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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How to Discipline My Child: The Annoying Preschool Seminar

Tonight I went to my son's "preschool" for a state mandated seminar on "Child Abuse/Maltreatment". Now I'll be honest that going into it I was already annoyed. Like really, after all day at work I now have to sit through a lecture?! But since it's an important topic I prepared myself to just grin and get through it. After all how bad can it be right?

white parenting experts

Well I soon found out after arriving. After receiving my informational packet, I took a seat and waited to hear from this expert on child abuse/maltreatment. The expert turned out to be the daycare psychologist. Ugh. I've met this man before and I'm not all that comfortable with him. He's a Mister Rogers type with the sweaters and just overly friendly greetings. He greets everyone like old friends from way back. There's something just a bit off about it.

But anyway, he starts explaining the need for the class and what we're all going to discuss tonight. Then he asks us to introduce ourselves, starting with me. Of course! After my very quick intro, I went to my special quiet place. Really he was just going over the paperwork in the packet anyway. So as I listen with one ear, I looked around at the other parents in this seminar. Hmm. All Black and Hispanic families.

Let me say that again. ALL Black and Hispanic families.

The staff of the daycare also has a Black or Hispanic background. This makes sense since the kids in this daycare is either black decent or Hispanic decent. As of tonight I haven't seen one little white child. So if you know me then you know my next thought.

Why is this white man discussing child discipline and practices with ethnic families?!

And I swear just as I'm forming this thought, I hear one man say that parenting should be left to the families. That it truly take a village to raise a child. This statement of course goes over the white psychologist head. He sorta side steps that point and raises questions about how we "feel" about child care laws, what do we do when angry with our child, etc.

As I sat there, I became even more annoyed. Lets be real here. How can this man understand and advise these families on ethnic child discipline practices? He doesn't understand the enthic cultural thinking behind spanking!

Why isn't there a BLACK /HISPANIC psychologist in a Harlem school? Someone with a background from a ethnic community? Someone the parents can relate to instead of feeling defensive that this person is trying to tell us how to raise our kids?

Yeah I wrote this, because that's how I felt. Dude doesn't know anything about Guyanese culture and how we discipline kids. If I say that I flick my son to get his attention when he wont listen to me, will he understand what that means? Or is that going to send off the child abuse warning signals which will lead him to report me?

Cause that's the other thing. The daycare and it's employees have a legal responsibility to report on a child/parent they suspect of child abuse. Good law when child abuse is clear cut. But what about the grey areas? Yes I think there are gray areas and it's easy to error on either sides of the child abuse issue.

While it's great to have these classes to help parents with information and support, I wonder why these classes are not tailored to fit the community. One issue I have is that white experts are always "advising" and taking a leading parenting role for ethnic families. Where are the black, asian, hispanic, ethnic experts to help us raise our next generation..... clearly not at my preschool.

After picking up my son, and being annoyed with the director over a food related incident that night, which needs it's own blog, I left the building wondering if the "white" daycare's also have these "mandated" seminars on child abuse or does the state think white parents don't abuse their children....

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5 comments:

Socamom says:
at: November 10, 2011 at 10:32 AM said...

Lawdamercy! You are better than me. I JUST showed my son a Trinidadian swizzle stick online on Monday, and he couldn't believe used to catch that on my backside when I acted up. I am fully aware that I am raising American kids, but they will be disciplined however I see fit. They will not talk back to me, or show off in public. Not gonna happen. As for a white guy telling me how to discipline my kids... Depends. I know kids, black, white, Caribbean, African, who never get spankings, and some that do. Just this Sunday, I saw my our white male Sunday school teacher correct his son in a very.... Well... Imma just say, the boy cracked up and he took a belt to him in full view of everyone. Was he killing him, no. Was the boy out of line, and swift "feel-able" action required? Yes. Bottom line, if I am not killing them, choking them out, or raising a serial killer, Imma need the state to "mine dey business."

Sheliza says:
at: November 10, 2011 at 11:37 AM said...

I have never heard of such a thing! I don't think it makes a lick of sense that a white male can understand the Black/Latino cultures. I parent the very old school Guyanese way but of course know my limits. Wow, this is really something. You would think NY is populated enough that there would have been a psychologist more suited to discuss the issues of child abuse. Oh rass man!!!

JaelCustomDesigns says:
at: November 10, 2011 at 11:42 AM said...

I'm going to have to agree with socamom on this one! I really didn't get spankings as a child but, my parents and grandparents put the fear of god in me. My family is Jamaican, and all I got was a look and that's all I needed most of the time. My parents grew up in Jamaica and got beat with bamboo when they were out of line AND... the teachers were allowed to beat at school!

I do spank my children when necessary. A lot of children today are not disciplined which leads to them being rude and disrespectful. The way they perceive the laws... they're ready to report their parents and call css, daring their parents to put a hand on them!

Spankings are allowed and they will tell you that, you just can't leave a mark which sucks for people with light skinned children that turn red when you pinch them!

I don't need anyone to tell me how to raise or discipline my children. If I don't raise them, the streets will and I'm NOT going to let that happen!

Cardenie says:
at: November 10, 2011 at 12:17 PM said...

For record, I don't spank my kids. But I don't blame you for having these thoughts, they are very relevant. There is definitely a cultural backdrop to some of the disciplining practices of ethnic families. But there is probably a common thread running through our general cultural (religion, for instance, is a reason some think spanking is a no-brainer no matter if they are black or white), because just as many white families spank their kids as black/latino families.

Mom Daughter Style says:
at: November 13, 2011 at 12:45 AM said...

I haven't been to seminars like that and I don't really plan to. I try to read parenting magazines and read online about same experiences.