"It takes a village to raise a child”

▴ It takes a village to raise a child
Effective parenting plays a crucial role in shaping children into well-rounded individuals capable of thriving in various aspects of life” Dr.Amita Phadnis Pediatrics and Neonatology ONP hospital
The original African proverb might have been “It takes a village to raise a child” but the reverse is equally true. Why do we think that children are just the passive recipients of our goodwill and effort? If you think about it, children feel much more strongly about their world.
In Indian culture, determining where the answer lies feels intuitive; the immediate inclination is that it indeed takes the entire village to raise a child. Not too distant in the past, and still present in some regions, the joint family system was intricately woven into the fabric of village life. Within this framework, the child was regarded as belonging to the entire community, with the collective responsibility of upbringing shared by all.

ONP hospital arranged one program for parents where Dr. Amita Phadnis- HOD, Pediatrics & Neonatology Director, Oyster & Pearl HospitalsPune shared her thoughts,“In our rapidly evolving society, returning to or embracing a communal lifestyle akin to village living poses challenges without straightforward solutions. However, amidst these changes, I propose that parents take proactive steps to cultivate a supportive community for their children. Surrounding them with diverse mentors and caregivers can offer invaluable guidance and expose them to varied perspectives, fostering holistic development and preparing them for life's complexities. Building such a community around your child can significantly contribute to their well-rounded growth and overall success”.

Further she said, Extended family members can offer emotional and financial stability. Grandparents create a stable, secure, affectionate, and enjoyable atmosphere for their grandchildren, contributing significantly to their upbringing and strengthening family ties. Their presence benefits the entire family, as they impart wisdom, knowledge, and life guidance gained from raising children themselves. By sharing their experiences, grandparents alleviate household stress, offer assistance in various situations, and instill a profound sense of security. A strong bond between grandchildren and grandparents mutually enriches their lives.

It requires a community to nurture a child. Although quality daycare can offer assistance to parents, the individualized care provided by an extended family is invaluable. In such settings, grandparents or other relatives share responsibilities in raising the child. Nonetheless, there are inevitable obstacles in living with extended family. Let's delve into the advantages of residing in a joint family and how it positively impacts the child's development over time.

Over the past century, the concept of community has undergone significant changes, regardless of whether one resides in a rural, suburban, or urban setting. Family structures have shifted away from intergenerational cohabitation, particularly with the rise of the nuclear family model. As people transitioned from rural to urban to suburban lifestyles and back again, extended families often became dispersed, leading to fractured connections. The prevalence of busyness in our lives has hindered efforts to connect with our neighbours, while social media has altered our understanding of friendship and connection, often keeping us glued to screens rather than engaging with those around us.

This shift has had noticeable effects on both parents and children. Although the saying "it takes a village to raise a child" remains relevant, the sense of community necessary for nurturing, creative, and safe child-rearing has diminished. Consequently, families miss out on valuable learning opportunities and essential support networks. Many parents find themselves isolated and struggling alone, while children lack exposure to diverse personalities and experiences.
Research suggests that children raised in extended families exhibit greater adaptability and resilience compared to those raised in nuclear households. Extended families offer emotional and psychological support to children through shared resources and social cohesion. The practice of sharing and caring among family members, coupled with consistent presence and support, fosters a nurturing environment for children, instilling values of warmth and appreciation.

The values held by grandparents usually lean towards culture and tradition. Due to the generation gap between them and their grandchildren, there are inevitably differing perspectives and preferences. Although children often dislike learning about history, there's no better source than those who lived through it. With the younger generation heavily reliant on phones and screens, appreciation for simple pleasures is waning. Grandparents play a crucial role in imparting the importance of outdoor activities and embracing life to its fullest to their grandchildren.

Coming together for activities helps strengthen the bond in intergenerational relationships. Grandparents often develop deep affection for their grandchildren, driven by their unconditional love. Despite being overlooked, grandparents play a crucial role in imparting wisdom and offering support to their grandchildren. They bring wisdom, joy, and connection to the family dynamic. The love they share with their grandchildren mirrors the parent-child bond. However, distance can sometimes strain this relationship. Yet, with care and attention, this bond can flourish, enhancing the family's love and unity.

The significance of community
Strong and supportive communities foster not only physical but also emotional well-being within families. The notion of "going it alone," especially in raising children, often leads to strained mental health, despite the facade of perfection portrayed on social media platforms like Instagram. Parents frequently experience stress, judgment, and feelings of inadequacy, leading to genuine burnout and exhaustion. However, without a surrounding community to acknowledge and validate these struggles, many individuals feel isolated in their suffering.

Furthermore, the decline of communal living results in a scarcity of shared resources among families. This encompasses everything from simple acts like meal-swapping to more significant benefits such as having a trusted individual to entrust your children with. As a consequence, both parents and children miss out on opportunities that enrich their lives and expose them to diverse perspectives and lifestyles.
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