Parenting books

Leman, Kevin.  Have a new kid by Friday: how to change your child’s attitude, behavior & character in 5 days

Ricker, Audrey.  Whining: three steps to stopping it before the tears and tantrums start

Dobson, James C.   The strong-willed child: birth through adolescence

Frost, Jo. Supernanny: how to get the best from your children

Runkel, Hal Edward.  Screamfree parenting: raising your kids by keeping your cool

Severe, Sal. How to behave so your children will, too!

Nelsen, Jane. Positive discipline

Bailey, Rebecca Anne. Easy to love, difficult to discipline: the seven basic skills for turning conflict into cooperation

Baker, Jed. No more meltdowns: positive strategies for managing and preventing out-of-control behavior

Swedo, Susan. Is it “just a phase”: how to tell common childhood phases from more serious problems

Greene, Ross W.  The explosive child: a new approach for understanding and parenting easily frustrated, chronically inflexible children

Smith, Karen A.  The sensory-sensitive child: practical solutions for out-of-bounds behavior

Kurcinka, Mary Sheedy.  Raising your spirited child : a guide for parents whose child is more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, energetic

Handout, handbag

I was walking downtown and saw a black man cross my path. He was a bit shabbily dressed – worn t-shirt, baggy jeans. While I’ve been taught to be wary of strangers, I’ve been taught that message applies double to black men.

Is it fair? Is it fair that I have been taught to think that a black man wants something from me? My handbag. A handout. Or something more heinous.

How much have we created the very thing we expect, by expecting it? If the only interaction white people, white women especially, are able to have with black men is an adversarial one, it is all we will have.

People need to interact with each other. It is part of what makes us human. We live in community. It is our common life that sustains us.

We may think we live independently, but we don’t. We eat food that is grown and harvested by others. We use electricity and water that is harnessed and directed to us by others.

When we allow only a small kind of interaction, and a warped kind of interaction at that, to take place between entire groups all the time, then we are short-changing individuals of their basic humanity. We are seeing them as things and not as people.

Perhaps I was taught that black men are lesser are thieves and beggars because that is what was seen as the truth by my role models. Perhaps there were far more bad examples than good examples for them.

But perhaps there were far more bad examples because that is what they were looking for. Perhaps they created this reality.

In the child rearing books that I have read, you are supposed to ignore the bad behavior and praise the good. Children, like all people, crave attention. Even if it is negative attention, it is still attention. If we focus and give energy to bad behavior, we will get more of it.

If we tell black males that we will relate to them only in terms of being thieves or thugs or transients, we will get more of it.

Time to change the script.