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The art of sparenting

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There’s no doubt about it – AWOKs make great sparents.

And there are more AWOKs than ever?

Okay, let’s unpack this a little.

'AWOK' stands for 'Adult WithOut Kids'.

And 'sparents' is short for spare parents a term referring to people other than parents who have an interest in, or who take some care for kids.

It’s a spin on the ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ concept.

In my book 2003 book XYZ: the new rules of generational warfare I first wrote about the incredible shrinking families referring to the rise of the micro-family.

I also suggested that in the future (which is now) families would start to increase in size (that is starting to happen now); and also that there would be more adults who by choice or otherwise won’t have kids.

This group (AWOKs) seems to be growing in size.

These AWOKs are aunties, uncles, mates and friends. They are everywhere; and many are ready, willing and able to take on some type of quasi parenting or caring role with kids.

Yep, they make great sparents.

Let’s face a child can never have too many spare parents. Well, maybe they can. But that’s another story.

Sparents don’t have to be AWOKs. Relatives and friends with kids make great sparents.
I know some AWOKs who just hanker to do some sparenting. The urge to be around babies, kids and teens can be strong.

Of course, it’s all care and no responsibility, because as most grandparents know, they get to give the kids back at the end of a day or weekend.

Sparents are good for:

• Filling a gender gap........... too many females and not enough males at home for your son?....an uncle or family-friend can help.

• Filling a talent or interest gap.....
your daughter loves ballet, and you can’t stand it...then surely there’s an aunt or uncle who’s a ballet nut.

Babysitting and child-minding.................there’s always a need.

• Mentoring kids who don’t want to listen to their parents......the benefits of a trusted relative or friend to be a confidante to a teen can’t be underestimated.

• Bringing a fresh voice and perspective to kids’ lives...... let’s face it a sparent can say the same things as you do and your kids will probably listen to them

Doing fun (and costly) things with kids......sparents without kids usually have more excess cash than you so let them spoil or splurge on your family.

Okay, so this piece maybe a tad light-hearted but there is a serious side.

And that is, child-rearing has always been best when it’s a community affair. Modern parenting has seen the rise of the Uber-parent.....the parent who does it all! Move over Uber-parent and make room for some AWOKs, because they too have a lot to offer your kids.

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