Sister Clara Muhammad Health and Wellness Center Sister Clara Muhammad
Health & Wellness Center
Care of the Black Child Care of the Black Child Care of the Black Child

Black parenting and child care is a multifaceted concept. It involves not only the physical care and keeping of children, but the promotion of self esteem and the provision of useful and creative channels of gratification. "The goal of the Black Parent should be to promote physically adept individuals who are functioning optimally in accordance with their stage of psychogenetic, psychosocial, emotional, adoptive and temperamental development and in keeping with the capacities of their biological integrity and cognitive potential, according to "Dr. Carol Leal in her monograph entitled "Successful Parenting in the Black Community".

Care of the Black ChildOur first responsibility in caring for Black Children begins even before we ourselves become parents in the broadest sense. We are all, in a larger context, the keepers of all Black Children. We are the role models and our own state of health, our system of values, and our own sense of self- worth have an impact on how our Black Youth view themselves and their own prospects. Black Children need to see a preponderance of physically and emotionally stable Black Adults surrounding them. They need to see adults who do not overindulge, who exercise, who participate in sports with the goal of self improvement rather than competition, persons who have a sense of their own self- worth, regardless of their station or occupation. They need to see people caring for one another, people interested in the world, politically active and productive. They need to know that this can be the reality of growing up Black in America.

When we review the statistics, we find that those regions with higher populations of Blacks and other minorities have the highest percentage of infant morbidity and mortality (disease and death). The incidence of high Black Infant morbidity and mortality is traced to the lack of prenatal care by various studies. Black Women tend to see a health care provider later in their pregnancy, with the majority not seeing someone until later in their second trimester for the first time. At this time of the pregnancy all of the most important systems of the infant have developed and the opportunity for teaching that is necessary for the promotion of healthy infants is lost. Add to this the fact that a large percentage of our infants are born to our children, a larger proportion than in any other group, a group of women who have, statistically, more maternal and infant complications and the problems become twofold.

More than of all Black Babies born in the state of Kansas in the last decade were born outside of the bounds of matrimony.Care of the Black Child While single parents can and do raise children effectively, statistics show that the majority of these parents are under the age of eighteen. So our second responsibility comes under the heading of education. We must educate Young Black Women in the responsibility that the giving of life entails and that it is not a responsibility to be taken lightly. They should be taught that giving birth should be a well thought out endeavor by a person who sees their own self- worth and can both show that to, and instill it, in a child. They have to know that parenting requires a certain amount of physical and emotional maturity, that it is not a game.

We must educate Young Black Women about the impact that their lifestyles have on the developing fetus. They should know that smoking has been proven to cause small for gestational age infants, that drinking can cause an irreversible syndrome of mental retardation and learning disabilities, that being in a state of optimum physical and mental good health promotes the delivery of healthy infants. Teach them that having a sense of bonding with an infant in the uterus is the first step towards the establishment of a close emotional link with their child, and that this can not be done when pregnancies are unplanned or unwanted. Black Women need to know that an important part of parenting begins before the moment of conception and it’s name is responsibility.

The rate of pregnancies to unmarried mothers in the Black Community has to be taken out of the moral context, because when moral issues are involved, people tend to be judgmental. Morality aside, and while striving to change the statistics through education and genuine caring, we must teach the responsibility of parenting to those who will become parents. These usually young parents must know that they can raise healthy and responsible individuals. Their helplessness and despair can be turned around by a joint effort of the community as a whole, a community whose main goal is the care of the Black Child.

Care of the Black ChildDevelopmentally Black Children tend to mature faster as a whole. Once the maturation process begins to be dependent on the environment, Blacks tend to fall short. Our third area to consider is the promotion of a cognitive environment. Black Children need to know their own culture but, equally important, they need to know all of the cultures. They need to be taught early that they are the original race, the Human Race, and everything and anything comes from them and hence is available to them. They need to be taught the choice between Beethoven and Michael Jackson is theirs to make and the choosing of Beethoven does not make them less Black. They need to know the choice between basketball and figure skating is theirs to make and the choice of figure skating does not make them less Black. They need to know the choice between ballet and the electric slide is theirs to make and the choice of ballet does not make them less Black. The emphasis should be on the development of self. They need to see success in order to know they can succeed. They need to see responsible people handling success and making responsible decisions in order to know how to deal with success. They need to know racism exists and how to recognize it in it’s subtleties and the way to handle these slurs and remove stereotypical beliefs is to refuse to act out in self defacing ways.Care of the Black Child

There are some major health issues that confront the Black Parent of the 90's and the key to most of them is prevention. So our fourth area of responsibility is the prevention of disease and death. The leading cause of death of all children in America under the age of 2 is accidents. The stress on providing a safe environment for Black Children can not be over emphasized. Black Children deserve to be safe wherever they are. Our homes and the homes of persons they frequent should be scrutinized for all hazards. Small children look at their surroundings from a height that we do not, and with a curiosity which we do not have. The only way a house can be made safe for a small child is when it is first assessed from the level which they see things. Don’t hesitate to crawl around your house. The hazards are often beneath you.

The enticement and a small child’s feelings about things is on a more primitive, less mature, illogical level. We have to be able to see things which children will be drawn to on their level. Children must have limits and must be able to see a responsible person in control. They must be taught to avoid hazards in a way that is conducive to learning. The decisions concerning their safety must be yours. Children should always be in an approved safety seat or use a seat belt, depending on their age and size. The example to use these devises should come from the adults around them. Statistics bear out the largest number of deaths are due to the lack of proper restraints in a car and the greater number of auto accidents occur within 25 miles of your home.

Older children’s worlds have expanded even more now than ours were at similar ages and therefore the opportunity for danger is greater. Children should be taught that a good part of the responsibility for their safety rests with them. They must have a respect for the rules that afford us the ability to live in harmony and safety and they must be able to be aware of what is a dangerous situation. Whether crimes against children are more publicized or not, they certainly are on the increase and children must know how to avoid a harmful situation. If they inadvertently find themselves in potential danger, they must know how to conduct themselves. They must have a sense of what is right and wrong, how to respond, and how not to be accepting of unpleasant, distasteful, or unsafe events. They must be taught to trust their instincts about the unsavoriness of people and situations. They must feel so good about themselves and their worth that they can say no to drugs, to alcohol, to sexual advances, and they must have the confidence in you and know they can rely on you, can talk to you.

Care Of The Black Child

Preventive medicine is the answer to helping to bring about the end of disease. Smallpox no longer exists in the world today because of prevention through immunization. Hopefully disease entities that plague us today can be eradicated in the future through such prevention. The childhood illnesses were once thought of as inevitable and claimed the lives of many children, both Black and Non-Black. The incidence and/or recurrence of the ravages of illness can be further reduced by a concerted effort on the part of Black Parents.

Regular well visits for primary health prevention, maintenance, and teaching is a must. The advantages are rooted in good health sense and good economic sense. Children can concentrate on other important areas if they are in good health and it costs more money to cure an illness than to work on prevention. Children should have regular physical examinations from birth, they should receive all of their immunizations at the scheduled times, and they should see a dentist regularly from the age of three. Hearing and vision screening is a necessity and school readiness examinations should be done before children enter kindergarten.

Parents have the responsibility to be actively involved in the responsibility for the care of their child along with their primary care provider. They should know what has been done and what needs to be done. They should ask questions and demand information, and above all, they should feel that their health care provider has their child’s best interests at heart and, more importantly, that they know what those best interests are. Black Parents should not be accepting of shoddy health care regardless of who is paying for it, and their demands should be based on the intelligent desire for optimum health for the culture as a whole. Health care providers need to know what the leading health hazards are our children may face and screen for them, and educating about them appropriately and accordingly.

Care Of The Black Child

Finally, let us consider conscious awareness. We need to be consciously aware that the future of Black youths and their care rests with Black people and should take this job seriously. We need to be able to guide our children in every facet of life. We need to know what is educationally best and lead them to take the courses which will lead them to fulfil their greatest potential. We need to be aware of the legislation and governmental policies which prevent all Blacks from receiving optimum health care. We can use the power of the ballot box to ensure that we have leaders who have our interests in mind, regardless of their race. We need to stop thinking of teaching our children to be Black, but rather teaching them to be proud of being Black. We need to teach them to be human and they have, and must use, their superior intelligence along with the full capabilities of their humanism.

Every Black mother and every Black father are the parents of every Black child. We need to see this in our communities and we can’t shirk this responsibility, for if we do it has and will cost us greatly. For when one Black child goes astray, it impacts us all. Our Black children are too precious to waste. We can no longer afford to sit idly by and watch our children struggle while having children of their own, let them come out of school not knowing how to read or write. We can’t continue to have the blood of our children spilled in the streets of our cities. We can no longer afford to have some of our greatest minds damaged forever with drugs and alcohol. It is the responsibility of us all to put an end to the madness, to say it’s time to stop, to strive towards raising all of tomorrow’s leaders.

This site is not meant to be a substitute for regular visits to your Health Care Provider, nor should it take the place of their advice. However, it is one other source of information for you and your family. It is advised that you see your Health Care Provider for the evaluation and treatment of illness. The links from this site may contain information that is not in line with the teachings of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and His Followers, the members of the Seventh Family of The Nation of Islam. Unnatural birth control and abortion are never condoned.
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