What Exactly Does Your Village Look Like

Our monthly moms group convened today with conversations about The Village. Many scenarios were presented and discussed, and a few issues were raised.

“It takes a village to raise a child" is a proverb that means that an entire community of people must provide for and interact positively with children for those children to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment.” (Wikipedia)

Once upon a time it meant that we trusted the judgement of those in our neighborhoods and communities, family and friends which were an honest group of individuals to act on our behalf as parents, to protect and look out for our children when we were not present. In authorizing them to do so, we extended authority to also to discipline/reprimand when and if necessary. With that came the expectation of a reasonable amount of common sense to also know to inform the parent(s) of the child’s behavior if disciplinary action was taken.

Disciplinary action taken by another individual of the community never exceeded nor was it outside the boundaries of what the parent to that child would do as that went without saying. For Example: If the mother of a child doesn’t slap, hit, or pop a child in the facial region, it’s not to be expected of a member in that community especially by someone who was not a blood relative. Even in schools, when corporal punishment was allowed (spankings in schools) hitting a child in their head/facial region was never an acceptable form of disciplinary action.

What happens when the people of the village are not or have never been on the same page?

The village either

  • It never existed: Is it a village when it’s not inclusive of both parents who supposedly share the common goal of raising a child in the least toxic and hostile environment possible when one parent intentionally restricts access from the other with regards to contacting individuals in the village? It is impossible FOR THE VILLAGE TO EXIST if one parent alienates, demonizes, outcasts the other parent and restricts their access to the individuals of the village. For Example: A member of the village being instructed by a parent to block the phone call of the other parent, avoiding adult dialogue, creating false fear of the other parent to drive an erroneous narrative. When there is no past, present or current nor ongoing issues between the parent and the member of the village, what is the point of blocking? It’s giving, hiding something.
  • It’s split to demise: Not always being on the same page as parents when co-parenting is to be expected at times, but being a part of the village is still possible – because the village is supposed to help bring everyone together in unity instead of creating division when operating correctly. When the village does not operate on one accord it is practically split to a demise because there will always be irreconcilable differences and conflict with overall operation goal.
  • Two Villages? Perhaps each parent has their own village, and they operate separate and apart from a co-parenting village for the purpose of raising their child. This is where things get tricky. Two separate villages are the breeding ground for an environment of secrecy and hidden agendas as they spew lies when things take place. Example: A child reports how they were reprimanded, and a caregiver is instructed to lie about it. The child is then reprimanded again for reporting it to their parent. Denying an action taken against a child to their parent does not build rapport or parental trust with the parent(s) of the village. This is not a village.

When a member of the village is encouraged to comply with separation tactics, i.e.: deception they then pump fear into the child so that he/she doesn’t report future reprimands out of fear, and this dismantles trust between the child/caregiver relationship as well as the parent/caregiver relationship. Broken villages or villages that don’t exist encourage lies and manipulation where destruction follows. Manipulating the child to make him/her feel guilty for reporting an action taken against him/her, to protect the village member does not protect the child at all. Sounds cultish.

“Anyone who would bully a child not to tell their truth is not a credible part of a village.” -Vickie Randall, Attorney & Child Psychiatrist.

The point of the village is for the overall protection, health, safety, and well-being of the child should be at the forefront of the “village to raise a child” not to forget mentioning nurturing under the law of integrity, providing love, support to children while also practicing and enforcing cohesive and effective communication within the village.

A community cannot exist without communication and where communication is blocked and unwelcomed, villages are divided by one-sided stories where resolutions aren’t reached and the overall concern and main goal to protect the child begins to waver if not quickly dismantle. Perhaps it’s time for the village to take a parenting class. Because what you have may be called a village, but it is not the village that it takes to raise a child.

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