YOU ARE THE CHILD. . . I AM THE PARENT!!!
I know that I am going to receive some backlash from this particular post but I have to get this off of my mind once and for all. Though aimed towards all parents--I am going to focus on black parents--specifically us black fathers.
Last summer, my 16 year old son was hanging out in the streets with his boys & was cited by the police for using profanity in public & disturbing the peace. My wife & I took care of his fines because here, in Louisiana, he was still considered a minor & we were responsible for his actions. We gave him time out, grounding & moved him into our guest bedroom (which was empty) for a month. Following that punishment, he was back at his normal self of being a good son--or so we thought. Well--upon our son turning 17 this past October--he decides to do yet another defiant act. . . Wearing saggy pants in public. Of course, the police picked him up & cited him for that because sad as it may seem--in our town--it is against the law to wear saggy pants in public. Once again, We paid his fine & begged the judge to dispose of charge--in which he did. But the punishment was a bit different from before because within that police report--out son was once again, using profanity amongst peace disturbance & resisting arrest. Well, since he was already aware of the no saggy pants law in our town & had completely disobeyed our orders about using strong language in public or anywhere for that matter--I had but one other alternative: Since the English, European, new-age style parenting methods wasn’t working--I went very old school. I told my son to go outside & cut a switch. I forewarned him that it better be a freshly picked, long, strong & flexible thin switch or he wouldn’t forget the one I cut . He returned with a acceptable one & I ordered him to his bedroom, made him strip to his boxers, lay across his bed & tore him up. Of course, he tried to tough it out but as I continued, moans & groans turned into screams & cries, in which I ceased the switch whipping at that point. After he cooled off & was all cried out--I sat with him & explained why I whipped him like so & forewarned him that he will receive the same punishment if deliberately repeating the same offense. Since that day--my wife & I have been shadowing him from time to time & all of those so-called “thuggish” ways are long gone--at least for now. No more saggy pants though we still purchase & allow him to buy oversized shirts/t-shirts and baggy fitting pants/shorts--as long as they are worn at his waist & not sagging off of his behind. Any violation of our clothing policy, then shirts/pant/shorts-to-fit will replace the current wardrobe followed by yet another switch whipping for his direct disobedience. As for strong language/profanity--ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY--period.
Do I blame the entertainment industry for my son’s actions? NOT AT ALL. . . If a comedian uses strong language--that’s their business. If actor engage in wild sex throughout a motion picture--that’s their business. If a rapper/singer wears saggy pants all day long & use strong language within his lyrics--that’s their business. If my son does or engages in any/all of the above mentioned action(s)--it becomes MY WIFE & I BUSINESS!!!
Black men, black fathers--we need to take our community back by putting our children in their places. In the event they have fell off a bit, just let them know who is the parent & who is the child. I am not saying whipping should be your first option but when all else fail, utilize it. Of course our children respond differently to methods of punishment but I have learned that a good old fashioned whipping, when administered properly, is effective as a corrective means of punishment. I know based on my son’s latest reaction(s) over the past few months. Following the whipping, he had began to wear his pants above his waist (lol) & I relaxed him regarding it--explaining to him that he could wear his baggy pants comfortable as long as he don’t sag them. He is very happy regarding it because it still looks like he is wearing saggy pants. . . Only my wife, I & our son knows better.
First of all--it shouldn’t have to take law enforcement or the legal system to intervene in this saggy pants issue. . . The “threat” of stern discipline should be all that is necessary to get your kid’s mind right but in the event that “threats” are not working--then take your stand as a parent & enforce your method of discipline at that time. I have heard several parents say “when my son was small, I whipped him but now I don’t know what to do since he is so grown”. Come on man. . . I sadly had the opportunity last month to witness a young man (around 14 yrs old) call his daddy out--shouting out every profane name in the book--for not getting him a pair of sneakers at Foot Locker. Yes, this family was WHITE & all I muttered to myself was “give me & this kid five minutes or less & he would be an angel from that moment on, anytime & anywhere--in public or not.” But to each his own & I sincerely hope this father does something to control his son‘s behavior before it becomes too late (if it hasn‘t already).
My point for this post is to not only address the issue of saggy pants but parental control & self discipline when it comes to our kids--especially our teenagers. They may be bigger (at times bigger than us) but they are still KIDS--specifically our boys! Our sons love us as much as our daughters but because of the way society depicts them as always being “hard & thuggish”, most of them don’t know how to show their emotions. Although I have allowed my son to get his ears pierced & a tattoo of his Grandmother (my mom) on his arm--he also knows his place as a child underneath our roof. Of course, my boy tested my limits simply because it is normal for the average teenager to do such. But after I brought the pain to him--a wake up signal was in place. He is so on track right now until he even ask if he could view certain rap videos or get our approval about certain clothing he wears. I want to tell him “boy, you know what our ground rules are” but I am going to remain reserved on that due to the fact that since the “surprise” whipping I gave him, he is a little more alert & cautious in regards to our rules & regulations. The last time I whip my son was when he was about 10 or 11 (don’t specifically remember) but I can say that he knows when I mean business & knows that a whipping is serious business. I just thank God that I never had to resort to whippings on a regular basis when it came to him. Basically, he was a good kid & still is but peer pressure is ever present & it’s just a part of growing pains. But in all means YOU are in control of YOUR CHILD and no one should have to come in & do our job.
You see, in my community, we are extremely old school. Us black men out here gives a new meaning to the word “throwback dads”. Our buddy system consists of our team of black men & fathers who will continue to do whatever it takes to keep our crime level near 0.002%--as it has been for as long as I can remember. The only thing changed about this town is technology because parental values are still as they were. If you catch my kid down bad--discipline him. If I feel he’s been disciplined enough--there it remains but if not--then he will face yet further punishment from myself, the wife or both depending on the offense. Society states that our black kids (boys) are bad & need to be on medication or incarcerated away from normal society. . . That is not always the case. Our black boys are no more worse than any other boys existing in our world today--some just need that extra push when they seem to fall off. Do remember when there was a time that our kids were the best behaved & well mannered kids in the world? I do & guess what? We can achieve that status quo once again but it must began in our house. No disrespecting one‘s self &/or disobeying YOU, any elders or trustworthy adults; no strong language usage; no backtalk or sass--which includes talking underneath your breath & eye-rolling. In addition to attending school & attaining a reasonable education--while within MY house--my son’s belief in God & attending church is mandatory as well. Pretty much everything else will fall into place. I KNOW BECAUSE IT WORKS FOR ME & MY FAMILY. Why? Simply because the foundation has already been set. Your child will know the dos & don’t & what’s expected of him & to defy those boundaries should constitute punishment &/or discipline.
Child protection services (cps) have designed a system over the past 30+ years to aid & promote anti-spanking & no spanking techniques of discipline which don’t get me wrong--does work at times. . . But we, as black folk, know that certain offenses warrant certain types of discipline and when we try to implement our last resort (or first resort for some) old school methods of discipline--we end up losing our children to a government agency which, at most times, do more harm than good with our children.
Once again--the law shouldn't have to dictate what our son(s) wears, says or do--that is OUR JOB & of course in the event we fail at doing such--then it becomes THEIR JOB!!!!!! My brothers--let's not fail our children. . . Remember & never forget. . . YOU ARE THE PARENT & THEY ARE THE CHILDREN. And it won't hurt to remind them that while they presently exist underneath YOUR ROOF, they WILL OBEY your rules & once they are no longer under YOUR ROOF, they can set their own rules to live by. My people--If you haven’t already, please take back your children. Don’t allow your children to get taken. Let me ask you this question: ARE YOU IN CONTROL OF YOUR CHILDREN OR HAVE SOCIETY STEPPED IN & TOOK OVER?