Raising kids is never easy. In fact, it's often one of the most challenging and often frustrating thing you will ever do, especially because you are learning as you go. No one goes into parenting knowing exactly how to handle everything that is thrown at them. The best parents are always looking for ways to improve.
While popular parenting websites may be able to answer common questions all parents have, you’re less likely to find answers to issues like how to talk to your child about concerns specific to their race. For Black mothers and fathers, there are a few parenting challenges that are unique to being people of color.
Below you’ll find a list of resources and tools with links to websites that may be helpful. These sites answer general questions and are specific to children and families of color, while also showcasing their personal challenges and triumphs as parents. These sites helps to create a much-needed community for African-American moms and dads.
1. MOMMY TALK SHOW-Bringing in her talent as an Emmy-award winning television reporter, Joyce Brewer’s blog posts and talk shows deliver relevant news and information for parents. A former television anchor turned stay-at-home mom of one, Brewer uses Mommy Talk Show to report on current events, latest trends, and product reviews for parents. Her high-quality content is useful and relevant. https://mommytalkshow.com/
2. BLACK AND MARRIED WITH KIDS- Black and Married with Kids was created by Lamar and Ronnie Tyler in 2007 to promote positive images of black families and marriages in the black community. It claims to be the largest independent African-American marriage and parenting site on the web, and has been featured in several media outlets including The Washington Post, Ebony, Essence, and Parenting Magazine. The Tyler’s share their experiences parenting four children, and the blog has grown to include features of family-oriented issues including adoption, back-to-school shopping, natural hair, and relationship advice. https://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/
3. Rattle and Heels Parenting- Rattles and Heels is a lifestyle parenting website written by Adanna Dill, a New York City wife and mom of three. Adanna shares parenting hacks, tips and her motherhood journey in the digital age. https://adannadill.com/category/parenting/
4. Black Mom’s Blog- Shanicia is the Creator of Black Moms Blog, where we talk parenting, culture, and lifestyle from a Black Mom’s point of view. https://blackmomsblog.com/
5. MommiNation- MommiNation believe that it takes a village to raise a child and a nation to support a Mom. We are committed to sharing everything about motherhood you never thought you needed to know so that we become your most favorite and most reliable resource as you tackle motherhood with even more confidence and clarity!
Human development is a lifelong process of physical, behavioral, cognitive, and emotional growth and change. In the early stages of life—from babyhood to childhood, childhood to adolescence, and adolescence to adulthood—enormous changes take place. Throughout the process, each person develops attitudes and values that guide choices, relationships, and understanding.
Black Parenting Magazines
Successful Black Parenting, the first national magazine for Black parents, was established in 1993 as a print publication by founders Janice Robinson-Celeste, MBA, formerly Janice Robinson-Lopez, and Marta Sanchez, Ph.D., and was brought back in 2017 in an online format.
The award-winning publication, Successful Black Parenting™ is not about skin color, but is about cultural differences. They recognize the importance of Black children internationally seeing themselves on the covers and in the pages of magazines to empower them toward a successful future. https://successfulblackparenting.com/
Health & Wellness
Black Women’s Health Imperative
The mission statement of the Black Women's Health Imperative is that “all Black women and girls should enjoy optimal health and well-being in a socially just society.” Since 1983, this organization has offered numerous health and wellness programs, such as diabetes education, leadership training, and HIV prevention for Black women and girls. https://bwhi.org/
GirlTrek exists to mobilize Black women and girls toward better health through walking, especially in organized teams. Its members lobby for improved access to safe walking spaces for women of color, as well as the protection of public green spaces.
Fun fact: GirlTrek is the largest public health nonprofit for African American women and girls in the United States, shooting for a goal of 1 million participants by the end of 2020
Black Mother’s Breastfeeding Association
Black mothers are less likely to initiate and succeed with breastfeeding, due to a variety of factors. The Black Mother’s Breastfeeding Association aims to rectify this public health disparity through support networks for Black breastfeeding moms. The BMBA provides local breastfeeding groups, a breastfeeding helpline, and even doula training.
Black Women for Wellness
“Wellness” is a broad term, to say the least—but Black Women for Wellness covers a serious gamut of health services. From nutrition education to breast cancer support to chronic disease prevention, this organization has services for numerous aspects of wellness for Black women.
Research shows that women in midwifery care are less likely to be Black—but those who use a midwife have lower risks of C-section and preterm birth.8 Sista Midwife elevates Black “womb wellness” practitioners with a directory of Black midwives and doulas.
Jobs & Careers
Black Career Women’s Network
The Black Women’s Career Network provides much-needed career support to Black women, offering connection to mentors, hosting networking events, and providing professional coaching.
National Black Child Development Institute
Make a difference in a Black child's life from the ground up by getting involved with the National Black Child Development Institute. This organization works with children from birth through age eight (and their families) to pave the way for a brighter future. Health and wellness education, literacy programs, and college readiness are among their long list of services.
Black Girls Code
There’s no shortage of lucrative job opportunities in the field of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Want to empower a young woman of color toward a career in these areas? Check out Black Girls Code, a nonprofit devoted to helping Black girls age seven to 17 become innovators in STEM
Black Girls Smile
Black Girls Smile is another nonprofit devoted to mental health for Black girls. Their representatives bring workshops and classes to schools and other groups on healthy relationships, the interplay between physical and mental wellness, self-care, and stress management.
Black Mamas Matter Alliance
There’s much work to be done to create equality for Black women during pregnancy. Be a part of the solution by joining forces with the Black Mamas Matter Alliance. The BMMA focuses on improving maternal care through increasing visibility of Black women leaders in healthcare, providing pregnancy care services, trainings, and more.
National Birth Equity Collaborative
With the alarming disparity in Black and white infant mortality rates, the National Birth Equity Collaborative works toward helping every Black child reach their first birthday. They achieve this aim through research, training, advocacy, and collaboration with community health provider
National Black Women’s Justice Institute
The mission of the National Black Women’s Justice Initiative is to reduce injustices affecting Black women, girls, and families. Working with universities and other public institutions, the NBWJI conducts research, provides technical assistance, and advocates for equitable policies for Black women.
Black Youth Project
Since 2013, Black Youth Project has been working for the advancement of Black high school and college students in the Chicago area. Their extra-curricular programs encourage student activism, self-sufficiency, and problem-solving for youth.
Resources & Tools
The Black parenting experience is different from many others. Each of us have to at some point in our children’s lives have a conversation, not just about race, but about racism. It is the sad truth and reality that The Talk, may have to happen as early as 5 years old. How to have that talk? https://www.blackmomsconnection.com/resources
The American Psychology Association- Resilience uplifting youth through healthy Communication about race. (APA) https://www.apa.org/res/parent-resources
Across America, a disturbing trend is putting the futures of African American girls at risk. It’s called adultification, a perception that Black girls are more aggressive and less deserving of support and care. A perception that can also lead to negative outcomes that take them from the classroom to the courtroom. Meet the people challenging systems and working for change.
This video explains 'adultification bias' and highlights some of the stories discussed by Black women and girls during focus-group research conducted by the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty's Initiative on Gender Justice and Opportunity.
1. Just be yourself.
Encourage them to be themselves, uniquely them, don’t try to act or be like anyone else
2. You are enough.
Emphasize to your daughter that wherever she is in her life journey, she is enough. Help her learn to compare herself against herself and not her peers. Emphasize her strength
5. Forgive yourself.
She will mess up, and she will mess up a lot. It doesn't matter how big or small the mistakes are, she must learn to forgive herself, even while asking forgiveness of the Lord and of those around her.
Teach her to extend mercy to herself as well as to others not her peers. Help her see her strengths, because she is loaded with them.
6. Your family loves you.
During the teen years friends begin to take precedence over family. It's normal, but it is so important that our children understand that their family—parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles—will always be there for them. "Friends come and go, but family is forever."
7. You can do hard things. Everyone has to face obstacles; in life you will encounter hurdles; what you do with those will determine how successful you are going to be.
8. How can I help? I am here for you no matter what, I am available to listen, to help
9. You don't have to do it alone.
It's lonely in teenage land sometimes. It's important for her to know that it doesn't have to be. Not only am I willing to help, but so are a lot of other people. And so is her Heavenly Father.
Help her remember that with the Lord by her side, she will never be alone. Remind her to pray, to really talk to her Father in Heaven. Pray with her. And, most of all, pray for her.
10. I am thankful for you.
Let her know how grateful you are that she is part of your life. Let her know that you are thankful for specific things about her. Let her know how much she enriches your life.
11. You are a daughter of God.
My daughters are only on loan to me. They are daughters of God, and it is my responsibility to make sure they know that. They are created in His image. They have a divine nature and an eternal worth.
12. God loves you.
Tell her that God loves her—no matter what. And not only does he love her, he knows her. He is aware of her. She is valuable to Him.
13. It’s okay to walk away.
It's okay to walk away from friendships that aren't good for her. It's okay to walk away from those who are asking her to make choices against her values. It's okay to walk away when she finds herself somewhere, she shouldn't be. Teach her to walk away from the bad influences and walk towards her family and towards God. You will all be waiting with open arms.
14. You can talk to me about anything.
Anything. Don’t fly off the handle when your daughter reveals upsetting news. It's important to be able to talk through things with her calmly, and for her to know that she can trust you.
15. Let's go out for sushi.
Make time for just you and her to go out and do something fun and just be together. Go see a movie, go out to eat, go shopping. Just do something. These outings are a wonderful time for her to open up and tell you what's going on in her life—especially if there are other kids at home
16. You are more important to me than ___________.
Tell and show your daughters that they are more important to you than work, the computer, sleep, or whatever else tends to take up your time.
Puberty is a time of big changes in your preteen’s body and identity. These changes can feel positive to some preteens, and feel awkward, scary, or alarming for others.
Puberty is the start of adolescence, which is a longer period of emotional change. Middle schoolers start wanting more independence. They may spend lots of time trying to be like their friends and classmates. They may also spend a lot of energy exploring how they’re unique and independent. But that doesn’t mean that your opinions and values don’t matter: They’re still looking to you for boundaries, guidance, and support, even if it doesn’t always seem like it.
Talking with your Tween about what’s going on can make puberty less scary and help them understand that the changes they’re going through are totally normal. Preparing them for changes that come with puberty before they happen will help them know what to expect and worry less.
Figure out what your values are when it comes to body image. Puberty can lead to a new set of struggles when it comes to body image. They may worry they’re growing up too fast, or not fast enough. You can reassure your preteen that everyone matures at their own pace.
You can also help them develop a healthy body image — meaning a positive attitude about their body. Think about what matters to you most when it comes to body image. Is it self-acceptance and love? Or maybe strength and fitness? Share your beliefs with your preteen.
Your preteen may also start wanting to dress more like an adult or wear make-up. They may want to shave or wear deodorants or scents. It’s up to you to decide what you think is appropriate at what age. Communicate your values clearly to your preteen and explain your thinking so they can understand where you’re coming from. They’re more likely to listen if you can have a conversation about values instead of just listing rules.
Your actions matter just as much as your words. When it comes to body image, your preteen hears everything you say about your own body, and learns about food, exercise, and health from you. So, think about how you can be a good role model when it comes to having a healthy body image.
Asking for Help
Think about who else in their life could help. Some parents feel like they can’t explain stuff to their preteen of another gender. For example, some single dads may not be able to explain how to use a tampon to their daughter. In that case, try to find someone they trust who can talk with them — like relatives or close family friends. And it’s totally normal for these conversations to feel awkward at first. Try and talk with them yourself, and if they need help with something you don’t know enough about, help them find someone who does.
How do I talk about puberty with my daughter?
When it comes to talking with your daughter about puberty, it helps to know the facts:
Body changes. Breast growth is usually the first sign of puberty for girls. Girls may develop breast “buds,” or swelling and soreness around the nipples, between the ages of 8 and 13. Breasts will grow slowly over several years. Sometimes one breast grows faster than the other.
Pubic, underarm, and body hair starts developing around this time too. As her body matures, her vagina will start lubricating (getting wet) when she’s aroused. She also might start having erotic dreams and sexual thoughts and feelings. The most important thing to keep in mind is that everyone develops at a different pace, and everyone’s body is different. And different is normal.
Periods. The first period usually happens between ages 10-16. The name for someone’s first period is “menarche.” Your kid may notice cramps or more vaginal discharge in the weeks or days before their first period, or they may not.
You can prepare your daughter for her first period before it happens. You can teach her how to use pads, tampons, or menstrual cups.
Pads are usually the easiest thing to use at first. It’s a good idea to get some pads and check them out together. Your daughter may have questions about:
Give your daughter a few pads to keep in her backpack or locker so she doesn’t have to worry about what to do if her period starts unexpectedly.