Urban Parenting Tips for Young Moms, Dads and Grandparents By Edye Deloch-Hughes

Just in case you didn’t know, I accepted an invitation to write for ChicagoNow. I’m excited. Here is my new link: http://chicagonow.com/raising-hell-or-raise-them-well. If you would like to read previous posts, simply scroll down. BTW, don’t forget to  subscribe (or resubscribe)  and  “Like” my “Raising Hell or Raise Them Well” community page on Facebook.

Also visit my new blog, “Trending Over 40″  Trendingover40.com.  I explore social media, trends and how my over 40 and social-media challenged peers fit in. Any questions, write me at,  Trendingover40@gmail.com. Oh! please  “like” my Trending Over 40 Facebook page too!

Blessings,

Edye

They say a good man is hard to find, let alone a good Dad. But I’ve had the great pleasure of being married to one and enjoying friendships with guys who are exemplary fathers.

One friend in particular is both a colleague and Facebook buddy. His name is Darryl Duncan, an accomplished musician and owner of Gamebeat Studios in the Chicagoland area. Darryl became a single father a couple of years ago. He was awarded sole custody of his twin teenaged sons, Shaun and Stephen.

Darryl is the consummate father who believes that you can be your teen’s best friend AND strong disciplinarian when needed.  He has made certain his kids know when and where he draws the line, and they learn not to cross it.

I was struck by Darryl’s Facebook posts which often featured his sons as the subject. In honor of Father’s Day, I’d like to share a few of them with you.

On being a father…

“As a father what does it mean to provide for your children? No, not just clothing, food, shelter or a support check. But if you aren’t teaching them 2 respect everyone no matter how different they are, and giving them the emotional & mental tools they need 2 cope with life and deal with others, then they’ll lack the most important part and they don’t have to live with you to provide this to them.”

On respect…

“I’m not bragging, I’m just grateful, grateful that my 15 yr old twin boys are just not interested in the things many of their peers are. They don’t swear, they could care less about the latest gym shoes, they despise saggin’, they’d rather be home than hanging out, they have a healthy respect for their female peers, and they still address me “Yes sir/No sir”. If I could bottle it, I’d GIVE it away! Yes, I’m Grateful!”

Hittin’ the books…

“[Proud Dad Brag Alert:] Sophomore year – Shaun GPA 4.0, Stephen GPA 3.8, and in honors classes! (My GPA back in the day?……noneyadamnbiz :)”

Discipline…

“Ok, my sons…want a bit of advice? No? Well you’re getting it anyway! The reason it is taking you 4 hours to do one hours worth of homework is because you WON’T PUT DOWN THAT FREAKING IPHONE!!! focus baby boys focus. Yea, that’s ya boy….and yea, she is cute…but they can WAIT!”

Showing affection…

“So my boys are split on wanting me to get my first Tattoo. Been wanting one for a couple of years now and I know what I want. I have Shaun’s full endorsement, but Stephen says he won’t give me a hug or a kiss for 2 years if I get it. Hmmmm, I can ambush him for a hug and I am pretty accurate at blowing kisses. So…”

Settling disputes…

“Who’s turn is it to take out the garbage, empty the dishwasher, vacuum the steps…, fold the clothes, clean the toilets, or whatever….To end all the squabbling, bickering, arguing and debating over who does what, I have now declared that everything between Stephen & Shaun be decided by a chess match. What son? You’ve already done that chore 4 times in a row……well sharpen up your game buddy! lol”

Supporting their interests…

“My 15 year old teens have the absolutely most diverse musical taste for their age it is freakin’ me out…..acid metal, jazz, classical, Japanese rock, pop, hard core rap, I guess that’s a good thing, but listening to them pump their music I don’t know what the hell mood to be in!”

Giving quality time…

“No School today for my boys, we’ll do a movie (Skyline), then some house cleaning, Then I’ll cook dinner (Chili), then we’ll play some Call of Duty Black Ops later on.”

Leaving a legacy…

“I believe there are but 3 main criteria by which a man’s legacy is ultimately judged. #1. What he has done or tries to do for others, #2 His body of works, talents and accomplishments and #3, The character & integrity of the children he has raised to carry on. To simply be aware of and to strive for all 3 is an accomplishment in itself and I feel the continued endless pursuit of this trinity, makes our Maker happy.”

Now that’s raising your kids well.

Our first Lady Michelle Obama recently launched the Let’s Move program to combat the epidemic of obesity among children, adults and families.  Our kids are spending more time on the computer and playing video games than being physically active. Raise your kids well by encouraging  them to move. Enroll your children in sports or other activities in your community. If they’re stuck on video games, buy a Wii or XBox Kinect system which has awesome dance videos.  Get up and dance with your kids. We parents could stand to shake our groove things too.  Mrs. Obama has some smooth moves herself. Check her out!

How do you keep your kids (and yourself)  moving?

Dear Edye,

I just read that Florida passed a bill outlawing sagging jeans in their schools. I, being a son and a father, feel that it is just a style. That people should wear whatever they want.  Women have more leniency in their clothing. They wear short skirts, no bra straps. no underwear, etc. But men have more restrictions. It’s just a style. I don’t choose to wear it. But I won’t outlaw others who want to.

Signed,

Dad Who Doesn’t Sag (Not by law, by choice)

Dear Dad,

Some people think the new Florida bill is a long time coming and should spread throughout the U.S.. Others like you,  think it’s a violation of a person’s rights; and that it targets young black males. Personally, I can’t stand the style.  The look originated in prisons when belts were forbidden for fear of suicide attempts. It spread into the streets.  I also heard that it was a sexual invitation to other men.

Bill passes prohibiting sagging pants in Florida schools

Am I glad such a law exists? Hesitantly, I say yes, because of the blatantly negative and vulgar image it gives. One young black male said to me, “I think the Florida law is good. Nobody should wear sagging pants because it’s tacky.” The goal is to create an environment of learning and readiness, which this dress style does not convey.  On the other hand, Florida’s anti-sagging bill could open the door for restrictions that may infringe on other rights.

We as parents should not let the law do what we should be doing at home. We should be teaching values, pride and respect. Lack of parental guidance and moral upbringing is, in my opinion, raising hell.  Because of the lack of training, some of us parents allow our sons and daughters to sink into the abyss of indecency. It’s reflected in how they dress and conduct themselves in public. Even some parents need to check what messages they send by how they dress and act.

Somehow, we have accepted this “do what you feel” philosophy into our culture as normal. Speaking of culture,  Hip hop has many cool points in my book, however this so-called “sag swag” ain’t one of them.  Let me also say, though many young African-American males sport the saggy pants style, there are whites and other nonblacks who wear it as well.

It will be interesting to see the response to Florida’s new bill. The NAACP and ACLU are against it  for the reasons I mentioned above. What do you think? Should sagging pants be against the law?

Here’s a video bonus “Pull Ya Pantz Up” rap

Dear Parents,

My grandson did the darndest thing…

His mom didn’t beat him senseless. But she did let him know the importance of letting Mommy help him wash his hair. What would you have done if your baby got into something he shouldn’t have?

I was put to the test just the other day as I was writing this post. My grandson got into my bathroom and sprayed Windex everywhere. Then he poured Spongebob bubble bath on my tub. He wanted to clean the bathroom.  I followed Jayden’s mommy’s lead.  And said to him next time we can clean the bathroom together. He helped me wipe away the mess, which he was happy to do. Moms and grandmothers can learn from each other.

Kid’s are natural explorers, all the reason to keep a super watchful eye out for our little buggers. I didn’t childproof my bathroom cabinet. My bad.  I will be buying safety latches pronto. If you’ve got little ones in the home, I suggest you do the same. Also make sure you childproof your electrical sockets with outlet covers. There are companies, e.g.  OneStepAhead.com, that sell a host of childproofing gadgets.

We also need to let our kids know what they can and can not touch. Some parents remove all valuable or breakable objects out of reach of children. What I did was take my kids around to look at the items. I let them touch them and say, “Pretty, pretty…” That took away most of their curiosity.  Then I told my kids  that this was the items’  home, so let’s leave them alone. For the most part that worked. But kids will have their “cookie jar moments”. We can correct them without yelling or beating our kids senseless. And it helps to see the humor in things like Jayden’s mom did. That’s raising them well.

Got anger issues?

Dear Edye,

I admit, I have anger issues. If I have a bad day at work or an argument with somebody, I tend to take it out on my kids. When they act up, I blow up. And now I see my anger rubbing off on them. I saw on TV a mother  shot her teenage kids dead because they talked back to her.  I’m not that bad, but that got me thinking about myself. How do I control my anger better?

Mad Mama, Forest Park, IL

Dear Mad Mama,

Give yourself a pat on the back for recognizing your problem and addressing it. That’s half the problem solved, In the wake of the recent murders of two teenagers by their Mother, I think it’s important to deal with the subject of anger. However, that mother’s horrendous act went beyond anger, which is something I’m not qualified to address.  But  I can talk about anger, because we all deal with it  – some of us parents handle it better than others. It is not wrong to get angry.  But when it consumes you, there’s a problem. I always told my kids growing up, if you lose control, you lose your power. That applies to parents too.

Listen to this 911 call from an enraged mom. Is she raising hell?  (Listener discretion advised)

Here are some anger management tips to help you keep your power:

Address past unresolved hurts:

Where did this anger come from? Past disappointments? Childhood abuse? Molestations? Rejection? Abandonment? Be honest with yourself. Your kids may be paying for the hurt and abuse you suffered as a child.  How do you start the healing process? For many, prayer is a good first step. To seek guidance beyond yourself, is a form of admittance, and desire for healing. It can be a stepping stone to going toward that next step: seeking professional help. It is wise to talk to an objective party whether it’s a therapist, your clergy or a counselor. Be wary of well meaning friends and relatives. Their advice could make matters worse.  If you don’t know where to find professional help, talk to the school counselor for resources (Click here for resources). Heal your hurts before you end up harming your children.

Ask yourself, is it that deep?

Some of us snap at the littlest things. Is that you? Do you carry a short fuse? Do you keep your children on blast?  If so, it’s time to chill.  Put the situation in perspective. Ask yourself, are your kids’ antics really anger worthy? There’s the small stuff, the irritating nuisances such as accidentally spilling Kool-Aid on the floor. And there’s the big stuff, where harm is done to self, others or property. Reprogram yourself to not sweat the small stuff. With the big stuff, you still need to respond with reason.

Admit that you’re angry

Holding anger in or denying your feelings makes matters worse. It’s like plaque build-up. If you don’t take care of it, your teeth will rot. Anger build-up rots your spirit. It cause you to explode. Who gets caught in the blast? Your kids.

Think before you act

Become self-aware.  Consider what you’re about to say and do. Assess the situation. Was it an accident? Did your kids mean any harm? Did it hurt anybody? Was it really that big of a deal or just annoying?  Try not to overreact. Pause a second and take a deep breath. Is it small stuff or big stuff? Once you’ve assessed the situation, respond. Keep your voice calm. Don’t curse the kids out. Avoid jumping to conclusions. Don’t shoot now, ask questions later. Take it easy. Counting to 10 is always a good strategy. Don’t hit out of anger.

Know the difference between harmful anger and helpful anger

Dr. Sears, renown  family wellness educator, says “Healthy anger compels you to fix the problem, first because you’re not going to let your child’s behavior go uncorrected, and second because you don’t like how the child’s misbehavior bothers you. This is helpful anger.” Harmful anger is when you don’t use it to fix the cause. You just react in it. My friend found out her 12 year old  son was ditching school. She was understandably livid. At first she wanted to beat him down then ship his butt to Mississippi to live with his Daddy. But she used her anger to fix the problem. By talking it out instead of beating it out,  she found out her son was being bullied at school. He was afraid to go to class. Because she controlled her anger, she discovered the real problem and handled it appropriately.

Look out for anger triggers

In this hustle and bustle called Life, we are bombarded by many challenges.  Add your high demanding kids on top of that, and you can blow a fuse. Recognize what sets you off. Overworked? Lost your job? Tangled in a difficult relationship? When big issues are compounded by little annoyances it can push you to the breaking point and your kids will likely become the unfair target. Apologize. Tell them you love them and that it’s not their fault. Tell them you will do better. Then do better.

Don’t be hard on yourself

Learn from your mistakes. Let it motivate you to respond better in the future. Your kids learn from you. How you handle your anger will determine how they will handle their own.

Check out this video of an Uncle’s response to his nephew faking gangbangin’ on Facebook. Do you think  Uncle’s raisng hell or raising him well?  I welcome your comments and opinions.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.