Establishing strong and healthy family bonds can have a significant impact on the social and emotional wellbeing of children. Through family, children receive love, comfort and support and are exposed to modelling of behaviours and values that will help them establish their place in the world. Family is the single-most influential factor in determining the way a child approaches life. The role of parents is pivotal to these family connections. We look at why family is important and how a supportive family environment can help shape your child’s life:
1. Early development
Family is the most important influence on the emotional and physical development of children. As parents, we play a significant role in how our children see the world, themselves and others. Similarly, our children can also influence the way we see the world. The family unit is where 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.
2. Establishing 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.
3. Modelling behaviour
In the same way, family provides a framework for modelling behaviour which our children emulate. If a child sees his or her parents dealing with conflict by responding in anger, they will naturally believe that this is the way to deal with a problem. On the other hand, if a child experiences parents talking, reasoning and maintaining respect, this models positive behaviour that can influence how the child will deal with conflict in later life.
4. 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.
5. 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, empathise and share their parents’ attention.
6. 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. Through the development of strong family bonds, children have been found to be more resilient.
7. 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.
During this transition phase, it is important that boundaries are set and maintained. 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 for explicit guidance. 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.
According to Dr Brian Babington, CEO of Families Australia, “Families are society’s most important building block. Strong families equate to strong communities because they embody caring for others, connectedness with people, and providing hope, support and comfort.”
Trinity’s Pastoral Care guidelines focus on the fundamentals of good parenting — providing both care and discipline — enabling boys to grow into self-confident, trustworthy and resilient young men. Combined with an ongoing partnership between the School and home, your son will thrive in a consistent, caring and nurturing environment.
Our Life Skills Programme is part of a whole of School approach to health and wellbeing that enhances our boys’ capacity to be emotionally resilient and socially competent. Discover how our Pastoral Care guidelines are specifically tailored for the changing needs of adolescent boys, with booklets tailored for each year group from Years 7. Download our Life Skills booklets.