Archive for the ‘Teen Boys’ Category

I wish I made up that headline just to attract attention to my post but I didn’t. It was a real conversation between my 14-year-old son and I. So how do you react when you have a kid that’s still into Video Games, Friends, Pizza and Cartoons but comes home to tell you that his classmate has given birth as if he was asking for a new pair of sneakers? My first reaction is a selfish one because I am glad it’s not my kid, my second reaction is why is a 14-year-old getting pregnant and where is her mother? Lastly why is this subject not as surprising to my child as it is to me? Females have been having babies since the beginning of time, but there is a rapid increase of Young Mothers and it is downright scary. I had my son at 18 not exactly an adult but not a child either and to be quite frank regardless of age 15 years later I have yet to revisit the experience. Raising children is not an easy task, there are days when I honestly feel like I could cry non stop because of all the worries and fears. There isn’t a book on how to raise every child because no 2 kids are alike. I learned a lot as I went along and I am still learning. One of the things that I appreciate most about being a mom is the teaching aspect. I try to teach my son something new everyday about life and being a good person. These are the lessons that will help make him a man. Now at 33 years of age, employed, educated, creative, resourceful and resilient I still don’t feel like I know it all when it comes to Parenting so it just makes me wonder what these children are doing when they decide to bring children in to the world. Sex Education and Health classes are non-existent in most schools and a lot of Parents have issues talking to their children about sex. So what do we do? How do we help these kids? There has to be a way to show them beyond episodes of Teens in Trouble on Maury that having sex at an early age can mean the end of their life. A baby is a gift. A disease not so much. I would love to go around to schools and communities and talk to girls and boys about this. They need to see that this is not an option for their childhood. I know several young/teen moms and speak to them on a regular basis and I am in the process of writing a Teen Parenting Guide. Not to encourage girls to have babies but for the ones that are parents on how to properly take care of them, how to budget, how to maintain a healthy mind and body for themselves as well as their baby. Most Parenting books are written from the perspective of Married, Older Women who want to have children not from the 13-year-old sitting next to your daughter in Math Class.



I have a 14-year-old son and there are 3 things in his life he can not live without. Food, Video Games, Video Games and oh yea did I mention Video Games? Growing up I was addicted to my Atari2600 I played it for hours on end. Whether it was trying to get to the end of Pac Man, or racing through the crappy graphics of Pole Position I loved my Video Games. I am an only child so other than books, TV and school Video Games were my entertainment and escape. Now fast forward 20 years video games have exploded! The graphics are a thousand times better, the scenarios are realistic, you can even play with people and not be in the same room, or the same country for that matter. Way cooler than rescuing the princess from Bowser any day. There have been a lot of studies conducted on the effects that these games have on children. A lot of the best games are violent, and have strong language thus the warning labels. I have heard of cases of kids playing games for days straight without any sleep. This is a damaging occurence, kids need to sleep. I have asked my son and several of his friends why they play video games and the answers I got were quite interesting. Most said the games offered a release for them now as an adult let’s think of some of the things we do for a release from stress, work, etc I don’t know about you but Sex is the first thing that comes to mind along with drinking! I didn’t say every adult does these things I just said the first things that came to my mind. Next they said the games offered them entertainment well that’s a given. They like the fact that in these games they can do things that they can’t yet do in real life like drive, go to clubs etc. I asked about the violence and does it have an impact on how violent they are? They said no. The fact that they play these games and a lot of the games are violent it actually has the opposite affect on them in real life. They also said that the games give them confidence. I asked in what way? With some games you are allowed to get achievements which allows you to earn gamer points the more points you have in a particular game the better you must be so you get bragging rights and other gamers envy you. So in real life you could be Nerdy James Smith but in Borderlands you could be Slayer718 (gamer tag) basically an alter ego. I don’t think all games are bad a huge part of why me and my son can discuss certain genres of music is because of a playing RockBand and Guitar Hero together. After all how is the time they spend on games any different from the amount of time we spend on Twitter, Facebook or Blogging? I will agree that as with anything else they should be monitored and played in moderation. Also the content of the game should be at the discretion of the parents. So next time you get at your kids for being on the games think about what you are doing at that moment? Were you yelling from the computer or while you were tweeting on your blackberry? Think about what video games you were playing at their age. Lastly for a second think “What if what they do in video games were actually what they were doing in real life”? Maybe once in a while play with your kids and see if you share the same thoughts and feelings when you play these games regardless of the result at minimum you will open a new door and coversation.



Cursing at your children.. On a daily basis I’m either on the subway or just walking down the street and notice parents cursing at their children. The thing that bothers me is they are usually small children like under 5. I am wondering if there are any long-term effects as a result of this? Most times the parents are frustrated and just react in anger. I am not a psychologist nor am I a mother of the year but in my 15 years of being a parent I have never cursed at or hit my child.. Now as he is going into his teen years that may change. My question is when you see something like this do you say something? Also do you think it has any effect on the child?


Join me tomorrow as I will be a guest on Writer’s Life Chats with host Kisha Green. The show starts at 8pm if you would like to listen or call in with your comments. If you are not familiar with Street Lit you can check out my earlier post to gain some knowledge http://bit.ly/cjEFSF I am excited and curious to see what others have to say on this topic.Peace,


It’s always a great and exciting time to travel. Going to a new place,seeing family maybe hitting the beach for some sun. There are always things to do to get ready for a trip and when you are taking the kids that list gets even longer. As I woke my son up this morning for our trip I decided to write this list so you have him to thank!

1- Let the kids pack their own bag. Tell them how long they are staying and the weather where you are going and let them handle it. You can double-check if necessary.  If the older ones have cell phones, iPods,games etc that they want to take make it their responsibility to charge them an bring whatever accessories they may need. This will teach them responsibility and will make any trip that you are going to take a little easier. Also have them include a sandwich or snack they can take along because prices in travel hubs can get pricey especially if you have a large family.

2- Designate a bag that will contain tickets, passports,keys,emergency cash, contact numbers,medicine etc. Pack this bag ahead of time and put it inside your purse. If you have a husband that can handle the pressure of screaming kids, dirty diapers,and going through TSA without freaking out then make this his responsibility. If not make room in your purse!

3-Take showers/baths the night before and lay out travel clothes.  This saves time in the morning and if your teen is like mine and hates to wake up early have them get dressed before bed

4-Everyone is responsible for carrying their own bag. If they can walk and talk they can carry. There are many choices for toddler luggage and bags even if it’s not their full suitcase have them carry something. Little ones love feeling empowered give them responsibility no matter how small and for older ones well they just need to know that mom can’t do everything. I can’t tell you how many times I am in an airport and mom has the tickets, the luggage, the screaming baby, and she is still trying to make sure everything gets done! Delegate ladies! Delegate!!

5- Reward the helpful child! If you have more than 1 child chances are you have one that likes to plan or organize make this your helper! And if they do a  good job reward them! This will make the other kids step up and want to take action,let them know they can help out on the next trip.

6-If you are traveling with babies make sure you have diapers, food, formula, blanket, bibs , pacifier,change of clothes, changing pad etc. Make sure to put this bag with #3 the last thing you want is to remember you packed your kids bottles and diapers and its been checked with the luggage. I’ve seen it happen and it ain’t pretty.

7- If you are taking a bus,car,train trip make it a teachable moment, you can play I Spy, talk about geography or famous places. Start a conversation.

8- If you are stressed the kids will be stressed. Kids pick up on our energy try to make sure you get a good night’s  rest, and eat before a long trip. If mama ain’t happy nobody’s happy.

9-When traveling with babies or toddlers be mindful of people around you. If your kid starts screaming or having a tantrum if you can’t calm them down and you have the ability to move around change their setting and try to calm them down. Also if you need to discipline an older child keep in mind you are in a public and captive space. I say this all the time there are people who do not like children and guess what they travel! If you get the evil eye,or even a comment just suck it up. People don’t want to hear that she/he is cranky or missed their nap. Also do not turn the train/bus into your personal playground,bedroom or nursery. I’m on Amtrak right now and there is a woman walking her screaming baby up and down the aisle and looks annoyed when people pass her. There is another who has a toddler that she is allowing to push her toy doll stroller around. The Attendant just told her she has to fold it up and she looks confused as to why. If you want to bring a travel size blanket or pillow that’s fine but don’t turn these spaces into your bedroom away from home.

10- This is the most important! Have fun! Enjoy your family and take lots of pictures!



On Tuesday night after watching Law and Order SVU and being impressed and terrified with Jill Scott’s guest appearance I was getting ready for bed. As I go to say goodnight to one of my friends who had stopped by I heard the commercial for 11 o clock news I usually try to avoid watching the news early in the morning and before bed. During the announcement there was mention of a playground in a NYC Housing project that had the words “Jail” painted on it. This playground is not that far from where I live in Bed Stuy. Having lived in the Bronx all of my life and moved to Brooklyn in September I haven’t thoroughly explored all of what Bed Stuy has to offer. Every borough has its stigmas but after being in The Bronx for over 30 years I think I can hang. I decide I am going to stay up for a few extra minutes to catch the story. I have included a picture below apparently on a part of the play equipment there was a mock jail. Parents and residents of the project were upset they felt it was racist, it made the statement that going to jail is ok and they should start getting ready for it at a young age because that’s all they will do with their lives. Wow! those 4 little letters spoke volumes. Now here are my issues I grew up playing cops and robbers as a kid, Teacher, Doctor, House, Astronaut etc and I am none of those things. I also grew up in the worst section of the South Bronx in the projects and I have never been to jail, arrested, smoke, do drugs, have 7 baby daddies or sit on park benches and gossip about how I have to go back to the welfare office for the 3rd time. I say all this to say is when will we stop holding onto these stereotypes that have held us back for so long? Kids play! They are creative and imaginative and are constantly having that stripped away by adults. It’s not fair. Now I do have an issue with the fact that supposedly they called NYCHA to find out if any other playgrounds had this painted on their equipment and they replied No. So the other half of me says why was this playground the lucky recipient? As a parent you teach your child right from wrong. Why couldn’t this be embraced and been a teachable moment. if you do something bad you go to jail. When you grow up you can be a Police Officer, or Lawyer or Judge and lock the bad people away? Why was our immediate reaction that it was a slap in the face? Why are we not putting this attention and media spotlight on the living conditions of the projects? Such as Pee in the elevators? Lights that don’t work in the stairways? Elderly and sickly people who have to walk up as many as 15 flights of stairs or more at times because the elevators don’t work? Or their caregivers can’t get to them?The people who have lost their lives as a result of faulty elevators? Or the fact that you have people living in the Projects illegally? Living in the same place where they sell drugs? Gang activity and random shootings? Why are these things not important? What about the legitimate bad people who should be locked up but are killing and hurting our children everyday in their own community? Can someone please tell me? I played on Monkey Bars as a kid I didn’t go around thinking I was a monkey. As parents it is our responsibility to educate our children and give them the tools to become good people.



Bonding with your teen sometimes it is so hard to bond with our kids. When they are young it’s easier because you have a captive Audience. Every little thing you do is amazing to them and vice versa. Then they grow up And learn to walk and talk and make their own friends and have this life that may not include you anymore. I have a 14-year-old son and sometimes I wish I could transport myself into one of his video games to get his attention. I take advantage in the mornings though! I use our walk to the subwAy and in the subway as a way to connect. One of my favorite things to do is listening to music with him. I’ll share my headphones And just randomly play songs when music was music and take this time to teach him about the greats. Which shows he listens based in his on iTunes librAry which is loaded with the famines, and blink 182 and Greenday. Being a woman there Are some things that concern me with raising a son. All I can do is teach him respect for women and be a good person. It got me to thinking what are some of the best ways we can connect with our teens when we live in such a disconnected society? When I say disconnected I mean it in the sense thAt the human contact that grew up with and going to a friend’s house to play or talking on the phone for hours About absolutely nothing are gone. Now it’s a text, Twitter or Facebook with tons of people at once. Here are some ways that you can reconnect with your teen.

1- Keep all lines of communication open but make physical/verbal contact the main one.

2- Have a special night just for them. For me and my son this is usually Thursday nights we go out to eat and talk. It’s like a date with your kid.

3- If you have smaller children and you often leave the older ones in charge of them let them know how much you appreciate them doing you a favor and helping out ; don’t make it seem like it’s their responsibility when they are annoyed or bothered that they have to babysit.

4- Ask them what’s going on in their lives, find out who their friends are invite them over. Encourage them to be physically social with their peers.

5- Have a movie night with just them let then pick the movie and the snacks. If possible make a snack together that you can enjoy during the movie this will also be an opportunity for you to talk.

6- Always tell them how much you love them the older they get the cheesier it will sound but they need to hear it!

7-Let them make their own mistakes this is a hard one even for me but it has to be done. They need to make their own decisions and learn from them otherwise how will they ever make choices in life?

8-Allow them the freedom to express themselves this could include anything from their choices in Music to Clothes (within reason).

9-Set Limits,boundaries a great example is a curfew make it clear if curfew is broken for any reason without them calling or a non emergency there will be consequences etc.

10-Tell them how much you love them and are thankful for them!

Happy Parenting,


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