The Single Father's Blog

Real Talk…From A Real Dad…On Real Life

Archive for the month “November, 2011”

SPORTS AND SEXUAL ABUSE: ARE WE DOING ENOUGH TO PROTECT OUR KIDS?

As parents we usually want our children to be involved in some sort of extracurricular activities as they grow up.  As dads we usually want our boys to play sports or our girls to be involved in some sort of  liberal arts, music or dance program.  In our culture it is  natural for a parent to want their children to get up and get involved in activities.   Especially in today’s society when the kids have every reason in the world not to leave the house because everything they could ever want is at their finger tips.

Every day millions of children across the country practice and participate in team sports.  These sports are usually supervised by other adults with whom we trust our most precious jewels.  After reports surfaced that former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky is being accused of molesting at least eight young boys over a 15-year period I began thinking about how many other coaches out there were molesting children and how many institutions were aware of these acts and just swept it under the rug.  Of course Sandusky isn’t the only coach who has aused his authoritative position to take advantage of a child.  In a recently released autobiography Boxer Sugar Ray Leonard revealed that he was molested as a teenager by a trainer he looked up to.  There was also the case of the Boston Red Sox manager who targeted African American boys to molest from 1971 to 1991.  Donald Fitzpatrick, who is white would pick up African American boys in Winter Haven, Florida when the Red Sox held spring training there each year.  This man would molest boys inside of the  Red Sox clubhouse and at a local Holiday Inn.  The seven men who accused Fitzpatrick claimed that the Red Sox organization knew what was going on and did nothing about the abuse.  So again this is a situation where parents trusted individuals to do the right thing with their kids and the parties involved did nothing but allow this  monster to commit these heinous acts for twenty years.  People like Joe Paterno and others who were aware that these crimes were being committed are just as much to blame as the person who actually harmed the children.

Molestation is an all too common occurrence, and as fathers we have to do everything that we can to protect our children from these predators.  The trust factor has to be eliminated.  As a father I will say that the people who I actually trust around my child are minimal.  It’s my responsibility to keep her safe and I try my best to make sure that she knows what she should do if anyone were to try to abuse her.

Many of us may not feel comfortable talking to our children about this issue but it has to be an ongoing conversation.  You have to be responsible enough to open up the dialog with the kids and help them understand how important it is to protect themselves at all times.  So here are a few things that we as parents can do to prevent this type of thing from happening to our kids.

Talk to them and help them understand their private areas – One of the first steps in preventing sexual abuse is helping your kids understand their private parts.  Make sure they have a clear understanding of the difference between consensual and respectful touching and being touched inappropriately by someone.  This can be uncomfortable for many people, but it has to be done.  There is something called the “bathing suit analogy” that could be used for younger kids.  Basically, you tell the child that the area that is covered by a bathing suit is off limits for everyone except a parent or a doctor giving medical care.   Make sure you are using proper terms when referring to body parts.  Using anatomically correct words like “penis, vagina and breasts”  can eliminate any room for misinterpretation between you and the child.

Be vigilant – The conversation between  you and your kids should be on-going.  This isn’t just a one time conversation.  If you notice any type of changes in your child’s behavior you have to get to the bottom of whatever the issue may be.  Some of the signs that you can look for include   aggressive behaviors, thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, depressed, distant,  nightmares or trouble sleeping and sudden changes in appetite.  If you start seeing these signs or anything else that you may think is peculiar you need to find out what is going on.  Talk to their friends and see if they know anything.  If you suspect that something is going on with your child it’s your responsibility to investigate until you get the answers you are looking for.

Be aware of who is around your child – We have to stop letting any and everybody come in contact with our children.  If your child is involved in sports you need to be at the practices and talking to the coaches.  You have to get involved and STAY involved.  Don’t let the predators gain your trust because you are the protector of your child and you have to watch out for their best interest.  Obviously,  some of these sports organizations are harboring these predators so you have to be on the look out for the suspicious behavior.  There are websites out there that allow you to check and see if some one has been convicted of any type of sex crimes.  Don’t be afraid to check someone’s background.  You would be surprised at how many people we come in contact with every day who have some sort of sex crime on their record.  Every city usually has a sex offenders registry, or  you can always check the National Sex Offenders Public Website.

No Secrets - One of the ways that a predator takes advantage of a child is by convincing them to keep the abuse a secret.  You have to be proactive and let them know what they can come and talk to you about anything.  I suggest having a “No Secret Rule” with your child.  As a parent you should be involved in every area of your child’s life anyway, but letting them know that they can talk to you about anything is key.  If someone tells them a secret and they don’t feel comfortable about it they should be able to come to you and let you know.   Many predators convince their victims to keep these secrets by giving gifts.  Your child shouldn’t be receiving any type of gifts from an adult unless you know them and know exactly what the reason behind the gift.  Let the child know that if he/she feels uncomfortable about something that an adult asks them to do that they should notify you immediately.

Believe them – It is  important for the kids to know that when they come to us about something as serious as sexual abuse that we will believe them.  You should take any allegation serious that your child brings to your attention.  If something does happen  to your child you should report it to authorities immediately.  Your child’s protection is in your hands so  you have to make sure that they know that you are there for them at all times.

These are just a few tips to help you fight these predators.  This abuse of our children is becoming too common, and we need to make sure as fathers we are fighting back.  I don’t want to hear about one more child being abused by someone that was in a position of trust.  Lets all do what we have to do to keep our kids safe.

KATT WILLIAMS LOSES CUSTODY OF HIS DAUGHTER

I’ve just learned that comedian Katt Williams has lost custody of one of his children. Williams who is the adoptive father to 7 children lost custody of his daughter Leanne to his ex Crystal McGhee.

McGhee won sole legal and physical custody while Katt was awarded visitation of the 8 year old on alternating weekends. Crystal also won visitation of Leanne’s two siblings. It’s not clear if Williams has custody of those two.

This has seemingly been thee worst year ever for Katt Williams. I know he’s on the road now doing comedy, but hopefully things will pick up for him in 2012.

It always saddens me when I see fathers who are obviously trying to work hard and provide for their children get the short end of the judicial stick when it comes to custody and visitation. I don’t know the specifics of the court case, but I know from personal experience  how hard it is to be told by a judge that you can not be in your  child’s life on a full time basis.

The system isn’t designed for us to win, so as fathers we have to be aware of our rights and know exactly what the paramaters of our custody orders entail. Katt has gone through a lot this year, but I hope that he and Crystal can work these things out so that he is not just reduced to seeing his daughter every other weekend. Because that is not the way to effectively raise a child.

JAY-Z WANTS TO BE THE TYPE OF FATHER THAT HIS DAD WASN’T

Jay-Z appears on the cover of the newest issue of GQ magazine.  Mr. Carter has been named one of the magazine’s Men Of The Year.  In a very introspective interview Jay digs deep and discusses his thoughts on being a father.  He  talks about the feelings t he had when his father left their home 11 years after his birth.

If your dad died before you were born, yeah, it hurts—but it’s not like you had a connection with something that was real,” Jay says. “Not to say it’s any better—but to have that connection and then have it ripped away was, like, the worst. My dad was such a good dad that when he left, he left a huge scar. He was my superhero.”

Jay says that his father Adnis Reeves turned to alcohol and drugs when his brother was murdered.  The affects of the alcohol and substance abuse is what pulled Reeves away from his family according to Jay.  Jay’s mom  Gloria tried her best to foster a relationship between Adnis and his kids even after he left the home, but he would never live up to his end of the bargain.   Gloria would arrange for meetings between Adnis and the kids but he simply wouldn’t show up to see them.

It wasn’t until after Jay had become a successful rapper and entrepreneur that he was reunited with his father.  In December 2003 Jay and Adnis got together and Jay says that he opened up to his dad about how it felt to grow up in a home without a father.

“[I talked about] what it did to me, what it meant, asked him why. There was no real answer. There was nothing he could say, because there’s no excuse for that. There really isn’t. So there was nothing he could say to satisfy me, except to hear me out. And it was up to me to forgive and let it go.”

Reeves was already sick when he and his son met again. So sick that the two would never see each other again. Adnis Reeves died soon after.

Over the years Jay has always opened up about the subject of growing up without a father.  The article shows that with all of the accolades and accomplishments that Jay-Z  has achieved over the years  he is still a man who is hurting from not having his father in his life.   Not having a father to be there to watch him as he grew up still plays a part in his life at the age of 42 and will also motivate him to be the best father that he can be to his own child.

SOURCE

19 YEAR OLD MALE RAPPER WEARS TIGHTS AND LIPSTICK…WHAT’S NEXT?

I was reading this story over on The Grio earlier today and I found myself trying to understand the reason that this 19 year old  gentleman  would see the need to wear lipstick and tights to express his individuality.  

19-year-old Daryll Duane Philips is a heterosexual rapper from Dallas, Tx who has created something called the XY Movement.  According to Phillips the purpose of this movement is to encourage men to “get in touch with their feminine side” by wearing lipstick, floral print tights and other items that females usually wear.   Phillips who has a girlfriend says that he is breaking down his own mental barriers by going out in public and dressing in female clothing items.  He also says that he is “40 percent female” due to the fact that he is in touch with his own emotions. 

I’m not sure what type of home Daryll was raised in, and I am not even here to judge him or his parents.  He is an adult who seems to be fully capable of making his own decisions.  Artists like Prince and Boy George have straddled the gender bending fence for years and they have managed to make good decisions and have successful careers. 

What I am going to do though is take a moment and try to comprehend how something like this is going to affect my child as she grows up.  I’m going to be blunt with you, as a father I don’t want my under age children looking at TV and seeing a man dressed in a woman’s attire, nor do I want them to see a woman dressed as a man(i.e. Lady GaGa on the MTV VMA’s).  It’s just not something that I want them to experience.  Sure everyone has the freedom to dress the way they feel, but as a parent I think that it would be inappropriate for me to willingly expose my child to those things.  I even have some reservations about allowing my daughter to watch movies like “Big Mamma’s House” or episodes of Martin where he is dressed  up like Sha-Nay-Nay simply because I know how confusing those types of images can be on an impressionable young mind.   

Here is where it gets tricky though. Right now Daryll Phillps is one teenager on twitter who happened to make the mainstream news. But what happens 5 years from now when another male cross dresser has a hit record and video in heavy rotation on B.E.T? The media isn’t going to protect our kids from those images.  As parents we can’t even shield our kids from EVERY image that we don’t want them to see.  As things become more and more acceptable in our society what’s going to happen when that one artist that the next generation of Hip Hop can relate to penetrates pop culture? I mean Lil ‘Wayne already got away with wearing a pair of leggings at the MTV VMA’s(Yup…the same award show where Lady GaGa dressed as a man).  So as time goes on things are just going to become more and more acceptable until you have young elementary school age boys wanting to go to school dressed as a girl and parents who actually will approve of it.

Now I’m not some homophobic father who doesn’t believe in individuality or a persons right to express their own personal sexuality.  I am just a dad who sometimes has conservative views when it comes to raising my child.  Some people may call it old fashioned, and I’m cool with that. But in my heart of hearts I think that if more of parents had old fashioned values there would be less problems in our society. 

I want to hear from you about this issue. Do you think artists who encourage ‘Gender Bending’ have a negative impact on our children? Or do you think it’s a natural part of society’s progression?

Students, Sex, and The Social Networks


I saw this picture floating around twitter a few days ago and I was
shocked! I wasn’t necessarily shocked by the picture itself, but more
so by what people were saying about the picture. Instead of being
outraged by the sight of seven seemingly teenage pregnant black girls
smiling and posing for a picture together folks were soliciting their
followers to “add a caption” to the picture. Now I can’t even front,
the first caption that came to my mind was “where in the HELL are
these girl’s fathers”.  Not only do they seem to be underage and
pregnant, but they are flaunting it all over social networks for the
world to see. If any of them were my child I probably would have lost
my mind the minute this picture came across my screen.

We live in a society where social media has easily become the fastest
growing form of communication that has ever been invented. It’s
instant gratification. We get to see what we want when we want it and
in turn we can give out details about our own lives in the same
manner. People everywhere want to experience some sort of social
networking, whether it be via sites like Facebook and Twitter or
through mobile cell phone applications like instagram and video viewing sites.
The fact is that social media has taken over our world and it is here to
stay. But just like any other form of technology, it has easily been
taken from a meaningful idea to change the world and turned into a
means for society’s ills to be further exposed. Just like anything
else, when you put social media in the hands of someone who is not
mentally equipped to handle it there will be questionable judgement
and there will be instances where people will just flat out do things
that make you say “What the F*&%”

It’s no secret that teenage pregnancy is a problem in our country.
Teenagers are having sex and making babies at an alarming rate. Teen
pregnancy has even become a factor in pop culture because of shows
like “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant” that air regularly on cable
television. According to the CDC 410,000 teenage girls, ages 15 to
19 gave birth in 2009 which was a 37 % decrease from where it was 20
years ago. Even though the rate of teenage births has declined our
society has changed and I would even step out and say that teenagers
now aren’t even as mature as teenagers of the same age group twenty
years ago. But aside from the differences in maturity I think the
question that needs to be raised that couldn’t have been raised in
1991 is what role is social media playing in how our children are
educated about sex and handling sexually related issues. It’s obvious
that our society is much more sexually open and thanks to the media we
have more sexual images, lyrics and inferences in our every day life
then we could have ever imagined possible. When I was growing up you
couldn’t see two people of the same sex kissing on television. Overt
sexual references were still a bit taboo. I remember when people were
shocked that the group TLC would promote safe sex by performing with
condoms on their clothes. These days you see same sex couples
kissing on TV, hear songs about women wetting their bed on the radio,
and constantly get solicitations for online dating services and chat
lines with hot girls/guys while on the internet. All of these things
indicate that times have changed. Since the times have changed so
drastically over the last 20 years, I can only believe that the way that we
are talking to our children needs to change. We have to get
a better understanding of who these kids are under this newly
created social network climate.

By looking at the picture above it’s obvious to me that these young
ladies think that being pregnant at such a young age is cool.
Obviously they haven’t grasped the idea that the act of child birth
is actually dangerous, or the hard work and dedication that it takes
to raise a child. Not to mention the financial strains that are added
to your life once your child is born. As a father of a seven year old
girl it pains me to see our young girls portraying themselves in this
manner and I think it is up to us to make sure that they know that
things like this aren’t acceptable. It’s not alright to be pregnant
at a young age, and most importantly they need to think of the
consequences that their actions will have later on in life.

The world wide web is just that…A web of information that spans across
the entire world. And as fast as information travels these days I’m
sure that this picture could easily cross the desk of someone from a
college admissions department or an employer that may be looking to
hire in the future and the window of opportunity for bettering
themselves could instantly be closed simply based on the perception of
one snapshot.

One of the most important things that any parent can do for their
child is to instill a sense of self esteem and self worth. Too many
of our young girls don’t value their body. They think that it is okay
to let young men have their way with them simply because that is what
they see happening on TV. We are living in a world where websites and
TV shows allow women to portray themselves as strippers, video models,
sex objects and money hungry gold diggers. We as parents, especially
fathers have to find a way to counteract that. Constant communication
with our daughters is only the beginning. We have to also set a good
example for them. We have to show them how a man is supposed to love
a woman. A father’s love should be the first love that a young girl
ever experiences from a male. It is that bond and relationship that
will set the tone for what she accepts from men throughout her entire
life. It’s our duty to lead them down a road of self worth and into a
state of mind where they appreciate themselves for who they are.

We are in the process of losing an entire generation of young women to
reality TV shows. Instead of wanting to grow up to be lawyers,
teachers, and doctors they are growing up wanting to be basketball
wives, real housewives and Hip Hop Honeys. I’m not blaming any form
of media for the potential damage that it may cause to current and
future generations, but I am blaming those parents who let their
children be influenced by those images on TV and on the radio. As a
parent it is YOUR responsibility to either shield your child from
these images or to keep it real enough with them so they understand
that the things they see on the TV and hear on the radio is not what
life is all about. When I look at those girls in that picture I hear
all of them begging for attention and screaming “look at me”. A big
part of our culture is now based on the not so real Reality TV and
these girls are living out their version of a “look at us…we are young
and pregnant and we still got it goin’ on” But the fact of the matter
is that they don’t have it going on because they don’t seem to have a
clue as to the damage that they could potentially be doing to their
lives and the impact that their actions today can have on their children tomorrow.

So as a parent who is actively involved in my child’s life and also
actively involved in social networking I think that it is my
responsibility to incorporate knowledge and understanding of social
networking when I talk to my child about matters like sex, peer
pressure, and drugs because it’s obvious to me that social networking
has taken us all by storm but we have to be mindful that we are
incorporating the things that we know about it into our conversations
with our children because if we don’t then our children will be forced
to experiment for themselves and not be properly trained on how to
conduct themselves on or off social networking sites. We have to
lead by example. The way that we conduct ourselves on social networks
should reflect the way that we want our children to act on social
networks. The days of being able to sit back and let the teachers in
school teach kids about sexual education are over. Our children are
under attack by the very culture that most of us know and love and the
sad part about it is that many of us don’t even realize it.

This is a call to action to every father who has a daughter that he
loves! Don’t just tell her that you love her, but SHOW her how much
you love her. She needs you in her life now more than ever and she
will need you more tomorrow than she needed you today. The day that
you decide to give up and think that she doesn’t need you is going to
be a day that she will never forget and a day that you will live to
regret. Your love is what she wants and your love is what she needs.
If you don’t do what you are supposed to do, she is eventually going
to do what she thinks she has to do in order to get the love and
affection that she is missing. We all should have dreams and
aspirations for our little girls, but I don’t think the worst
nightmare of any man could compare to looking on the internet and
seeing his beautiful little princes standing in the mirror showcasing
her pregnancy at such a young age.

None of us can change the things that are going on with the girls in
that picture but we can all do something to make sure that our
children don’t fall victim to the pitfalls as these girls. Take a
moment to think if you are doing enough to educate your child about
the relationship between sex and the social networks.

FUNNY VIDEO * WATCH THIS KID GET DOWN TO ‘SMOOTH CRIMINAL’ WHILE WASHING DISHES


I had to post this video. Watch as this kids gets BUSY and pulls out all of his best dance moves as he washes dishes and listens to Michael Jackson’s ‘Smooth Criminal’

COMING OF AGE: HOW FATHERHOOD WILL AFFECT JAY-Z AND HIP HOP

This is a blog that I posted a few months ago after Beyonce announced that she was pregnant at the MTV Awards. This blog needed a home, so I figured that this would be the best place for it. Check it out and let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

There is no question that the defining moment of this year’s MTV Video Music Awards was Beyonce revealing’ to the world that she and her husband Jay-Z are having their first child. Bey at the age of 29 and Jay at the age of 41 are definitely royalty when it comes to music and entertainment, so of course the news came with much excitement and jubilation to fans across the country when the news hit that the couple had conceived their first child. We have all watched as best we could as their relationship developed from eluding the media during their courtship and deflecting questions about their relationship to their secret wedding to those moments when they showed off their love for each other in public. In some of our own minds, there is a sense that we are just as involved in their relationship as they are themselves.

So now that they have shared their very special moment with us, as fans we are a part of what will be one of the most notable pregnancies in the history of pop culture. This isn’t something that could be denied like the couple did with their relationship for so many years. This is a BABY…the heir to a throne that most of us have watched for many years. Beyonce being the ultimate performer that she is will obviously continue to perform for as long as possible. So I’m sure they kept it to themselves for as long as they could, but now that the cat is out of the bag I think the question needs to be asked how Hip Hop will respond to it’s proverbial king becoming a father.

When I watched Beyonce unveil her baby belly I couldn’t help but wonder how Jay was going to react. Mr. Carter is usually calm and cool. He rarely changes his demeanor and rarely ever shows any sort of emotion other than a brief smile and his trademark chuckle. When the camera panned over to show Jay and Ye jumping up and down and slapping each other high 5′s it was apparent to me that we are witnessing another evolution in the life of Sean Carter. I saw something in Jay’s eyes that only a father could understand…There was a certain glimmer as to say that this is bigger than me…this is bigger than Hip Hop…this is one of THOSE things and one of THOSE moments that no amount of money could buy. From Reasonable Doubt to proud papa, one of Hip Hop’s most revered figures is stepping into the realm of fatherhood

Jay and Bey started their family in what many people consider to be “the right way”. They dated, got married, and then made plans to become parents and then they conceived a child. In today’s society we see so many examples of fathers continuously creating children without any sort of long term commitment to their child’s mother ( i.e. Lil Wayne and his list of ‘baby mammas’) . The culture itself usually breeds the idea that the way to live your life is to live a life filled with promiscuity without any regard for the consequences. Jay himself even said “You know I thug ‘em, f*ck ‘em, love ‘em, leave ‘em ‘Cause I don’t f*ckin’ need ‘em Take ‘em out the hood, keep ‘em lookin good But I don’t f*ckin’ feed ‘em ” Who would have ever thought that the man who coined the phrase ‘Big Pimpin’ would actually be settling down with a wife, having a baby and setting a good example for those young men who look up to him.

Now that Jay is going to be a father, what does that mean for Hip Hop? I think we need to take a look at what fatherhood means to our culture and what things can be learned from this situation. Our culture today as we see it on TV and hear it on the radio isn’t the most family friendly form of entertainment. You rarely see rappers who are settled down and raising a family, and those that we do see are often brushed to the side as “old heads” or “played out”. While rappers like Snoop Dogg, The Game, Dr. Dre, Will” The Fresh Prince” Smith, Nick Cannon, Big Boi and a few others proudly show off their wife and kids, lets be honest Hip Hop and fatherhood just don’t seem to mesh well on the surface.

I think Jay is in a very unique position right now. He has the ability to show that being a part of your child’s life and having a two parent household is actually the COOL thing to do. For year’s Jay has been the benchmark when it came to success in our culture. If Jay-Z drinks a liquor, so do the masses. If Jay-Z wears a particular brand of clothing, so do the masses. As a businessman and as an artist he has received accolades from a who’s who list of folks including Oprah, Barack Obama and Bill Gates. What we are about to witness with this new baby is big business kid! I don’t mean business in the sense of putting a monetary value on the child’s life, but business as in fathers getting down in the trenches and doing the things that they need to do to be a part of their child’s life.

Just like Sean Carter the businessman isn’t the same as Jay-Z the rapper, there will be a world of differences between Sean Carter the father and Jay-Z the MC. In my opinion now is the perfect time for Jay to become a father because there are so many issues that are plaguing our community that begin with the lack of father figures. This new baby will allow him to lead by example. Hip Hop needs a ‘cool’ dad. Jay’s influence on pop culture is immeasurable, and now more than ever men need to look at what he is doing and follow suit.

Will Jay’s new role as a dad cause a call to action for young men to stand up and be accountable for their actions? Or will this be just another opportunity that our culture misses to make some form of change. Fatherless homes are an epidemic in the black and latino community, and now more than ever we need somebody with influence to reach out to these young men and tell them to pull their pants up and be fathers to their children. Hopefully, the man who is known for his razor sharp tongue will use his power to help instill a sense of responsibility in some young men who are looking for direction and guidance. Each man is responsible for his own action, but as a father myself I know the excitement that Jay is feeling right now, and I also know how that excitement and sense of pride can be used to change the world and get to the root of what is ailing our society.

There are plenty of examples of black love and men who are responsibly parenting in our society who get over looked every day. Jay isn’t the first man to stand firm in the love for his woman and build a strong family structure, and he won’t be the last. But as he once told us himself ‘you are now looking at one smart black boy” Well that “boy” has blossomed into a man before our very eyes, and now it’s time for every male in the Hip Hop community to do the same thing…stand up and be MEN before we lose an entire generation of children to the ills of ours society.

Leave a comment and let me know…

WHAT DO YOU SAY…WILL JAY-Z’S NEW ROLE AS A FATHER PROVIDE A POSITIVE EXAMPLE FOR MEN?

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