Life has changed so much for most of us in the modern world. With the advancement of technology, changing cultural norms, new priorities and new forms of communication powered by the Internet, it is natural to ask what is the importance of the family.
Is it a dying institution that has no place in modern life? Well, of course not. Family is as important as it always has been, if not more so. No matter how much life changes in the future, it will likely continue to be needed in one form or another.
The definition of family has evolved, but its importance remains
The traditional definition of “family” included a married man and woman and their children. Even a grandfather could live with the family and be a part of it, although this practice is no longer as popular in recent times. In the 1950s, the ideal family consisted of a father, mother and two children. The current definition is quite open and inclusive. A family could consist of two parents of any sex, married or not. Some people even have a family with more than three parents. Children can be born to one of the parents, to both parents or adopted.
The benefits of being in a healthy family have increased
As modern life puts all of us under pressure, the benefits of living in a family are more important than ever. Here is a list of some of the benefits.
Helps meet basic needs
The basic social unit called the family has the task of satisfying the basic needs of those family members who cannot provide for themselves. This includes children, the elderly and the disabled, or simply those who cannot afford to live alone. Basic needs such as food, water, shelter and clean air are accessible when one or more members can provide these things for the whole family.
It allows you to belong to something
Many years ago, Abram Maslow created a diagram called the “Hierarchy of Needs”. This hierarchy showed which needs were most crucial to humans. The broad base of Maslow’s pyramid diagram represented the basic needs mentioned above, which must be met first. At the next level are the needs for security followed by the needs for love and belonging. Families spend so much time and energy supporting each other in difficult times, due to the bonds they have created and nurtured from the moment each of them became part of the family.
A well-functioning family provides financial security to all who live in the family. First, family members who can work contribute at least a portion of their earnings to help the family meet everyone’s needs and requirements. Second, the family combines the resources to pay their bills and manage their money to ensure that their financial needs are always met.
Built-in support system
Many people found themselves with great news but no one to tell them to. This is a problem that rarely occurs when living with a family. People who are in healthy families have access to everyday joys that other people do not have. Plus, everyone has tough times. A healthy family is watching each other’s backs. When family members are under stress, someone close to them is very likely to see the symptoms they are struggling with. People may hide their problems from others, but most of the time their family already understands this. Even if they don’t forgive someone’s actions, they love unconditionally. They are there for family members.
Benefits for health
Children enjoy a healthy lifestyle when they live in a healthy family. They eat healthy meals, are encouraged to get up and move, enjoy the outdoors, and receive prompt medical attention when needed. The health benefits also exist for parents. Research has shown that people living with children in their families tend to live longer, even after the children have grown up and moved. This may be because parents tend to eat healthier, quit smoking, cut back on their alcohol consumption, quit taking drugs, and may also remain more active than their childless peers.
Provides support when one of them is sick
Dealing with medical problems on your own can be a nightmare. The family potentially helps solve all of these problems and can ensure that food, water, rest, and medical care are provided. Society may not have to do anything to take care of a person’s basic needs because a family already has everything under control.
It benefits the community
The community benefits when the family relieves it of the burden of supporting the members of that family. Healthy families also produce people who make positive contributions to the community. Parents tend to be involved in their community more often than people who live alone. Also, they teach their young children that the only way they can control the kind of community they have is to contribute to it. When parents contribute to their community by donating money or necessary supplies, they shape a caring attitude. They show their children that providing money, food, or supplies to the community helps support it so it can better serve everyone. Parents contribute to society by working to ensure that their family has the best possible educational opportunities. They can donate funds, or they can use their social network to help a college-age student find a job. Their emotional and practical help may be even more important than financial support.
Crime is part of human civilization – at least it has been in most of the world most of the time. Families cannot eliminate crime, but they can help prevent it and reduce its impact.
The importance of the family in the education of children
One of the most important ways parents contribute to society is by educating their children. Learning does not go in one direction only. In a healthy family, learning has a high priority, perhaps immediately following the satisfaction of basic needs. Speaking at the dinner table, family members often share their political views. They can discuss the problems of an upcoming election or the qualifications of a candidate. This inspires everyone to find out more about the people and ideas involved so they can make an informed decision when it’s their turn to vote.
Parents start teaching their children as soon as they are born. They can help them learn to walk and teach them new words as they develop their vocabulary. They potty train them, teach them manners and take advantage of learning opportunities in daily life. Above all, they convey a love of learning that will serve the child for life. Most parents are equipped in different ways when it comes to helping their children learn after they go to school. They can also encourage scholarship and ethical behavior.
When you become a parent, resolving all your child’s disagreements can be a huge job. One of the ways parents cope is by teaching their children how to resolve conflicts on their own. Parents teach their children to distinguish good from evil and encourage them to follow the laws of the land, unless disobeying a specific law benefits society. Families often work together to do household chores. Each task they perform together teaches them more about what it means to work as a team to achieve group goals.
All families can struggle at times
While families have many advantages, they can be difficult at times. You may need some support to get through your days, which is entirely understandable. For example, if you are not happy with your partner, this can lead to depression and divorce. It’s best to be honest about your views on the family before settling down with someone. This limits the occurrence of these things.
You should also consider having a trusted friend to talk to about your problems, or just take some time for yourself every now and then, for when you need a little break from your family life. This is something that will lower your stress and allow you to access your values and focus on what is important.
Of course, not all families contribute to society in the same way. Some are mildly dysfunctional, while others harm their family members so much that society has to step in and take responsibility for those children.
So, what to do if your family doesn’t support you? First, understand that you can overcome the damage caused by a dysfunctional family, abusive or negligent parents, or disrespectful children. Talking to a therapist is an excellent way to connect with your feelings about the family and to learn how to express those feelings appropriately. You can learn to understand the family influences that have shaped your personality. Your therapist can teach you techniques to change your thoughts, emotions and behaviors to be the person you most want to be, despite what your family has done to you.
The importance of the family will probably never change. It’s something valuable, even if it can also leave you feeling like you need additional support. If you are experiencing family problems, or if you are simply looking to strengthen your family life, remember that help is always available. Don’t suffer alone when it’s so easy to talk to someone who will listen to you.