the U.S. I learned when I was in college that my ancestry could be traced as far back to Portugal. I want to go further.
  4. Teach him to appreciate his heritage and explore many other cultures. I think you become well-rounded when you know many different civilizations other than your own. After all Mahatma Gandhi said, “No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.” Update: We spent a great deal learning about Black History this year. Since he’s learning French we’re going to incorporate French speaking blacks into our curriculum. There is a lot to cover and he’s only 7, but we’ll get there.
  5. Teach him to speak another language fluently. Oh, how I wish I could speak another language fluently. The world is ever changing and the gift of being bi-lingual is one that he will appreciate throughout his lifetime. Update: Munch is in a French speaking school so he actually knows how to speak French fluently now. I am giving him two more years of solely French and then introducing Spanish.
  6. Take him to explore two states each summer. He needs to travel out of his comfort zone and see America the Beautiful. I want to increase his love for this country. Update: We haven’t done this. But, I’m taking him to Florida and Tennessee this year so he will get some exposure to places outside of his normal day to day routine.
  7. Teach him how to swim. This is one item that we will never falter on. I can’t stand the thought of him not knowing how to swim. Update: He’s in swim class and is in level 3. He takes his exam at the end of the month and hopefully will move to level 4. There are 6 levels in the program. Yay!
  8. Teach him how to share. I want him to share not only his toys, but his time, his wealth and his abilities. I want him to know that God loves a cheerful giver and it is your right as a human to help others. Update: LOL. He’s an only child so this is a work in progress. 
  9. Take him to the Caribbean. I want to watch him stick his feet in the water and his toes get sand in between them on the beaches of Mexico or the Bahamas. Update: He’s been to Mexico and I’m looking at taking him to the Bahamas next year.
  10. Take him to Disney World. I think that every child should experience Mickey’s hand on theirs or running through Cinderella’s castle. After all, he looks at my wedding photos (with my tiara) and says, “My mommy is a princess”. Update: He’s going to Disney in November.
  11. Teach him how to fight. I know many of you think fighting is bad and I agree that violence doesn’t solve anything, but I want him to be a strong fighter physically and mentally. I want him to learn how to defend himself against a bully. The best lesson I ever learned is that once you knock someone out, they don’t want to fight you anymore. Update: He’s in Tae Kwan Do, but I will introduce boxing at 10.
  12. Teach him how to love. I think children are taught the fundamental principles of love from their parents. However, now that his dad and I are divorced. I worry that he will not see how adults are supposed to love each other. I guess in the divorce, I want him to know that heartache is a part of life and that you have to keep trying and never giving up on love because God never gives up on us.
  13. Teach him how to forgive. This is one lesson that is often overlooked when it comes to parenting. We are so busy teaching our children not to be bullies, play sports or play an instrument that we forget that they ultimately need to know that forgiveness frees you to move on. If God forgives me for sins how can I not forgive others?
  14. Teach him the importance of family. Your family is what you make it. It’s not always blood, but it could be your friends who become your family. We have a great group of people who love and support us at every turn and we want the same thing for Munch. We want him to see that he needs to strengthen his familial bonds and keep in touch via handwritten letters, emails, calls and visits.
  15. Take him to Spain. I love the country of Spain and even though I can’t remember it much from childhood, I think it is a beautiful place full of great food, people and culture. I want him to swim off the Canary Islands.
  16. Teach him how to cook and sew. I know he’s a boy, but come on. He needs to know how to hem a pair of slacks and cook himself a meal so that he won’t have to wait on a woman to do it. He needs to be self-sufficient.
  17. Teach him the importance of money. I think that all parents should strive to teach your child how to balance a checkbook, credit and debt. It wasn’t a lesson I learned and I had to rebuild. I don’t want him to do a trial and error process. I want him to get it from the beginning. Update: He got his first check from his Grandma last Christmas and I took him to the bank to deposit it. He was so excited. I normally just transfer money into his account each pay period so I guess I never thought how important the whole check and banking thing would be. I’m proud though.
  18. Teach him about politics. Not what political party he should be a part of, but the necessary fundamentals of our government so that he can be a concerned citizen that believes in exercising his right to vote. Update: His dad and I always take him with us to vote. Let him see the democratic process in play. Election day for us is April 26th.
  19. Teach him the lesson of defeat. Life is not fair and you won’t win at everything, but understand that you are the captain of your soul and it’s not always the destination, but the journey. Learn from every loss and regroup. I want him to know that you don’t have to be perfect, just try your best. Update: This is a work in progress. He learned this when it came to getting his first “D” and with losing soccer games. All we ask is that you try your best and your best is always good enough for us. But, this is going to take time because there will be many more losses.
  20. Teach him the importance of abstinence. Abstinence may be a distant memory or myth in some circles and I know he may never listen to me, but I want him to know that his body is a temple and that if he waits on a wife, he will be giving her the best gift ever…the gift of him.
  21. Take him to Las Vegas to celebrate his 21st birthday. I want his last birthday party to be one that I throw for him and 21 of his friends in Las Vegas.
Whew! That is an exhaustive list. I hope that I can cross of all of the things on his bucket list. So, what’s on your child’s bucket list?

Parenting 101: I’m Not Done Yet

Now, that you’ve heard my struggle with Munch’s teachers in my Parenting 101 tips, I want to let you know why I can’t stop fighting. That I’m not done yet. It’s simple…race. Munch is black. I’m black.

I have a black son. A son who was stigmatized by some the minute he was born. Because he’s black. I know that he will be just a “boy” to some, a “nigger” to others and“angry” to many. But, he’s my son. A black boy. He’s not a threat to America. He’s 7.

I grew up in this country. The America I grew up in was filled with many different races, religions and very few hateful comments. I knew I was black. My color didn’t matter to many or so I thought. I mean in the south you’re used to racist remarks, but up north, it’s supposed to be different right?

I remember thinking that if the President got elected that my newborn son would have someone to look up to. That he would see another black man and that the most important job in the world wouldn’t seem impossible for him to achieve. He could really do everything if Barack Obama was elected President of the United States.

He was elected. Racial tensions changed. The country that I loved so much and eloquently studied history on – was now showing it’s true colors. Why? When did the country that I had believed was moving forward begin to move backwards? When did it become acceptable to become a racist and then try to justify said racist remarks in defense of protecting the USA.

From what? Me? My 7 year old son? Heck, I’m trying to protect him. Each and every day that he awakens, I’m trying to protect him from becoming a target. From being ignored. From being disregarded, disrespected or dismissed. He matters. I matter. We matter.

Every day I wake up new statistics show that our little brown babies are being ignored. From being overlooked in talented and gifted programs or from teachers that have low expectations for them. When did this attitude become acceptable?

Three of my favorite teachers from high school still mean the world to me. I owe them so much. They were not only wonderful teachers, they were wonderful women. They shaped my belief that I could do anything. They nurtured and molded me into an intelligent woman that would someday conqueror the world. They were white.

I didn’t really understand the importance of role models at that time or the importance of having them, but I admired them. I loved the way they commanded attention when they walked down the hall. I loved the way they invested in each student. I loved the way they never let me take the shortcut or easy way out.

They believed in me. They helped me believe in myself. Where are these same kind of teachers now? Where are they when it comes to teaching my son? Is it because I was a girl? Nope. I can’t believe that’s all to it.

My shift has changed because I am a black woman raising a black boy in a post Jim Crow era when it seems we’ve moved backwards. Reading that teacher expectations reflect biases hurts me. Not just as a person of color. But, as a mother.

White teachers expect significantly less academic success than do black teachers, a new study concludes. This is especially true for black boys. – Jill Rosen,

So, what am I saying? If I’m bombarded with news that your racial biases are likely being played out in the classroom can you understand why I will come to my child’s defense? I know about the school to prison pipeline. I’ve heard about it for years.

Black Americans are suspended and expelled at three times the rate of white students. They make up 16 percent of school enrollment, but account for 32 percent of students who receive in-school suspensions, 42 percent of students who receive multiple out-of-school suspensions and 34 percent of students who are expelled. – Lindsey Cook, U.S. News

When I walk into a meeting with a teacher or educator I’m already feeling defensive. I feel like I have to defend my child because statistically speaking we’re looking at him through two different lenses and one could have racial biases in place. It’s not always true. But, realistically speaking I’ve had to tout my academic successes/credentials as well as naming our family’s successes so that his teachers back off and know that they’re not dealing with another poor black kid.

My expectations for my son are high. My expectations for his teachers and the administration is just as high. If I know that white female teachers ignore, have low expectations for black boys and they are disciplined more harshly why would I not feel the need to hold you accountable in the beginning?

I’m tired folks. I’m tired of fighting and I want some clear and transparent conversations about race and racial biases to be had at the school. Let’s call out the institutionalized racism that exists. Educators should know that black parents are reading and scared that you’re already trying to diagnosis, steer or ignore our children. How can we work together to make sure that we’re all in this together?

That we are going back to the day when it seemed like teachers just wanted to teach you. They were compassionate. They were motivating you. They were supporting you. They knew you.

My President is black. My son is black. I’m tired of fighting and he’s only 7. However, I know that I’m not done yet. I have many rivers and miles to cross. I just want to know that his teachers are crossing them with me and not just standing on the shoreline.