Better, Not Bitter:
3 Ways to Tell Whether You’re “Raising” or
“Parenting” Your Children
An opinion that ran in a recent Sunday Review in the New York Times by Ylonda Gault Caviness titled, “What Black Moms Know,” has started a series of interesting conversations about the differing parenting styles of black and white moms. The essence of the piece is that white women have adopted a style of child-rearing of “parenting,” that focuses on gaining knowledge from books, blogs and pundits as opposed to black moms who “raise” our children relying on wisdom passed down from our moms.
As I read many of the comments and had discussions with my fellow mom-friends and family, both black and white, different perspectives including class and socio-economic status have been raised. I agree that the issue is far more complex than just black and white. However, a lot of what she wrote resonated with me.
I grew up with a working mom and most of the moms in my all-black neighborhood worked, too. Most of these women were like my mom, pretty strict without a lot of time for foolishness. So I get where the generalization was birthed. But I also remember friends whose parents raised them in a similar fashion to those “parenting” kids referenced in the opinion piece. Their parents cared about making their kids “happy” a lot more than mine did. And now that we’re grown, it seems those of us with strict parents seemed to have fared a little better in weathering the storms of life.
I don’t think the difference in the moms is related only to ethnicity. I think it’s directly related to moms who are strong-willed, courageous and are able to draw upon a seemingly ending reserve of fortitude. But more than characteristics, I would have to say that three choices these moms made were the difference between the strict mom who accepted no foolishness and those that let their kids get away with almost anything.