Community isn’t only about the natural environment that surrounds your children. It’s mostly about people. Even if you live in a place without any scenery to boast about, if the people create an atmosphere of belongingness, it’s a community conducive to your child’s growth. The relationships they’ll form with neighbors, teachers, and other members of your community are essential to their mental and emotional health. It’ll lead them to participate more actively in social causes and form bonds that they can rely on later in life.
After all, try as you might, you can’t be the only significant relationship in their lives. The more the people who play a part in their health and success, the easier it will be for you as a parent to raise a well-rounded child. That said, your primary job is to make sure that they’re exposed to the right circle of people.
Those Who Will Listen to Them
The first five years of children’s lives are crucial. This is when their brains are developing the fastest. It’s not focused merely on learning how to walk or use a spoon and fork. The brain is also dealing with situations that teach them how to interact with people. This includes developing emotional intelligence and processing social cues that tell them what is and isn’t acceptable. As they grow up and meet more people, these cues are enforced. It shouldn’t be a surprise if a child who wasn’t encouraged to speak up is usually quiet in crowds.
All children want to be heard not only by you but by the people in their immediate surroundings. If they confide that they are having trouble connecting with people in their school in Wichita, introduce them to a community church. Look for existing groups that aim to make everyone feel included. You won’t always be their top choice of confidant, which is why they should have friends that you can also trust.
Those Who Will Mentor Them
Mentoring can help your children’s self-esteem and give them a clear picture of their strengths and weaknesses. With the prevalence of academic pressure in American schools, it’s easy for students nowadays to get a muddled view of their performance. Even when they’re doing well, they can still feel pressured to do more to the point of compromising their health.
A mentor can give them an objective view of their performance, may it be at school or in other areas of their lives. This person doesn’t always have to be an actual teacher. It could be a relative, a neighbor, or an older friend who has a mature perspective in life. This is also someone they look up to and may want to be someday. Introducing them to various people who are happy with their lives, jobs, and personal endeavors can help them find a mentor.
Those Who Will Inspire Them
Inspiration is the driving force behind many goals and dreams. Children benefit from being surrounded by people who inspire them to study harder, practice discipline, eat well, exercise often, and develop essential life skills. If they’re surrounded instead by those who speak crudely or risk their health, it’s very easy for your children to pick up this behavior.
Attend workshops with them and go to events where they’ll be exposed to people who could motivate them into action. The more they’re exposed to outlooks that will positively impact them in adulthood, the more likely they are to live wisely and make better decisions for their future.
The Same Goes for You
While you can’t control who they meet and where all the time, you do get to contribute to their social circle. You’re already doing it now without you knowing it. Your friends and colleagues are some of your children’s first social circles. If they’re not exactly the type of people you want your children to be, perhaps it’s time to apply this advice to your life before you apply it to theirs.