IT TAKES an average of seven adults to raise a single child in the West Midlands, according to a new survey.
Grandparents,aunts and uncles, older siblings and teachers all play key roles alongside parents, according to the results of a study among British parents and children.
Nearly a quarter of those surveyed believe it takes as many as ten people to bring up a child, highlighting the extent of those involved in raising a family in modern Britain.
Almost three quarters of parents in the region agree the main attribute needed to raise a child is love, with this ranking higher than being related to the child or regularly looking after them.
The survey, commissioned by name label manufacturer My Nametags, suggests the proverb ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ rings true for families across the West Midlands, with members of the wider family and community playing important roles in a child’s upbringing.
Parents in the region agree teachers have the biggest impact on a child’s personality, while older siblings are considered to teach children the most of anyone in the family, as well as being the most likely to influence bad habits.
The influence of older siblings and teachers is also felt by children themselves, with a fifth stating they have the most fun with their older siblings and almost a quarter agreeing they look up to their teachers the most, coming second only to their parents.
Teachers are also often the only group outside the immediate family that parents in the West Midlands are happy to let discipline their child, with parents putting much less trust in their friends, sports coaches, after school staff, and nannies.
According to the study, there are several reasons why parents choose to involve their wider social networks when raising children, with almost a quarter agreeing that it is an essential part of modern parenting.
In addition to practical reasons, parents also suggest that it teaches children things they cannot teach them themselves and improves children’s social skills.
Bea Marshall, parenting expert and founder of Yes Parenting, said: “Humans are generally social creatures who thrive in communal and cooperative environments. Nowadays it is common for families to live away from their extended families and without the day to day support of their immediate neighbours.
“However, it is still so important for families to create a network of support as they raise their children.
“When other people help care for children, it provides parents with the opportunity to recharge, work or play. Those other people also give children a secure set of relationships in which their needs for connection, safety and belonging are met. Children have an opportunity to learn from the different people around them and they receive different things from each person – one may be more playful, another more nurturing, for example. Each person in a child’s life contributes something unique that helps them to grow into a well-rounded individual, while offering crucial support to their parents.”