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.

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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/.

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

Parenting Lesson: I Will Not Chase You

Munch is the best thing that ever happened to me. But, sometimes I really feel like I’m sucking at this parenting thing. Not that I’m mean, but sometimes I have to teach him a lesson and I wonder if my teaching those lessons are having an adverse effect on him.

Last month we were working on homework and then we were going to review his oral presentation. He had to memorize a poem. He chose “A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes. It was awesome, but he wasn’t in the mood. When he’s not in the mood to do anything, he pretty much shuts down. He acts like he’s bored and it’s really like time consuming and emotionally draining.

That being said I decided to push forward and chastise and ignore his negative attitude. I wanted to record him saying his poem. He was nonchalant and had no emotion. He was literally just acting like I’m forcing him to plow the field. It was draining. I had enough. I said “I love you Munch, but I’m done. I’m reclaiming my peace and you’re going to bed. Go upstairs and get your shower so you can get in the bed.” He was upset. “What about TV time?” I said “It’s not going to happen. You’ve tried my patience this evening with your behavior so TV is a reward that you don’t deserve this evening.” He cried.

Cried in the shower. Cried when he went to bed and then cried himself to sleep. Even when I tried to tuck him in bed and give him his kiss good night he cried louder and turned away from me. No problem. “I love you and goodnight” was all that I said.

I spoke to Mr. C and he listened and then commented how our parenting styles are different. I know. He’s told me before. I’m used to getting spanked as a child if I cried for no reason, but I left him to cry it out.

The next morning I did what I always do…cook his breakfast, pack his lunch, lay out his clothes and make up his bed. He then comes upstairs and criticizes me for all that I’ve done. “You’re not letting me do anything by myself. My daddy says that I need to do things on my own” he stated in frustration. I smiled sweetly and said “Love, you know what?” I don’t have to fix your breakfast each morning. I can sleep later and you can get up and fix yourself a bowl of cereal. It has always been important for me to send you to school with a hot breakfast each morning, but you want more responsibility so tomorrow, you got it. You can make your own bed and pick out your own clothes and fix your own lunch. I’m fine with it all. Now get dressed please.”

I was peeved. I couldn’t believe this child being defiant and first thing in the morning. I asked God for strength and we exited out the house headed for school. Munch didn’t speak to me at all. Ignored me on the whole car ride. I blasted gospel music to shift my mind and hopefully his too.

We exit and go into the school and as I’m signing him in for Before Care he doesn’t speak to the teachers when they say good morning. He walks away from me and is still ignoring me. I sigh. I said “Good morning” to the teachers, signed him and left. Five minutes later my phone rings and it is the Director of the Before and After Care program. She says how Munch had a breakdown and started crying because I just left.

She said that Munch said “She didn’t kiss me goodbye and she didn’t tell me that she loves me and to have a good day.” She said that they couldn’t console him. She asked could I speak to him. “Yes” I responded. He gets on the phone crying “Mommy, you didn’t tell me you love me. You didn’t kiss me goodbye.” I said “Munch, I realized that you were frustrated when you complained first thing this morning, I realized that you were still angry when you didn’t speak to me in the car ride over. I knew you weren’t over it when you walked away from me and ignored the teachers this morning. I accepted that. I love you so much but I will never chase anyone including you. My love is always given freely but I won’t chase someone to force it on them and this includes you. I love you more than life itself and will always love you. I love you more than you’ll ever know so have a great day.” He said “Okay, I love you too mommy.”  We got off the phone.

This parenting thing is hard. I struggle some days and find peace with my choices on most. But, in the end I’m still a work in progress learning and loving this beautiful boy that I’ve been blessed with.

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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/.

Parenting: Munch’s Art

Munch just finished two weeks at Art Camp last Friday and I couldn’t be more proud. He asked to attend and he learned so much. He learned about different textures, mediums and artists. He had a blast.

I think the best part of the camp experience for me was listening to my son explain his art work. The camp had an art show for the finale and the kids were super excited to showcase their work.

These last two weeks were memorable for him. He was excited and learned a lot. It was definitely worth the investment.

Since he transferred to his new school last September he actually got straight A’s in art all four quarters. This was a change from his last art teacher who I firmly believed pulled grades out her butt. When I questioned his grades changing from a B to A, she had no answer and couldn’t produce graded work that showed a B.

I explained that my son loves to draw and will often spend hours drawing out these great characters. He’s talented. He loves art. She didn’t listen.

Oh well.

Change happened and he’s excelling in his new school so we are blessed. It is as it should be. Art camp was awesome and he was winding down summer on a positive note. Here are some photos of his work.

 

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/.

Life’s Not Fair

I had an amazing weekend. Busy, but I got everything I wanted to do done. LOL. You like that right? Everything that I wanted to do. Not everything that I should have done, etc. But, it was perfect.

However, I wanted to tell you what happened when I picked up Munch from after care at school on Friday.  I missed the heck out of that little boy.  It was like my world was set right laying eyes on that beautiful kid of mine. He smiled this big grin and gave me a hug, but I knew something was wrong the minute he hugged me. What’s wrong I asked? “Nothing” he replied. I said, “Munch, I know something is bothering you baby. What is it? What is wrong?” He then told me how he got in trouble today in after care. He said that they were lining up for snack time and a young boy (in kindergarten) yelled out that he wanted to be second in line, but Munch beat him to be second in line. The little boy said to Munch, “Hey, that’s not fair. I wanted to be second.” Munch replied “Life’s not fair”. He said that the little boy was upset and then told the director. Munch said that he didn’t yell at the little boy. He said “I said it matter of fact mommy. I wasn’t mean or yelling” but the director told me that I shouldn’t have said it.

His little eyes were wide with fear. Fear that I would be mad at him. I said “Munch, you did nothing wrong. You were right. Life is not fair and as long as you weren’t mean to him, then you are giving him a dose of reality.” Was I wrong? I don’t think so.

Munch is very sensitive and feels for everyone, but I’m trying to toughen up his exterior to know that not everything will work out for you. You can try your best and still fail and you know what? That’s okay. Life’s not about being fair. Life is about doing the best you can and being a good human being. No one is going to give you anything.

But, could Munch have just given him the spot? Sure, but should he have too? The child wasn’t going to not get a snack. He just wasn’t second in line. I know that some people make think it harsh that I support what he said, but it’s cool. I believe that we should be good people, but we shouldn’t deny ourselves if we choose not too.

I would have been more hurt had the child not gotten a snack and Munch didn’t offer to share his. The reality is that I’m raising a black boy in a “post racial society” where many people think racism is dead. It’s not. He may get pulled over for being black and even though it may not be fair, you need to know how to act. He may be unfairly judged in the classroom or on the streets and it’s not fair, but it is the way it is. I’m teaching him how to survive when life’s not fair, because that’s all you can do.

What are your thoughts?

 

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/.

3 Truths About Co-Parenting

Okay so this post is really about explaining things to people who think when you are divorced and you have children that you can get along. Let me start by saying that you can… IF both parties are willing. What some people want you to do or can’t accept is that if one parent is rude and disrespectful how you can co-parent in an acrimonious situation?

I read this beautiful story circulating on Facebook a couple of weeks ago about a woman praising her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend. They were all sitting there smiling. I was in awe. Such a beautiful woman and a beautiful child. They obviously liked each other.

I thought…how wonderful. How perfect. How grown-up and mature. Let me recap in case you missed it. This woman was giving praise to her ex’s girlfriend. That is amazing! We should all give praise where praise is due. However, I think what the statement does is generalize. The assumption that it is the woman’s fault “Why do all these moms act so spiteful and jealous towards the other women? NO ONE said it was easy trying to be a mother to a kid you didn’t have.” or “Ladies, grow up and focus on being a good mom. Love more hate less!”

Umm, that’s over generalizing. Many women aren’t spiteful or jealous towards the other woman. That’s a myth perpetuated by a man whose ego is bigger than his d*ck. Many women are just tired of the revolving door of relationships, the BS from their ex or the shenanigans that the new woman is playing.

I’ve known countless situations of friends, family and fellow bloggers who’ve endured enough BS to last two lifetimes from their ex even though they are not together anymore. Co-parenting is hard and it starts with two adults being able to do so. If you both can’t be adult, you can’t co-parent. Simple truth you need to accept.

Many people expect you to put up with BS from the other parent regardless of the fact that ya’ll aren’t together. They then try to spin it as in the best interest of the child.Let me ask you this…if your ex was abusive towards you in any way shape or form should you continue to endure it because it is in the best interest of the child?

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If your ex has mental health issues that threaten the welfare of the child should you just endure it? If your ex has a revolving door of women or men around your children should you just ignore that fact? You get the picture right?

I’ve often said that there are three sides to every story….his, hers and the truth and that the truth is somewhere in the middle. You can’t assume that the reason people don’t get along is because the women are being spiteful and jealous. Hell, people don’t like you for any reason and they don’t know you.

What I will say is that in order to have a happy and healthy co-parenting situation like the one above you need at a minimum the following three things:

  1. Two mature adults. It seems easy right? But, let’s be clear. Not everyone is mature enough to co-parent after a relationship ends. Not just women, but men too. In order to do what is in the best interest of the child it takes two people willing to put their own issues aside to do what’s best for their child. Maturity is a process. Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean that you’re being mature. Focus on the bigger picture.
  2. Respect. Like Aretha Franklin sang “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” is needed in order for you to have a co-parenting relationship. If there is no respect, how can you have a healthy co-parenting relationship much less get to like or know your ex’s new partner? You can’t. I mean if you can count on your hands how many times you’ve been cussed out by your ex in the last 12 months and you’re not together anymore, how could you get to know the new woman or man? Many people don’t stay around talking to people that disrespect them.
  3. Open Communication. The thing about co-parenting is that sometimes you need to be able to discuss things without blaming and vindictive behavior. It goes back to number 1. When you can’t discuss things without getting into arguments, the question becomes what is the issue? If we can’t talk, we can’t co-parent. We parallel parent and hope for the best. Is it ideal? Nope, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do for your sanity.

Co-parenting is not a one situation fits all item. You can’t expect something from nothing. You can’t expect people to co-parent effectively if you’re missing just the basics I’ve mentioned above. I’ve learned that some of the biggest barriers to co-parenting can be men too. Not just women.

Children grow up. They see and learn things. They pay attention to behaviors and they draw their own conclusions. I wish that every situation and relationship could be as glamorous as above, but many times it can’t. In those situations, I just pray that the parents are being the best parents possible and that the child understands that he/she is loved by both.

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/.