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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Day 22: A Chance to Escape

Whether in books or in film, I’m thankful for great works that allow me the opportunity to escape reality. Do you escape? Do you get away? Take mental breaks and read about new destinations and places?

We all get burned out and whether it be mini dates with yourself or your loved one or taking a break in your mind, you need to be able to escape. Social media is killing us right now. I’ve never ever in my life wanted to disconnect so much. Every day a new tragedy is occurring and it is playing with my mental health.

So, I escape. I watch TV shows that are creative. I watch sci-fi. I go on a date with Mr. C. I go away in my mind and escape the negativity. I immerse myself in relaxation. You need to do the same.

It’s Day 22 and I’m thankful for a chance to escape. In my #23daysofthankfulness an imagination is a beautiful thing. Self-help is a requirement. Good mental health is a must. Allow yourself all that and more.

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/.

Day 2: My Niece

I had to send a special thankfulness post to my beautiful niece. In this #23DaysofThankfulness post, I wanted to highlight this amazing young lady that I’ve been blessed to know, love and watch grow into the great woman that she is today. My niece is a sophomore in college and is a cheerleader for her school. What makes her so amazing? Her fighting spirit.

See, my niece is 19 today. Happy Birthday Princess! Auntie loves you more than you could ever imagine.

Nineteen years ago today, I was blessed to witness the birth of my first niece. It was an epic experience as that was the first time ever that I had witnessed a live birth and just being there with my sister and her husband watching life come into this world overwhelmed me with such joy. She was a preemie. She was born eight weeks early. We were so worried, but the doctors told us that her weight being 5 pounds even was a great sign.

She was in NICU and her dad and I went to visit her. She was so tiny and beautiful. I put my hand through the holes in her glass incubator and rubbed her chest as she screamed, crying and oblivious to the world around her. I said “Princess, don’t cry. Your daddy is right here with me.” No lie, she stopped crying, opened her eyes and looked right at her dad. He started crying like a baby.

A fighter was born.

And just like those many years ago that she was fighting for stronger lungs and a low birth weight, she’s continued to make us proud. In everything she does. It was at the age of 16 that my princess suffered a mental break down. I watched this strong and vibrant girl crumble from the things in her mind. I loved harder.

I admired my sister for her continued strength to love and encourage her daughter as well as mother her other two children while being a full-time working wife. Can you imagine having to do all that? I was thankful for it all. My niece brought mental health closer to home for us. She helped us understand her needs. She grew super close to my mom and we just loved each other more.

Throughout her mental health struggles we learned to love and learn how we can help. We encourage each other. We encourage her. We are thankful for the opportunities that her school provides with free therapy and her own room. What a blessing! So, my day two of my #23DaysofThankfulness is for my niece. Thank you for making me love a little harder, learn more about mental health and just living this beautiful life. You are loved and appreciated more than you know.

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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/.

It’s the Mother’s Fault

I’m so tired of society blaming all the problems of the world on the backs of mothers. We are not responsible for everything that happens in this world. We create life, but as men remind us we couldn’t do so without them. So, based off that fact, wouldn’t it be fair to say that we equally share in creating and influencing our children?

I saw this post in one of my FaceBook groups and was astonished at the comments:

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Why? Aren’t both equally dangerous to the well being of a child? Children require two healthy parents to love and influence them. Mental health is often overlooked in both parents. People who should get help deny their is something wrong with them, but the statistics support that most people are suffering from some sort of depression.

I grew up without a father in my life and I disagree with his statement. It did more damage than good. My mother by no means was toxic, but him not supporting his children financially, spiritually or mentally put all the work on her and she just focused on raising us. I had a hole in my heart because my dad abandoned me.

That played itself out in the men I chose and had relationships with. Some were really good men who could see that my father’s abandonment was playing with me. They didn’t take advantage. They just loved and supported. Others did take advantage. Those were the losers that I was unfortunate enough to be linked too.

Blame shifting when it comes to our children and what is in the best interest serves no one. It only allows those that see nothing wrong with their behavior to blame someone else for them not stepping up to the plate with a knife and a fork.

Our society tends to seek to destroy instead of build up one another. The family unit is damaged and it is sickening to believe that the mental health of men promoting hate propaganda and excusing negative behaviors in men is better for our children. Both a toxic parent and an absentee parent are detrimental to the children.

We need to understad that how children are raised and the traumas they experience in childhood will carry over in their adult lives. It’s a fact. It’s not assumption. Every thing that you’re doing now could be traced back to an event that made you that way. Good, bad or indifferent your past matters. Your experiences matter. They help shape the person that you are.

Children need their parents. Both mothers and fathers. But, you have to do the work to heal yourself from the past traumas you’ve experienced or it will manifest itself in the rearing of your children. Be active, be accountable and be mentally capable of raising great individuals.

 

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/.

You Probably Need Therapy

I believe in therapy. I believe that there has been a mental shift in this country in how we really deal with our issues. In fact, we don’t deal with them. We walk around wearing masks like there is absolutely nothing wrong with us.

But, it is a lie.

There are things that are wrong with you.

There is something wrong with me.

There is something wrong with you.

There is something wrong with all of us.

Let’s stop pretending.

Did you know that 44% of Americans between the ages of 18-44 suffer from depression? It’s staggering, yet imaginable. The media isn’t helping. The weather isn’t helping. Life is just overwhelming some days.

The NIMH estimates that in the United States, 16 million adults had at least one major depressive episode in 2012. That’s 6.9 percent of the population. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. It is a leading cause of disability.

That’s a lot of us that are depressed. Depression is common and many of us overlook it. I’ve suffered from depression and I’m pretty sure that if you think back to life’s events that have affected you…you probably have too. Was there a death of a loved one? Divorce? Job loss?

I’ve seen therapists many times as an adult. It was in therapy that I realized that I suffer from anxiety. I knew that I had a way of processing that was different, but I couldn’t put my fingers on it. When I explained to my closest friends about my anxiety. They sighed and said “Yep, that’s it.”

My anxiety may not be as severe as other people, but it is something that I recognize and realized that I’ve passed down to Munch. It’s difficult to find the words to encourage my baby to stop worrying about things and as my grandma used to say “borrow tomorrow’s troubles”. He is anxious. He’s 9. He shouldn’t worry.

But, he got it honestly. I worry A LOT. I’m just learning to let things go and not let them stress me out. Through friends and my absolutely fabulous therapist, I’m learning to process what I need too and disregard the rest of the noise. This is part of why I’ve been sharing my self-preservation and the power is within you posts.

I’m learning. I’m growing. I’m accepting that I don’t have all the answers. That I can’t figure it out all by myself. I needed help. I’m getting it.

We have to stop stigmatizing mental health issues. I know in the black community we don’t seem to believe in therapy. We believe that you can pray your way out of anything. Including mental health.

This is not true.

Prayer helps and I believe that God hears all and sees all. But, how can you hear God if you’re hearing voices because you have schizophrenia? You can’t.  It’s impossible.

Now, ya’ll know that I think all black people need three things: Jesus, wine and therapy. We have to stop labeling mental health issues as crazy and start supporting and encouraging our love ones (and ourselves) to get the help we need. It’s about time we stop promoting the strong black woman bulls*it and just promote healthy minds for a healthy you.

It’s time to take care our mental health and spirit too.

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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/.

4 Things: May 4th

It’s been a busy few weeks and I realized that there is so much that I want to tell you and so many things that I’m working on. Here are four things that I want you to know for May 4th.

  1. This morning, my ex-husband I go back to court for a temporary guardianship hearing. I have no idea what is going to happen or what the heck that even looks like, but I trust God will be in and through this situation. I serve a mighty God and he’s always looked out for Munch and I. Today will be no different. It’s also National Prayer Day so I ask that you please keep us all in your prayers.
  2. Munch’s birthday was on the 30th and I did a really small party. Small in comparison to the other birthday parties that I’ve thrown. A few children and fun at the skating rink. He loves skating and he had a blast. However, I ordered the cake from BJ’s and they messed up his cake. It was supposed to be Batman and they did Paw Patrol. He’s 9. He was hurt. The cake was free and the store manager was so apologetic. I explained to Munch that sometimes your best laid plans will fail, but the key is to wipe the tears from your eyes and keep smiling. The cake was good and that is what truly mattered.
  3. Munch’s swim class is going well and he indicated that he is interested in trying out for the swim team. I’m excited for him, but we have to work on his endurance so that he can keep up his stamina. Tryouts are in July or August, but I’m all for it. I pray that he makes it. It is expensive, but if he makes it then I will figure it out. Anything for Munch.
  4. I’m walking in the March of Dimes – March for Babies event with my sorority sisters this Saturday. This is my first time walking in an event since I did the Breast Cancer walk (not the 3 day one) over 9 years ago. Munch wasn’t even born. I’m excited to help out and I still need your help. Any amount of money you can donate will be greatly appreciated. No amount is too small. Your deduction is also tax deductible. Here’s the link:  http://www.marchforbabies.org/tikeethathomas

 

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/.

One Day

One day you will wake up from this cold world where you feel all alone and know that I am here

One day you will listen to those whispers of love and encouragement and have them not fall on deaf ears

One day you will see the beauty that your eyes hide from

One day you will hear the beat of the drum

The drum that speaks life into you

Slow and steady

It beats for you

It beckons you to come forth

It beckons you to not stay in the dark

It beckons you that you are a fighter

Feel the rhythm my sweet princess

Dance

Dance and move enjoying the beat

Move

Let the power within take control

Be encouraged

Be faithful

Morning sits on the horizon

Your breakthrough is coming