Advice Column, Parenting, Recently

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child

  • Kip McGrath
  • Category Advice Column, Parenting, Recently

The origin of this proverb is unknown. Some believe that it is an African proverb; others believe that it originated from Native American tribes. Either way, we know that these communities have mastered the art of communal living and raising their children as a shared responsibility. Even in today’s individualistic world, it is almost impossible to raise children without the help of family members, friends, schools and professionals.

Soon-to-be parents discover the value of their “village” when they attend antenatal classes and rely on this support after their child’s birth. As a child grows older, their teachers and school environment start to play a more important role in their development. Most mothers will remember countless times when her child started a sentence with, “But my teacher said…”

The influence of the “village” can be comforting and overwhelming at the same time. It is reassuring to know that other parents experience the same frustrations or fears and that other children face the same challenges as yours. However, too many cooks spoil the broth! Sometimes, conflicting advice can leave a parent disheartened. Where should you begin when your child’s teacher and speech therapist have different views on what is best for your child? What should you do when the teacher tells you that she does not have time to implement the OT’s recommendations in the classroom?

In a recent conversation with a psychologist, we came to the conclusion that most children need a “case manager” who can help to prioritise therapies and interventions when multiple interventions are needed. For example, a child on the autistic spectrum could need academic support, behaviour and speech therapy and occupational therapy for sensory stimulation. In reality, reading assessment reports, attending feedback meetings and deciding on the best course of action is ultimately the parents’ choice and responsibility.

Prolonging the decision-making process hampers the success of intervention, especially when a problem is identified early. Parents should consider their budget and what could possibly be covered by their medical aid. Start with baby steps and avoid overwhelming your child with too many assessments and therapies. Ask your child’s teacher and therapist to communicate to get everyone on the same page.

Simply put, don’t isolate yourself when making decisions about your child’s development. Rely on your village!

Chrizelle Prinsloo is the owner of Kip McGrath Education Centres, Walmer.  She has a background in psychology and has taught in mainstream and special-needs schools both locally and abroad. Chrizelle is passionate about helping children gain confidence in their own abilities and about finding different ways to help them learn.

About the author

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.