mother is my best friend, and she has been for several years. However, this
between she and I were not always so blissful.
I distinctly remember the time in High School when I ran away down the
block to my aunts house for two extremely long weeks.
I sit here reminiscing about that turbulent time, I realize that there was one
thing, and one thing only that brought my mother and I back together communication. Communication
is the heartbeat of any relationship, and in a relationship that can be so
complicated and volatile like the one between parents and their children, it is
the only lifeline.
my Hip Hop 4 Life program, we recently held an empowerment workshop where we
addressed the issue of parent/child relationships. When we posed the question:
How many of you have a great relationship with your parents? Less than half
of the young people raised their hand.
another workshop, one of the young ladies who participated in my program pulled
me aside after the workshop and asked for me to escort her to get tested for a
sexually transmitted infection because she was too afraid to tell her
I cant stress enough the importance of a clear and consistent line of communication
between you and your children. Believe it or not, young people would not mind
at all having a great relationship with their parents, where they can talk with
them about issues and things on their mind. But what stops them is the fear of
being judged, or punished because of doing so or that their parents are way too
out of touch to understand. Other times they feel like their parents either
dont have the time or just dont feel like being bothered.
have a few words of advice.
a moment to talk with, and most importantly, really listen to your kids. Listen
to what they have to say and what is going on with them. Dedicate
the time to learn what issues young people are dealing with today. Learn
more about what your child likes to do, their interests and where possible join
them in some of their favorite activities (video games, etc.) Take
some time from work or from watching TV and spend that quality time with your
importantly, do not hesitate to have the discussion about sex, drugs, alcohol,
gang/youth violence or any of these sensitive issues.
our country, our children are becoming more endangered each day. Lets take a look at some of the devastating
to the Bureau of Justice 2005 statistic, Black males 18-24 years old had the
highest rate of committing and being the victims of homicide. Additionally, young adults (18-24 years old)
have the highest victimization rates in each racial and gender group.
on research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, African American
youth, ages 13-19, represent 66% of new HIV/AIDS cases.
National Survey on Drug use and Health reports about 10.8 million (or 28.2%)
persons ages 12-20 reported drinking alcohol in the past month. Nearly 7.2
million (18.8%) were binge drinkers, and 2.3 million (6.0%) were heavy
parents educated their children more about these issues, there is bound to be a
decrease in some of these staggering statistics. Think about it, if you are not
talking with your kids about these important subjects, they are more than
likely learning it from their peers, the television or worse, education through
National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that youths ages 12-17 who
believed their parents would strongly disapprove of their using a particular
substance were less likely to use that substance than were youths who believed
their parents would somewhat disapprove, or neither approve nor disapprove.
is a topic that is so extremely important. Through my life and work, I see the
negative effects that lack of parental communication, guidance, love and
support has on so many of the young people we work with. I also see how much of
a positive effect a supportive, encouraging and loving parent-child
relationship has on children.
am hoping that through my words, I can help begin to mend some of these
impaired relationships. No, I am not a psychologist. I am just someone who has
first, second and third hand experience with the situation, and someone who
cares so very much about empowering our youth!
Flowers is the Founder/Executive Director of Hip Hop 4 Life, a non-profit
organization dedicated to engaging, educating and empowering young people to
adopt a healthier lifestyle while impacting positive social change within
communities across the nation. She can be reached at