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I am tired, angry, and discouraged with the number of deaths by gun violence over the last 2-3 years. As a mother with two sons, I thought about how I would feel if my sons were shot or killed randomly by another young Black male or by police. I mean, nowadays, there is such a disdain for life by lost souls that a bullet meant for someone else can find its way to my boys.

When I read the news accounts on how (substitute any dead young man’s name here) was killed, I wonder the last words were that his mother said to him. I think about how he was raised, who were the influential people in his life, was he part of the problem or part of the solution? Since it has become an epidemic of young men dying by gun violence, I’ve changed my focus from the mothers of sons who have died, to the mothers of sons who are doing the shooting.

That’s who I want to think about in this post. Who do these young men go to for guidance? What kind of manners are they taught? What are their unmet needs? Do they need more love, more male interaction, or do they suffer from an untreated mental illness? Their behavior on the streets ref reflects their upbringing. It starts at home with good consistent parenting. Sons don’t start out bad, they are allowed to misbehave. That behavior is reinforced when we don’t chastise, redirect, discipline and teach them how to respect us, each other and themselves.

When I was growing up and got out of control, we were called ‘wild hooligans’ and punished. Bad behavior was not tolerated. Nowadays, what are the consequences for temper tantrums for these boys at ages 2, 3 and 4? This is the age to train them to respect their parents and authority. It’s almost impossible to wait until your son is a teenager to try to train him on respect and good behavior.

My oldest son was raised by his mother. I got to be a part of his life when he was a late teen. He was very well-mannered and respectful because that’s how he was raised. My younger son spent part of his younger years with me when I was a single parent and his high school years with his father. He too, understood the rules.

What I’m saying here is that respect and good behavior is learned and reinforced. The same is true for misbehavior. If you allow your son to say anything he wants to you, especially when he’s young and you think it’s cute, then you are breeding a monster. If he is a handful, put some male role models in his life either through your church, the local YMCA or a fraternity sponsored program.

Mothers, we can stop the gun violence now. Start controlling your ‘wild hooligan’. Teach your son how to treat people and how to behave appropriately, so that the streets or law enforcement won’t have to.

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