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

Dear Edye,

Do you have any new year’s resolutions for parents?

Dina K., St. Louis, MO

Dina, I don’t really have any resolutions, but I did come up with some quick random tips on how to raise your kids well that you can put into practice this new year. I call them Edye’s 5 Parenting Wisecracks. If you want to add to my wisecracks, please do. I also threw in a short video at the end about reading, raising kids, etc. that you may enjoy. Viewer discretion advised.

Here are my 5 Parenting Wisecracks:

1) Crack a book

Read to and with your kids.

If you can’t afford the bookstore, visit your public library. Not many things are free in this world, but a library card is. Books and videos are at your disposal at no cost to you – that’s the ultimate hook-up. Take your kids when they are young so they develop a love for books.

If your kids are older and find reading difficult (or you find it difficult too) get books with bigger type or  graphic novels. Some parents and educators may turn up their noses at comic and picture books. But I say do what you gotta do to spark interest.  Audio books are great too. Hey, whatever it takes.

I can’t emphasize this enough: Be active in their school. Know their teachers. Help them with their homework.

Make up books. Get some paper, pencil and crayons and allow your children to make their own storybooks.

For older kids, pick out a book you all like and read it together, then discuss it – Actor Will Smith does it with his family. Not only does it foster a love for reading, it brings families closer together.

Start a book club with fellow parents and their kids. If reading is a challenge for you, improve your skills. Check out your local library or community college for literacy resources. Visit, www.literacydirectory.org/

2) Crack an egg

Teach your kids how to cook. Don’t know how? Get a cookbook and learn together.

Ask your grandmama to teach you and your kids how to prepare your  favorite recipes.

Make sure your kids  eat at least three healthy well-balanced meals a day.  (Doritos and Coke is not a meal)

Make sure they eat breakfast. Have it handy and easy to reach when you can’t be there to fix it, e.g. instant oatmeal, fruit, cereal, milk, juice packets…

Chill on the junk food and take-outs.

Cut up fresh fruits and veggies,  put them in a container and set it on the bottom shelf of the frig so the little ones can grab it.

Cool out on sugar, candy, pop and sugary juices.

Note: Chips don’t count as a vegetable and milk shakes aren’t a good source of calcium

3) Crack the whip

Have clear-cut rules of the house, and follow through.

Don’t let them run you.

Have consequences for bad behavior.

Make them accountable for their actions.

Don’t let them get away with it.

Mean what you say, say what you mean. And follow through.

Avoid beating them “‘till the white meat shows”. Don’t spank out of anger.  Personally, I believe an occasional spanking on a covered bottom may be necessary, But whooping kids with extension cords, brooms and fists  is downright child abuse. Constant hitting and slapping causes emotional and behavioral problems. Shaking a baby or small child can cause brain damage or death.

Try using time-outs. It actually works! (Trust me, some kids hate time-outs worse than spankings) The length of a time-out is their age. Example:  5 years old: 5 minute timeout. Note: Once they get around eight – 10 or so, that time-out stuff gets old. Time to pull out the big dogs…

Take away something they enjoy like their cell phone, video game, mall trip with their friends…

Be reasonable. Don’t over punish.

Be consistent.

Watch your mouth. Be firm without the screaming, cursing and name calling.

Explain why they are on punishment.

Recognize that some consequences are punishment enough. Example:  A four-year old falls off the bed and hurts himself after using it as a trampoline. Here lies a teachable moment. Punishment may be overkill.

Keep the lines of communication open. That means you learn to listen. Be fair. Let them know you love them, even when you discipline them.

Don’t hold it against your child or nurse a grudge.

4) Crack a joke

Parenting doesn’t have to be so serious all the time. Have fun, with your kids, people!

Live, love, laugh with your kids. Catch them doing good and let them know it.

Get down to their level and play with them  (If your knees can take it ).

Have Wednesday game night (A treat for homework and chores completed).

Do crash and burn Fridays (Pizza and an action B Movie) or a girls pamper day at the nail shop (Again, for homework and chores completed).

Have open discussions. Give your kids and yourself permission to truly connect.

With that said, be friendly with your kids. Befriend them. But don’t try to be their BFF. You are not on the same level.

5) Crack kills

Have honest  nonjudgmental discussions with your kids about drugs, cigarettes and alcohol.

If they are younger, talk about the meds you give them when their sick and how it’s used for a specific purpose, the dosage etc.

If  a friend, family member or favorite celebrity smokes, abuses drugs or alcohol, talk about it. Ask your kids how they feel. If it affects your family, how will you handle it?

If they’re older, share your experiences. Keep it real. Why did you do it?  Or why didn’t you? For some of us, why do you still do it? If that’s you, be an example and quit. For help, click here: drug addiction support and here:  how to quit smoking .

Know your kids’ friends and their “people”.

Don’t feel guilty about checking their book bags  and chest of drawers from time to time.

Read up on the latest drugs so you know your stuff. For more information, click here.

And now for your viewing pleasure, check out this video.


Dear Edye,

My daughter is four years old and curses like a sailor. Where did she get that from?! It’s embarrassing. My friends laugh, so she does it more. But I want to smack her to next Wednesday. I threaten her but she still curses. She knows it’s wrong, but she wants to make me mad, and she’s succeeding. Help!
“Mother of a Potty Mouth”, Merrillville, IN

Dear Mother of Potty Mouth,

Kids say the darndest things, don’t they! Check out these videos (Warning:  Unbleeped version. Unsuitable for tender ears ):

Example A: Raising Hell…

Example B:  At least this mother offers a substitute word…

Raising a Point…

Do you raise hell with your words? Do your friends and family members? Your child mimics what’s said around her. That’s not her fault, so please don’t use violence or anger to punish her. That makes things worse. Your daughter is realizing the power of words, a normal development in kids her age. She’s testing what gets a strong reaction, whether it’s shock, embarrassment, laughter or anger.  However, she needs to know cursing is unacceptable. There is cursing used as a weapon against others and cursing that’s expressive. The language aimed to hurt and insult, whether it’s a classic curse word or not, shouldn’t be tolerated. Cursing to express surprise, pain, happiness, etc. can be substituted with more acceptable words. Arm your child with ear-friendly language when she makes a slip. The key is keeping cool, calm and collected when she does it.

When you hear your daughter using better language, praise her for it. Tell her how proud you are. You’re reacting to her positive actions, not the bad ones. She will then use the good language to get strong (positive) reactions. That’s raising them well.

Quick Parenting Tips:

  • Check yourself, then correct yourself.
  • Chill. Strong reactions encourages strong language.
  • Do not hit, whoop, smack your child or wash her mouth out with soap. Violence doesn’t curb cursing, it adds to it
  • Put your friends and family on blast: No more cursing around your little one.
  • Tell your baby cursing is toilet talk. Direct her to the bathroom whenever she curses. In other words “Tell it to the toilet” because you don’t want to hear it.  Do it every time she slips up, no matter where you both are. When she stops cursing, she can rejoin the family.
  • Ask for your family and friends’ help. Tell them not to react when she curses, rather direct her to the bathroom where potty mouths belong
  • Drastically reduce your child’s exposure to movies, TV programs, music videos, songs, rap and video games riddled with foul language.
  • Praise your daughter when she corrects herself

Curse Word Alternatives submitted by parents: Do you think these are proper?

Shit: Shoot, sheesh, yikes! poo. poop, BM,  defecation (my mama taught me that one)

Damn or Dammit: darn, darnit, dang, dangit, doggonit! Man!

Bitch, Ho, Skank, Cunt, Bastard, Motherfucker, Asshole: No calling out someone’s name period

Fuck: Fudge, fugee, freak (Would any substitute be appropriate?)

Hell: Sam Hill, heck, Hades (this was a curse word in my day)

Sucks, Blows: (Officially not curse words but unpleasant coming out the mouths of babes or anybody)

Piss: T’d, PO’d, angry, irritated, miffed, mad, urination, pee, tee tee

Ass: Buttocks, behind, rear, backside, booty

Can you think of any other substitutions for curse words? Do you know of any other techniques to stop cursing?

Before I get to our topic, let me introduce myself. My name is Edye. I’ve made my living as an ad professional but I’ve lived my life as a mother of two sons, and now “G-ma” to my two grandsons. My hubby Darryl and I have gone through our parenting challenges with much pleasure and pain. I’m relieved to say, the boys, now in their twenties, turned out “aight”. Young parents today are going through some stuff, e.g. family conflict and lack of support, baby daddy/mama drama, school, job and money issues, drugs, abuse and more. There is no longer a sense of community support and guidance like it was back in the day. So many parents are raising more hell than raising their kids well. But I figure, if you know better, you’ll do better. Maybe that’s why young moms and dads come to me for advice. My blog gives you a slice of what raising hell versus raising your kids well looks like (see video below) .  It’s all my opinion – my perspective. Agree or disagree. Add suggestions. Ask a question. I’d like to feature it in my next post.  With that said, on to our question:

Dear Edye,

“I’m a single parent. I work long hours and come home tired. The last thing I feel like doing is going up to my son’s school for Parent/Teacher’s Night, PTO meetings – whatever. Some parents work hard for a living. I just don’t have the time.  Am I raising hell?” – “Tired Mom”, Chicago, Illinois

Raising Hell…

Raise Them Well…

Raising a Point…

It’s rough working long hours  and dealing with your child’s school obligations too. I feel you. I’ve been there.  But if you don’t show up, your child may show out. Research shows, students do better in school if parents are involved in their learning. No-shows can include not being available to help with homework, volunteering at school, attending student’s special events, as well as parent-school functions. Some teachers invest less time with kids whose parents are no-shows. Some kids invest less time in their studies when their parents are no-shows.   Low performance gone unchecked can lead to frustration, lack of confidence, low self esteem and negative behavior. That’s raising hell.

Quick Tips:

  • Arrange ahead of time with your employer to leave early or have that day off to attend a school function or event. That means reading the flyer and marking the dates ahead of time.
  • If you absolutely can’t make it to the Parent/Teachers conferences and school meetings, schedule to meet the teacher at a later date, then show up.
  • Develop a partnership with teachers. Exchange emails and phone numbers. Communicate regularly.
  • For parent homework support, attend parent homework workshops or talk to the teacher for help.

When you show your face in the place, you show you care. And your child feels more motivated to learn. That’s raising them well.

Like I said,  hit me back with your opinions, suggestions and critique. Or if you want to raise an issue or question, that’s cool too. It may end up in my “Raising Hell or Raise Them Well” series, which I’m making into a book.

Disclaimer: Don’t be alarmed by my weird mixed race, robotic, Lego-like characters. I am experimenting with different visuals. I’m open to suggestions.

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