Conscious Parenting Techniques That WORK with Decoteau Irby
Click here to read the episode transcript.
Are you wondering where to start on your decolonized parenting journey? Start here.
In this episode, Decoteau Irby and I talk about effective, impactful methods of conscious parenting that will help you break down systems of oppression in your family and community.
Decoteau J. Irby is an author, educator, and parent of two who creates teaching and learning experiences, music and stories, and opportunities for people to be in community. Through all of his work, he is committed to creating spaces that bring people together in community to learn and grow together.
As Black parents, how do we raise socially aware children without centering white supremacy? How do I talk to my kids about the world while also keeping them innocent for as long as possible?
While it can be difficult, try your best to be honest with your kids about issues that are affecting or have affected you, your community, and the world at large. Within the stories you tell, make sure you help them understand the strength and resilience of Black people. Surround your kids with images and examples of Black joy and beauty. Share the vibrancy of your culture. Explain to your kids that it’s not on us how other people decide to treat us and that when we’re in the right conditions, we’re going to grow and thrive.
End on a note of curiosity, radical imagination, and agency. Get them thinking about what they would change about the world and how they would go about making change.
When we talk about liberation, we have to radically imagine what this world would look like without anti-Blackness, capitalism, misogyny, and patriarchy, and how that reality is going to serve the collective.
Decolonized, conscious parenting is helping your kids to think expansively.
“It’s a decision you have to make, to see beauty, to see genius.” – Decoteau Irby
How do I build up an armor of resilience and resistance in my children?
“The sad part is… this world has a deep disdain/fear of Black people who have a deep sense of self [and] potential,” Decoteau says. It’s a challenge to build up that sense of self and potential in your children because of this, but it’s important to encourage it anyways. Although there is a potential for abuse or harm because of your child’s growing sense of agency and empowerment, they’re going to be better off in the long-run. Embrace your child’s range of expressiveness and communication. The safest place to practice agency is at home.
The Role of Community in Raising Decolonized Kids
Being present in your community and modeling community involvement is a powerful part of raising decolonized, liberated children. When his first child was born, Decoteau formed a consulting cooperative so she could see him work in an institution that values cooperation and collaboration. He also works with his community garden, neighborhood park, and his kids’ school. “I really want them to see me present… I bring them a lot of places with me because I want them to see possibilities,” Decoteau says, “I really try to walk the walk and give them access to walk alongside me or just to sit back and watch me.”
Expose your child to diverse community environments and show them what it looks like to be present, contribute, and support their community.
If your liberation movement does not include children and they don’t have a say in it, it’s not true liberation. Children are the most oppressed and marginalized population. By refusing to be a model, you’re actually modeling how to maintain systems of oppression.
If we treat our children like they matter, they’ll grow up to feel like they matter, their voice matters, and that they’re able to make a change.
This is not “some white people sh*t”, these are ancestral practices and techniques that have been stripped from us. So, let’s take them back and raise conscious, decolonized children.
This episode of Parenting Decolonized Podcast is brought to you by the Rona, Racism, and Radical Parenting Conference being held on September 23rd-25th, 2022!
With 25+ speakers from various backgrounds and experiences, this conference is designed to equip you with the knowledge and practical advice you need to help you manage your triggers, yell less, connect more, and raise liberated, emotionally-well children.
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About Decoteau J. Irby (he/him):
Decoteau creates teaching and learning experiences, music and stories, and opportunities for people to be in community. He is a professor at University of Illinois at Chicago and author or co-editor of several books, including Stuck Improving: Racial Equity and School Leadership (Harvard Education Press) and a children’s book Magical Black Tears: A Protest Story (Derute Consulting Cooperative). Through all of his work, he is committed to creating spaces that bring people together in community and learn and grow together. Decoteau is active in his neighborhood community garden and serves as treasurer for his local park advisory council. He’s also a self-taught guitarist, songwriter, performer, and recording artist.
To connect further with Decoteau:
Visit his website: https://www.decoteauirby.com
Follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/decoteaublack
Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/decoteauirby
Connect with him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/decoteau-irby
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