things that matter

As Mothers We Need To Stop Thinking ‘Pow-Pow’ And Chancla Culture Are An Acceptable Way Of Raising Our Kids

I’m what they call a millennial Latina mom. That means growing up I often endured the old school style of Latinos parenting where chanclas and “quieres pow pows” were meant to be the end all be all of “bad” behavior. Today, even despite the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics has voiced their strong opinion that corporal punishment, physically disciplining your child, isn’t just inappropriate parenting, you can still find in our culture memes and jokes about la chancleta. And while the rate of spankings have gone down in recent years, polls have shown that those “good, hard spankings” that you might have “turned out alright” in spite of can cause long-term harm.

Here’s a look at the reasons why we have to stop spanking our kids.

Pow-pows teach the wrong lesson.

 
“Coco” / Walt Disney Pictures /Pixar Animation Studios

“It’s better to be feared than loved” is a sentiment often touted by managers and leaders who have an odd understanding of proper management. Mind you this phrase was also created by Niccolò Machiavelli a politician and philosopher who often encouraged dishonesty and the killing of innocents in certain situations in his work. Sure, this method of teaching which chancla culture stem from might encourage your child to cower at the sight of you when your raise a flip-flop but it also teaches them that you are not to be trusted particularly in a stage in their life when they are just learning.

Chanclas teach kids that they can get what they want by being physically violent.

harryswife801 / Twitter


As parents, we’re physically stronger and bigger than our children. When we use our size to overpower our children and try to get them to behave a certain way we’re teaching them that to get what you want you can abuse those who are smaller and weaker than they are. This is a classic example of why kids who are often abused at home often go to school and end up bullying their peers.

The reason for the spanking gets lots on them.

andheri5 / Twitter


They may forget why they are being spanked in the first place. They’re doing so much to avoid #lachancla that they can’t even fathom why they are in trouble.

Adults can lose control when expressing anger physically.

 
SaludAmerica / Twitter

When you give yourself a chance to hit your child you put yourself at risk of being an abusive parent. As adults we often experience so much stress and have a hard time coping as it is when we are frustrated, upset, sad or tired. When we start to hit our kids during moments of stress, our minds ultimately begin to associate the feeling as a release for the mind. Soon enough you could look to abusing your kid as a way to stop feeling stressed out.

It could damage your relationship with your child.

Giphy


Studies on the effects of physical punishment have found that the more spankings a child receives, the more likely they are to become defiant towards their parents and authorities, which means a decrease in the quality of their relationships with their parents.

You may not get the reaction you are looking for.

“Coco” / Walt Disney Pictures /Pixar Animation Studios

When spanking a child it’s likely that your initial intent might be to correct your child’s poor behavior, but what extents will you go in the moment of punishment if the reaction you want doesn’t happen?

You become the bully

 
FanGirl / Twitter

Kids are resilient and remember everything. Why let them think of you like that? After so long they will start to remember. Why become the bully instead of the parent?

Disrupting their self-confidence

 
EuniqueJG / Twitter

It’s almost like being in a relationship and feeling like you are emotionally being tortured. That’s what it’s like for kids. Even though they lose to test you and think everything is funny. Doing this constantly just is not.

You’re bullying a future child who will go onto get bullied by others

 
SaludAmerica / Twitter

Then parents wonder why their kids are being bullied. Even being yelled at furiously. Many kids end up becoming the bullied from being bullied at home. What’s more, children are more likely to become adult victims of abuse when they are older if they think that their parent’s abusive behavior is appropriate.

They won’t be a leader

 
vikypicon / Instagram

Growing up I was always taught the future of a Latina is being a leader. When you instill bullying or fear how is your child going to be a leader when you aren’t?

You’re not strong

 
EuniqueJG / Twitter

Spanking your kids can cause kids to think about all the pain they have to endure instead what they should focus on.

It’s really not that funny

 
lgbtdaniela / Twitter

La Chancla is classic even to Latinos. All in all, it’s not as funny as many people put it.  Realizing this is not a funny way to discipline will help in the long run.

Older peers aren’t that powerful

 
Giphy

Every generation is different. It’s okay to give lessons to your parents or grandparents gave you. Have your own form of parenting to make your own mark.

I don’t want to be that parent

Modern Family

As a mother I don’t want to be pushed so using positive reinforcement is the way to go or you do end up feeling like spanking is the way to go.

Our world is already full of violence

dulcedolan / Twitter

Fueling to the fire isn’t what Latinos are about. We want peace even within our families. We don’t want to be the stereotype on why the world is the way it is. This all starts at home.

I’m not the reason why mental health is out of control

journoresource / Twitter

Our kids are the future. This means their mental health can become at stake when spanking as a form discipline.

I’m not their friend but I am their role model

hakire / Instagram

This is the main part of being a Latino mom. Uplifting to do better than what you had. Even if you had a great life before motherhood.

 You’re raising an influencer

Giphy

Making sure your child knows their worth is important. By spanking your kids you may instill a notion that they aren’t.

 It’s the 2000’s, not 1950!

 
I Love Lucy

Things have changed. That even includes parenting. It was okay to spank your kids but after all this time look at what it has put on our society and our future. What does it really teach you as a Latina Mom. Be strong and better than that.


Recommend this story by clicking the share button below! 

Notice any corrections needed? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

HBO’s Latest Documentary “The Sentence” Sheds Light On How Unjust Mandatory-Minimum Sentences Can Break A Family

things that matter

HBO’s Latest Documentary “The Sentence” Sheds Light On How Unjust Mandatory-Minimum Sentences Can Break A Family

On February 29, 2008, Cindy Shank’s life changed forever. That’s the day the Lansing, Michigan-based Mexican-American was sentenced to 15 years in prison on drug conspiracy charges, forcing her to be a mother, wife, daughter and sister from hundreds of miles away for nonviolent crimes she did not commit. Her story is the subject of “The Sentence,” an award-winning documentary filmed by Shank’s brother, Rudy Valdez, exploring the injustice of mandatory-minimum sentencing. 

“I don’t think anyone else could have made this film about my family. I don’t think it would have had the same effect,” Valdez, who started shooting videos of his three nieces — Autumn, Annalis and Ava — so that his older sister could watch some of the many moments she missed while away in prison when she returned home, told FIERCE. The home recordings inspired a documentary eight months into Shank’s sentence, when she cried over the phone imagining her oldest daughter dance at an upcoming recital. “I had an opportunity to tell a story you don’t get to hear about: the family, the children left behind and the residual effects of long sentences,” he continued.

That story begins in 2002, when Shank’s then-boyfriend, Alex Humphry, who started selling drugs after they began dating, was murdered.

When police officers arrived at the scene, they found 20 kilograms of cocaine, a kilogram of crack cocaine, 40 pounds of marijuana, $40,000 and guns. While mourning the death of her partner, Shank was indicted for multiple drug crimes. Maintaining her innocence — she alleges she was never a part of her late ex’s drug offenses — she declined a plea deal and, with no evidence against her, was released from jail with her case dismissed.

In the years that followed, Shank moved on with her life: she fell in love again, got married, bought a home and had three daughters. But during an early morning in March 2007, police once again knocked on her door, this time arresting Shank on federal charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

“Conspiracy is knowledge. Any knowledge you have of a crime, you could be charged for that crime,” Shank says in the nearly one hour and thirty minute-long film. “Basically, I lived in the home, so any crimes he committed while we lived together I was charged with.”

Shank, nor her parents, husband or brother, has ever denied guilt for not informing police officers of her boyfriend’s misdeeds. Throughout the documentary, her, and her worried family, take issue with the unfairness of her 15-year prison term. For the family, as well as the litigators and experts interviewed for the film, mandatory-minimum sentencing laws — controversial regulations that encourage strict sentencing rules over judicial discretion — account for one of the greatest failures of the U.S. government. The law, once considered unconstitutional, puts power into the hands of prosecutors, rather than judges, and has been abused in the drug war to punish tens of thousands of low-level, nonviolent state and federal defendants with harsh terms.

In the film, Valdez is one of the biggest opponents of mandatory-minimum sentencing, speaking with media about the wrongfulness of these laws and unceasingly fighting, through failed appeals and a clemency petition, to have her sister released early. His battle comes to a triumphant end in November 2016, eight years into Shank’s term, when then-President Barack Obama commuted his sister’s sentence. Shank was released on December 21, 2016, just in time to surprise her daughters for the holidays.

“The best is the little things: holding my daughters at night, having conversations with them, knowing them from the inside out. I know Ava doesn’t like cheese. I know how much I have to tickle Annalis to get the dimple on her cheek,” Shank, now 45, told FIERCE.

But she’s the first to acknowledge that her long-awaited release hasn’t just brought sunny days.

Shank, whose husband filed for divorce three years into her sentence, is trying to build relationships with daughters, who know her more from five-minute phone conversations and annual prison visits than caring for them at home.

“The hardest is the late-night conversations. Annalis comes to me and asks why were you gone. We are still having these talks and will throughout our lives. Who knows what’s to come? We won’t know the ramifications of all of this until the future. We’ll see it in what lies ahead and the decisions they make,” she added.

Accompanying her pain for lost time is that of the continued years, months, weeks and days of the people who, like she once was, remain behind bars because of unjust mandatory-minimum sentences. Shank was one of more than 35,000 inmates who requested consideration for a commuted or reduced sentence through the non-government affiliated organization the Clemency Project 2014, and she is one of less than 2,000 to receive it.

“When Rudy told me it was just 1,600 people, it crushed me. My heart crushed because I know what that’s like. Every time a list would come out, I would look to see if I was on it — for three years. I know what it’s like to have that hope and to feel defeated every time it lets you down. Hope is hard to have, and yet it’s the hardest to live without,” she said.

For Valdez, this documentary isn’t for his sister, his nieces or his parents. Instead, it’s for the tens of thousands whose names were not listed, for those who continue to be forgotten in the U.S.’ criminal justice system.

“This film is about the larger issue. Her story is emblematic of everyone else, of the people still there and of the children still going through this,” Valdez said. “This is for those who are going to go through this fight in the future and those who have been left behind.”

Check out the trailer below:

Watch “The Sentence” on Monday, October 15 at 8 p.m. ET on HBO.

Read: Locked Up: How Latinas Became One Of The Fastest-Growing Prison Populations

Recommend this story by clicking the share button below!

Notice any corrections needed? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

The Latina-Founded Group ‘Running Mamis’ Allows Mothers Of Color To Stay Active And In Community

Running This

The Latina-Founded Group ‘Running Mamis’ Allows Mothers Of Color To Stay Active And In Community

Mountains of diapers and hungry mouths to feed can be the reason why self-care and fitness fall by the wayside for many mothers. Because most childfree friends cannot relate, mommy groups — online and IRL — can be a godsend, but Latinas and other mamis of color who could benefit from the advice and commiseration a mommy group offers are having a hard time finding spaces that reflect their experiences, language and culture.

Prior to her pregnancy, Jo Anna Mixpe Ley was an avid runner. When she wasn’t jogging across bridges that connect Los Angeles’ historically Latino eastside neighborhoods to the once-gritty-now-gentrified downtown with her running crew, the Boyle Heights Bridge Runners, Ley was training for and running in marathons. She continued to run throughout her pregnancy, but when she searched for a mommy and me fitness class in her neighborhood after giving birth to her now 11-month-old daughter, she came up short.

“There wasn’t another mommy running group in the area, so I went to the westside to do an exercise class and it was cool, but I was literally the only Latina in the group,” said Ley, who after coming to that realization, felt compelled to ask the señoras taking care of other women’s children in a playground nearby if she would be judged by the women in the class.

(Photo courtesy of Running Mamis)

“Luckily, they didn’t judge me, but it was a really harsh reality to see. I mean, you know there is a lack of access for women like me, but to actually experience it was a whole other thing,” she told FIERCE.

The lack of Latina mommy groups pushed Ley and a small group of mujeres from Los Angeles’ eastside to start Running Mamis in March. The group has grown to include 15 mothers between the ages of 25 and 45 who meet twice a month to run, jog or walk with their babies and toddlers in tow. In addition to running, the group incorporates other activities, like circuit training, wellness classes and salsa night playdates for mamis and babies — all free of charge.

L.A.’s eastside is made up of mostly low-income predominantly Latino neighborhoods, where affordable fitness centers are lacking, green space is limited and dated infrastructure makes the streets unsafe for runners, so the moms decided to meet at the Los Angeles Historic State Park, a 32-acre space that is easily accessed from the eastside and downtown.

“We needed a safe space to run with strollers, but it’s also about creating a safe open space for women to share their birthing and postpartum experiences, breastfeeding and the struggles of being a mom,” said Ley of the group, which uses their Instagram account to share deals and discounts they find on jogging strollers and resources in the community.

(Photo Credit: Raquel Zamora)

The women have expressed their appreciation for having a group in their neighborhood, said Ley, but some come from as far as 20 miles away on Los Angeles’ congested freeways to meet up with other mothers of color, not only to run, but also for the community that’s been created.

“It’s a no-judgment zone. If you forget a diaper, nobody is going to think you’re a bad mom. We want to create these spaces where you’re comfortable enough to say my kid has a soggy ass diaper and nobody judges you,” said Monica Perez, a community organizer and mother of three.

Birthing experiences can affect a mother’s mental health and, as a result, her fitness routine. Such is the case for Running Mami Raquel Zamora. It took her more than a year to start running again after giving birth because of postpartum depression.

“I was expecting to have a natural birth, and when I didn’t, I was really disappointed. The healing process takes so much longer with a C-section, so it took me a while, but having this group has helped,” said Zamora, a mental health therapist and mother of a two-year-old toddler. “Its for my own mental health.”

(Photo Credit: Jo Anna Mixpe Ley)

The group is continuing to grow organically. Workshops and events transpire as the mamis express their wants and needs. In May, the Running Mamis were the only team that ran the Moms Helping Moms 5k with strollers. Since then, they have signed up to do three marathons as a group in October.

Their good fortune to be able to bond with their children while running does not go unnoticed by the moms. At a recent gathering, they set an intention before their run for the undocumented immigrant mothers and children being separated at the border.

“Knowing that everything is connected and us being able to be with our children in that way, in that space, is really special, and acknowledging that currently there are people who can’t do that is important, so we were able to dedicate the last run to them,” said Zamora.

Ultimately, that is why Ley created the space: for mamis of color to be there for each other and for themselves.

“A lot of times when you become a mom you feel like your body is not even yours anymore. It takes a while for moms to reclaim their bodies, so it’s great to see moms putting themselves first again and thinking about self-care, their bodies and their health,” said Ley.

Read: Not Seeing Women Represented In Extreme Sports, This Colombiana Skater Created An All-Girl Collective In Bogotá

Recommend this story by clicking the share button below!

Notice any corrections needed? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com