• Reggie Jenkins

These are the Things to Change boys to Men....

I'm pretty surethat many of you are familiar with my blog title, especially if you became of age during the 80s and 90s. Well, this post is about one of favorite R&B groups of all time, New Edition, but rather my passion in assisting our community develop more of male children into responsible and productive men. In 2020, there are too many of our male children who growing up to become dependent males who heavily rely on a parent or a significant other for their well being. Many more guys are going to their graves, never discovering how to be fully responsible for their existence (i.e. food, clothes, and shelter).

Parents, the number one thing that your male child needs (besides Love) is DISCIPLINE. Discipline is about teaching your child a system of values and morals that they can use to guide through their adult lives. As parents (of male children), we are in the business of rearing a MAN and men need discipline. Discipline to do what needs to be done when they don't feel like doing it. Discipline to complete the task after the FIRST request, not the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th. Discipline to avoid dangerous situations that will arise during their lifetime. And discipline to love, respect, and honor their family (immediate, extended and community).

In order to train your son to be disciplined, you must 1st discipline self. We must STOP YELLING at our children when correcting them. We must make a more concerted effort to communicate our messages without traumatizing our children. This is very difficult for those of us who have experienced 'whippings' or corporate punishment. People tend to do what they have been through or experienced. Thus, parents will have to reprogram their idea of discipline and create their own system of values to their children. Now, I am not implying that we stop enforcing rules that our children violate. I'm just encouraging that we find more effective ways of getting our message across.

We need to stop lecturing our children and 'encourage' them to complete the task requested. Develop a routine of consequences when your child doesn't follow the rules set forth. It can be in the form of giving them a timeout and taking away their favorite toy or privileges (playing video games, cell phone, extracurricular activity, etc.) for an extended period of time. Regardless of what your form of discipline is, you must be consistent in order for it to have long lasting impact. This is a problem for many parents who don't want to be viewed as a 'bad' parent by their children or don't want to implement any form discipline due to their traumatic childhood experiences. Give them a warning and then enforce what needs to be done. We must discipline our children after the FIRST request. For Black male youth, discipline is mandatory for survival. If we don't enforce system of discipline within our households, an external source (law enforcement, the streets or school system) will enforce their 'idea' of discipline and oftentimes, their system of discipline can lead to a worst situation (incarceration or death) than what we would implement.


If you are a single parent of a black male child who doesn't have a man role model, I will encourage you to all that you can to find a MAN or group of MEN to assist you to do the job that you can't perform. If there's no men in your immediate circle, look outside of your sphere of influence and seek help. You have uncles, granddads, men in church, men at your jobs, men in your neighborhoods, etc. I would encourage that you insist that those men you associate help you or DISASSOCIATE yourself from them. Healthy relationships is about give and take. Healthy relationships are about supporting family structure. Growing up without a father can lead to destructive behaviors that many of our children will not recover from in their lifetime. Behaviors and conditions such as depression, low self esteem, drug addiction, violence, and incarceration are oftentimes associated with lack of fatherhood or male nurturing.

Another point, our black male youth don't need spoilage, they need LOVE. Spoilage and Love are two distinct things. Spoilage is rewarding bad behavior with gifts, freedoms, and privileges. Spoilage is really about doing anything and everything to stay in the 'good graces' of our children. It speaks to our emotional insecurities and immaturity as parents. Love is nurturing and affectionate. But love can come in the form of discipline as well. Love can be a parent being stern with his/her child and being consistent until the behavior is corrected. Love is making your child EARN his privileges and freedoms back when he breaks your rules. And I don't mean within a few days or a week after his violates your rules. Love is disciplining your child when you are TIRED AS HELL yet you KNOW that this MUST be DONE. Love is reminding him who pays the mortgage/rent, telephone bill, purchase the food, and healing him when he's sick.

Spoilage is overcompensating because his dad isn't around by buying him EVERYTHING. This is setting him up for failure and a lifetime of dependency on others. Love is understanding that he's doesn't have an active dad yet it is NO EXCUSE for him not excelling in academics and in life skills. Love is teaching him how to be responsible, respectful, hard working and motivated. Love is teaching him that life can be cruel and painful yet he MUST persevere and EXCEL! Failure is NOT an Option!! And if you don't think you have the tools to teach this, FIND A PROGRAM THAT WILL DO THIS!!

Spoilage is allowing a GROWN A.... Male to live in your house and not contribute to its upkeep and well being. A parent who spoils his/her child will eventually say 'I can't kick my baby out in the streets'. Love is giving your grown male a timeline and a deadline for getting his act together. Love is following through with your timeline and deadline. Love is MAKING your grown male child to contribute to this household or KICK HIS A... OUT!!

We have too many Black males (and a growing number of females) who are not growing up with discipline and maturity. And until we as parents/grandparents/uncles/aunts change our mindset and get control of our emotional dysfunctions or insecurities, more and more black males will be destined to FAILURE. Too many folks think that this is a single parent household issue, it is not. There are too many males who come from 2 parent households who are just as dysfunctional as those who come from 1 parent household. This is a collective problem for Black people no matter the social-economic status. It's time to put our BIG BOY DRAWS or a BIG GIRL DRAWS on and BE parents!! Again, if you need help ASK!! Closed mouth don't get fed.


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