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?

No.

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 https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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I’m Failing Too

So, I read this great post from a fellow blogger, Deborah the Closet Monster. Please head over to her blog and check it out. But, I wanted to write a piece about her angst that she’s failing her child. I have a confession… I feel that way sometimes.

Heck, many of you reading this post may feel that way too. Working mothers constantly feel like we’re failing our children. Maybe it’s hormones. I don’t know. But, it hurts like heck.

Especially when your son gets a “D” in math. Yep, a “D”. My baby boy got his first “D”. He has no concept of letter grades. He asked “Did I do good? Are you proud of me mommy?” “Yes” I replied. I shuddered when I looked at the report card. He’s 7. He needs help. I knew it. I watched him struggle. I hired a tutor. Too late.

It’s hard being a working mother. A working mother that enjoys working and knows that she’s a better mother because she works. It is hard as heck! No, I’m not trying to say that working mothers should get a pass (okay maybe I am) but what I’m advocating for is the ability to be able to work and raise our families without something or someone suffering.

I thought it was just me. I thought I was the only woman in America suffering from being a working mom, cleaning house, washing clothes, doing homework and then having time for me that includes dating, girl time and sleeping. Mr. C. said “You like to sleep”. I responded, “Yep, I do.” I’m exhausted all the time.

Sleep rejuvenates me. There are days that I don’t get enough and I feel like I’m depriving myself of my God given right to rest. So, life suffers. That load of laundry is still packed high, I need to pack up my house because I’m moving, I need to take down my Christmas tree (don’t judge me) and I need to figure out the next 60 days.

It’s almost Spring and Munch is registered for swim classes that start the first weekend in March and spring soccer. Oh, he still takes Tae Kwan Do and has tutoring. He has church school and sings in the church choir. When he’s not busy with all those activities, I’m helping with homework and projects.

Right now as I’m writing this post, I’m supposed to be sending questions to two women that I’m interviewing for black history month, working on Munch’s oral presentation at the PTSA’s Black History Month program tomorrow night and finishing up his latest IB project for school on natural resources. Oh, did I mention that he’s in a French school and the whole thing has to be in French? Yep, I’m busy.

I’m not alone. There are are a lot of us suffering in silence. How do we balance it all? I don’t have anyone to share the household chores with me. I don’t have anyone who can tag team and work on a project while I write the presentation and cook dinner. It’s due on my week, so it’s my responsibility.

It gets overwhelming. But, we have to do it. We have to stop feeling guilty about what doesn’t get done and focus on what gets done. It’s called parenting. I don’t care if I don’t get on the recommended 4 websites the teachers want him to access each night. I don’t have time. I have to make sure that he eats dinner, does his homework and has the recommended rest in order to start the day over again.

Your recommended websites are a  great tool to supplement classroom learning, but I have no time to log on each night. I started creating worksheets to provide supplemental help in Math. It’s still new to us. I’m tired of feeling like he’s never going to get math. He will. Someday. I will continue to work with him. I will keep paying a tutor and I will keep encouraging him to try his best. I’m not going to stress. I will throw a load into the laundry, kiss and cuddle munch and help with his project and oral presentations.

Munch gets sad when we talk about the “D”. He feels bad. I told him that it’s okay. I will get him help and I will work with him. He looks at me sadly. All I can do is love and encourage him in spite of feeling like I’m failing him. Because he won’t learn everything at the moment he’s supposed to, but I promise you that he will learn it.

A Mother’s Love

This love is the most beautiful and powerful love that I have experienced. Nothing prepared me for this kind of love. I was in awe. From the moment I knew he was growing in my womb, to seeing the first sonogram or hearing him cry for the first time, this love embraced me.

A mother’s love is strong. I love him just for existing. I am his. He is mine. I don’t pretend to have it all together. Heck, half the time I’m winging it. But, it is in his smile, his words of affirmation or his laugh that I know that I am truly loved.

This bond that was created gave me a love that produced purpose. I am because he exists. I do because he needs. I am a mother. Nothing more. Nothing less. Bad days? Yes, I have them. Sleepless nights? Been there too. Medical emergencies? I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

But, my munch consistently tells me that he loves me and that he’s happy I’m his mommy. I didn’t know this love would consume me. Bond me to someone who would forever challenge and inspire me. But, it has. It does. I will always love being a mother.

Happy Father’s Day!

Today is father’s day and I want to wish all the men out there who are father’s or play a fatherly role to a child, Happy Father’s Day! We salute and honor you for all that you do. I know it seems that no one recognizes you and all your contributions, but trust me they do. More importantly, the children recognize your importance.

Here’s a poem I wrote in honor of my son’s relationship with his dad. I wanted to share what I think that my 7-year-old thinks about his dad. The first person that held him. The first person that kissed him. The first person that changed his diaper. His dad.

I AM HIS

Strong

Powerful

Reliable

First love

Survivor

Friend

Guardian

Protector

My dad

Always knows what to do

Protects me from the dark

Holds my hand always

Tells me he loves me everyday

Even when I can’t be near him I

Call to remind him of my voice

He smiles and laughs and says

“You know I will never forget” and I nod

But, there is something about my daddy

That makes me want to always check-in and

Share

The small things that happened

Talk about my day

For this man whose eyes and smile are a reflection of my own

Loves without thought

Gives without concern

And knows

That he is raising a king

His king

Enjoy your day loves!

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My Father’s Day Gift: Forgiveness

If you’ve been reading my blog you already know that I never had a relationship with my dad until recently. My parents separated when I was 9 years old and it was hard for me to figure out a way to cope with a man who chose to forget about me instead of love me.

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Me in the 3rd grade.

It was many years and many failed relationships that I realized that I needed my dad. I needed him because he was the missing link in my life. I was broken and playing at being whole, but deep down inside my daddy was what I wanted and needed. I had to forgive.

Forgiveness is a process for me. It takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. I am stubborn. I get that from my mama. But, I needed to truly forgive the man who abandoned me.

I can honestly say after three years of trying to forgive, I have. It happened when I went home last month for Mother’s Day to Tennessee. I went to visit my dad.

My son wanted to meet his grandfather. I had been nervously wondering about this meeting because munch is my everything. I didn’t want to allow my dad the opportunity to meet the little boy who was God’s greatest gift to me only to abandon him like he did me. I was afraid. I let that fear lead me. When my son asked, “Mommy, can I please call Mr. Frank grandpa?” I replied, “No, munch. Not yet. Let’s meet him first.” He responded by asking “Why? Isn’t he my grandfather?”

You see that? My fear was allowing me to control what my son wanted to have…a relationship with his grandfather. I let the conversation drop and went to visit my dad the Monday after Mother’s Day. I sat there nervously wondering how my son would react. My dad was creepy looking. I love him, but he hadn’t aged well and he actually looked like a burnt out Dick Gregory. But, I held fast to the belief that this was what munch wanted.

We got out of the car and I held his hand tightly. I walked him over to introduce him to my dad and he let go of my hand and ran to him and wrapped his arms around his neck and said, “Grandpa! It’s so nice to meet you. I’m Brennan!” Just like that. My son’s acceptance of the man he didn’t know but already loved allowed me to truly forgive my father.

Love. Acceptance. Forgiveness.

I love him for the person he was, but more importantly for who he wasn’t. Because I think my life turned out the way it was supposed too.

I accept the fact that my dad is an alcoholic and his monkey will never leave his back. He’s not hitting women anymore, but he still hits the bottle. Alcoholism is a disease and I accept who he is.

I forgive the man who abandoned me when I was a child. Who walked out of my life and never looked back. The man who created other children with other women and abandoned them as well. I forgive the man who stands before me because I see him not as superman but simply a man. My dad. Broken and all. I love this man because he is me and I am him.

So, this Father’s Day is actually pretty awesome because I’m openly loving the man who had publicly abandoned me. Telling the world that I forgive this man and love him. I’ve sent him a Father’s Day card for the first time in my life.

Happy Father’s Day Daddy!

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My dad and munch sitting outside his house. – 5/2015

 

Random: Delayed Birthday Dinner

So, we finally had munch’s birthday dinner this past Saturday night. It wasn’t a birthday party just a family dinner honoring the boy who brings me so much joy. He was overjoyed that he was the center of attention and that his family was celebrating with him.

One of the things that I’m honored to do and I learned from my sister having kids earlier than me was that we need to celebrate all occasions. Even if it means just a family dinner to let you know that you are loved and appreciated for just being you. My son is an only child so I try extra hard to get the cousins together for some bonding time.

The restaurant had a party room that played a hip and funky Asian version of Happy Birthday! It was hilarious watching munch dance. He has no rhythm. LOL!

I wanted to share some photos of the dinner:

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Follow-up: Mother’s Day Memories

Hey Loves,

I had an awesome Mother’s Day this year. I just got back home from Tennessee late Tuesday evening and I’m still playing catch-up. However, I promised some photos of my trip with my family and wanted to share. My siblings, my nephew, my brother’s girlfriend and my son and I all flew into Memphis early Saturday morning to spend the weekend with my family.

It was 4 days of family fun. I am so blessed and happy that I got to see everyone and spend time with my grandma. I also got to see my dad. I’m saving that story for Father’s Day this year.

Check out the photos:

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Yep, I love being a mommy!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Today is an awesome day that brings light to the invaluable roles we mothers play. There is nothing in this world that brings me greater joy than being a mother. What did I do before munch? It doesn’t really matter because it doesn’t compare to being his mom. I’m over the top I know, but I’m just so happy and blessed that I am his mom.

This mother’s day is going to be awesome because right now I’m home in Tennessee spending it with my grandmother, mother and sister and all my aunts. We are all together and my munch gets to experience the Copeland clan in full force so to speak. I will post pictures later of our Mother’s Day weekend.

But, I wanted to tell you these 5 things that I love about being a mom in honor of Mother’s Day. I want to encourage each one of you to think about things that you love about being mother’s or about the mother you love and write them down. It keeps it in perspective when the road gets tough in life.

5 Things I Love About Being a Mom

  1. I get to take an enormous amount of photos of a kid that’s my own that people won’t think are creepy. Yes, I love to take photos, do Flipagram videos, Instagram and everything in between Flickr!
  2. I get to smell like syrup everyday because my son has to kiss me each morning after breakfast with syrup hands. Even though I hate it (secretly I don’t) I pretend that it makes me mad.
  3. I get to comfort him from nightmares. Yep, they wake me up and I usually can’t get back to sleep, but it is so worth it to be the one to make his nightmares disappear by just telling him it was a bad dream, smothering him with kisses and hugging him tightly.
  4. I get to overhear how much he loves me. Earlier this week he was talking to his dad on the phone and said to him that he had to talk to him about Mother’s Day and how he wanted to make it extra special for me. Did I tell you how wonderful my son is?
  5. I get to hear his constant love and adoration of me. He tells me everyday that he loves me and I’m the best mommy in the world. Yes, I know it will end one day soon, but for now I’m going to milk this affection for all it is worth.

So, that’s it folks! There are many more reasons that I love being a mom, but I have to get back to being a mom and get my son fed and dressed for church. We are going to church at St. Mark’s Baptist Church in Henning, Tennessee to hear a word from Pastor Jarrett. That is my home church. I can’t wait!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Daddyless Daughters

That’s the term I learned by watching Ilyana Vanzant’s “Fix My Life with Karrueche Tran” interview. I’m a daddyless daughter. Ilyana told Karrueche that she “believes that when young women grow up without their father it breaks something in their heart that broken men will walk into”. Wow! I was literally paralyzed with a message that God had been sending me about my own life for the last month.

I have spoken openly about how my father wasn’t in my life. He was an abusive man. He was an alcoholic. But, he was my daddy. I loved him. He never hit me. He was just sick. But, what do you do when you realize that your daddy never loved you? You rebel. You find love in all the wrong places.

That was me. A virtual non-believer in love. Love was a lie. My life was a lie. How could a man love me when the man who helped create me didn’t? You run. You avoid love like the plague. You spend years building walls reinforced with steel girders that no one can break down.

Until one day you can’t run.

You have someone who sees you and wants you to stay. You see someone who says that I see all your brokenness and baggage and I want to help. I want to love you past your pain. I want to give you reason to smile. I want to make you know love and appreciate love from a man.

He says all the right things. He may even mean those things, but when you’re broken and your heart is broken, you can’t decipher fact from fiction. That the man standing there telling you all these things is in essence…broken too. So, you love. You give. You start letting those walls down because you believe that you can change him. Fix his issues. You two will be able to fix the broken parts of your life. You believe that it is not futile to endure the b.s. You believe that if you just love harder and smarter you can change him.

Until you realize that you can’t change him.

What do you do? You crawl, walk or run away from the pain. You pray, you submit to the spirit and you get therapy. You figure out what it is about you that keeps attracting broken men. What is it about you that has you thinking that you can save a man by loving him? You start to understand and repeat fervently the first stanza in the serenity prayer. You know the one that says:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Hoping and believing that it will get easier. Easier to fix you. Because let’s face it…you are the problem. You have to learn to forgive. Not for them, but for you. You have to accept that life isn’t what you wanted and dang it was hard, but you have to let go and forgive the man who left you a daddyless daughter. You have to know that you deserve it. You deserve peace.

You do.

You forgive the man who made your childhood a horror story. You forgive the man who put his hands on your mother. You forgive the man who walked out your life and never looked back. You forgive the man who left you. Not for him, but for you. So, you can grow. So you can change. So, you can stop allowing broken men to occupy time and space in your heart.

Because they don’t deserve it.

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Munch & Black History

My munch is in the first grade and decided that he would like to participate in the PTSA’s Annual Black History Month program. The conversation about participation went like this…

Me:  Munch, would you like to participate in the black history month program at school?

Munch: What does participate mean?

Me: You get to stand on the stage and recite facts about someone who is black.

Munch: Yes.

Me: Are you sure munch?

Munch: Yes.

Me: How about we talk about Nelson Mandela? You seem to be fascinated about his life and the fact that he’s dead.

Munch: Okay, mommy. You know Nelson Mandela died because he was old and sick right?

Me: Let’s work on this program.

As I sat there helping him work on reciting “Seven Facts About Nelson Mandela”  I started to get nervous. I prayed and relaxed. I told myself that it’s okay and to go with the flow.

But, in his performance last night I realized the following:

  1. He’s 6. He can remember a paragraph in 3 days. Wow!
  2. This is his first solo performance. No back-up of other children on stage. All him and he owned the stage. Go munch!
  3. He can’t fill 3 minutes. Next, we will work on public speaking and presence on stage. I will pull out my Toastmasters manual to help my munch.
  4. He will make mistakes and it’s okay. Even our President makes mistakes. It’s life. He talked really fast. He gets it from me though. LOL!
  5. He will forget something. He forgot a line,  but he is the only one who didn’t use a paper to read about his character. Again, 3 days folks!
  6. We may need to go back to speech therapy. I truly couldn’t understand some of what he was saying. Is that a lisp?
  7. I was truly proud of him because he’s smart as a whip and he showed real courage by standing on a stage reciting seven facts that he learned in three days with a crazy mom pushing him. For that, I’m truly honored to just be his mommy.

Even though I was like a maniac helping him to rehearse (I cut story time each night to focus on reciting and memorizing) he loved me in spite of my persistence. However, his dad did ask me to ease up on him because I was acting like one of the women on Dance Moms. I’m sure that wasn’t meant as a compliment, so I relaxed and was excited to see that he was #3 in the program. No time for nerves, munch. Let’s do it!

Check out these photos!

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Check out the video of his presentation on my Facebook Page: Post by A Thomas Point of View.