The village to raise a child is missing

The village to raise a child is missing

Somewhere in Africa, an old proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child”. Profound truth. No one needs to add further words to the proverb. Parenting is indeed not a one-man task. It needs an interacting active community to raise a child in a happy and safe environment. They are the thriving support system.

In the previous post of the series “Dilemma faced by modern parents,” we expressed a view on Evolution of parenting. How parenting has changed magnanimously from our grandparents to us? The art of raising a child has changed and today’s parent is pondering if they are doing it right. Even before a child is conceived, rounds of judgments do exists. No Sherlock moment here. However, the moment a child comes in scenario the center of the universe shifts. And here the talk is more diverse than what’s-the-gender. Making the parent worried if they are just doing it the right ways or are they qualified to be a good parent. Can you see the thunders of pressure?

We are in a period of time where parents believe they have to do it all, all by themselves and all to perfection. The parents are under immense pressure.

Another strong reason to have a village.

It takes a village to raise a child.

Why do we need a village?

The village is figurative here. The village has grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and more people. Doesn’t this remind you of joint families of India or the vacations when you were surrounded by cousins? A village to raise a child.

Surrounded by people the child discovers other people who love them unparalleled and gets a pack of supporters. A child does have parental support and guidance but the additional volume of love and cheering encourages a child. During tough times like illness, the village takes up parenting job. Including the breastfeeding troubles, baby blues, and postpartum depression phases. There is always someone to listen to a parent’s trouble and give probable solutions. The community plays, care and listen to child tirelessly. When one is worn-out, others take over.

The village makes a strong bond with children giving a sense of wholeness with the community. The child gets exposed to a bigger world, knows about things more than just himself. There is team bonding.

The child understands the dynamics of love, relationship, culture, festivals, traditions, and food palate better. Playdates don’t need meticulous planning and preparations. Every day is a play date.

it takes a village to raise a child
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The case of missing village

In India last century saw the migration of people in several ways for several reasons. People moved from villages to towns and cities hoping a better quality of life. Many moved out of the country seeking opportunities to uplift life. The lifestyle did improve in many cases. The kids got better chances of education. The family received healthcare benefits. People started living the life of a global citizen. All are good until the village we talk about here started to scatter. Nuclear family setups do have pros and cons of their own, well one would say, so do the joint family or the village community. True.

Time saw a change in nuclear setup too. Parents, at times both started working out of the home. There were career desires, job opportunity and in some cases financial need. While things were good in one font as a parent is an individual too, one who has goals and dreams and consistently work on them.  Parenting with work pressure does take a toll on a parent’s mental happiness. Before you rebuke the theory, study says 70% of parents are unhappiest in the initial 2 years of parenthood. Their happiness graph drops drastically in the period. The exhausted parents feel loneliness and get detachment feeling.

Parents, who go by the label as working or SAHM or WFH, can’t love every single moment of parenthood. There are highs and lows. And if there is a parent who claims to love every nano-second is parenthood, possibly that’s psychological defense like justifying their choices.

How are those unhappy parent and village related?

For starters, that village would have at least given a hug to the parents. Later sorting them by sharing the load. The support system can boost the well being and morale of parents as well as children.

Though parents today seek help in the form of a nanny, daycare, and cook; the trust remains an issue. They also add another financial load to the family budget.

With an extended family, the threat of child abuse does exist too. Especially when statistics claim that most child abusers are known to the victim. Yet, with awareness and education, we can do prevention too. Like teaching about good touch and bad touch early in life, how to say No, whom to approach in absence of parents. Making the child aware of danger do help. Just like we talk about to avoid the thorny bushes or jumping from heights etc.

The village saves the parents from expectations mismatch. In case you wanted a child, who listens to you, talk calmly and smiles all day, you set your expectations to reach stars without a spaceship. The community hold you from physical worn-out, mental exhaustion, emotional drainage and intellectually challenged. If you are wondering how can adorable kids push parents up the wall, you are always welcome to babysit my toddler. Brush up all your knowledge till date before facing my toddler Penguin and all other kids. These munchkins can start talking about underpants and after 5 minutes they would strongly have opinions on dinosaur fossils. Interested take charge of potty training too. And if you are already a parent, hugs we are doing a brilliant job.

In the nuclear world, the village clearly faded. But what if the village to raise a child can be made again?

How to create a village when it takes a village to raise one

When it was said, it takes a village to raise a child. It included the parents too. Parents learn child-rearing too. At times from their own failures. Other times watching and learning from rest mass. So, why can’t we create one that saves the parents from burnout and gives the child a community too?

Network with neighbors and extended families living in the vicinity or even far. Travel and communicate with them all. Hard stuff but little effort will have a deep impact on lives. Collaborate in school and locality. Extend help to other parents.

The new village allows today’s modern parents to accept venerability, learn to parent together and receive help. Grow together.

Do you have a modern village around you?

This post is a part of the conversation about “Dilemma faced by modern parents in the early years of childhood”.

I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.


156 thoughts on “The village to raise a child is missing”

  1. so beautiful written, yes if we have village to raise family its charm is different but alas this has changed but we are working on modern village and my son raise in that modern village , blessed with lovely neighborhood

  2. I completely agree with you and personally I had seen so many ups and down in my parenting journey. Loved this post and like the solution too..looking forward for all upcoming posts. really loved your theme and You had done a great work for sharing all valuable inputs. #Surbhireads #Myfriendalexa

  3. This series hits a chord with me Pragnya. It is because we don’t have a village to raise a child that we start looking forward to online forums for non-judgmental advice. Unfortunately, the difference is huge. The end result is overworked and hyper stressed parents bringing up a child on their own.

    • Online forum do help a lot too Sonia. One just had to use a fine filter while seeking help. I got to understand my hyperlactation from online portal. my entire village was clueless and never heard of it earlier. But yes, the real hugs words and affection makes worst trouble easy.
      Thank you Sonia your affirmative word gives me a pat on back.

  4. Agree that it needs a village, but somehow I am not in support of huge joint families. Born and brought up in a family of 35 people, I actually did not enjoy staying together. Today we stay far from each other but we maintain good relations. But when we were together, we were not close by hearts. I still have that huge family at my mom’s side but can’t really think of having a huge family to raise my child. I am happy that my in laws are staying with us and they are a big support to raise my kiddo. But I nowhere expect all the cousins to come and stay together forever. We need modern villages now.

    • That’s understandable. In huge families there would be a difference in opinion yet they are bonded and can help in time of need without much hesitation.
      The modern village can have just grandparents too. they are ever loving and kind to kids.

  5. ohh..yes..we do have a modern village around us. and I guess we all should have one. kids need to understand different shades of relations and how the definition changes with every relation. We can teach them all this only when we have a modern village around us.

  6. Never got that village! Was raised in a family of four and the same is continued with my kids too. I wonder how people manage in joint families, must be fun. Liked the solution you have come up with, that definitely helps.

  7. This post is an eye-opener in many ways. I don’t have a child, so I can’t really comment authoritatively. But seeing others I believe noone has that village system support these days. I wish all parents read this post. Happy Alexa month!

  8. Wonderful read! You have explained it all in the most simple terms 🙂 I feel lucky to be raised with my granny, aunt and uncle’s along with my parents and younger sibling. It helps me a lot till date and I wish to do the same with my would be kid in future.
    #MyFriendAlexa #vigorousreads

  9. Thoroughly enjoyed your post Pagnya! What food for thought! Yes we are missing the social ecosystem needed to meet our need for affection and belongingness. Our children are deprived of the warmth of joint families, relatives that the earlier generation enjoyed. We can’t blame our kids to take up smartphones instead of enjoying family time.

  10. Parenting is becoming more and more tough. Appearance of computer, phone, social media have made life of a parent difficult. Being in a nuclear family where both parents work, one never knows what the kid is upto. With so many TV channels, availability of adult content at the finger tip does not make it any easier. More so when parents bring work home, many are tired after a long commute and office pressure and themselves immersed in their phones.

  11. Very well analyzed and put together! A child needs to grow up as a part of a society, to understand values of sharing, caring, bonding, relationships, struggles and more, to make him a well-rounded personality.

  12. What you say is really true but another thiNg is that we have become so impatient to the ideas of others. So more the number of people involved in parenting, more the number of ideas and judgements about handling the child. So maybe that is why parents prefer to leave everyone out. And that increases the stress further. What do you think.

    • True. There is always another side of story. Multiple people means multiple options on parenting. It might be stressful when one can’t cope up with pressure. But if you have a choice of choosing whom to follow in parenting, who actually cares about you and your children. That can be a turning point. In big families friction is bound to happen. It’s our respond that matters in the end

  13. i love the post. indeed raising a child in a herculean task. a figurative village would teach child a lots of things like sharing, compromise, team work, adaptability with are good qualities. lovely post.

  14. Very true! when we were children we had different times as compared to our children. That time the joint family concept was so much in that any one would willingly take care of the children and thus a village is needed to raise the children. However, with people going out for jobs things have chnaged. These days the nuclera setups are the in thing. However, the new parents should not shy away from asking for help from parents and neighbours, thereby, creating a village of their own. I guess this is the best way a village can be made. #ShubhraReads #MyFriendAlexa

  15. In my opinion, there is always a pros and cons of every lifestyle. Yes, I understand, village makes a strong bond.
    There is a lot of support when we are in joint family.

  16. Well written Pragnya, we always relate to the past and how our parents brought us up, however with changing times and nuclear families taking a front seat in our lives we can only wonder how to adapt.

  17. A nicely written post but I still feel the child needs his/her parents first, a joint family or village comes much later once baby’s need for love and care is satiated at home. Also, as a society we are still very conservative and laden with superstition…I guess we have to balance the pros and cons and leave each to their own decision. #thatchedroofreads #MyFriendAlexa

  18. True! In village, the child understands the dynamics of love, food palate, relationship, traditions culture, festivals, better which in nuclear families is missing. A nicely written post!

  19. Wow now thats what I call a great topic.. seriously this is a well thought of article and yes with many people around a child gets a wholesome upbringing and parents too are relieved to an extent.

  20. So beautifully penned down. In the nuclear family setups the village part is missing. But honestly, I feel that it can be cultivated and nurtured if the parents are willing to!! But our busy lifes will never just give time and space for the same

  21. So true, it takes a village to raise a child. Sadly in our urban lifestyle and nuclear setup all the essense of the village/ big group raising a child is long gone. having said this I feel this also gives us a sense of high responsibility to raise a better human .

  22. In today’s modern world where each aspect of parenting has many perspectives, the parents are ultimate guide. I agree we need multiple people around child to understand life better but at same time people should stop judging parents for their style of parenting. I guess parents needs to be more patient and open to listen to others advice

    • We can’t change others point of view but we can choose what to with the judgement faced. Something I am trying to write in sooner post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Meenal and Sonal

  23. Both joint and nuclear families have their positives and negatives as you say. And it is a fact that a large number of people go to raise a child including the school where the child get to learn lot of things. The teachers and other children are also part of the village.

  24. beautifully woven post highlighting a key dilemma of our times. the metaphor/ parallel of village is interesting and provides lot of fodder for deliberation. i think the aspirations and ambitions took us far away from the once inherent system of joint family. somehow, we, as a society, are still figuring out to build an alternate support system. but, as you have mentioned in your post, in the midst of all this, our children are losing out the opportunity to learn the basic emotions and values, in an organic way.

  25. This is such a very important topic that needs discussion. Even thinking of child rearing is a huge daunting task. The modern day problems have been discussed very aptly in this blog post.

  26. Interesting perspective Pragnya. I feel it indeed takes a village to raise a child and have been fortunate enough to get support when needed. I do agree with you that it’s becoming increasingly challenging now.

  27. Thank your Naya for this wonderful post the words really hit deep.
    although I’m not a parent but I could so relate to every word you wrote

  28. This is very true..children need a community to raise them and help them grow into complete individuals but these days it is nuclear parents left with the onerous task.
    #wordsmithkaurreads #BlogChatter #MyFriendAlexa

  29. Ahh…. What a hot topic for new parents like me.. like every coin has two faces… This village also comes with its own pros and cons.. I live with my parents and there are numerous times when they were equally a problem as they usually are a help..

  30. A great thought expressed beautifully in your writing. I am not a mother yet, but seeing other parents of my age, I kinda feel pressure especially since I stay away from my parents and in-laws.

  31. Next question that needs to be raised is Y was there a fallout from a village structure among us to nuclear… that might answer the inevitable that Y we is modern family under so much pressure.

    • Many grandparents are still working and have a life in different city. Can they wind up their life to join the grandchildren or can new parents take their work to tier -2 or 3 towns to stay with family? The nuclear set up is unavoidable for such situations.

  32. This is such an amazing post, Pragnya. Yes, parents are under constant pressure to parent well and at times we simply fail what to do. Yes, it’s time to have the back up of a village for better parenting.

  33. In today’s nuclear family culture, it’s becoming increasing difficult to raise a kid (or children!). This is a great post. I love the part about building a modern village. We have got to adapt ourselves to the changing times after all! Great post, Pragnyaji. 🙂

  34. You have penned down this thought so beautifully. Even I am raising my two kids all alone and in this too I face lots of judgement. So somewhere, a lot of pressure stays there in my mind that whether I am doing right or not.

  35. Can relate with all the circumstances,feels like it’s story of mine,but at somw point today’s parents are also have their limitation due to their job,an element which cannot be ignored.very nice topic raised by you.

  36. I kind of agree to this post, in villages or joint families parenting is a combination of many faces and duty shared by all. Probably the reason I find 80s kids more accommodating than any other gen. Lovely thoughts…

  37. I completely liked this, till I reached last para I was wondering how can we bring back the village at the end I realized I was raised in one such modern village only, with both my parents working we had neighbors who were closer than relatives, unfortunately I didn’t create same for my kids. but its never to late to take right measures, thanks for reminding that village still exists, and can be taken help from.

  38. Yesterday I read Darwin’s theory of evolution – it mentions that whatever we don’t use, nature discards it automatically e.g. the human tail. With time, we have started using our thumbs to type WhatsApp messages on the phone, but we don’t use our tongues when we meet a person offline. Families are getting smaller and our online friendlist, bigger. Its a sad state of affairs.
    I love the fact that your post has highlighted this very vital point and also focussed on the fact that one needs an ecosystem of family and friends to grow emotionally. Keep writing such informative posts! Thank you! #DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter #MyFriendAlexa

  39. An amazing post ! In today’s world indeed the child needs a village so that it may grow morally , spiritually. It makes the child realise how to deal with situations in life.

  40. I totally agree to your post and think it’s a much needed one today! Because of this missing village most parents are afraid to conceive a second child. They find it difficult to raise even one!

  41. My grandmother used to say how during their times the children grew up among so many people in a joint family that the mom never had to take any pressure except to check once a while, seems like some fairy tale these days.

  42. What a beautiful write-up. You have explained the plight of parenting very nicely. I being a new parent can relate to this how important is it for a child to grow up in a VILLAGE. Thanks for sharing this.

  43. I can completely agree with you on this. The way how we are grown up amidst nature, family and fun is missing these days. Kids are getting used to monotonous lifestyle locked inside schools and houses. WE need to bring a change.

  44. Going through the similar phase, I can relate to it. I was staying in a city with all my family nearby and now in a different city I miss my village and the tribe. Hope I can create a modern village at least!

  45. We as parents are constantly under lot of pressure today, but we are the only ones who are raising the bar everyday.. we want perfection and we are aiming at it

  46. Agree with you! Long gone are the days when dadi, chachi, chachu, bade papa, badi mummy would shower their love on the child and as an old saying goes ‘Bache kab bade ho jate hai pata hi nai chalta’

  47. Village, completely in sync with what you say, also the greenery and open spaces apart form the people that allow the child to explore and breathe fresh every new day. Lovely concept. and thought-provoking too! Really!

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