Goethe, in Faust II, I believe was right in saying: “There is a way, the mothers!”
The Ákoses made the best choice when they wrote on the first page of their book Dina: “Doch gibt’s eine Mittel…. Die Mütter sind es!“
I add to this the fathers, they are of course the way too.
Often the extended families of the young clients that I work with are so good that I would like to give them all medals. Some time the children and I actually do this as a thank you present for them.
However, the more experience I have working with families the more I believe that despite the amazing commitment of aunties, uncles, cousins and grandparents to helping a child discover life, it is the parents that are needed to make a conductive upbringing really successful.
I have worked with many families where the grandparents are very much involved in the daily care of the children. They are wonderful and often come to the groups to watch and learn. They often live in the house where I am working with a child and they pick up tips and ask no end of questions. They give much needed help at Fests and social events in the conductive centre. They are often extremely creative in finding ways for the grandchildren to become more and more independent. They are for the individual families indispensable.
There is a but and the but is that it is the parents that are needed. The parents are the way.
The parents are the ones who are there in the mornings when a child gets up. They are there in the afternoons when school and clubs and conductive sessions are all over. It is the parents who are there in the night when sleep is unattainable. They are the ones who are there at weekends and holidays.
It is the parents who make all the decisions, it is they who coordinate the child’s life.
Grandparents are grandparents, extra parents one could say. Grandparents are those special people who children visit to get spoilt a little bit. This is all very well and how it should be, even in a conductive upbringing. When the conductive upbringing is being done by the parents the rest of the time it is lovely for there to be a place where spoiling takes place.
When grandparents are doing more than the norm. When they are doing more than being the place to visit for cuddles and fun, then the work of the conductor has to move between parents and grandparents and with them all together.
I have experienced in many families that when it works well with the extended family then the grandparents can be a great help and the conductive upbringing so complete. Conductive lifestyle and the needs of the child can reaches more and more areas of the child’s life automatically through the contacts with more people.
There are of course times when it doesn’t work. For example it has happened that a child decided that she will not walk at home anymore although she walked everywhere in conductive sessions, including the 500 metres home, and often with her grandparents, but not always! Her mum was bewildered and the grandparents too. As the conductor I was not bewildered but I knew it was time for a big family meeting to get the upbringing constant in all three households.
When this co-ordination works then the conductive upbringing will take off.
Extended family members are so valuable to families who have a disabled child and all offer that child something different and have their own particular role to play. The core of the conductive upbringing I believe is the parents who can teach all the other members of their family how they wish them to carry out their chosen roles.