Hot Topics     Home and Family     Healthy Kids     K-12    

The complications of “it takes a village”



What kind of villagers will help me raise my kids?

The complications of disciplining others kids


The origin of the phrase “It takes a village” has been traced to several African cultures, but it came to prominence here when Hillary Clinton used it as the title of her 1996 bestselling book, which focuses on the impact individuals and groups outside a family have, for better or worse, on a child's well-being.

Writing for The Good Men Project, former stay-at-home-dad and social worker Ben Martin entertainingly takes on the occasional awkwardness of this concept. He offers some helpful insight into how parents can deal with, as he puts it, Other People’s Kids, especially when these children might be causing trouble.

Even with Covid-19, children are going to play and interact. Other adults are going to be responsible for your child, and you are going to be responsible for someone else’s child. The likelihood of ruffled feathers and violated boundaries is high. No doubt you’ve experienced some unpleasant situations, as have I.

When my son was a toddler, I picked him up from a play date to learn that his friend’s mom had “washed his mouth out with soap.” He’d uttered an “obscenity” (no doubt learned from his mother or me), and she’d placed a bar of soap on his tongue for a few seconds. This was their “house rule” for four-letter-words uttered by kids (I’m guessing not adults, though).

I was furious, and the mom and I had words. She was contrite, and my son has no memory of it today, but we never went back to that house in our “village.”

READ MORE: Break it up, or let ‘em fight it out?

Ben Martin describes watching his daughter engage in a plastic sword fight with an aggressive kid. He wonders if he should intervene, but only does so when the kid makes off with his daughter’s sword, thinking he “won it.” Martin takes it back.

He writes: “If there’s a word for slightly confused and slightly crestfallen at the same time, then that’s what he looked like. And I looked like the word that describes someone who feels like they just took a toy from someone else’s kid on the playground. Sheepish? Ashamed? Embarrassed? Furtive? 

Interactions with Other People’s Kids are always so awkward. I wanted to tell him he needed to cool it down a bit, but I didn’t. Look, I’m just telling you what I did, not saying it was the right thing to do…” (I think it was appropriate.)

Like so many aspects of parenting, you hope it’s the right thing to do in both the short and long term. The thing is, regarding parenting one’s own kid, and other people’s, doing the right thing, often as not, feels awkward in the moment.

It takes a village, sure, but that doesn’t mean things are less complicated, and less uncomfortable. Accepting that, and trusting your gut, can make things marginally smoother, and you can look back with the knowledge you did your best.



Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • Calling all birdwatchers

    Check out Birdability which promotes birding for everyone

    Through education, outreach and advocacy, Birdability works to ensure the birding community and the outdoors are welcoming, inclusive, safe and accessible for everybody. We focus on people with mobility challenges, blindness or low vision, chronic illness, intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental illness, and those who are neurodivergent, deaf or hard of hearing or who have other health concerns. In addition to current birders, we strive to introduce birding to people with disabilities and other health concerns who are not yet birders so they too can experience the joys of birding. read more »
  • 9/11 Remembrance Ceremonies

    Come and remember the people who were lost, first responders & survivors

    Events to honor the victims, first responders, and survivors of the 9/11 attacks. read more »
  • Mother Shares Her Journey with Heroin-Addicted Daughter

    Read the gripping new book about this family

    September is National Recovery Month and one mom has shared her journey with her daughter struggling with addiction. read more »
  • Learn How to Help Your Struggling Adolescents Navigate Change and Overcome Anxiety

    Parenting expert Erica Komisar has a new book that can assist you

    Adolescence is a notoriously complicated time for kids as well as their parents. Plus, the epidemic of mental health disorders in young people has made parenting today even more challenging. But it’s not too late. Parents of adolescents can still have a profound impact on the health and well-being of their children. read more »
  • 5 of the best movies your teen can watch at home

    Entertain your kids with these flicks from Netfilx

    Writing for Popsugar, Sabienna Bowman shares her top movie picks for teens read more »
  • Master P On Rap Feuds, Conscious Parenting, Black Superheroes

    Allison Kugel interviews this rap icon

    Interview with rap icon Master P by Allison Kugel. Here he talks about family and more. read more »
  • Cool new food savers from Lasting Freshness

    Vacuum seal your food to keep it fresh longer

    Using this patented handheld Vacuum System your food is preserved up to 5 times longer than food stored using conventional grocery storage methods. read more »
  • The Mama Bear Effect Launches New Resource to Combat Child Sexual Abuse

    Parents of young children and those with special education needs now have a free tool to educate children about their bodies and boundaries

    Parents, caregivers, teachers, and therapists now have a new tool to educate the most vulnerable population of children, those who need specialized assistance with learning and communication. read more »
  • Dirty, sweaty laundry making your house stinky?

    Here is a great solution from STNKY

    STNKY Bags are the best way to sort, store, carry, wash and dry everything from sweaty gym clothes, laundry when you travel, scrubs, and just about anything else that gets dirty or sweaty. read more »
  • Get Green this September

    Be a Friend of the Environment

    NYS Department of Environmental Conservation offers tips on cleaning out your closet and recycling your discarded clothing. read more »