How I Parent Will Affect My Kid's Friends

kindergarten kids villageSomething has changed between Mommy and Me dance class and kindergarten. Or rather, a lot of somethings have changed. Suddenly the toddlers I've known and loved have turned into actual people. In fact, 5- and 6-year-old children are nothing like the 4-year-old and younger set that, up until very recently, I've been surrounded by. Whether at school, birthday parties, or just hanging out with other families.

Kindergartners listen to what you say and respond. Or they tuck it away and have a discussion with you at a later date. They know your name, and they know your deal. And suddenly it's like having an entirely new set of "friends" that you never paid that much attention to before. Except these friends are actually just like your own children. And it's your responsibility to take care of them, like you would your own.


In a society where we all value our independence to the point of "I'll raise my kid any damn way I please," it was a bit of a shock when I realized my daughter's friends and classmates were totally living in my village. The first notion of this came when my daughter's friend, who was just a little bit older, wanted to talk to me about how I was cooking a potato dish. We had a conversation and I moved on to the grill. Then last week another little boy turned to me while we were all sharing lunch and said, "April, why were you late?" As if it was his business. But it was his business. We had all agreed to be somewhere at a certain time and I was late. He deserved an explanation.

Aside from food discussions and being grilled about my tardiness, it's recently become natural to give a kid a hand when he needs to navigate a crosswalk and his mom is busy with another child -- without asking mom's permission first. To answer another little girl's questions about geography, and to try to explain Facebook to a 5-year-old boy. These children aren't my own, yet they are.

It's easy to forget your personal responsibility for other people's children when those tiny ones can't function without mom or dad around. You're not usually left alone with someone else's child in those early stages unless you're part of a babysitting co-op. But now it's different, and it's very clear that all of the moms and dads in my child's life are responsible for her. As I'm responsible for their kids. We're all trying to raise good people, and we all need each other. Which is as amazing as it is intimidating. I never thought I'd have 20+ kids, yet here they are. And they are awesome.

Do you take responsibility for other people's children?


Image via Editor B/Flickr

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