On the NPR website, Doucleff writes: "For decades, scientists have documented a surprising phenomenon: In many cultures around the world, parents don’t struggle to raise helpful, kind kids. From ages 2 to 18 kids want to help their families...You can find kids like this in a huge range of cultures scientists have documented: from hunter-gatherers in the Arctic to farmers in the Andes…For the past four years, I’ve been on a mission to learn why."
She describes this challenge: "Many psychologists whom I spoke with think the erosion of the extended family is a root cause for the high rates of postpartum depression in the U.S., as well as in the rising epidemic of anxiety and depression among children and teenagers. Mom, dads, and kids are simply lonely."
It occurs to me that we in the early education field have a key role in supporting families. In some ways we can become like their extended family. In the Exchange Essentials article collection, "Powerful Partnerships with Families," Leslie Carter asks the question, "How can an early childhood program support teachers as they tackle the challenge of connecting with families?" It’s a great question, especially in this time of pandemic, but valuable to explore any time.
There’s no doubt in my mind that early educators and families all could use a lot more support than we have been getting. Creating intentional ways for these two groups to support each other is a worthy goal.
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Thank you for your comment. I'm so grateful for my own grandmother who always included me in those activities you listed. It teaches us how to work together and gives us a sense of responsibilities towards ourselves and others. Can't agree more!
-Tiffany at Exchange
The extended family is critical for support. I agree with the article on Hunt, Gather, Parent. Families are stressed beyond belief at times. As a grandparent, just taking time to listen to parents and children without judgment reduces the stress. Letting children help you to cook, sew, clean a house or do laundry with you lets the younger generation know how to live and survive in difficult times. Just working together to empty a dishwasher or folding clothes can be fun to do together. We need to do more in our culture.