As parents or caregivers for children, we all want what is best for our small charges. Raising a child is no small task, as any parent will attest; they forever hold a piece of your heart (and wallet) quite literally for the entirety of your life.
From the warm, peach tinted early days when your baby arrives, to the journey you then support them on from toddler to teenager, parenthood is an extreme adventure. The journey is full of wonderful highs, of laughter and love but can also be peppered from time to time with worry or distress. As much as we can try to guide our children, sometimes, it’s wise to admit that it really does take a village to raise a child. This metaphorical village helps by interacting and engaging with your child, so that they can be raised in a safe and healthy environment. In days gone by, generations of families lived side by side, or at least close to one another, which when contrasted to our modern world of global mobility, strikes a stark difference. Our metaphorical village has gone missing in action.
For many, gone are the Grandparents, Aunties and Uncles who live close by, who could all contribute wisdom and advice to the parents. Multi-generational households have declined in recent years. Instead, the village has been replaced by a much more worldly view, with ‘care from a distance’ putting immense pressure on parents to provide all the practical and emotional support to the child, and one another.
Society has needed to adapt to modern parenting, and online communities have become a parenting tool of the future. One such online village is Warill, which stems from the Aboriginal word meaning ‘river’. Parents and caregivers join this community to share experiences and tips, much like knowledge from previous generations would have ‘flown’ down the river within families. It’s a safe place for parents to just be, to search the unthinkable and to create a connection between communities and people. Of course, the beauty of an online community is its immediacy and the ability to share resources across Australia and to learn from those who have walked before you.
Science tells us that there is no one right way to raise a child but what we do know, is that a strong support system is essential. Being a parent isn’t always easy – there are decisions to be made, a balance to be made between structure and fun as well as a healthy mix of love and discipline. We must keep trying, even when the going gets tough, to ensure we do our level best for the precious little people we are entrusted with.
Above all, no matter how challenging parenting gets, we must find and stay connected to our village. It’s our tribe, our support network and a way to stay grounded to our community.