It Takes A Village To Raise A Kid: Importance Of Community In Child-Rearing

It Takes A Village To Raise A Kid: Importance Of Community In Child-Rearing

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IN THIS ARTICLE

Did you think bringing up a healthy and happy child all alone is a good option? If yes, you would be surprised to learn that sociological studies think otherwise (1). After childbirth and during the early years of childhood, the mother and the baby immensely benefit from a rich network circle: family, friends, neighborhood, and the community in general.

The famous proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child”, is a well-accepted fact. This saying points to the dependence of new parents on the social network around them, seeking support in raising the baby. Village life has helped one thrive, feel included, accepted, purposeful and safe. Raising a child alone can be an incredibly stressful experience without help and cooperation, which is where a “village” can offer some respite: celebrating and solving problems together.

1. How Does A Community Help In Child Rearing?

How Does A Community Help In Child Rearing?

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Receiving social support can be highly stress-relieving for an overwhelmed new mom. In today’s isolated society where a mother would only have the help of her partner, taking care of the baby along with all the professional work and household chores can be too much even for two pairs of hands. Historically speaking, mothers have reared children together, neighbors and strangers in the community have tended to each other’s sorrows and wounds, bearing the burdens of life as a family. Since cities and families are now diversified, the importance of a “village” in nurturing a child has reduced considerably. In rural settings, the community was the primary source of all answers, more so in child-rearing matters. With community life becoming more formalized and a more significant number of people insisting on handling their issues and challenges independently, the community role has evolved, if not been wiped out completely

2. Community Life Provides A Sense Of Belongingness

Community Life Provides A Sense Of Belongingness

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It offers opportunities for personal growth and to help others grow as well. As social connections diversify, children become extra confident with enhanced life and interpersonal skills. The more a child interacts with the community, the more is the sense of belongingness and sense of responsibility.

3. Community Shapes Attitudes And Belief Systems

Community Shapes Attitudes And Belief Systems

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They instill community values that help the child face life with confidence. Community support, especially from the elderly, has been crucial in child-rearing due to their wisdom and experience (2). Prompt help is necessary for those planning to have a baby, expectant mothers, new moms, and further as the child is introduced to more comprehensive social settings. This is especially useful for parents who are more family-centered than professionally-centered.

4. Community Support Builds Optimism In New Parents

Community Support Builds Optimism In New Parents

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When working mothers receive support from their friends, relatives, and people in the neighborhood, they report less stress, balance their home and work life better and are more optimistic about parenting. Also, when parents have a healthy approach and outlook towards child-rearing, they are likely to raise happy and well-adjusted children (3). This is reflected even in our modern lives when we get together with our family and friends during the holidays. In a sense, village community life gives people the holiday feels on a regular basis.

5. Community Helps In Problem-Solving

Community Helps In Problem-Solving

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Complications may accompany child-rearing. During times of distress, the community offers help which strengthens bonds and friendships. As parents find a place they can go to under trying circumstances, they can deal with uncertainties better. The experience of the elders can be of great help in many situations where you might be lost for solutions.

6. What Are The Drawbacks Of A Loss Of Community Support In Child Rearing?

What Are The Drawbacks Of A Loss Of Community Support In Child Rearing?

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The loss of a child-rearing village can have major consequences: a mother who lacks community support can face internal conflicts and worries. This needs to be addressed for her emotional, physical, and social wellbeing.

  • Parents are under immense pressure to become ideal caregivers. They suffer the fear of a failed parenthood or parenting incompetence. Alone, they may need to resolve all conflicting situations single-handedly. This may give rise to more anxiety as they struggle to meet social expectations (4). Having other parents and their children around in a superficial way will give rise to petty competition among parents no matter how much you try not to.
  • As community living is becoming rarer and rarer, the children do not learn things the “natural” way, it is a stumbling block on feeding their curiosities and nurturing their creativity (5).
  • Friends and social networks are likely to impact one’s fertility choices (6). The birth rate may deteriorate without child-rearing support as women prioritize their careers over motherhood.
  • Parents have to search for community support groups which leads to a heavy reliance on social media. This has been found to increase stress, inadequacy, and unhappiness. It is a trap. Social media actively perpetuates a sense of isolation and guilt by forcing a consumerist lifestyle to fill the void, thus shaping feelings of unworthiness (7)
  • As loneliness and isolation increase, the child’s social development is highly impacted. Children who are isolated and do not receive community love and care are less playful, have slow language development, and develop disturbing social behavior.

7. How Can You Create Your Village For Support?

How Can You Create Your Village For Support?

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Seeking support is crucial when you need it. Even if you are away from your family and friends, you can still build your network in the following ways:

  • Respect everyone.
  • Be generous with those around you. People are likely to gravitate towards you.
  • Engage in a new hobby or class that allows you to meet new people.
  • Join local community groups on social media. Avoid spamming to build trust and reliability.
  • Love thy neighbour. Get to know them and offer help when they ask for it.
  • Be charitable and stay proactive in community works. Kindness attracts kindness.

As our lives become more complex in a fast-paced world, it necessitates a strong community life around our individual spaces. With the numerous advantages, a village offers in child-rearing, cooperation with and support of the community is integral to raising healthy kids. How did you vibe with your tribe after your child’s birth? Do share your stories with us in the comments section below!

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Effects of Stress and Social Support on Mothers and Premature and Full-Term Infants
    https://www.jstor.org/stable/1129878?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents
  2. Community Child-Rearing Support Scale: Applicability across generations and differences in the supportive behaviors among generations
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30068818/
  3. An investigation of social support networks for working mothers
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15794591/
  4. Beliefs regarding child anxiety and parenting competence in parents of children with separation anxiety disorder
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22922077/
  5. The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds
    https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/119/1/182
  6. Does Fertility Behavior Spread among Friends?
    https://www.asanet.org/sites/default/files/savvy/journals/ASR/Jun14ASRFeature.pdf
  7. New Mothers and Media Use: Associations Between Blogging Social Networking and Maternal Well-Being
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51806926_New_Mothers_and_Media_Use_Associations_Between_Blogging_Social_Networking_and_Maternal_Well-Being
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