International Day of Families coincides with the beginning of National Families Week. It is a time to celebrate family, show appreciation for their love and support, and share in the enjoyment of your favourite family activities.
Here we look at the importance of family support and seven ways that it shapes your child’s life.
- Early development
Family is the most important influence on the emotional and physical development of a child. As parents, we play a huge role in how our children see the world, themselves and others. Similarly our children influence our view of ourselves, the world and others. The family unit is where our children have their first experiences of relationships and learning. It is our role as leaders of the family to ensure we provide for all their physical needs (food, clothes, shelter), offer unconditional love and protection and provide a stable emotional base.
- Teaching values
Family provides a framework for setting values and morals, acting as guardians, teachers and role models. The family influences and shapes its members sense of what is right and wrong. Strong family bonds can encourage children to be the best versions of themselves.
- Modelling behaviour
Family provides a framework for modelling behaviour which our children emulate. If a child sees his or her parents dealing with conflict by shouting and slamming doors, they will think that this is the way to deal with a problem when it arises. On the other hand, if a child experiences parents talking, reasoning and maintaining respect, then this also will influence how the child will deal with conflict in later life.
- Encouraging accountability
As a member of a family unit we are accountable to each other. It’s where we learn that our decisions and actions affect others. It is imperative that children learn about the consequences of their actions and the impact that they have on the rest of the family through family discussion.
- Building relationships
When family members are supportive, encouraging and nurturing, the positive relationships that develop hold our children in good stead for developing positive relationships with people outside of the family and into adulthood. Within the family, children learn how to interact with people, what is socially acceptable and how to manage others’ feelings. They learn to negotiate with siblings, share, take turns and share their parents’ attention.
- Improved wellbeing
Constructive familial relationships have a positive influence on family members’ health, wellbeing and relationships with others, including classmates and teachers. Research has shown that a loving supportive family can reduce the effects of stress and increase emotional stability, allowing us to better cope with life’s ups and downs. With strong family bonds, children have been found to be more resilient.
- Family dynamics change over time
As children grow into adolescents it can be a challenging and demanding time of transition. As young adults seek to become increasingly independent, parents may feel that their role is less important and that family unity is being eroded. Through adolescence, our relationship with our children should and must change. As parents, our role changes from being one of authority – where we tell children what they must do, to one of collaboration, where we make decisions together with our children, reserving judgement and instead offering support.
At this often difficult time, it is important that the family sets boundaries. As adolescents begin pushing the limits, taking risks and exerting their independence, parents may feel that they are being pushed away. In fact, your growing child needs you and the rest of the family more than ever, and rebellion may just be a cry out for explicit rules! While the nature of your relationship will change, your teenager will benefit from the continuity of support a family can provide through connections and a secure emotional base. They will appreciate having a family to turn to for unconditional love, reassurance and support.
At Trinity, we celebrate families and all they do for their children and the school community. We believe in working collaboratively with parents and students in a supportive Christian environment to ensure our boys realise their full potential, embrace their passions and find their life’s purpose.
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