Archive for the ‘Parental Relationships’ Category

Halfway through my ninth grade year in high school I moved to a different town where I attended a new high school (new to me). Making friends has never come easy to me because, believe it or not, I am extremely shy and quiet. I would soon find out that a lot of people throughout my life would make assumptions about me because of this. One thing I didn’t have a problem doing in the new school was making money. I sold candy out of my book bag and it wasn’t long before other students noticed how I excelled in most of my classes. Side note: the school system there was way behind my previous one so didn’t require much brainpower. After being approached by a “dumb jock” (his own words, not mine) to do one of his papers, it became a regular gig. Essays, research papers, poetry; if it had something to do with writing, I was available for hire. I am the reason why quite a few failures ended up passing classes. I guess you can partially blame me for some of the dummies in the workplace today. Sorry.

If my fellow student didn’t have the money up front to pay me, sometimes I would accept collateral and they could pay me later. This was the case with Romeo. He didn’t have the money so he gave me a fairly new Polo hoodie for collateral. Long story short, he got an A on the project I did for him. That A was the only thing that kept him from failing History. How did he repay me? Instead of money, he sent a girl, who supposedly had a rough reputation around school, to corner me at my locker one morning. She was one of those loud, rowdy types, always getting in trouble, always getting in fights. She got in my face and threatened me to return the hoodie to Romeo or she was going to beat me up. What did I do? I responded naturally, with a smirk I got back in her face, “Am I supposed to be shook? I’m not scared of you or anyone else in this school. You must have me fucked up. You can tell Romeo that he can get his collateral back when he pays me my money.” Then I slammed my locker and walked away. No, Romeo never paid me but I wore my new hoodie with no shame, and the girl never bothered me again.

When I was a kid, that’s how you handled bullying. You either took your chances and stood up to the bully, fighting it out, or you went and got an older sister/brother/cousin/friend to come help you fight your battles. I never had to do too much fighting because I always let my words fight for me. Of course most will say fighting isn’t the answer but fighting does toughen you up. Most of the time when you stand up to a bully they will leave you alone because bullies are predators. They prey on the weak. That’s why it’s important to show strength, whether it be through words or through fists, if necessary.

While I applaud the current day campaign against bullying, I think the campaign is misdirected. I don’t think it’s necessarily the bullying that’s the major problem. I’ve witnessed bullies growing up and people have tried to bully me. I’ve seen kids fight and I’ve even been in a physical fight or two (or three). I even got a black eye once. We all turned out just fine. No one killed themselves. However, we didn’t have cell phones and YouTube when I was a kid. Once the fight was over, whoever got their butt kicked might’ve been taunted for the next few weeks until the next fight happened. Then it was forgotten about, yesterday’s news. Whether you were the winner or the loser, you gained respect for standing up for yourself. That’s what it was really about. I think it’s the technology that is crippling the children of today. Little Susie can’t hide from a video of her getting her block knocked off that’s being played over and over on the internet. She can’t move on to the next thing. She’s forced to relive her humiliating experience over and over. Little Billy’s secret confession in his diary about his homosexuality has been plastered on a website for all to see and forward through emails. Once it’s in cyberspace, it’s there for good. There’s nothing he can do to move on. That, in my opinion, is the issue – not the actual act of bullying. Boys tease, girls are cruel, children fight. It’s a part of life. It’s a part of the coming of age process. It’s the technology that’s the real problem. Maybe the issue is allowing children access to technologies they don’t yet need before they are mature enough to handle it.

Now children are encouraged to go tell an adult if they’re being picked on. I know parents want to protect their children and I know I’m not a parent, but it seems to me that we are really softening the children of tomorrow. In addition, they are going to be unprepared for the world as an adult. I think what people forget is that there are adult bullies too. There are grown people who try to intimidate other grown people every day in college, on the job, and at social activities. You see, it doesn’t stop after adolescence. The method might change. It may not be stuffing you in a locker but you better believe there are bullies in the boardroom, just like on the playground. So what happens then? What does the grown ass man, who was told as a child to run and tell when someone made fun of him, do as an adult being bullied? Of course I know there is a difference between harmless teasing and antagonizing someone, but where is the line drawn? That’s my question. I don’t make light of those who have taken their own lives due too bullying, but I can’t help but wonder if things can turn out differently if we teach children to stand up to bullies and toughen up a little.

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It’s funny. Growing up I never really knew when Father’s Day was. Since my father was absent, there really wasn’t any reason to take note of the day I guess. Also, many of my friends didn’t have fathers in their lives either. So I guess you can say I was just sort of oblivious to the day. Even still as an adult I never even realize Father’s Day is coming up until it’s here. Usually I find out online, which brings me to this week’s blog post. It wasn’t until I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed this past Sunday that I realized it was Father’s Day. I kept seeing a lot of similar posts. Some were genuinely wishing fathers a happy Father’s Day but more were wishing single mothers a happy Father’s Day.

I understand that there are a lot of single mothers out there doing it all on their own due to dead beat dads. Of course there are the exceptions like the death of a father or something like that. However, for the most part the fathers are just dead beats. I don’t have any children but I understand it’s hard. One of the many reasons (and there are so many) I don’t have any children is because I would never want to be a single mother. With that being said, it doesn’t matter how hard it is. Just because the father is M.I.A. doesn’t automatically turn the mother into a father. Even my own mother has used that expression “I’ve had to be a mother and a father”, but it’s just not so. No woman can ever be a father, and mothers need to realize this.

I thought I was alone with this opinion until my friend sent me this video. I like how she mentions that when women are patting themselves on the back for playing the father, they are just putting themselves on display for all to know the poor choices they’ve made in men. I also love how she keeps repeating the word man. Ladies, you will never be men and therefore cannot be a father. I’m not bashing single mothers either. Some of you knew the low lives you were dealing with when you decided to have his baby but some of you truly didn’t. But like she says in the video, you have your day. It’s called Mother’s Day. Please stop lying to yourselves by saying you are playing both roles. You can never play both roles because you are not a man! Yes, it’s unfortunate but it just is. A mother can never teach her children things from a perspective of a man because…..SHE’S NOT A MAN!

I just want to point out one more thing before I leave this post. I would say in the past 2-3 decades single motherhood has become popular, especially with black women. It’s damn near expected these days. To all you single mothers, I just want to say look at the state of our black youth today. So many are in jail, dancing in strip clubs, single parents themselves, on drugs, dropouts, gay/lesbians, etc. No, I’m not saying it’s the mother’s fault at all. I’m just saying that this should tell you that something is missing from single motherhood. It’s called the real father. So while you single mothers may be doing your best, and your best may be awesome, you are not a father. Please stop convincing yourselves that you are.


So one of my siblings is the inspiration behind this post. We had a conversation not too long ago about the difference having a father makes in a female’s life. Some points we agreed on and some we did not. Overall, we were in agreement that it definitely does make a difference.

Unfortunately in a lot of black communities, not having a father in the picture is an all too common occurrence. I guess that’s why not having my father around while I grew up really didn’t bother me. I’m grown now, and it still doesn’t. Perhaps not having anything to compare it to is what keeps me from missing what I never had. If anything, I’d say it has made me a stronger and more independent person.

I can also look at it like my father loved me enough to stay away. What I mean by that is if he knew he couldn’t be there for me, be a positive example to me, and be a good father in general, then maybe staying away was the best thing he could do for me. I was spared the broken promises of visits or Christmas gifts that other children have to go through. Of course we’re not all the same. The same situations and circumstances affect different people in different ways. So I can understand the person who feels like they missed out on a lot by not having a father there.

On the flipside, I would agree that there are some areas where having a father in a female’s life is most beneficial. If a girl does not have that living example in front of her of a real man, a real provider, a real protector, a real father, a real husband, how will she ever be able to identify one for herself? If she doesn’t bare witness to the love and respect a man gives to his wife firsthand, how does she learn that that’s how she is to be treated too? A woman can tell her daughter the does and don’ts of dating and sex all she wants, but no one can deliver that same information from a man’s perspective like a man.

I would like to say to the fatherless daughters out there who are now grown, it’s time to get over it. Yes, we missed out and it’s unfortunate but harping on the past will not change or help anything. We can’t get that time back. Even if we could, you can’t force anyone to do something they can’t or don’t want to do. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging the fact that the absence of our fathers made a difference in our lives. Acknowledge, accept, and move on.

Lastly, to my fathers out there: It’s about that time! It’s easy to make excuses. “I can’t stand my daughter’s mother”, “I pay child support so that’s enough”, “I don’t know if she’s really my child” and whatever other lame ass excuses dead beats come up with. Just stop it. I’m not going to take the time now to address every excuse, because that’s a whole other post. Just know for every excuse you can come up with, there is an action you can take to get through it and get to what’s important. That is being a father, a real father, to your daughters. These kids these days are getting more grown faster and faster. You will have no one else to blame if twenty years from now you walk into a strip club and find your baby girl swinging around somebody’s pole! I would like to end this on a positive note though. So to all my fathers that are out there really handling their business, providing for their daughters, being positive examples for them, taking time to converse with them, and putting that time in with them: big ups to you 🙂 !

As I have already pointed out in a previous post, I have a great appreciation for maintaining close relationships with one’s parents. We started out as sperm from our fathers. We grow inside our mother’s womb and bond with her for nine months. We carry both of their DNA. They are a part of us and we are a product of them. Even if a person is adopted, they have still been cared for and nurtured by their adopted parents growing up. So it’s understandable that we would be close to them…but is there such thing as being too close?

Ladies, we have all come across that mama’s boy. I personally dated a guy who was such a mama’s boy that he actually used to help his mother bathe – as an adult! And no, she was not old or handicapped. She was a full able bodied person. He thought it was the most normal thing in the world. Guys, I know you’ve probably come across that daddy’s girl that just won’t shut up about her father. She’s in a rush for you to meet him and, in some cases, even tries to turn you into him.

I see nothing wrong with talking to your mother or father often, being there for them when they need you, spending time with them, or seeking their help in times of great need for their wisdom and advice. However, there comes the time when the umbilical cord should be cut.

Most relationships whether romantic, platonic, familial, or whatever change at some point. Adapting to change is a constant part of life. Therefore, we should expect our relationships with our parents to change a little once we become adults and are out on our own. How can we expect to function as an independent, responsible adult if we run to Mommy and Daddy every time we run into tough times?

I see it all the time. Young adults, in particular, run into financial binds but don’t give it a second thought because they know they automatically have their parents to fall back on to bail them out. I’m not talking about getting laid off or situations where one may really fall on hard times for whatever reason. Although we have the option to be responsible and plan for a rainy day, no one can really plan for those types of occurrences. I’m talking about the repeat offenders who carelessly squander their money away knowing that they can just call Mommy or Daddy to help them out. I’m talking about that young lady who chose to buy a closet full of Gucci bags instead of paying the rent on time. She doesn’t have to fear eviction because she knows Daddy will either pay the back rent or let her move right back home.

I’m talking about that young man living with his girlfriend. Every time they have a fight, the first person he calls is Mama. Each time they’re having problems in the relationship, Mama knows about it all because he’s on the phone with her for hours telling all their business. He’s so used to being babied by his mother that he’s looking for his girlfriend to pick up where she left off. He expects her to be just like her.

I too have to catch myself sometimes. Being so close to my mom, she comes up in my conversations often. I have to stop and remind myself, “Jewel this man don’t wanna keep listening to you talking ‘bout my mom this and my mom that”. He’s going to start wondering is he dating me or me and my mama :)!

Parents should realize that they could be hindering more than helping their children with these types of unhealthy, overly close relationships. I say this because how can we seriously expect these Mama’s boys and Daddy’s girls to move on to become successful matriarchs and patriarchs of their own families if they were never allowed that transition period? When I speak of the transition period, I’m talking about the time during which we stand on our own two feet, solve our own problems, learn from our mistakes, and become responsible pillars of the community. Okay maybe “pillars of the community” was a bit of overkill but you get where I’m going. How can a man be a man, a husband to his wife, a father to his own children if he can’t pop his mama’s titty out his mouth long enough to tend to his own family? How can a woman be a wife to her husband if she never hopped off her daddy’s lap in the first place?

It goes both ways too. I’ve seen those who drop everything they’re doing every time their parent has a so-called “crisis”. I see this more with mothers, especially those with no significant other. I would never suggest a person not be there for their mother, but it becomes a thin line between being there for her and taking the place of her significant other. If he’s taking his mother out on more dates than his own wife, I’d say that’s an issue. If you can’t get through a movie without his mom calling three times, that may be a sign of being too close. If she invites her dad on the romantic getaway you planned, that might be a sign too.

In conclusion, being a Mama’s boy or Daddy’s girl might’ve been cute when you were ten but as an adult you may want to reevaluate just how cute it still is.

I chose this topic because I’m getting sick and tired of every time I turn around hearing grown ass people blaming their parents for mistakes they’re making in their own lives. At some point we must take responsibility for our own choices. I love when I watch TV these days and an interview is being conducted with some wild celebrity, serial killer, or some other type of “troubled person”. The sad music starts to play as they predictably start talking about how they came from a “broken home”, mother drank too much, parents argued a lot, or their father left the home when they were five. Then they try to make some type of connection with these events to explain why they’ve acted out or done something heinous as an adult.

Maybe I’m insensitive, but I feel like yelling at the screen “Get over it! That was like twenty years ago!” I am in no way negating the fact that how we are raised definitely plays a part in the people we become. However, we need to realize that parents are just people like us plain and simple. We can’t hold them to these ridiculously high, super human standards. Nobody is perfect and people make mistakes. You’re grown now. It’s okay to let it go…seriously.

Besides, at some point in life we all learn right from wrong even if it’s not at home. So you didn’t get enough hugs as a child. Instead of going on using that as an excuse as to why you’re now not affectionate, become the opposite of what you experienced. Dad walked out on you and mom for his mistress? Guess what! It’s done! It happened and it’s over with. As much as we’d like to go back in time and change what happened, we can’t.

I can speak on this because I come from one of those so-called “broken homes”. My father was absent for the most part of my life and my mother did the best she could. Yes, I witnessed some things growing up that a lot of children may not. Sure, there were things I missed out on and some things my mom forgot to tell me. Then again, maybe she didn’t even know herself. So what! I learned them as I grew into an adult from other sources. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense for me to say to myself “Hmm I didn’t know this was wrong because my father wasn’t around and mom never told me. So I’m just going to blame them and keep right on doing wrong.”

I’m not saying everyone should or can be like me. What I’m saying is that we have a choice to let our childhood experiences hinder us or let them help us. I know plenty of people who didn’t have ideal parents. Some had no parents at all. Instead of using it as an infinite excuse for all their shortcomings, they were able to turn it into positivity. Their parents were on drugs, they saw how it destroyed their home life, and so they never touched them. Their parents weren’t in their life so they make sure they’re at every dance recital, concert, and ball game, etc. for their children.

Please don’t go through life as one big case of “Woe is me, I had bad parents and they’re the root cause of all my issues as an adult”.  I can assure you that for every sad, sob “less-than-perfect parents story”, there is one out there ten times worse than yours.

“The only time you truly become an adult is when you finally forgive your parents for being just as flawed as everyone else.”

Douglas Kennedy

So we don’t get to pick them. Sometimes they get on our nerves. Sometimes they mind our business. Sometimes we plain just wish they’d shut the hell up. Yes, parents are who I’m talking about! Some say they can’t live with them, but can we really live without them? Just take a second and think about it.

Instead of focusing so much on how they should be more of this or less of that, have we taken the time to understand why they may be the way they are? People in general don’t turn out to be who they are by accident. There are reasons, factors, and events that help shape each one of us into who we are. Get to know your parents. I’m not talking about getting to know them as your parents, rather as just another person.

I am not talking about those with parents who have abused, neglected, or abandoned their children.  Although, I’m sure they too have reasons why they chose those routes. I’m talking about those of us who were blessed to be provided for and raised by our parents. I don’t have any children, but I imagine it is not an easy job raising kids. Some of us have no idea what types of obstacles our parents have had to face and overcome to raise us, especially single parents.

We don’t know because our parents have tried to protect us from some of the world’s ugly truths as long as they could. We don’t always see it at the time, but they try to keep us from making the same mistakes they did. If you are one of multiple children, then your parent(s)’ journey was probably even more challenging. Not only have they tried to care, provide for, protect, and love us, but parents with more than one child have had to do all of this while dealing with multiple personalities. If they were dealing with daughters, then those multiple personalities were multiplied even more (lol). Not to mention, I’m sure they had their own issues to deal with while still trying to maintain a household.

Lately I have heard from quite a few adults that they don’t even talk to their parents too often, let alone see or visit them. I have heard statements such as “I don’t have anything to say to my dad” or “I can’t talk to my mom too long because she starts getting on my nerves and I have to hang up on her”.  I think it’s hard for us to understand that even though we may be adults now, it’s hard for parents to just stop being parents to us. On the other hand, I’m also hearing “If my mom was still alive, we’d be doing…” and “I’m not doing anything for the holiday. Usually I would go to my mom’s but this is my first year without her here”.

What is my point here? As adults, we get so wrapped up in our own lives. Sometimes we need a reminder of who really loves us and who really has our back when sh*t hits the fan. If you have a close relationship with your parent(s), congratulations you’re ahead of the game! Maintain it! If you don’t have one already, develop a closer relationship with your parent(s) before it’s too late. I don’t care if you have to go to a therapist or pastor to make it happen. Just do it while you are both still able. They took eighteen years (in most cases more) out of their lives to raise you. You can take eighteen minutes out of your week to have a conversation with them.