You’ve all likely heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” That’s why we all need to support each other. Some of you may wonder what that truly means, and some of you may be able to testify to the truth of that quote from your own experience. The idea is that the presence of support outside your home can be extremely beneficial to your child and family as a whole. Here are a few reasons why:
- Parenting can be challenging at times. And that’s ok. Having people outside the home that you can trust with your child can provide so much support for a caregiver. Whether it’s watching your child when unexpected obligations come up, picking your child up from school when you have to work late, or anything else. The more trusted resources we have, the better.
- Outside perspectives can be helpful. There are often numerous ways to solve the same problem, and it’s not uncommon to let our emotions fuel our first response when it comes to our kids. Having a third party who can help navigate situations from another point of view can help parents react and respond to situations in a more thoughtful way, ultimately benefitting their child.
- Community support can offer a sense of connectedness for caregivers. It’s not uncommon to feel like you’re out on your own little island as a parent. This could be for a number of reasons – maybe previous relationships and friendships shifted after having kids; maybe you drifted away from previous community groups you belonged to just because priorities shifted; or maybe you’re a brand new parent or even step-parent and just trying to navigate raising a child. Whatever it is, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Finding connection with others can be so validating and supportive for a caregiver. Things like the PTA at school, religious studies groups, workout groups, or girl scout troop leaders. Figure out what your available resources are, and pick what feels most comfortable for you.
- Community support is also important for your child to develop bonds with others and increase their support system. We know that having a strong support system often helps with overall coping through challenging times, and it’s important for kids to have these resources. Maybe it’s a teacher, a coach, a pastor, or an extended family member. Whoever it is, your child can have that positive, outside bond that will increase their sense of support.