The Internet was all abuzz on Tuesday, after rapper Jay-Z made interesting comments about his desire to spoil his new daughter rotten. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the 43-year old artist said that his daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, “will probably be the worst, spoiled kid ever.”
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Appearing tonight on “Oprah’s Master Class: Special Edition,” Jigga goes on to say, “I imagine I’ll take things I learned from my mom and things I’ve learned from raising my nephews and apply that.”
Normally, I wouldn’t comment on how another man raises his child, but given that the Jay-Z/Beyonce relationship has become a template for so many members of the Black community, I thought I might say something.
There is a tremendous degree of urgency regarding how we raise our kids; for, the influence of hip-hop culture is ruining some of them before they have a chance to develop a meaningful value system (Hint: Notice the baby in the beauty salon wearing Air Jordans, while his mama won’t spend the same amount of money putting him into an educational program).
Also, with all due respect to Jay-Z’s mother, we have to remember that while she raised one of the most-brilliant lyricists in the history of the world, she also raised a drug dealer who shot his own brother, and who also seems to measure his self-worth by the number of Bentleys in his driveway.
By “spoiled,” I am hopeful that Jay-Z means that he plans to shower his daughter with love and affection, which is important in building the self-esteem of young women. If that’s the case, then I am in lockstep, given that I try to spoil my own daughters in the same way: not a day passes where they don’t know how much I love them.
But if “spoiled” means that Blue Ivy is showered in every material possession she requests, convinced that she is better than other human beings, and treated as if her comfort is worth any degree of inconvenience for those around her, then we might have a problem.
All of us should be careful about committing ourselves to spoiling our children. From what I’ve witnessed, men who are spoiled as children often grow up to become insensitive, irresponsible, weak, and unproductive men. They believe that the world owes them something and wreak havoc on nearly every human being that comes in their path.
Many mothers — perhaps feeling guilty that their son is without a father — dote over their boys to the point of exhaustion, killing their ability to endure the necessary steps that come with evolving into responsible and empowered men (for reference, see the movie “Baby Boy.”)
Women who are spoiled rarely understand the give and take necessary to manage healthful relationships and lack the ability to empathize with the pain of others. Their daddies (or mamas, or grandmothers) told them that they are the most important thing on earth and the boyfriend who spends his last dollar buying her a diamond necklace is simply par for the course.
Our children should be raised with depth and character, and when we spoil them, they never learn to work for what they want or how to appreciate the things they get. Most men I know are not interested in marrying the daddy’s girl, debutante who’s been spoiled her entire life; for, a woman who knows no discomfort is not a good partner for fighting life’s battles with you.
She only gets disappointed when you can’t win all of those battles on your own.
“If by spoiling one means avoiding discipline, boundaries, and correction, then that is a formula for huge physical and psychological negative consequences,” said Dr. Christina Edmondson, a psychologist who specializes in raising children, to NewsOne. “It is most important to make sure our children are emotionally “spoiled” and can turn to us for encouragement, support, and trusted direction. That type of so-called spoiling is more impacting than any tech gadget, designer jeans, or trinket that the kid or parent is using to keep up with the Joneses.”
So Jay-Z, did you get that?
If you spoil your daughter with all the material crap that you love to rap about, you are making her into a worse human being, not a better one. Also, allowing her to believe that she is some kind of aristocrat who lives at the center of all mankind is only going to make her into a nightmare for any potential husband, as well as most of her friends. But by spoiling her with love and support, you are creating the kind of princess who makes the world around her better. That puts us on the same page.
How we raise our children is very important; for, our kids eventually become the adults who run our community. Many of the Black men you complain about in your dating life were raised by another woman who believed that your agony is far less important than her son’s comfort. In most cases, a thing that is spoiled is never desirable, whether it be a piece of fruit or a human being. So, for those who want to follow the Jay-Z Blueprint of Parenting, you may want to reconsider your thinking.
What do you think?
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and author of the forthcoming book, “The RAPP Sheet: Rising Above Psychological Poison.” To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.