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!
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.
If you haven’t heard of sassy and sweet sisters Dani (7 years old) and Dannah Lockett (6 years old), where you been, Sis?! Since going viral with a video about Dannah’s breakup back in early 2017 (over 10 million views and shares!), these two have been dropping knowledge and sharing their love for Christ all over the web and have even been featured on the Today Show, The Steve Harvey Show, and the Real! This duo may just be getting started but it’s clear they’re here to stay!
The girls are truly best friends, even calling each other “sister buddies,” and enjoy making videos together. They started posting about 9 months ago and since have been boldly declaring their faith via social media, holding nothing back!
“Well, if you believe in something or someone and love them so much you can’t help but tell the world about it, right!” says big sis, Dani. “We aren’t nervous about comments, and yes, we read many of them, because we know that everyone isn’t going to believe like we do and that’s ok. They didn’t believe Jesus and he was right in front of them.” Currently, attending a Christian academy, the girls say that their friends know about their success and are happy for them.
In addition to their faith, the girls also embrace their beautiful natural hair! Their mom owns and runs Healthy Hair Studio salon in Conyers, GA and says she, Dani and Dannah, and her other two daughters are all natural. The girls share, “We love our hair and we like to wear it out, big and puffy the most! Curly hair is all we know and we tell our mom all the time it’s just fine there’s no need to brush it!”
The girls with mom Danella
Behind the scenes is their momager, Dannella, who is their greatest supporter, fan, and prayer warrior. She discussed with me some of the challenges of running Dani and Dannah’s social media empire and having to deal with negativity, stating:
“I just always remember that if God is for me then who can be against me and that no weapons formed against me shall prosper. God has our backs and that makes this easy. When we first got started it was a little nerve-wracking because I would deal with silly comments but then I realized everyone isn’t going to believe like I do and some people live and breathe negativity. I also realized some people are just ready to judge. Even though they have their own faults, they want to pick apart others and that’s just to make them feel better about themselves. I see this a lot in other Christians—instead of uplifting or praying for each other they are judging and gossiping. I’m not that Christian. I’m not pointing out your flaws and judging you, hoping to cover my own. So I just pray for them and go! God bless them.”She assured me that she is not a stage mom, and that the girls do this because they want to and ask to. “Some days they don’t post and that’s because they don’t want to and that’s ok. Remember when God gives you a gift with an assignment you want to do it every chance you get!”
Dani & Dannah on The Real
Dannella’s hopes for her daughters are that they continue to inspire others and that God’s perfect will be done in their lives. In the future, Dani and Dannah say they would like to work with Oprah and Beyoncé. Check out their cuteness via their social media!
‘You guys wanna come over for a playdate?’ reads the text from my friend. It’s the third time she’s reached out to me this week and the third time I’ve brushed her off. I hate avoiding her, but the truth is, I don’t know what to do. Though I love her like a sister, I can’t stand her kids. They whine all day like nails scratching a chalkboard and the oldest child treats her little sister like a piece of shi*t. Plus they’re bossy. It’s the kind of behavior that I don’t like my 5-year-old around because she's so impressionable. The last time they had a play date it took two weeks to get her to stop whining. What's next? But really, short of telling her that her brats are ruining the party, I don't know what to do.
I decide to run it by my hubby because he has this wonderful ability to see both sides. He feels that I should stop letting the kids play immediately. “The fact that she can’t see her kid’s behavior as abusive is a problem. She can’t build her kids up at the detriment of ours. Next thing you know, our kids are following hers.”
It’s true though. One time her 8-year-old had my daughter cleaning her room. Get out of here with that!
But at the same time, sometimes I get a little sad because my friendship with this girl really blossomed in the past year. She’s strong as granite and has helped me through a few tough times. Not to mention she’s always there to listen. Can I just throw all that away?
When it doubt, get a second opinion.
I call up Dr. Edith Langford Phd. to get her take on things. She says that if the behavior isn’t too severe, such as hitting and repeating bad words, I don’t have to cut all ties immediately. “Try limiting the amount of time the kids play together first,” she suggests. “It might also be helpful to have purposeful play dates, in which you point out the negative behavior right when it happens. Let your friend know that your kids are impressionable and suggest that she talk to hers while you talk to yours. That way, you can try to alleviate the problems together.”
Sounds good, and so much better than dropping her like a hot skillet. Ultimately, who knows if this will work, but my girl deserves another chance. After all, good friends are hard to come by.
Have you ever had to deal with a friend or family member's bad kids?
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...
Continue 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/
My fourth grader is a reading whiz, can tell you anything you’d ever want to know about ecosystems and biomes, and comprehends geometry and basic algebra. This smart kid is also a die-hard believer in Santa. It doesn’t matter to her that her classmates scoff at the fat guy from the North Pole. It doesn’t matter that every week an older child tells her “You know Santa’s not real, right?” It doesn’t matter to her that we don’t even have a chimney. My girl is all about Santa, his reindeer and Mrs. Claus! I am a strong believer in childhood magic and fantasy, but I’m beginning to wonder how long I should let her believe in Santa?
I've noticed that as the years have gone by, my daughter’s belief in Santa has gotten stronger while her friends have begun to slowly lose faith in the jolly, fat guy. One by one, the mothers of her friends have been coming to me and sadly sharing that their children are no longer believers. So I keep waiting for the light bulb to go off in my daughter’s head and for her to reach the conclusion that Santa is just a fairytale. But instead I get statements from her like, “I guess Santa must have a magic key to our house since we don’t have a chimney!” or “Can you believe that Damion doesn’t believe in Santa? I hope Santa brings me Damion’s presents because I KNOW he’s real!”
You may wonder why I am so concerned about her Christmas fantasy. It’s because I have heard a few stories of kids who were staunch believers in St. Nick well into their pre-teen and teen years. I even have a few friends who have had to tell their 13 year olds that Santa doesn’t exist before they started high school and embarrassed themselves. Honestly, I don’t want to be the one to look into those hopeful big brown eyes and have to pop her childhood bubble. I really wish she would do me a favor and figure it out so that I don’t have to break the news to this true believer
My husband says that I have no one to blame but myself. For years, he’s publicly stated, “I bust my behind all year working hard and this imaginary fat white guy gets all the credit!” I would laugh at him, and tell him that he was just being a Scrooge. But evidently, I affirmed the Santa fantasy one too many times for our little girl because she continues to chatter about elves making toys and reindeer flying though the sky.
Although it makes me cringe to see that this otherwise intelligent, rationale child believes a story that is so obviously made up, another part of me loves the look of wonder she gets in her eyes every Christmas. In a world where every headline screams about murder, abuse, terrorism and war, it’s nice to see my little girl believe in such a sweet, magical story. Childhood is fleeting, and soon enough she’ll be all grown and ready to go off into the big, bad world on her own. Neither Santa nor I will be able to protect her from the cold, harsh realities of the adult world. So maybe it is alright for her to hold to her belief in Santa for just a little bit longer. Maybe I’m rushing her. Maybe it’s okay for her to continue to be a child. For now, I’ll just play along and wait patiently until she figures it out on her own.