15 Aug “It (STILL) Takes A Village To Raise A Child”
Children Are Our future
As Dr. Popkin says “If the future of our society is our children, then the key to that future rests primarily with parents and teachers. Many schools, religious institutions, social service centers, and other community organizations are responding to this responsibility by offering support to parents through programs such as Active Parenting.” Parents cannot do it alone—they need help—it takes a village. If we as a community are invested in supporting each other—like a village, children will grow up in a safe and healthy environment.
Find Your Village
There’s a reason the old African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” still rings true. It is a time-tested concept. Parents need support from their families and communities. When children hear similar positive messages from different people in different settings, the message has a better chance of getting through. All children, and especially spirited children, need to learn lessons from other well-intentioned and capable adults to supplement what they learn at home. As Dr. Popkin discusses in “Taming the Spirited Child”—sources of support (a.k.a. the Village) include:
- Friends and relatives: parents and children can often become engaged in a power struggle and children may tune out messages from their parents. But hearing the same messages or concepts from a favorite relative or friend can be an effective reinforcement. More than this, it is important for children to see their roots, to know they are part of something larger than themselves.
- Leaders/Parenting Education Groups: at Active Parenting, we believe Parenting Educators—LEADERS like many of you, have a profound impact on a child’s life. Parenting Classes can provide parents with the skills and tools they need to protect and prepare children to THRIVE in the world in which they live.
- School: teachers play an integral role in shaping young hearts and minds into the adults of tomorrow. Teachers and parents can support each other in their common goal of helping the child to develop and grow.
- Spiritual Community: parents can benefit tremendously with support from a loving spiritual community that reflects their own beliefs. A positive youth group can help children build a sense of self-worth and belonging.
- Mental health resources: counseling may be an avenue of support required for children exhibiting signs of these issues:
- Anxiety disorders
- Mood disorders
- Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder
- Learning disorders
- Eating, sleeping, and toileting problems
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Conduct disorder
- Sports, arts, hobbies, and recreation: being a part of a group that shares similar likes is a great outlet for a child’s energy. And parents cannot expect to be everything to their child all of the time. A healthy childhood includes exploring interests and working with others. It’s important for children to have the COURAGE to try new things—after all, how will you know unless you try? There are other reasons a team or group is a great idea:
- It will foster COOPERATION and encourage RESPECT for others.
- Mastering new skills will help to develop SELF-ESTEEM.
There are many options for all budgets:
- Recreational athletic leagues
- After-school sports
- Private lessons from karate to guitar
- Church or community center leagues
- Sports like biking, rollerblading, rock climbing, and skateboarding
- Choral groups, bands, orchestras, and other musical opportunities
- Scouting or other outdoor-based organizations
- Religious youth groups
- Civic groups for families that share an interest in charitable work
- Summer camps
- And more! Find out what is available in your community.
Healthy activities offer children a chance to be engaged with others, cultivating relationships and as such, have more value than screen time.
How Leaders Support Parents
Any job requires training. The idea of training for parents—one of the most important jobs you can have—is too often dismissed or overlooked. Many parents believe they should just know how to do it. There are very few things that don’t require some amount of training—breathing is one, parenting is NOT. At Active Parenting, we are dedicated to our mission of preparing parent educators for “every stage, every step,” so they can provide the most effective tools and skills to the families they serve. Parents can use these skills to foster in their children the qualities necessary for thriving in society:
COURAGE • COOPERATION • RESPONSIBILITY • SELF-ESTEEM • RESPECT
Helping and Accepting Help Go Hand in Hand
Children do not exist in a bubble. Children will need to learn to help and accept help from others. Parents can model this by accepting help from families, friends, and the community in which they live.
“We will surely get to our destination if we join hands.”
~ Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese Political Leader
The Cycle of Community
In the graphic above the child is shown at the center with the levels of support radiating out. The outer rings represent “The Village”. We all play each role during our lifetime. The child will grow and may one day be a parent, caregiver, or Leader and will certainly be a neighbor or friend. Providing support for people in their lives. How the child is cared for by this network of support can predict what kind of neighbor or member of society they will be.
It Takes A Village—So Build One!
Be a part of someone else’s village. Join with other parents at your child’s school and organizations in your community to make it a better place to raise children. Get involved. Be active. You will benefit. Your family will benefit. And so will your community.
A World of Villages
Hopefully your village is made up of supportive family/friends, patient and engaged teachers, and Leaders who can teach you vital parenting skills. Skills and traits—such as COOPERATION, COMMUNICATION, RESPONSIBILITY, COURAGE, SELF-ESTEEM are not only useful in parenting but also in any relationship. Imagine if the world were just a series of connected villages where people are quick to lend a hand and lead with love rather than hate or fear.
- Taming the Spirited Child by Michael H. Popkin, Ph.D.
- Active Parenting 4th edition Parent’s Guide by Michael H. Popkin, Ph.D.
- It Takes a Village to Raise a Child: Understanding and Expanding the Concept of the “Village” from the National Library of Medicine
Active Parenting Publishers has been providing research-based education programs with an emphasis on nonviolent discipline, mutual respect, and open communication for over 40 years.
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