Tag Archives: health

Stop Medicating Black Boys

When I made the decision to homeschool my preschooler, he wasn’t a hyper child. Only when he attended a two-day-a-week preschool program did I continually get reports and brazen pressure about how hyper and disruptive my little boy was. My son listens well at home and is very calm and focused. I routinely take him to opera shows and on 3 hour train rides to Toronto to see family while he behaves like a little gentleman. Not perfect, but still quite exemplary. My son is full of energy because he’s a normal, kinesthetic boy.

The town I live in is notorious for medicating the children in their conventional schools. Our beloved next door neighbour, a lovely 7 year old girl who plays hockey and does ballet has been diagnosed with ADHD and started her medication a few days ago. She is like a shell of the vivacious girl who would come over and play hide and seek with my son. Another neighbour’s son is on his third brand of medication. Teachers and teaching assistant’s are crying ADHD, it seems, at the first fidget or the first interruption. And if there is absolutely one thing we must fight, it’s our children being misdiagnosed and placed on these serious medications.

When my son gets hyper or antsy, I’ve come up with a few natural ways to kind of bring him down a few levels.

  1. Turn off the lights, light a few candles, play some calming music. You can add lavender to a diffuser for an even more relaxing effect. I ask my son nicely to please calm his body and mind.
  2. Go for a walk or do some physical activity outside.
  3. Taking a screen/technology break. This is a hard one because I am in school online, and the courses require me to check my email and talk to my professors and do a ton of work on the computer. I’m constantly glued to my screens so putting them all way (phone included) after checking things in the morning helps us stay focused.
  4. Give my son one-on-one attention. Playing with cars, colouring together and being silly on the carpet really helps with misbehaviour.
  5. Not rush. I make sure we get to karate class 15-20 minutes early, and we read a few books and get changed in a very laid-back manner.
  6. Ask him to “look at me” when I’m speaking so he’s focused on what I’m saying.
  7. Having a routine helps a lot.
  8. Making sure to go over the “rules” before we enter any establishment (library, grocery store), before I make a phonecall or when someone visits our home.
  9. Allowing my son lots of time to run and play. Accepting he will be loud, messy and unpredictable and making sure he has opportunities and do these things appropriately.
  10. Hugs and kisses. Sometimes my son expects me to be furious with him, and he completely stops the madness when I just pull him in for some love.

It’s up to us to make sure our children are not being medicated just because they may be a bit difficult. Children were never meant to be perfect mini adults. Our children may not listen to us sometimes, but they will follow what we do. So don’t give up on them, or they will give up on themselves.

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Winter Health Care

HEALTH + WELLNESS

   If you, like me, live in Northern regions, winter can get really cold and depressing. It’s important as African people to take care of our health, especially in alien regions that do not mean the unique needs of our bodies. This is the time to be eating a lot of root vegetables, clear soups and teas. Among my favourite teas for winter are: St John’s wort (this helps with the depression due to lack of sun and light); chamomile tea (a lovely immune-booster); ginseng tea (another immune-booster!) and of course peppermint! Read below for vitamins you should stockpile for the dreary season ahead.

Cod Liver Oil

Yes, the oil we had been force-fed as a child makes me cringe, too. It tastes awful but this is some really powerful stuff for many reasons. For one thing, it has a high level of Vitamin D and for people with melanin this is a great, easy way to inject this vitamin into the body during low sun months. Vitamin D deficiencies can lead to serious health problems.

Also, cod liver oil has a high level of Omega-3s which is why our parents probably told us taking cod liver oil would help us be “the head, and not the tail of the class”. It certainly helps with cognitive function and helps boost the immune from disease and inflammation. Along with St John’s wort, cod liver oil is another natural way to fight the winter blues. If you find you are depressed in the winter, take some cod liver oil! Other benefits are: preventing heart disease, osteoporosis; lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure, protects eye sight, preventing kidney disease and healing skin wounds and fractures.

Vitamin C

Don’t forget your Vitamin C this winter too to help ward off illness, and speed up cell reproduction. Ascorbic acid is not the entire vitamin C though and it is best to reap the full benefits of vitamin C by eating orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. This is the time to make the curried butternut squash soups and make those papaya smoothies. As well as fighting those colds and flus, vitamin C is important for brain function as well. Other foods naturally rich in vitamin C include: all citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwifruit, bell peppers, guava (who doesn’t like guava juice??), dark leafy greens like spinach and kale (who else is thinking calaloo?), broccoli, cauliflower and melons. If you puree cauliflower with garlic and make cauliflower soup–you have a super cold and flu fighter!

Exercise + Fresh Air

I’m an all-season cyclist, and I take my 2 year old son out in the snow on the bike trailer every day. Being outside regularly, even in the frigid cold, actually really helps you feel great. If we have been cooped up too long in the house, even a 20 minute walk around the neighbourhood climbing snow piles is refreshing.

Other ways to get in some daily exercise is skating, skiing, snowboarding, snow-shoeing, cycling, going to an indoor swimming pool and sledding down a nearby hill. Just playing some Tag with the children in the snow, making snowmen and having a plain old snow-fight still counts as exercise too. Grabbing a cup of tea and going for a walk with your special person or friends, admiring the holiday lighting or an outside performance will keep those winter blues at bay. Plus, if you have some  yummy immune-boosting soup waiting for you at home, there’s plenty of reasons to smile and be healthy this cold season! winternaturalhairwoman

 

 

 

 

A Break

   I am going to be in a bubble for a little while, tending to my garden and son, and avoiding the tragedies of the world, the fight for African Liberation and discussions regarding those inequalities because it’s too much. I’m tired of casually browsing Twitter and hearing about another brother shot down by cops, I’m tired of the hatred spewing about the BLM movement from the media, including my own local newspapers. I’m tired of reading books that inform me of the unfairness and treatment of my people in years before I came to exist. In order to be self-determined and be able to continue to be conscious of the struggle, I need a break.

   I’m going to Toronto to see my family, eat West Indian food and focus on enjoying the hot summer days for a little while. I don’t want to shed any more tears at night. Not for a little bit. I’ll come back with a bit more clarity and resolve, once I can work through the cloud of anger and pain in front of my eyes. I’m going to celebrate my birthday, take my driver’s test and read books about castles and spaceships. Sometimes, it’s just too much.