“They” say that it takes a village to raise a child. Maybe “they” are right. I can tell you that it’s better for the child to have an extended family and good solid relationships with members of their extended family.
When I was growing up, my mom insisted that I address all adults with a title preceding their name — aunt or uncle, Mr. or Mrs. So I was surrounded with aunts and uncles and quite a few “Mr.s” and “Mrs.s.” I think I was about 10 before I actually straightened out who I was related to. I knew that any one of the adults in my world would take care of me. I also knew that if I didn’t behave myself, any one of the aunts or uncles would “rat me out” to my parents.
I learned from all of my extended family. My grandmother taught me to cook. My Uncle Joe taught me to fish. I loved it when my grandfather told me stories about when he was a boy. Each one of my extended family members added something to my childhood. I was lucky!
Today we live in a mobile world. Families are scattered from here to there. Extended family relationships are often difficult to maintain. However, I say that those extended family relationships are so vital to a child that it is worth the extra effort that parents must put forth to keep those relationships alive and thriving.
Relationships can grow even if there are miles between the aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents and the child. Telephone calls that are regular and frequent help to keep the lines of communication open. Email and chat on the computer have opened up whole new ways for families to maintain contact.
It’s so vital for a child to have good solid relationships with their extended family that the expense in time and money for the parents is a worthwhile investment in the child’s future.