Author Ylonda Gault Caviness joined guest host Jeff Johnson on NewsOne Now to discuss her book, Child, Please: How Mama’s Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked Myself.
Child, Please is Caviness’s own story of how she realized that all of the “so-called expert advice” didn’t work with her children and how her mother’s advice was just the thing she needed to raise her kids.
In this wise and funny memoir, Ylonda Gault Caviness describes her journey to the realization that all the parenting advice she was obsessively devouring as a new parent (and sharing with the world as a parenting expert on NPR, Today, in The Huffington Post, and elsewhere) didn’t mean scratch compared to her mama’s old school wisdom as a strong black woman and mother.
With child number one, Caviness set her course: to give her children everything she had. Child number two came along and she patiently persisted. But when her third kid arrived, she was finally so exhausted that she decided to listen to what her mother had been saying to her for years: Give them everything they want, and there’ll be nothing left of you. In Child, Please, Caviness describes the road back to embracing a more sane—not to mention loving—way of raising children. Her mother had it right all along.
During their discussion on Tuesday’s edition of NewsOne Now, Johnson and Caviness discussed Baltimore mom Toya Graham snatching her son from the Freddie Gray protest and instances of “tough-love” that many African-American mothers have to employ while raising their children.
“It’s important to remember as Black people, as just a culture period, that culturally, historically Black women have had to be tough. I know that there is the whole strong Black women cliche’, but when you think even back to slavery — we couldn’t afford to let our kids just willy-nilly do whatever they wanted to do because they could be killed.
“So I think in that same way that we appreciate our history when I saw Toya Graham run up on her child — I don’t care what any of the pundits say — I had love for her, I felt her, I felt her child as though I’d born him myself and what I saw was not a woman in some kind of psychosis — this was a purely maternal act of trying to rescue a child.”
Watch the video above to see what else Ylonda Gault Caviness had to say about “tough-love” and her book, Child, Please: How Mama’s Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked Myself.
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