Growing up, there was just an obscene overload of expectations to be considered a “good child.” And in all fairness, there were, and still are, a ton of expectations to be considered a “good mom.” While I would like to say that we don't care about being labeled "good" anymore, that’s not the case. Today, we are all defining our own versions of what "good" is and what "good" means to us individually. I do believe that there are a few specific things that millennial moms are doing that our moms didn’t do, that could have not only led to us still being labeled good, but great, as individuals.
1. We are going to therapy
I don’t know if therapy wasn’t included in insurance back in the day or if the stigma and judgement of going to therapy was just too overwhelming. Historically, Black people have avoided therapy, fearful they would be considered crazy or airing out our dirty laundry to strangers. No more. Not only are we now going to therapy ourselves, but we are sending our children. We are not afraid of talking to someone about issues that we can’t seem to resolve on our own and realizing the amazing benefits of therapy.
2. We are not passing off abuse as discipline
Now, this isn’t me saying we don’t still shell out whoopins because chile, sometimes these kids test us. However, giving a spanking/whoopin' is where it stops. There is a huge difference between discipline and abuse, and millennials are doing a better job of recognizing this. Most of us didn’t even realize that we were being abused until we were grown and had children of our own. How often did our parents or our family members think that they could beat something into and/or out of us?! Luckily, our bad memories have triggered us to stop this behavior because not only can abuse cause physical harm, but extreme mental harm as well.
3. We are allowing our children to express themselves
Clearly a majority of this article is based on my own experience, but I have tons of friends (including myself) that weren’t allowed to wear red nail polish or red lipstick until they were packing up to move out of the house. And don’t even think about dying your hair! And I swear, I’ve never heard of any other culture that associates length with "grown-ness."
“That hair is too long, you tryna be grown?” Never understood what this one was about. But now, we are letting our children wear color in their hair and letting them grow dreadlocks, if they so choose. Key word here: choose. We are letting our children express themselves based on what makes them feel confident.
4. We are not forcing family
Back in the day, if you walked into a house, you hugged every family member, whether you liked them or not. Not anymore. We are teaching our children, especially our girls, that you have control over your own body and that no one, not even family, has the right to touch you despite how you feel about it. Telling your children to hug someone simply because they’re family sends a message that family can’t be abusers or that if something ever happened, they couldn’t tell you because you might not listen to them over family.
Perhaps these are things that your mom did and that you are still doing yourself? Recognize that while these changes might not be for everyone, I encourage you to reconsider. Breaking toxic generational curses are key to the development and progress of our Black children. Leading by example is what teaches our children to be "good" individuals, not doing things simply because our parents, their parents and even their parents told them to.
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