A stunning proportion of American children are trauma survivors, particularly in inner cities and other low-resource settings. However, most adults don't understand the difference between a "bad" child and a traumatized one. This article explains the difference and offers some new tools to help us soothe children and teach them how to relax themselves.
Teaching Children to Calm Themselves
PLEASE SHARE: Please join me at Friends' Central Upper School in Philadelphia on Tuesday, March 18th at 7:30 pm, where I'll be discussing some of the findings presented in "Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life". RSVP here so we have a seat and enough books for you:http://www.friendscentral.org/podium/default.aspx?t=204&nid=900322&rc=0
"Promises Kept" is the companion to the award-winning documentary "American Promise," produced by my coauthors, Joe Brewster and Michele Stevenson. Our book provides solutions to the issues "American Promise" raises about the challenges Black males face in their effort to obtain a great education and fulfill their human potential.
To write it we spoke to hundreds of parents, educators and Black boys about the challenges and opportunities they face. Then we sought answers. We interviewed and mined the research of more than 50 thought leaders in subjects such as achievement gaps, racial discipline gaps, implicit (unconscious) bias, parenting strategies (the best strategy for raising a Black boy has changed over the past generation, but parents and educators don't know it), multicultural education, stereotype threat (a test-taking anxiety that disproportionately impacts Black boys), racial socialization strategies (read: how to prepare your son for life as a Black male beyond merely having The Talk), learning styles and differences, parent engagement, and other essential areas.
We formulated a cafeteria menu of strategies in 10 different areas to help parents, educators and other members of the Village help Black children achieve their potential and close the racial achievement gap, which (shockingly) *grows* the more resources that a Black boy's parents have. Our approaches apply to Black and Latino boys as well as girls of all ages, although we focus on Black boys. We also discuss some of the research on mixed-race children.
This event is free. If you'd like to attend, RSVP here:http://www.friendscentral.org/podium/default.aspx?t=204&nid=900322&rc=0
Books will be for sale.
Unlike so many other athletes and high achievers, Derek Jeter quit when he was ahead. A powerful example for all of us.
The Book on Jeter
Chapter 9 of "Promises Kept" discussed the "growth mindset," which includes teaching children to work at the frontier of their ability -- so much so that they sometimes fail. Thank you, Michael Jordan, for sharing your wisdom. Who better to spread the word!
In "Promises Kept" we write that Black children who feel positively about being Black tend to perform better academically. Indeed Black children whose moms and dads teach them messages about racial pride and individual self worth when they discuss discrimination with them do best academically and psychologically.
Now there's additional reason to racially socialize Black children -- and all of us! -- to possess a positive self concept. New research shows that Black males who harbor strong but unconscious anti-Black attitudes age more quickly when they experience discrimination than do Black males who feel good about being Black.
So not only does racism limits access to high-quality schools, jobs that pay a living wage, decent housing and so on, the stress associated with being Black weathers many of us psychologically.
What can we do to protect our children? Armor them with a positive narrative about African and African-American history and culture, as well as inspiring family stories and a positive personal identity.
In "Promises Kept" I wrote about the damaging effect of zero-tolerance policies in educational environments. I'm excited to learn that Maryland is rolling back its ZT policies back because they unreasonably punish boys, African-American students, and those with special needs. I urge you to read the examples of things kids are getting suspended and expelled -- read: separated from their education -- for. Things for which, back in the day, we would have gotten a detention or been sent to the office.