by Zettler Clay::

I was raised in an environment where whippings were doled out like credit cards on a college campus. Yet, I was spared from quite a few as well.

I was in somebody’s church every Sunday, listening to somebody’s gospel album every day and immersed in the rudiments of Scripture. Yet, I was a frequent viewer of Rated R movies and listener of explicit lyrics.

My mother was a proponent of tough love. “An emergency on your part does not mean an inconvenience on mine,” was a frequent saying of hers. She would routinely tell my teachers to not spare me the rod. Yet…

You get where this is going. Many of us were raised in similar environments, where contradictions abounded and the only consistency in parenting methods was that inconsistency iteself. Kinda’ like politics.

The intractable right wing versus the benevolent left wing, or the responsible right wing pitted against the lax left wing? We see these petty debates and commentary on the tube, but don’t realize their intimate implications. We all adhere to a political ideology whether we care to admit it or not.

Consider this:

Black families started off as a strong suit, but have been mired in a state of deterioration and decadence over the last half-century. Today, stories of single-parent households, apathetic fathers and financial impotence are rampant among hued households. Listening to my grandmother talk the other day about her children – my father included – I started thinking about bipartisan parenthood in the black community.

For instance my grandmother, who is very protective of her offspring, will come to the rescue if any of us needed her in a pinch and is not discriminatory in her love. Sounds like a left-winger, yes? Meanwhile, my mother is more hands-off, strict, and gives incentives for us (my sister and I) to do well. Hand-outs were rarely – and grudgingly – given. Yep…she took a page out of the Republican handbook.

Both were effective parents in their own right, with a few flaws in their mechanisms as well. If I had to choose, I favor the right-wing mode of parenting with a dash of proactive intervention. No bailing out (cough, cough), but knowing when to step in and inject some relief before it’s too late. It’s my belief that too many black families coddle their children past the age of coddling. I’m not talking about finances either. There’s a shortage of mentally and emotionally mature young men because parents spoil them too much.

So what sayeth you: Which method of parenting is more effective? Is bipartisanship needed or will one end of the party continuum suffice?