By Erickka Sy Savane
So the other day I came across an article by a psychotherapist and author who discussed the hidden dangers of ‘shake it off’ parenting. She uses the term to describe parents who tell kids to shake it off when they get hurt, and describes an incident that happened when her six-year-old son got hit in the head with a soccer ball during a game. When the boy came over to her in tears, another mom screamed, “Shake it off! We need you back out there.”

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Now, the mom of the boy was pissed that this woman would ‘publicly humiliate’ her son, and goes on to talk about the dangers of shake it off parenting. She believes that telling kids to shake it off when they are hurt sends the message that they’re not enough- be stronger. She also believes it doesn’t teach kids kindness and empathy towards others when they aren’t getting that type of comfort at home.
As a mom two little girls, a six and three-year-old, I had to think about that. While I can totally understand that the other mom was way out-of-place for screaming at the boy and basically telling another mom how to raise her kid, I do agree with the ‘shake it off’ mindset. Obviously, no one is saying that it’s never okay to comfort a hurt kid, but teaching them to ‘suck it up,’ or ‘shake it off’ sometimes is not going to kill them. In fact, it’s going to help them in the long run.

 Frankly, I see it all the time in kids who barely get nicked while playing and lose their minds. They cry and whine to the point that everyone has to stop playing to cater to them, and it’s not fair to the other kids. So if by the psychotherapist’s logic, we’re letting our kids cry it out whenever they get hurt because we want to make sure they learn empathy towards others, it’s not a good trade. The result is we end up raising a crybaby.

And think about it, crying kids turn into crying adults. How many of us run from friends who feel like the world needs to stop turning whenever they’re going through something? If she’s struggling with her man, you’re going to hear it. If he has back pain, you’re going to feel it too. They expect us to indulge them while they suffer. They even feel entitled to our complete attention because I’ll bet that’s what they learned as kids. Sorry Boo-Boo, ain’t nobody got time for that. Sometimes your own husband or wife won’t even deal with it. That’s just life.

So in a way, the psychotherapist is right, shake it off parents are sending kids the message that they need to be stronger, and as a result, they might lose some empathy along the way. It might even make them a little less likeable, but in my opinion it’s a good trade. As long as they don’t disrespect or tease anyone I’m okay. Steve Jobs wasn’t known for being liked and neither was Michael Jordan. They expected a lot from themselves and from the people around them. Michael Jordan became the 1997 NBA finals MVP due in large part to his incredible flu game. No one can forget how he led his team to victory while battling a devastating flu, showing us all what champions are made of. They don’t expect to be coddled in the face of pain, they overcome it, and I bet he learned that as a kid. I want my kids to be like Mike. Heck, I want to be like him.

This article first appeared on Madamenoire

Do you believe in 'shake it off' parenting? 

Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or  
Luciana Gilmore: Founder of 'Gilmore Girls Greeting' 
 
By Kanisha Parks
Some mother-daughter relationships form relatively easily and only grow more resilient over time into an unbreakable bond of understanding, love, and respect for one another. But the more common truth is that mother-daughter relationships can be difficult—and that’s an understatement. From infancy to adulthood, entire complicated histories are formed between a mother and her daughter and the truth is: navigating those waters can prove difficult. 

At the heart of almost every mother-daughter issue can be found a lack of healthy communication, often birthed from the false idea that telling a child too much will cause them to become curious and therefore make mistakes. Some mothers simply never learned the delicate art of communicating with their children. Other times, mothers have shame regarding the decisions they’ve made in the past, which prevents them from having the courage to really talk to their daughters. This results in a shared fear of communication that only debilitates the bond between mother and daughter.

These are truths that Luciana Gilmore, founder of Gilmore Girls Greetings, knows all too well. But she has responded with a unique approach by creating greeting cards that seek to bridge the gap of communication that many mothers encounter with their daughters. “Unlike other greeting cards,” Luciana says, “These are more personal and the message isn’t generic. My cards are written from real circumstances I’ve experienced with my daughter or one of my students. They come from a place where a daughter will want to hold on to it.”


Gilmore Girls Greetings was inspired both by Luciana’s role as an educator for over 15 years and her own experiences as a daughter and mother. Growing up, Luciana admits that she definitely struggled to communicate with her own mother.
“My mother was not very open or transparent about anything she went through as a young girl. Usually when my mother and I ‘talked,’ it was yelling. I didn’t feel like I could come to her. For example, when it comes to friends, my mother’s philosophy was, ‘Nobody’s a friend.’ She didn’t talk me through the qualities I should look for in a friend. It would’ve been helpful to know that I could talk to my mom so that I didn’t have to learn a lot of things on my own.”
After becoming a mother herself, Luciana was determined to change that. She has three children: Asiya (17), Jada (9), and Demetrius (4). After having Asiya, Luciana realized that despite being determined not to repeat the mistakes her mother had made, she hadn’t been as open and honest as she could’ve been with her own daughter.

“I noticed this when Asiya was getting ready to enter the teenage years. She was my only child until she was eight years old, so it was easy to cater to her. Once I had my younger daughter, I was trying to balance having two girls and giving them equal time, attention, and affection. I started noticing changes in Asiya, but something about her being my daughter prevented me from being open and transparent. I was scared because in hindsight, I knew I could’ve and should’ve talked more openly with her. When she turned 17, I asked myself, ‘Did I say this? Did I do this? Did I teach her this?’ Reality hit me that I needed to make sure I had given her the right information. I then became very intentional about things I shared with her.”
Gilmore Girls Greetings was truly born as Luciana and her daughter started writing cards to each other. They began communicating things they never got to say, and how it made them feel when there was a lack of communication. Soon they were able to have insight into each other's thinking, and today, both mother and daughter can talk about anything.

Asiya is now a college student and Luciana even sends her ‘Love Drops,’ which are packages you can order that are custom-made for your daughter’s interests, including all of her favorite sweets and supplies, complete with a message written just for her.

“Even if I don’t talk to Asiya every day, when she receives the package, it assures her that I love her and am thinking about her,” says Luciana.

With these greeting cards, 'Love Drops,' and her new book, “Daughter, Have I Told You Lately,” Luciana is giving mothers a way to ensure that encouragement, support, and love are communicated to their daughters. And just like Luciana did with her daughter, know that it’s never too late to try to correct your mistakes or to begin healing.

Learn more about Gilmore Girls Greetings!

How do you maintain a healthy bond with your daughter?

Kanisha is a Christian writer/author based in Augusta, GA. Other than CurlyNikki.com, she has also written for BlackNaps.organd Devozine, and has authored a book of poetry entitled, "Love Letters from the Master." Kanisha can be contacted for business inquiries at [email protected]
Benny Harlem- Source: Guinness World Record
 By Winnie G.
Benny Harlem is a father, teacher, entrepreneur, model and now a Guinness World record holder. He first broke the internet with stunning photos of his amazing natural hair together with his daughter’s equally stunning natural hair. He’ll be in the Guinness World Book of Records 2018 for having the highest high top fade measuring 20.5 inches (52 cm) high.

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A high top fade, also written as hi-top fade, is a haircut that peaked in the late 1980s and early 1990’s but has made a comeback in the past few years. It involves cutting off the hair on the sides or keeping it short while the hair at the top of the head is kept long. However, most people keep it at an average height of 2 to 3 inches. It’s difficult to imagine having a higher length than that stay upright. However, Benny has managed to do just that. His high top fade is 20.5 inches high. Achieving this is not an easy task. As a matter of fact, it takes Benny up to two hours to comb and shape his hair.

Benny believes that having a healthy mind, body and spirit are what has made his hair reach this point. The Los Angeles dad maintains a simple routine of hydrating and styling his hair on a daily basis. His family has not been left behind, with his wife and daughter also taking good care of their natural hair. The three of them use homemade shampoos and hair care products. These products are prepared using pure, unprocessed ingredients such as berries and coconuts. Apart from the outer hair care, Benny takes care of his overall health by eating a clean diet and drinking lots of water to keep the hair well-nourished from the inside.

Benny with his wife and daughter
Benny’s journey began at a very young age. He views his hair as a form of art. His daughter, Jaxyn, has also followed her father’s footsteps by using her hair as a form of expression. Benny started posting photos of his natural hair to inspire people of all cultures to love themselves for who they are and appreciate their culture. He is also planning to develop a hair care system to the public so that more people can learn how to take care of their natural hair or grow back fresh hair. So far, he has a following of over 382,000 followers on Instagram and the numbers keep increasing by the day.

Share your thoughts on Benny's fade? 


Winnie Gaturu is a writer, tech lover, mom, wife and student from Nairobi, Kenya. During her free time, she loves trying out new recipes, diy projects, filling in crossword puzzles and spending time with her family. You can catch up with her on yourhairandbeautywrite.wordpress.com.

By Erickka Sy Savané
“You look sexy!” exclaims my neighbor to my 6-year-old daughter.
I laugh uncomfortably because though I know she’s showing some knee, I’d never call her sexy. She’s cute. Kids are cute. They’re not doing anything to warrant sexual attention. My daughter looks at me confused because we’ve had conversations about the word “sexy” in the past, and I tell her that it’s only for adults. Now she’s wondering if she is sexy because that’s what the neighbor just told her.
Once she leaves, I immediately begin lecturing my daughter on how people are different, but “sexy” is still a word that should never be used on kids.

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A few hours later, I’m still thinking about it, wondering if I should say something to my neighbor. The truth is, I work hard to keep my daughter in a kid’s world. I don’t let her watch Barbie: Life In The Dreamhouse because Barbie is dating Ken, and little girls don’t need to be drug into the dating world. She doesn’t watch or play with Monster’s High dolls because those girls wear miniskirts and shoes with 5-inch heels. I’m team Doc McStuffins all day because she’s a 6-year-old doctor who is not even thinking about dating or wearing clothes that make her look “sexy.” When I think of my neighbor getting another opportunity to plant the sex seed in her brain, I start breaking out in hives.

Should I tell my neighbor it’s inappropriate to call my daughter sexy? I ask psychologist Dr. Kristin Carothers, the following day via email.

After confirming that kids should NOT be called sexy—”We don’t want to encourage children to be sexual beings before it is developmentally appropriate because they may become confused about the word and meaning”—she tells me that I should definitely speak up if I don’t like the term she’s using to describe my kid.

“It might be helpful to provide the person with more appropriate terms that you prefer such as cute, beautiful or pretty that could convey the meaning for children and do not have sexual overtones,” Dr. Carothers said.

That makes a lot of sense. I suppose the real issue is not whether I should speak up or not—of course I should, especially since this woman spends time with my kids when I’m running late and can’t pick them up from school on time—it’s about not wanting to hurt her feelings. I’m thinking that in her world—we’re talking about a mom of five in her early 50s who started having kids when she was just 13 years old—calling a kid “sexy” is a compliment. Perhaps she grew up being called sexy herself.

A few days later, when my neighbor and I were walking home from dropping our kids off at school, I bring up the subject.

“You know when you called my daughter ‘sexy’ the other day?”
She nods.
“Well, I like words like pretty and cute. I don’t want her thinking about being sexy at this age.”
“I didn’t mean anything by it,” she says, getting a little defensive. “That’s just how we talk. I call my grandson sexy all the time, and he’s 2.”
“Yeah, I know,” I answer as casually as possible. “But we’re all different and that’s just how I feel.”
“Okay,” she says, and we walk the rest of the way home in silence.

Were her feelings hurt? Maybe. But as a mom, my first commitment is always to my kids.

Do you think it's appropriate to call kids sexy?  

Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or  

By Mwabi Kaira

A week before Thanksgiving in 2014, we celebrated my brother and sister’s joint birthdays with a party. Somewhere between the dancing, the drinks and cutting the cake, my big sister casually mentioned that she hadn’t been feeling well and google had told her that she probably had colon cancer.  I rolled my eyes and thought she was being dramatic.  Everybody knows that Doctors despise google and the self-diagnosis it brings.  I told her to make the appointment to ease her fears and I would accompany her.  At 41 it was an uphill battle to get a colonoscopy scheduled because she was young and female.  Routine screenings are not recommended for adults under 50 and colon cancer has been more common in males historically.  A month later, I was in the waiting room scrolling my timelines when the doctor came out to inform me of the cancer he had found in my sister’s colon and the surgery he had to perform right away.  She had Stage 3 colon cancer.


After the surgery we got a crash course in all things cancer; what it was, how it was caused, and what we should expect. The questions were endless. Doctors were baffled that we did not have a family history of any cancer at all and that my sister was African-American and female. These were all things they had not seen at their practice.

As I drove her home from the hospital days after her surgery that December, she asked me to stop at her nail salon for a manicure and pedicure. I obliged and recognized her fight; she refused to go home and get under the covers and let this cancer diagnosis take over her life. My sister begun her 12 rounds of chemotherapy and ended her treatment with radiation. We rang the bell to celebrate her last chemo in July 2015. She was in remission in September and the family along with her three kids rejoiced. However, she started feeling not so well again in December and ended up in the ER New Year’s Eve. The cancer was back and this time it was stage 4 rectal cancer.

My sister did not look sickly and kept her lashes, brows and face beat at all times. She was self-employed and continued to work. You could not tell she had stage 4 cancer. I didn't get worried until December 2016 when she started slowing down, and could barely eat two bites before feeling full. She was exhausted all the time and it was the beginning of her deterioration. Months of being in and out of the hospital followed.

I was getting an oil change the morning of August 9 and planned on going to the hospital that evening after work when 'Good Morning America' was on in the waiting room of the car dealership. I stopped flipping through the magazine in my hands when I heard them say colon and rectal cancer were on the rise in young women. Not even 3 years prior my sister was a rarity with her diagnosis and now it was so prevalent in young women that a story was being done on it. I made a mental note to look it up later and went to work. I was at work for barely an hour and felt a tugging to leave and be by my sister’s side in the hospital. What greeted me was a scene I will never forget and can still replay. My sister, Donna, took her last breath during the morning hours of August 10, 2017 with her family by side. She had just turned 44.

Colorectal cancer is still low in people under 55 but a study recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that cancer is increasing among millennials and those born circa 1990 have nearly double the risk for colon cancer and quadruple the risk for rectal cancer compared to those born circa 1950. Colon cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please schedule an appointment with your doctor and ask for a colonoscopy:

Dark Blood in Your Stool

Don’t be alarmed from bright red blood as you wipe because that could be from straining or a small hemorrhoid but large maroon or black-tinged blood are cause for concern because they would indicate bleeding further up the colon.

A Change in Your Bowel Habits
My sister noticed that she was going more frequently and that alerted her to pay attention. For some this could be noticing more diarrhea or constipation. If you have done nothing different to your diet and suddenly see changes, pay attention.

Persistent Abdominal Discomfort

If you notice more frequent cramps, gas or pain in your stomach that lasts for days and over the counter medicine doesn’t cure, pay attention.

Using the Bathroom but Still Feeling Full
If you go to the bathroom and still feel like you need to go then this is a sign that something is not right.

Weakness and Fatigue
We all feel lethargic some days but if you’re feeling weak and exhausted and have some of the symptoms above, there could be a problem.

Unintended Weight Loss
We all want our clothes to fit a little looser but if you have very loose clothes in a short period by unintended weight loss paired with some symptoms above, there could be a problem.

How often do you listen to your body?

Mwabi Kaira is an African girl navigating her way in an American world.  She is of Zambian and Malawian heritage and moved to the USA in 1993.  Writing has been her passion since she could put a sentence together on the page. Mothering her sons is her pride and joy.  She has been an avid runner since 2013 and has run 10 half marathons and a full marathon.  Keep up with her athttp://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com/