Building a Sense of Community in Parenting
Children benefit when parents and caregivers are engaged, supportive and active participants in their lives. But what happens when a parent feels disengaged? Or when the stressors of life keep families from being able to focus on their child’s future? That’s when community comes in.
A Sense of Community
Community plays a vital role in parental success and family well-being. However, when we talk about community, we’re not simply referring to transactional benefits or access to resources that a family needs. We’re referring to the sense of community, the sense of belonging, that comes from a shared interest or goal.
We sometimes feel we have the support network that we need. Even if we do, how often do we turn to it for help? Consequently, parents often fall into a trap of trying to do it all ourselves. For many, it’s the way we were raised or the circumstances that we’re in that makes asking for help difficult. And if we’re able to identify a need and ask for help, we may not have the right community to support our needs. Or even know that there’s a group out there for us to access!
The need for community can be obvious: you have a child for the first time, your housing situation changes, your child gets a new diagnosis. You’re not sure who to turn to or who to trust. But sometimes it’s more subtle – your family is under new stress or things just feel “off.” Now you can see the cracks and instability in your support system.
Community in Family Well-Being
Community is essential to nurturing parent education, encouraging healthy and safe families, and promoting child development. These are also three areas that Any Baby Can believes are uniquely critical to family well-being.
Parents need to feel supported in order to learn, set goals, and generally parent well. Parents with stronger community connection report more resilient coping when faced with adversity.(1) Community support can also provide opportunity for parents to engage more fully in their child’s life, promote attachment and enjoy the life-long benefits of a strong parent-child relationship. Ultimately, a child’s well-being starts with family well-being, and family well-being starts with a strong community.
Our Shared Interest
For Any Baby Can clients and staff, our sense of community comes from a common interest: your child. That’s what motivates the family and our staff to be our best. This is a unique and meaningful bond for parents.
“The role we play is relational. We help families experience community. We build their desire to cultivate community in their everyday lives,” says Rebecca Elizondo, Senior Program Director at Any Baby Can.
With your child’s pediatrician, you may have a multi-year relationship but only skim the surface during annual visits. With your child’s teacher, you have a short-term, but potentially deeper relationship as they see your child each and every day.
While families don’t always come to Any Baby Can seeking community, those benefits can be life-changing and inspire parents to explore their broader networks, find more group connections and reach out to friends.
At Any Baby Can, we build deep, long-term connections that benefit the child and the whole family unit. We nurture those relationships between staff and client, but also between the client and their community. And ultimately, we aspire toward our vision to create a community that empowers parents, prioritizes healthy families, and invests in child development.
(1)The science is in: parents need community. Jodi Koepke. (April 9, 2021)
A family’s network helps improve health equity, access to health resources, and lives of children, parents and caregivers.
Alejandra joined Any Baby Can to help her daughter, but she also worked on her personal growth, community and goals.
Families’ lives are increasingly connected: school and home; work and childcare; individual choices and community health.