What Is The Importance Of Family In Modern Society?
By Ashley Brown
Updated December 03, 2019
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 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? Well, of course not. Family is just as relevant as it ever was if not more. 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
The traditional definition of "family" entailed 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 isn't as popular in recent times. In the 1950s, the ideal family was a father, a mother, and two offspring. The current definition is somewhat open and inclusive. A family might be two parents of any gender, married or not. Some people even have 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 pressure on all of us, 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 is tasked with meeting the basic needs of those family members who can't provide for themselves. This includes minors, the elderly and disabled, or simply those who can't afford to live by themselves. 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.
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 wide base of Maslow'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. 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.
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 wants. Second, the family combines resources to pay bills and manage their money to ensure that financial necessities are always taken care of.
Built-in Support System
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. People who are in healthy families have access to everyday joys that some people don't have. In addition, everyone has hard times. A healthy family has each other's back. When family members are under stress, someone close to them is most likely to see the symptoms that they're struggling with. People may hide their problems with others, but their family most often already understands. Even if they don't condone someone's actions, they love unconditionally. They're there for family members.
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. Health benefits exist for parents, too. 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. This may be because parents tend to eat healthier food, quit smoking, reduce their drinking, quit using drugs, and may even stay more active compared to their childless peers.
Provides Support When One of Them Is Ill
Facing medical problems alone can be a nightmare. Family potentially helps solve all these problems and can make sure that food, water, rest, and medical care is provided. Society may not have to do anything to take care of a person's basic needs because a family already has that covered.
The Community Benefits
The community benefits when the family relieves it of the burden of supporting members of that family. Healthy families produce people who make positive contributions to the community too. 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. 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. 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. Their emotional and practical help might be even more important than financial support.
Crime is a part of human civilization - at least it has been in most parts of the world most of the time. Families can't eliminate crime, but they can help prevent it and lessen its impact.
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. In a healthy family, learning has a high priority, perhaps just after meeting basic needs. 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.
Parents begin teaching their children as soon as they're born. 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. Most parents are equipped in different ways when it comes to helping their children learn after they go to school. They can encourage scholarship and ethical behavior, as well.
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. Parents teach their children right from wrong and encourage them to follow the laws of the land unless disobeying a specific law will benefit society. Families often work together to get household chores done. Every task they do together teaches them more about what it's like to work as a team to accomplish group goals.
All Families May Struggle Sometimes
Even though families have many benefits, they can sometimes be challenging. You may need a little support to get through your days, which is entirely understandable. For instance, if you are not happy with your significant other, it may lead to depression and divorce. It is better to be honest about your views on your family before settling down with someone. This limits these things from happening.
You should also consider having a trusted friend that you can talk to about your problems, or simply taking some me-time occasionally, for when you need a little break from your home life. This is something that will lower your stress and allow you to access your values and focus on what's important.
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.
So, what do you do if your family doesn't support you? First, understand that 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. Here are reviews of counselors, from people experiencing different family issues.
"I am THRILLED with Rachel and with BetterHelp! It is affordable, I am a single mom with 4 kids on a tight budget and a LOT of stress, and this format makes it easy to get help. I LOVE that I can write my feelings to her whenever I am having them, not have to wait a week for the next session. She is very insightful, and I am thankful!"
"I am a 42-year-old female, successful entrepreneur in a loving marriage, and have a bright and healthy 4-year-old boy. I shouldn't have anything to complain about. I am generally happy, motivated, and have ample self-confidence. So why in the world would I need therapy? Because I need help with constructive ideas to control my negative attitude. I'm generally not a negative person, but I'm very self-aware that I have vast mood swings of anger and pessimism, and I get that from my dad. I chose Douglas because he counsels using cognitive behavioral therapy and anger management - which is the kind of therapy I need. Douglas comes up with clear solutions, and I appreciate that. I didn't want a therapist to tell me to talk about my day and how does that make me feel and that it's normal to have these feelings. I know it is normal to feel angry sometimes, but I wanted to understand how to recognize it and address it. So if you need constructive conversation with fast results for everyday annoyances and (especially effective child-rearing advice!), I think Douglas is your therapist."
The importance of family will likely never change. It is something precious, although it may also leave you feeling like you need additional support. If you are experiencing family problems, or if you're simply looking to strengthen your family life, remember that help is always available. Don't suffer alone, when it is so easy to talk to someone who'll listen.