Parents have a major impact in shaping who their child becomes, but they cannot do it alone. Parents, particularly parents raising a child on their own, need safe supportive systems from their local community to help rear their children. Having support from a local community can make all the difference in the world.
Examples of safe and supportive systems within local communities may include relatives, places of worship, Boy's &Girl's Club and/or activities that will have positive engagement for children.
Supportive systems can help parents manage and negotiate difficult family situations in a number of ways. First, they can work with fathers and mothers before the birth of a child to address obstacles that hinder fathers’ involvement with their children. Second, they can provide communication and negotiation skills needed to address complex family issues facilitating communication and co-operation between the parent and child. Third, they can counsel and educate parents on appropriate childhood rearing. Fourth, they can provide services on an ongoing basis, so they can effectively respond to difficult family situations as they arise, rather than simply being one-off intervention.
An old but true African proverb gives us advice: “Remember it takes a village to raise a child”. This proverbial village includes you the parent, your family, your local place of worship, and the many social institutions around you. The best thing you can do for your child is to get and stay involved in their life and surround them with those supportive systems within your local community.
I challenge parents and local communities as well, to encourage and support the families that make up the foundation of their society. What are your contributions to changing the conversation in the village?