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Conversations with my son

conversations-with-my-son-why-did-you-get-a-red-star

Those of you that have kids in kindergarten might be familiar with the behavior reporting system that some teachers implement to keep them in line and to keep parents abreast of how they are doing behavior-wise on a daily basis. My son’s classroom has a clip system, where they start out in the middle on “ready to learn” and they can either go up or down depending on how they do on that day. The best possible is “outstanding” (pink star) and the worst possible is “parent contact”(red star).My son has had a pretty difficult week this week(not sure what’s happening), and he ended the week with a red star. Of course he came home knowing that we would not be happy about that and went straight to sleep.Now as a (good) parent, you want your child to do well and be the best version of themselves. In a country where your color determines how you are perceived, you don’t want to give fodder to that viewpoint(this is real people). You want to raise a strong black man, who is able to maneuver successfully despite the odds that are stacked against him.QuestionsHow do you bring that out in your child without breaking his spirit, without him losing himself and who he innately is? How do you reinforce positive behaviors while correcting the bad ones?Parenting StylesI have been doing some research on parenting styles and how they can…

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conversations-with-my-son-race-talk

Do you remember the show “Kids Say the Darndest Things”?  Well I want to turn that around and say “Kids Ask the Darndest Questions”. How do you respond when those questions lead to the subject of race? Here’s a recent conversation between my 5 year old son and his dad.”Daddy, am I African?””Not really, but you are African-American. Your ancestors were brought to America from Africa””And I am half-Jamaican too. So is Mommy more African than me and you?””No son, all of us are just as African””But Mommy is dark””Son, it doesn’t matter how dark or light you are, all African-Americans are descended from Africans”Now, to put this conversation in context, my son is 5 years old, soon to be 6. Very smart, enquiring mind. He reads well so if you want to keep something from him, don’t write it; it will get read. Children this age are very literal, you have to be so careful how you communicate with them because your words can mislead them, even though you have the best intentions.The subject of race and color is probably going to be one of the hardest things we are going to have speak to him about. Question is how much and when. Too much too soon can be just as harmful as too little too late.My BackgroundLet me backtrack a bit. I was born and raised in Jamaica; spent the majority of…

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