I read a blog whose author said it takes a village to raise a child. THAT opinion is so far from my own that I clicked out, never to return. I’m of the adage that it takes a loving, supportive FAMILY to raise a child. The village is filled with quite a few... um... people and quite frankly I’d strap on cement shoes if I had them anywhere near my kids, let alone giving them advice or helping raise them. I want my children growing up with my values and beliefs and from there to form their own—NOT the villagers’. Thank you very much.
Well, I stumbled upon another blog where the author takes her four year old and fifteen month old out and is all bent out of shape because the villagers aren’t helping her. Her four year old is rambunctious (as most four year old boys are wont to be) in restaurants, knocking over high chairs and what not, and this mother wants to know why no one will help her. She’s actually ticked! Stating that the other patrons SHOULD stop him AND pick up the items he has knocked over! Um excuse me, YOU had the child, it’s YOUR responsibility to wrangle him, NOT the villagers. If you can’t, don’t go out in public.
Now before anyone gets in an uproar and sends me hate mail for being insensitive, let me tell you, I’m not. My youngest son, Austin, turned into the demon spawn at three weeks old. It was ten o’clock at night at my mom’s retirement party and he started crying, and he cried, and cried, and cried and he did it for a year. He also didn’t sleep straight through the night until he was almost FOUR years old! He would tell me, My eyes aren’t tired Mommy. But MINE were! Yet, I couldn’t go to sleep because I had to ensure HIS safety. It wasn’t the village’s duty, it was MINE!
I’ll never forget going to the pediatrician and telling her about Austin and how he cried and wouldn’t sleep. She said he had colic, or at least that’s what they called it in 1997. Years ago, she said, they called it fretful baby. There wasn’t anything wrong with him. As a matter of fact, she told me, he was FINE and studies actually showed that colicky babies turned out to be type A personalities and quite successful. So she wasn’t worried about him; she was worried about my husband, my older son and me. We were stressed and if we needed anything, we could call her. What an awesome doctor! She resigned from the practice to work as an emergency room Pediatrician (I teased Austin it was HIS fault. lol.).
Austin will be fifteen on May 31st and I’d be lying if I said the years have been easy. He can still be a handful. However, his doctor was right. He’s fine and he’s a straight A student. I’m fairly certain if he continues on his current path that he’ll also be successful.
It was startling, because I actually had people who suggested I put Austin on Ritalin when he was younger. In all honesty, I wanted to pinch their heads off. Yes, pills would’ve calmed him down and made my life easier, but they would’ve hindered him. Austin is a very creative child who is physically AND mentally dynamic. Medication would’ve changed him. I wasn’t willing to take that chance just to get a few extra hours of sleep.
Don’t misunderstand. There are children who NEED medication because they can’t function without it. Austin was able to function with the extra patience, guidance and structure that we, his family, provided.
I never once looked to the village or villagers to raise Austin, or his older brother, and I don’t intend to for the remaining three years of Austin’s high school years. He’s my responsibility; he’s also my pride and joy.
It deserves repeating. It doesn’t take a village. It takes supportive, loving, selfless parents—a devoted family—to raise a productive member of society. A child should never be fluffed off to the villagers. Keep him tucked under the protective wing of your family for as long as you possibly can—as most parents know, they grow up much too fast in this crazy world.