What Is The Importance Of Family In Modern Society?

By Patricia Oelze

Updated November 20, 2019

Reviewer Beverly Vanover, MS LPC NCC BC-TMH CCTP

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Life has changed so much for most of us. With the advancement of technology, changing cultural norms, new priorities, and new forms of communication fueled by the Internet, it's natural to wonder what the importance of the family is. Is it a dying institution that has no place in modern life? Certainly not! The family is just as relevant as it ever was, and no matter how much life changes in the future, it will probably continue to be needed in one form or another.

The Definition of Family Has Evolved, but Its Importance Remains

If we only define family the way it was defined a century or two ago, we might as well say that, yes, the family is beginning to be kind of irrelevant. However, that would be a mistake. We define family differently now, and the new definition makes all the difference in the world.

Old Definition of Family

The old definition of family was one man and one woman who were married, and their children. A grandparent might live with and be a part of the family, too, although that practice has died out for most a long time ago. In the 1950s, the ideal family was a father, a mother, and two offspring they had together.

Modern Definition of Family

The current definition is somewhat open and inclusive. A family might be two parents of any gender, married or not. Some people even make a family with more than three parents. The children may have been born to one of the parents, both parents, or adopted.

The Benefits of Being in a Healthy Family Have Increased

As modern life puts the pressure squeeze on all of us, the benefits of living in a family are more important than ever. The challenges we encounter these days become easier to handle when we don't have to face them alone. The benefits of living in a healthy family are too numerous to mention, but here are a few advantages of having a family and living as a family.

Meets Basic Needs of Those Who Can't Provide for Themselves

The basic social unit called the family is tasked with meeting the basic needs of those family members who can't provide for themselves as minors, very elderly, or disabled, or, can't afford enough to live by themselves. Basic needs such as food, water, shelter, and clean air are accessible when one or more member can provide these things for the whole family.

A Feeling of Belonging

Many years ago, Abram Maslow created a diagram called the 'Hierarchy of Needs.' This hierarchy showed which needs were most crucial to humans. The wide base of Malow's pyramid diagram represented the basic needs mentioned above, which must be met first. On the next level up are the Security needs followed by the Love and Belonging needs. These needs are almost as essential as the basic needs. Fortunately, a healthy family can efficiently provide them.

Financial Security

A well-functioning family provides financial security for everyone living in the household. First, family members who can work contribute at least a part of their earnings to help the family meet everyone's needs and prosper. Second, the family combines resources to pay bills and manage their money to ensure that financial necessities are always taken care of. Finally, the parents teach the children how to manage money and resources, so they can continue to thrive when they move out on their own.

More Happiness and Satisfaction

Many people have found themselves with great news but no one to tell it to. That's a problem one rarely has when living in a family. Families plan vacations together, go to events as a group, enjoy quiet walks in the park, or get involved in a family art project. Whatever they do together, a healthy family will find satisfaction or look for a new way to spend their time together. People who are in healthy families have access to every day joys that some people don't have.

Parents Have More Incentive to Live a Healthy Life

People who have children living with them tend to live healthier. They eat healthier food, quit smoking, reduce their drinking, quit using drugs, and may even stay more active. Why? To be a better role model for one thing, but also because they want to live longer so they can see their children and grandchildren grow up.

Health Benefits for Children

Children enjoy a healthy lifestyle when they live in a healthy family. They have healthy meals, are encouraged to get up and move, enjoy time outdoors, and get prompt medical attention when needed.

Parents of Children Live Longer

Research has shown that people who live with children in their family tend to live longer even after the children have grown up and moved away.

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The Family Offers Support for Family Members

Healthy families offer nearly every kind of support to each member - financial, social, emotional, and practical. The importance of family as a foundation for stability and progress through continual backing can't be overstated.

Who Is There When No One Else Is? Your Family!

Everyone has hard times. Everyone makes mistakes now and then or commits some social blunder. Others may turn their backs when someone may need support the most. A healthy family has each other's back. Even if they don't condone someone's actions, they love unconditionally. They're there for family members.

Watches Out for Each Member, Noticing When Trouble Starts

When family members are under stress, someone close to them is most likely to see the signs that they're struggling. People may hide their problems with others, but family usually knows. Sometimes, a person may wish to keep troubles to themselves, like when responding to struggles in inappropriate ways. However, when accepting a family's help and support through these challenges, life could be better and more comfortable. Chances are when it's all over, a personalized thank their family for setting them on the right path.

Provides Support When One of Them Is Ill

Facing medical problems alone can be a nightmare. Who is going help with transportation to doctor appointments, to pick up medications, to the ER if necessary? One must work out all kinds of logistics when ill, and at a time when physical and emotional resources are low. Family potentially helps solve all these problems and can make sure that food, water, rest, and medical is provided. Society may not have to do anything to take care of a person's basic needs because a family has that covered.

In the Best Position to Notice and Support You Through Emotional Crises

Emotional problems and mental illness can be devastating to anyone. People lose their jobs, friends, and financial resources if they must go through it alone. Being a part of a family means that not only will a person receive support through the crisis, but the problem may also be caught early. People in families are much more likely to notice symptoms of mental illness because they can easily see some early symptoms. This can make all the difference to getting treatment and getting better.

Family Bonds Sustain the Family So They Can Offer Each Other Support

Families spend so much time and energy supporting each other through difficult times because of the bonds they've created and nurtured since the time each of them became a part of the family. Even a newborn child who has medical problems at birth is supported by their loving family because they have already accepted the child as one of their own.

The Community Benefits from the Healthy Families in It

The community benefits when the family relieves it of the burden of supporting members of that family. However, that isn't the only way they benefit. Healthy families produce people who make positive contributions to the community.

Community Involvement

Parents tend to get involved with their community more often than people living alone. What's more, they teach their children at a young age that the only way they can control what kind of community they have is to contribute to it.

Community Giving

When parents contribute to their community by donating money or needed supplies, they model an attitude of caring. They show their children that providing money, food, or supplies to the community helps support it so it can serve everyone better.

Informed Voters

Talking around the dinner table, family members often share their political views. They may discuss the issues in 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.

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The Importance of Family in Educating Children

One of the most important ways parents contribute to society is by educating their children. The learning doesn't go just one way, either. Siblings may help each other with homework. Children may teach their parents about the latest technology. Children in families where another language is spoken at home may teach their parents the language of their new country and help them assimilate into this culture. In a healthy family, learning has a high priority, perhaps just after meeting basic needs.

Parents as the Child's First Teachers

Parents begin teaching their children as soon as they're born. First, they teach them that they are loveable and that their needs will be met. They may 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 everyday life. Best of all, they pass on a love of learning that will serve the child well throughout their life.

Parental Support through the School Years Facilitates Learning

Most parents are equipped in different ways when it comes to helping their children learn after they go to school. If the parents are well-educated and/or highly intelligent, they can help explain difficult concepts to them. If they're uneducated, they can still help them by asking them to tell them what they've learned at school, prompting them to state the learned concept in its simplest terms. In addition, all parents can help their children manage the social challenges of being in school. They can encourage scholarship and ethical behavior as well.

Parents Work to Fund Children's Education Expenses

Parents contribute to society by working to ensure that their family gets the best possible educational opportunities. They may donate funds, or they may use their social network to help a college-age student find a job. Parents who can't afford to send their child to college can help them get there by encouraging and assisting them file scholarship applications. Their emotional and practical help may be even more important than financial support.

Children Learn Values in the Family

Values learning has been a traditional function of the family. Families introduce their children to their spiritual views. They teach their children right from wrong and encourage them to follow the laws of the land unless disobeying the law will benefit society. They teach their children that there are natural consequences to every action and that each person has the freedom to make the right (or wrong) choice. They teach them the values of love, respect, friendship, honesty, kindness, courage, equality, integrity, and responsibility, to name a few.

Children Learn to Work Together as a Team

Families often work together to get household chores done. They may team up to plan the perfect party or vacation. Every task they do together teaches them more about what it's like to work as a team to accomplish group goals. This knowledge translates well into adulthood as they contribute to society by working with others to reach common goals.

Family as a Bulwark against Crime

Crime is a part of human civilization - at least it has been in most parts of the world most of the time. Can families eliminate crime? Probably not. However, they can help prevent it and lessen its impact.

Family Members Protect Each Other

When a person lives alone, they may have no one to rely on when someone tries to commit a crime against them. In families, though, family members who have enough strength to help are most likely to rush to aid. Family members may also notice when each other may be vulnerable and offer reminders to take better precautions.

Parents Teach the Importance of Following the Rules

Parents don't always believe that every rule should be followed. However, most parents teach their children that following rules is usually the best and most advantageous choice they can make. They not only teach them the importance of following the rules, but they also teach them what the rules and laws are.

Parents Teach Conflict Resolution and Anger Management

When becoming a parent, solving all children's disagreements can be a massive chore. One of the ways parents cope is to teach their children how to resolve their conflicts on their own. They also help their children learn to manage their anger in healthy, constructive ways. Through conflict resolution and anger management, children learn how to contribute to peace in the society.

What Is the Importance of a Family That's Dysfunctional?

Of course, not all families contribute to societies equally. Some are slightly dysfunctional, while others harm their family members so much that society must step in and take on responsibility for those children.

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So, what do you do if your family doesn't support you? What if they don't help you meet your basic needs or encourage you to prosper? What if the only thing they teach you is to mistrust others? The good news is that there is help for you. You can overcome the damages caused by a dysfunctional family, abusive or neglectful parents, or disrespectful children.

Talking to a counselor is an excellent way to get in touch with your feelings about family and to learn to express those feelings appropriately. You can learn to understand the family influences that shaped your personality. Your counselor can teach you techniques for changing your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors to be the person you most want to be, despite what your family has done to you. Licensed counselors are available for this and other mental health challenges at BetterHelp.com today.

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