I just finished babysitting my friend’s children, and she has most definitely mastered the no spanking/alternative discipline route. I always talk about taking it because I don’t believe in abusing children, but I’ve never personally seen it in action by a Black parent. Her children are 2 and 5 and they are the kindest, nicest toddlers I’ve ever met. They listen to her because she’s their mom and they automatically recognize she’s important and she gives them what they want (love and affection and rewards). In return they like to clean for her and give her artwork and cuddles all of the time.

To get them to listen to her, she makes sure to listen to them and what they’ve got to say instead of telling them to shut up all the time. The 5 year old asked her a few months ago why you can’t eat food that was on the floor after picking up food on the floor, and she explained it calmly and clearly. He asked 4 other questions after that and she answered all of them. He was satisfied and happy with the answers, and ever since he hasn’t done those things. She lets them gush and gush about Hot Wheels or Team Umizoomi and engages with them and counts with them and everything, so they never feel alone or neglected enough to not want to obey.

My friend lets them make mistakes by themselves on the rare chance they don’t listen so they can learn from them and let that be punishment enough. For example, the younger one we’ve been telling not to go near the dog cage because he doesn’t like dogs. He went near it a while ago, got his hand licked, freaked out, and hasn’t been anywhere near it since. The board on the wall that she uses has a column for each boy horizontally, and vertically are all the traits she wants them to have, like being nice, listening to her and their teachers, eating their food, cleaning up, having manners, etc. They get a sticker whenever they do it for the day, and they lose all their stickers when they break a habit. That’s enough punishment for them, so they don’t break it.

When they wake up, it’s cleanup time, or bedtime, she plays what she calls “musical habits”. She puts on a playlist of their favorite songs (it’s like 20-25 minutes) that make them feel motivated, and they should be finished getting ready or cleaning by the time the last song is over. If they’re not, they get a toy from their toy bin taken away or an Oreo from their snack bag taken out (aka eaten by her). But she hasn’t ever gotten to that because they always finish. They don’t even like hearing the consequences lol. And I just wanted to say I really enjoyed seeing good parenting by a Black woman that wasn’t abusive or harmful to the child’s development, it gave me inspiration and hope. Just had to talk about it somewhere.


This gives me hope. I’m gonna try to emulate this if I have kids

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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