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Ideas For Black Parenting
Using traditional cultural practices and values that have been discarded to improve and strengthen parenting practices – using African and Jamaican cultural heritage as examples
“Culture is to people like water to fish, invisible, ubiquitous and necessary.”
Professor Wade Nobles
Everyone has a culture, the question is, are we in the right culture?
This document is designed to provide practical tips and advice for Black parents who want to improve their parenting practices. Parenting is a craft that is taught and learned within a cultural context. The author believes that black children should be raised in black culture if they are to grow up to be fully developed (emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and physically) human beings, and the abandonment of traditional African cultural practices and values is a major contributor to blacks’ inability to effectively resist the system a belief in what is known as racism or white supremacy, which controls so much of what goes on in the world today.
This paper provides examples of cultural practices and values taken from African Jamaican culture which, if reintroduced, have produced immediate, significant improvements in parent-child relationships in the UK’s African community. Although these values/practices are exemplified from Jamaica, they are African cultural retentions that survived the Mangalize (sometimes called the Black Holocaust) and can be found throughout the African world.
o Your children are not your private property – “It takes a village to raise a child and many mixes to make a village” (African proverb). Every adult should be able to talk to you or your child about your child’s behavior without automatically receiving a hostile response, because what your child does affects the wider community; not only you
o Big people’s Talk – Some talks are not suitable for children/young people. As the Jamaicans say “Mature power never good.”
o Me an yu is not Quabs/Size – Don’t nullify your parenting responsibilities with liberal notions of treating your children like small adults. The lion’s tail does not wag and your children will never grow up with you. Parenting is not a democracy.
o If you are a day older, you have a responsibility to the younger – This idea comes from the African cultural practice of sorting by age. Our culture is to teach the older child to take care of the younger one.
o Proverbs and Parables – Africans around the world teach morals and values through proverbs and parables. A great example is the Anancy stories, which originated in West Africa and were transported across the Atlantic. Use proverbs, parables, and stories to teach ancestral wisdom. E.g. ‘Patient Man rides a donkey, a fool will always walk.’
o Aunt, Uncle or Mr. and Mrs. – Why do our children now call adults, even elders, by their first names? Africans believe in age grading and respect for elders. We believe in non-biological aunts and uncles. Let’s relearn these principles.
o Eating together – Families that eat together (with the TV off) stay together. Everyone is busy, but we have to find time to get together and talk.
o Bedtime – children need more sleep than adults. This includes teenagers. A five-year-old child needs about 13 hours of sleep per night. If a young person is still growing, they need more sleep than an adult.
o Bad Company – Parents need to know their children’s friends and the parents of these friends. Introduce yourself to the parents of your child’s friends. Children are still in communication with each other, parents also need to talk. Remember the fruit never falls far from the tree.
o Rebuilding the Extended Family – Remember when family and friends just showed up and were welcomed and there was food in a dutch pot for them? Let’s try to visit family and friends more often, go on vacation together and rebuild our extended family (non-biological and biological).
o Housework – All children should have age-appropriate chores that should not be paid for. This is Ujima (collective work and responsibility). Boys should not be excused from household chores.
o Media Control – There is a media onslaught that promotes a degenerate “black” subculture. Don’t put TVs in the kids’ room, it’s hard enough to control their media diet without making the problem worse. Watch their favorite programs with them and decode pictures with them. Don’t let them watch specific movies just because their friends watched them. Their friends’ parents don’t necessarily share your value system. Listen to your child’s CD collection. Don’t allow “slack” to be played in your house, even if they hear it outside. Stick to what is acceptable in your home. Reevaluate your own media diet and the values you are exposed to. Try listening to conscious black media eg internet radio stations like http://www.liradio.com http://www.innerlightradio.com
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