Why You Need to Choose Your “Village” Carefully

I’m a firm believer in the “it takes a village” theory. Raising kids isn’t easy, and you need all the help you can get. Most people rely on family members. Some call on friends. But what happens if the members of your “village” aren’t who they seem?

A friend of mine moved into what seemed like the perfect neighborhood. The neighbors were overly-friendly, and the area was a safe place for kids to play outside. Everything seemed perfect – until it wasn’t.

As it turned out, their next-door neighbor – whom regularly watched their kids – was a notorious thief who stole packages from mail boxes. In case you didn’t know, criminal lawyer in Toronto points out, stealing anything sent by post is a crime. The family that lived across the street, who would sometimes take their kids to the movies with their kids, was battling with domestic abuse issues.

The moral of the story? You never really know people, and people are rarely who they seem.

I’m not saying that you should never trust anyone, and you absolutely need to have people around you to offer support and help. We don’t know what we’d do without our “mom” and “dad” friends. But it’s important to choose your village carefully. Here’s why:

Kids are Very Impressionable

It’s normal for kids to act a little differently after spending time with other people. Kids are easily impressionable. They want to act and be like the adults – and kids – around them. Like sponges, kids absorb everything.

If your village includes people who are kind, compassionate, helpful and caring, your child will absorb some of that goodness. If your village includes people who are on the other end of the spectrum, they will absorb some of those behaviors, too.

Surround your kids with people you want them to be like.

You Don’t Know What’s Going on When You’re Not There

It’s great to have friends and family you can rely on when you need someone to watch your kids. It’s even better when those people also have kids that your children get along with.

But you never really know what happens when you leave your kids with other people. All you can do is trust the people and hope that your kids don’t burn the house down.

I’ve always made it a point to ask my kids about their experience when they come home from other people’s houses. Sometimes, I don’t like what I hear. That’s why I choose my village carefully. Taking this approach minimizes the bad experiences.

You Need People You Can Trust and Rely On

As an adult, I’ve come to realize that just about everyone is a flake. Sure, we’ll watch the kids. The night before we leave: Oh sorry, I forgot I had plans. I had plans, too.

It’s important to have people you can truly trust and rely on – and I’m not just talking about babysitting. You’re going to need advice and a shoulder to lean on. Your kids will need advice, people to lean on and others to confide in. If you’re careful about who you allow into your “village,” you’ll find that you have a solid support network that will be there for you and your family when you need it most.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.