There’s an uneasiness in you, a restlessness, that causes you to stay checking your phone. 

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Feel it. It’s a symptom of being ‘disconnected’ from your real SELF and the reason for the ‘delay’ in the manifestation of yo shit.

The next time that urge hits, STOP, and check-in with yourself. What are you waiting on, or hoping for? A life changing email? Your video to go viral? A DM from your crush? What are you needing to happen before you can allow yourself to feel good? You see the issue, right?

The love and excitement you think that DM will bring? It’s already in you, it is you. The security and happiness that email will provide? You are that. YOU are the Source of all the good feels you’re seeking and the moment you accept that and begin living it, the good feels become the good experiences. #ButSeekYeFirstTheKingdomTho

So, consciously connect to and feel the inner joy, peace and happiness, now! Embody those feels, now. Be HER, now. And start using the impulse or urge to check your phone as a reminder to take your power back. Every time you reach for your phone, reach for the inner joy first, then commence scrolling. ️#BeHerNow

By Erickka Sy Savané

My 6 year-old daughter put on an impromptu talent show with some of her dolls. Princess Tiana, Ariel, the redhead from the movie Brave and Mulan sang and danced together like any girl group who had gotten together for the first time with no rehearsal. After about 10 minutes, I thanked her, and told her that it needed some work. “Think about how you can make it better and try it again,” I said enthusiastically. Her mood shifted immediately, and I could see she was disappointed. When I asked what was wrong she wouldn’t say.

"Listen, it was a good show, especially for a first try, but I know you can make it even better. Just try.” I don’t’ know if she heard me.
My logic was that I didn't want to tell her how great it was when it was just okay. Reality show auditions are filled with kids and adults alike who have the talent of a nail, but it seems that no one told them the truth, or that it needed work.

Thankfully, a light went off a few days later when I came across an article by Carol Dweck psychology professor at Stanford University, about encouraging a ‘growth mindset’ in our kids. A growth mindset is essentially one in which we believe that the brain is like a muscle that is growing stronger with every challenge. The opposite of that is the ‘fixed mindset,’ based on the belief that we have an innate or fixed amount of knowledge in an area. An example of that would be when we say, “I’m no good at math.” Our belief is that we’re as good as we’re going to get.

According to Dweck, when it comes to our kids, even if we want a growth mindset- don’t we all want our kids to keep learning and believing that they can get better at anything with time and effort?- we encourage a fixed mindset by overpraising them.

I’m guilty of it. I’ve told my daughter who frequently gets 100’s on her tests in school that she’s so smart! I say it because I want her to know that she’s intelligent and I feel like it helps build her self-esteem. Dweck says, however, that by praising the result without acknowledging the process that it took to bring about that high score, I’m setting her up to believe that her intelligence is automatic, and didn’t come about through work, which is a fixed mindset. She’ll likely expect to do well and get easily discouraged when she doesn’t, and also shy away from trying new things that might make her look not so smart. A better way to acknowledge a kid’s accomplishment would be to praise the process/effort that it takes to do great work. So instead of saying, ‘You’re such a little genius for getting all those A’s on your tests!” I could try, “You really study for your tests and the work pays off, Congratulations!”

However, encouraging the effort doesn’t mean forgetting about the results, says Dweck.

“Outcomes matter. Unproductive effort is never a good thing. It’s critical to reward not just effort but learning and progress, and to emphasize the processes that yield these things, such as seeking help from others, trying new strategies, and capitalizing on setbacks to move forward effectively.”

Her studies have proven time and again that kids who are encouraged to focus on improving their skills over how smart they are tend to embrace challenges and work through setbacks much better, ultimately reaching higher results, than those who think they already have it figured out. Schools that have adopted the growth mindset in their teaching have had major breakthroughs breaking down stereotypes when it comes to women in Math and minorities when it comes to learning in general.

Seems so simple. I think about my own life and how many things I quit because I didn’t have a growth mindset, like the guitar for example. I wasn’t concerned with learning or getting better over time. I just wanted the praise. The money. The reward. The fame. Just give it to me now!

Looking back, I was always told how smart I was from as early as I can remember. Maybe I was too smart for my own good because it gave me nowhere to go. I mean, what’s left when you’re a genius at 4 and 5 years old? How about if someone had told me that I had a great ability to learn? That I knew how to work hard and stick with a project till I figured it out? That my brain was evolving like a superhero every time I overcame a challenge? It’s what I will tell my girls from now on.

Do you over praise your kids?
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  ErickkaSySavane.com


By Erickka Sy Savané

Making the rounds online like a California wildfire is definitely a topic that caught my eye about a mom, Essence Evans, who shared on her facebook page that she charges her 5-year-old daughter rent. As a mom of two who is constantly asking myself whether I'm doing the right things as a parent, it made me stop and think. Should little kids pay rent? Well, you can imagine that there has been A LOT of discussion, sometimes heated, for and against, from here all the way to the UK! Find out what this mom hopes to accomplish by teaching her daughter that ain't nothin' going on but the rent, and share your thoughts!

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From Essence Evans Facebook page  
While I understand what this mom is trying to do, because one of our biggest goals as a parent is making sure that our kids can thrive once they leave the nest, I'm also of the mindset that kids should be kids for as long as possible. Bills will surely come, but how about they get to focus on other things that will make their lives rich, like sharing, kindness, empathy, sports, arts, ect....Also, taking the majority of the child's money back in an effort to teach them that most of their money will go towards bills when they grow up, is teaching them just that. There are many people out there working and owning businesses who aren't left with such a low amount after paying their bills. If I had this to look forward to as a kid growing into an adult, I'd probably never have the desire to work because it sounds like some bullsh*t.

And while most of the comments on Essence's Facebook page have been overwhelmingly positive...
YAY: BABYGIRL, I've been doing this for YEARS!! I have 3 kiddos under 10yo and they pay .65 per month for Rent. If they pay late past the 5th, they get charged interest for a .01 a day and get locked out of their room. You are TEACHING your little BROWN BABIES financial responsibility. I'm proud of you. Keep up the GOOD WORK!! the people who are talking trash about you will be the very ones that your child HIRES to clean up after her
YAY: to teach a child independence and the value of money and hardwork is the best gift a parent can give to their child, especially in this day and age of the spoiled, entitled generation. Don't listen to the haters and the clueless. Your daughter will have a good life because you gave her a solid foundation to build from.
YAY:  You are a genius & an awesome mom!! Your daughter is lucky to have you. Hope all the asshole moms have backed off now. Much love & respect sent your way!!
There have been a few negative...
 There have been some negative...
NAY: the greatest bullshit i have ever heard of. No time ever to be a child... before she HAS to work for food
NAY: You're teaching your daughter what? You are not telling her she is saving money. At five she can understand saving money. There are children a couple years older than her who attend college. The human brain can retain a whole lot more than most of us realize. Another thing, children don't ask parents to have them. We have them. Why should they pay us to live with us or for anything??? We owe them for bringing them here.
NAY: Lets see those deposit slips.
What do you think? Should little kids pay rent?
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 Ruu Hawkins

We all enter seasons in our lives where we feel like everything is coming to a head – life just won't let up. I, for one, experience this period of “WTF" every few years, or so. Most recently – last May to be exact – I had firmly set my feet back on the ground (financially) following a drought of sorts due to job loss, followed by inconsistent freelance work, and countless financial emergencies, which drained my life savings.

Following a move from the west coast to the east coast – I was now surrounded by family and friends – a longing I had carried for several years prior, as a young single mother. My daughters were adjusting nicely. I felt as though the storm was over. Only, within eight months of returning to my hometown life knocking at my door was a fresh basket of lemons. Once more, I was faced with uncertainty as both a mother and provider, after receiving a pay cut of 50 percent – with but a week's notice.

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By Mwabi Kaira

When rape and sexual harassment claims were brought against Harvey Weinstein we knew it was a serious issue but were able to keep it “over there” until Lupita Nyong’o spoke out. It became an ‘us’ thing and we were on high alert. Then Terry Crews spoke out and it was hard to wrap our minds around a man of his stature being violated by another man in front of his wife. But since allegations have recently been brought against Russell Simmons the conversation has shifted to us. Nine women have accused the media mogul of sexual harassment and assault. Four of these women, Drew Dixon, Toni Sallie, Tina Baker and Sherri Hines have accused Simmons of rape and the NYPD has opened an investigation. In response, Russell has started his own hashtag #NotMe to state his innocence.

This is a teachable moment for our sons and we cannot ignore the important conversation that needs to be had. I have taught my sons about accountability since they were young in all areas of their lives including sex. I have many friends who are raising sons as well and I reached out to them to ask what they are teaching them about rape. Their sons range in age from 16 to 21 and are athletes, one plays in the league. We had a long discussion and this is what we are teaching our sons about what they should know about rape...

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No Means No
Our children grow up with mixed messages; girls need to close their legs and remain virgins until they get married while boys are encouraged to sow their wild oats. This mixed messaging gives boys a false sense of entitlement over girls. As mothers of sons, we are constantly teaching them that they are not entitled to anything and that what girls choose to do with them is a gift and a privilege. They must never cross the line and force themselves on anyone. We teach them about consent and what consensual sex means. Both parties have to consent to the act otherwise nothing needs to happen. When the current allegations first came to light, it was clear that there was a question about what was considered consensual; women’s idea of consensual was very different from what men considered to be consensual. “Boys need to understand that even if they are in the middle of something and she says no, they need to take a deep breath because although physically they are already aroused, they can still excuse themselves and exercise self control,” says Charmaine, mother of a 16 year-old son.son

Be Aware of How You are Perceived

Our sons go from being cute in elementary school to being perceived as threats from middle school onwards. We know them to be gentle and thoughtful, but outside our homes they are perceived as aggressive and dangerous threats to society. Historically, they are also used as scapegoats when unwanted sexual attention is not returned. Emmett Till is an example and it continues today. My friend Jackie, mother of a 19-year-old son and college freshman, recently sent me a link about Courtney Jean Thornton, a white student who falsely accused Oklahoma running back Rodney Anderson who is black, of raping her once Anderson stopped returning her messages and said he didn’t want to be her boyfriend. They had consensual sex that she bragged about to her friends, but she changed her tune when she couldn’t get what she wanted from him. Freda, mother of 2 sons, ages 16 and 22, says, “I have talked to my sons and will continue to teach them to be careful with white girls and how their tune can change if they don’t get what they want.” As mothers, we are teaching our sons to always be aware of how they are perceived and to not go into situations blindly. Having this knowledge will prepare them in the event that uncomfortable situations arise. It is important that they know that although their intentions are innocent and have no ill will, not everyone will see it that way.

Treat all women with Respect

Our sons cannot show the utmost respect for us, their mothers, their sisters and grandmothers in the home then turn around and be the most disrespectful to women outside the home. They have to carry the same energy that they have inside the home outside. It is important for us as mothers to teach our sons media literacy at a very early age so they can grow up knowing that the messaging in music, television and movies is fiction and not what they should emulate. My friend KiKi is a perfect example of this, ever since her sons have been able to speak she has had in-depth conversations with them about everything. She is an educator and understands the power of media literacy. Her son is in the league and another is on his way to play college ball, and her influence on them is evident in their actions. “It comes down to me telling my sons to never do to others what they wouldn’t want anyone to do to me,” she says. Popular radio personality Charlamagne tha God of The Breakfast Club recently discussed how men have been raised on rape culture and gave examples from music and movies where raping women was shown as being okay.  


Rejection is a part of life

The biggest diservice we do to our children is to not teach them rejection and how it is a part of life. Not everyone can be number one and not everyone can get everything they want. We are teaching our sons that it is possible that the girl they ask out will say no and that it is okay for her to say no to them and yes to someone else; it is her choice and they have to respect it. It is disheartening to read headlines about women who are shot and killed just because they refused to take a man’s number because they weren’t interested. Myra, a mother of 3 boys said, “Calling a female out of her name simply because she is not interested in you speaks more about your character and what you are lacking.” Not understanding rejection leads to our son’s false heightened sense of entitlement. It’s not cute and certainly not right and it is our job to teach our sons this valuable gem.

Be Smart with Technology
The introduction of social media has been a game changer. As mothers we are stressing the importance of our son’s role in what is on their phone and what they are forwarding in group chats. Tameka whose son is a junior in high school and star athlete, checked her son’s phone regularly when he first got it and discussed how he could still be held accountable for messages he was sending, even if he was not the originator of the messages. We are discussing sexting and child pornography laws with our teens and how sexting involving images of naked minors can technically fall within the broad reach of child pornography laws. There are criminal laws in some states that can lead to lifelong registration as a sex offender. Although we are thankful for the convenience of smartphones, it is vital that our sons know the dangers of them as well.

What are you teaching your sons about rape?

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 at http://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com/