Parenting while Black: Let's Talk About It. By Brother Yusef
When it comes to parenting, black families have unique styles that have evolved over time. Historically and presently, these styles have been influenced by culture, experiences, and societal norms. And let's be real, we all know discipline plays a big role in the way black families raise their kids. I mean, who hasn't heard the classic phrase, "Get me a switch." Studies show that black parents often use authoritarian, permissive, or authoritative parenting styles. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, authoritative parenting is the most popular among black families, with about 62% of parents using this style. This means that they set clear boundaries and expectations, while also being responsive and warm to their children's needs and opinions. On the other hand, 18% of black parents use authoritarian parenting, which is characterized by strict rules and high expectations with very little warmth or flexibility. Only 13% use a permissive parenting style, which is characterized by a lack of discipline and boundaries.
Now, let's talk about discipline. We all know that black families use physical discipline more often than other racial groups. "Get me a switch" is a phrase that has been passed down through generations in black households, and we all know what it means. But here's the thing, (get ready for it): while physical discipline is a traditional form of punishment, it is not the only way to discipline a child. In fact, it can cause physical and emotional harm, which can have long-term effects on a child's wellbeing.
So why do black families still use physical discipline, you may ask? Well, it's rooted in our cultural traditions. The legacy of slavery and segregation has created a culture of strictness and high expectations, and physical discipline has been seen as a way to teach children respect and discipline while also protecting them from the harsh realities of the world. But times are changing, and many black parents are beginning to recognize that there are other, more effective ways to discipline their children.
It's important to note that black families are not a monolith, and not all families use physical discipline. In fact, many black parents have opted for more effective forms of discipline, such as positive reinforcement and teachable moments. (I can hear the collective groans). Ultimately, the goal of discipline is to teach children right from wrong, not to cause harm or trauma. Bottom line, "This ain't the Brady Bunch," and black families shouldn't be expected to conform to traditional norms. Rather, we should celebrate and honor the diversity of parenting styles and practices within our communities.