Apr 08

Parenting 101: Safeguard and Pay Attention to Your Children

One of the most memorable lines in a movie to me was when Doughboy (Boyz N the Hood) said, “Get them g**damn babies out the street!” How many times have you said it or at least thought it? Shoot, maybe it’s been said to you. The bottom line is that too many parents are skating on the responsibility of being the main role model and prominent figure in their children’s lives.

The first thing we parents often like to say when someone challenges our parenting skills or lack thereof is, “Just wait until you have children.” Well, I have them. I don’t have all of the answers and I’m not the best parent in the world. I do have more than my fair share of experiences, failures, and success stories. So, here are some suggestions regarding what you need to do. Yes, I said what you need to do.:

Spend time with your children.
The weather is warming and our babies want to go outside to play more. My policy…if your children are under 12 and you aren’t sending them in the backyard (or if you don’t have a back yard), then you need to be outside with them. You don’t have to be out there all day. Spend at least an hour enjoying your family.
Go to their games, recitals, rehearsals and all of those other school functions. Support your children. They do things to please parents, let them know that you are pleased. It doesn’t matter how horrible they sound playing the trumpet. It doesn’t matter if they ride the bench every game, just be there.
If you are too busy and don’t have time, then you need to rethink some things.
Monitor their internet use.
Computers and the internet have become such a necessity that we often forget the dangers that come along with the use of them. Be sure to put up safeguards that won’t allow them to access certain content. The World Wide Web is a playground for predators and the major difference is that you can’t see them lurking around the merry-go-‘round. Although social networking is the thing to do, your children should not be on MySpace.
Know their friends AND their parents.
I’ll just put it like this, since most of us are visual creatures-see below:

Do they look like sex offenders? Well, they are and here’s the kicker…they were teachers. * This is not just about safety, but it’s about what you are exposing them to. Your sweet neighbor Karen, who works in her garden faithfully every Saturday morning, could have some foul stuff going on inside her home. You must associate yourself with the people your kids are associated with.
Oh yeah, don’t expose your children to your adult lifestyle or conversations. (This is another blog for another day.)
To the best of your ability, know where your children are at all times.
If someone asks you where your son or daughter is, your response should not be, “I dunno.” Teach them to call you on a regular basis if they are going to be away from home. There are times when I am unable to pick my children up from school or the bus stop and I have to send someone else. I don’t have much family here, so I do rely on my close friends to help. I can see and talk to you all day every day, but the ONLY way my girls will get in the car is if you know the code word and once the code word is used, we create another one.
Be a loving, concerned, guiding parent and disciplinary.
Teaching your children that they can’t have their way; that they can’t do and say what they want; and that they will get punished for being in violation of the rules, is teaching them how to be productive and functioning citizens. It’s okay to spank your children if needed. You aren’t going to go to jail people.
Section 151.001(e) of the Texas Family Code Reads: Only the following persons may use corporal punishment for the reasonable discipline of a child: (1) a parent or grandparent of the child; (2) a stepparent of the child who has the duty of control and reasonable discipline of the child; and (3) an individual who is a guardian of the child and who has the duty of control and reasonable discipline of the child.
If that’s not enough for you, then you have my permission to invoke physical punishment when sitting in the corner or giving time-out in a room full of modern electronic devices just doesn’t cut it. Spare the rod, spoil the child.
Most importantly, listen to your children
Often we don’t know what our children are thinking or how they feel, but if you don’t ask you surely will never know. Each week, my girls and I sit down to have our family forum. The purpose of the forum is to openly discuss anything, good and bad, that happened during the past week. This promotes open family communication and dispels the fear that they can’t talk to me. Yeah, this may be a little Cosby Show-ish, but what’s wrong with that?
Nothing beats being asked every day how my day was or if I got everything accomplished. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s often difficult to hear about their day from period to period. However, there will be a day when they won’t be around or willing to tell me these things. So, cherish and relish in the moments that you do have with your children.
Remember you are and should always be your child’s main role model. What do your children think of you?
Be sure to watch the 30-day Marathon: A blog marathon with me and The Man Child Swagga @ http://www.anythingurban.com. The marathon begins Monday, April 13th. This is going to be good!
* Amanda Athey, 27- Charged Aug. 8, 2007, in Huntersville, N.C. with three counts of indecent liberties with a female student and one count of sexual activity with a female student.
*Hermia Smith, 30-found guilty of four charges of indecent assault and two of sexual conduct against a girls under 16


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  1. TMS

    This is great – you made some very good points, especially your point about spending time with your children… this definitely goes in hand with showing love and care. I look forward to reading more.

  2. Tonya B.

    Spending time with them is the best and easiest way to show them you care.

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