Help with Dealing with Difficult Kids
Truth be told, Tulsa area moms and dads have a lot of resources available to them. You just have to know where to look. Or who to ask.
As is the case with most parenting topics, putting your finger on the right resource is typically easier said than done. For instance, of course it makes sense to call my pediatrician when something icky is coming out of my son’s nose or eyes. Dr. So and So has antibiotics for that. Just push the “easy” button and poof! Problem solved.
But who do you call when something icky is coming out of your child’s mouth—like endless demands, sassiness, or just plain rudeness? Last I heard, there aren’t any antibiotics for “pains in the neck.” But if the pediatrician is not the best place to go, where should a parent look for help?
A group of Tulsa women are getting together to make finding the right resource easier for families, particularly families of African American youth. Stacey Mwongozi, Shyra Burrell, and Nichol Noble are the leadership of the Tulsa Interest Group of the National Black Child Development Institute, a startup seeking charter with the D.C.-based national network.
I asked Mwongozi about my – I mean, a fictitious mom’s — concern with having an infant with a difficult temperament. Pediatricians are increasingly becoming more accessible for fully discussing strategies for overcoming challenges in matching parent and child temperaments, but many of us have also heard of the pediatricians who end the conversation with that age-old line, “It’s just a phase.” To which I – I mean the fictitious mom — wants to scream, “Fine! It’s a phase! But what do I do in the meantime?!”
Mwongozi says that members of the Tulsa Interest Group of NBCDI take an open door, case-by-case approach to connecting parents with resources. If faced with the above-mentioned scenario, NBCDI members would talk with the parent by phone or in person to learn more about the child, the parent, and the expectations the parent has for the child. Through discussion and sharing, the member would refer the parent to someone in the network who could help or another appropriate professional, faith-based organization, or individual.
“We are not looking to recreate the wheel at all,” Mwongozi said. “We are creating partnerships and collaborations to tap into what is already here.”
Mwongozi, Burrell, and Noble, who are friends and parents themselves, decided to pursue development of the Tulsa Interest Group of NBCDI two years ago. Each of the women has extensive experience in early childhood education. Mwongozi is an Early Childhood Transition Specialist with the Tulsa Area Community Schools Initiative, Burrell is a child care center director with the YWCA, and Noble was an early childhood education researcher with the University of Oklahoma.
Since they began, they have skyrocketed on addressing the group’s platform issues of early childhood education, health and child welfare. They were instrumental in planning Dr. Carol Brunson Day’s participation in this past spring’s International Infant and Toddler Conference hosted in Tulsa by the Child Care Resource Center, and co-hosted a luncheon for the Oklahoma Champions for Early Opportunities.
“There is a misconception that only ignorant or impoverished people need help with parenting,” Mwongozi noted. “That is not the case at all. These issues don’t just happen with one certain population.”
With the thought that successful parenting is based on modeling what we see, the Tulsa Interest Group wants more parents to see more access to the positive resources Tulsa has to offer.
As Mwongozi puts it, “We are developing an outlet for the parent, for them as an individual, to find resources. And NBCDI members will be available to the community. ”
Parents, child care providers, and other individuals or agencies interested in the welfare of children (from birth to 18), particularly African American children, can contact Stacey Mwongozi at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.