Quick tips to help raise strong confident daughters (and sons)
After watching the Surviving R. Kelly Docuseries on Lifetime and Gayle King’s interview on CBS, my heart hurt. I couldn’t help but think about these young women and how they were cheated out of so much. How much pain they have had to endure and what the healing process will look like. Then I started wondering abut my own children, especially my 9 yr old daughter. This got me thinking what can I do to help avoid something like this happening to her…to us. Here’s what I’ve learned:
1. You can never give too much love – Let’s get this straight, this is NOT a parent shaming post, besides #blacktwitter has already eaten these parents alive. I work from a premise of most parents are doing the best they can at any given time and typically operate out of a space of love. But after watching the Surviving R. Kelly Docuseries by Dream Hampton on Lifetime, its clear that R. Kelly provided these young girls something their parents did not, or could not. Attention. And before everyone starts to have a tizzy about this statement, lets get this straight. My idea of attention may be very different from your expectations or needs as it relates to attention, which leads to my next point.
2. Learn/know your child’s love language – first off, let me be clear, this is NOT always apparent or easy to figure out AND varies from kid to kid. But just like adults, some kids love affection, while others love praise and others something in between. There is no one size fits all. More importantly, if you don’t take the time to learn this, you open the door of opportunity for some pedophile like R. Kelly to come in and make them feel special while using it to their advantage. Disagree? See this clip from the interview with Gayle King where she interviewed on R.Kelly’s “girlfriends” (their own words). No matter what anyone says, we all just want to be loved and feel love (which are two completely different things, please note: this is not up for debate.) How do you learn your child’s love language you ask? Well, you can start by asking them. You’d be surprised what you’ll learn.
3. Have difficult conversations EARLY– Wait, before you get your panties in a bunch, hear me out. Thanks to technology, you can’t ignore that our kids are exposed to so much at such a young age. And even if you’re a helicopter parent, trust me there is still a big window of opportunity for your kids to get info you may not think they are ready for. Yes, even at playdates. With that said, you have to talk to them often about things that may make YOU uncomfortable. Of course you curtail the information to make it suitable for the age group, but the good touch bad touch convo should happen way earlier than it did for you. Let’s be real. the conversation I have with my five year old is not the same conversation I’m going to have with lets say, a 12 year old. Note: You should be revisiting this convo often. This is not a one and done situation.
4. Embrace the old adage, it takes a village – Ok ya’ll I know this is a touchy one, but the reality is you can’t realistically be effective if you’re trying to conquer such a sensitive situation alone. Now for those of you hard rolled your eyes at this point, hear me out. Think back to like when you were 13 and your parents told you something. Remember how you just knew they had no Idea what they were talking about? That’s probably the exact same way your kids feel. Take my kids for example. They are taking Karate and when they are practicing and I correct them they will argue that they are sure they aren’t doing anything wrong even though I have taken Karate since I was 5, earned a third-degree black belt, taught classes and attended countless tournaments. Let them tell it, they know more about Karate than I do. The point is, parents know NOTHING!!! So do yourself a favor and enlist someone from your tribe to tell them, the exact same thing so they can hear it. I can’t tell you how much kids will be more receptive when they hear the same message from lets say, my best friend vs me.
5. Foster good decision-making – This is one I think we all take for granted. I mean even I consider some things common sense. But in real life common sense requires life lessons. Think of your home as a controlled environment. Allow your children to make choices and either reap the benefits or learn from their mistakes, while you are around to support them through the lesson. But be clear, let them work through the situation on their own whether its selecting what they want for breakfast (for younger children) or whether or not they should go to the party in lieu of studying. Learning the cause and affect of situations will allow them to become familiar with what good decision-making looks like and more importantly, how to trust their gut when making those decisions. What does this have to do with R. Kelly? Here’s another clip of Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage‘s interview with Gayle King. See how controlled they are? You can’t unsee it, I’ll let that sink in. We cant blame the abused but we can equip our children to be prepared for similar situations. Some may argue that these women are grown, but science tells us that the prefrontal cortex in our brains, which is responsible for decision-making and understanding the consequences of those decisions isn’t fully developed until age 25. These ladies are 21 and 23.
6. Pray Constantly – In a time where everyone and everything is suspect, always remember, prayer works and is necessary.
There are so many variables that should be considered when raising strong confident children, this list is by no means exhaustive. If you’ve got a tip to add, I’d love to hear it. Please be sure to share in the comments below. If you enjoyed this post, please share the love and tag me! Thanks for visiting!