Life is a lot simpler when we have a supporting family that is always there for us. Every phase of life requires a familial bond. Kind words from your mother, husband, or siblings may soothe one’s spirit and offer the confidence and bravery to face life head-on. In this article, we discuss the value of family, its qualities, and techniques to strengthen family bonds.
A family is comprised of individuals who are linked by blood, emotion, and values. Families may be linked to one another by birth, marriage, and adoption.
Why is Family Important?
People need family support for a variety of reasons, most of which are connected to their own well-being. Family is important to humans because it may help a person’s physical, psychological, and emotional issues, and the benefits it provides are unique to human beings. While you may already be aware that spending time with your family deepens your relationship, you may be shocked to find that it also has additional scientifically proven advantages.
Families Help Relieve Stress. Family bonds have been demonstrated to alleviate stress by increasing self-esteem and decreasing anxiety, particularly in young individuals exposed to violence. This close link may serve as a shield and provide a feeling of belonging through difficult times. Additionally, findings indicate that those with strong familial relationships have systems that enable them to manage better the stressors of life. According to Carnegie Mellon University research, organizations utilize their friends and family as a stress buffer, discussing their difficulties rather than resorting to negative coping techniques such as alcohol, smoking, or drug usage.
Better Diet & Overall Health. There are several advantages to dining together, one of them being healthier diets for families. Families that eat meals together, regardless of age, have proven to have better diets that include breakfast, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and less processed foods. It has also been studied that grandparents who eat alone are more likely to miss meals and consume items with low nutritional value, which is why family mealtimes are important at every age.
Early Age Bonding Develops Better Emotions. Children who grow up in healthy familial ties have greater control and management of their emotions as adults, according to Sage Journals. Individuals who have more control over their emotions are more self-aware and capable of dealing with all types of emotions in acceptable and healthy ways.
Increases Lifespan. In a long-term study, researchers discovered that individuals without deep family links were twice as likely to die as those with close familial relationships. Also, family links outlived friendship bonds, according to this study’s findings.
Enhances Well-Being. Maintaining a strong relationship with your family may really enhance your health. Harvard researchers found that people who respected their families and friends and created those ever-important ties and connections had better health throughout their lifetimes. Isolation may lead to decreasing health in middle age and later life.
Close-Knit Families are Better. Close-knit families have close ties older age, according to research. In 2020 Psychological Science released long-term research on men’s relationships. Researchers discovered that males who grew up in welcoming households had better relationships than men who did not. They controlled their emotions and bonded with their mates.
Better Academic Performance. A study of family mealtimes by Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. Children who ate meals with their families fewer than three times were twice as likely to receive Cs or below in school. Kids who ate family meals 5-7 times a week performed much better.
Family & Children Relationships
The major effect on a child’s learning and development is their family since it is the children’s key social group. During this time period, children grow physically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively. Indeed, continuous studies indicate that an unhealthy relationship with a primary caregiver may severely hinder a child’s capacity to build and sustain good connections throughout life with the family. Researchers observed the following pathologies in children who experienced neglect throughout their developmental years.
• Decreased development in the left hemisphere, which may result in an increased risk of depression.
• Increased limbic system sensitivity, which might result in anxiety problems.
• Decreased hippocampal development, which may lead to memory and learning deficits.
But how is it possible for 2 or 3 children in the same household to be so dissimilar? They are raised in the very same broad social setting, with the same set of regulations and a common set of family values. They share the same genetic pool yet exhibit disparate personalities, interests, and accomplishments. While they may share a family, they do not share the same place. Children’s birth positions have a huge influence on their conduct and personalities.
Alfred Adler proposed a hypothesis on the significance of birth order in personality development in 1964. According to his concept, even though children are born into the same home, their birth order has a significant impact on their psychological development. To really comprehend children, it is necessary to examine how their familial status affects their development. The big three — first, middle, and youngest – all have comparable traits. If the kid is an only child, they are an extraordinary firstborn. Here we will also be looking at the traits of all children according to their birth order.
First Borns Children Characteristics
The eldest child in the family is the only one who will have their parents totally to themselves; the firstborn often benefit mentally from this experience, emerging with a feeling of stability and self-confidence. Because firstborn children get so much attention from their parents as infants, they tend to be responsible, well-behaved, and show strong leadership characteristics. They are pioneers in almost everything taught by their parents. They supervise them because they want the best for them.
For those who are blessed with a sibling, some of the following qualities might be seen in their first child, which is referred to as the “firstborn child syndrome.” This shift may be difficult for many children and may result in a developmental crisis. For the firstborns, it may be the source of sibling rivalry, jealousy, and trauma as per research. A family’s oldest child goes through emotions. While some of these traits are positive, others may be detrimental to their personality.
- Higher self-esteem. According to contemporary research, older children have stronger self-esteem and confidence. It improves academic and professional achievement but not necessarily social life. Others may not accept them if they are not humble and appreciative.
- They may want to be in charge and dominate. When their younger siblings arrive, the firstborns are thrust into leadership. Leading and assisting their younger siblings becomes firmly embedded in their future. It’s the firstborn syndrome if they start dominating instead of leading according to research.
- Parents’ expectations may be a burden. Parents want their eldest children to be role models in all areas, including academics, which is one of the reasons firstborns feel pressurized due to their perfectionist tendencies and parental expectations. The pressure from their parents and the desire to succeed may create troubles later in life.
- The constant urge for perfection. 2009 research found that firstborns are perfectionists with high standards. A damaging trait is when they grow resentful or depressed due to their failure to achieve or their sibling’s achievement.
- It might lead to unhealthy competition. It is possible for the firstborn to have ill feelings towards their parents or their younger sibling if their parents do not appropriately manage sibling rivalry and jealousy. This fosters unhealthy competition even as adults, a symptom of the eldest child syndrome.
- More controlling nature. First-born children may acquire an urge to dominate everything around them, even their younger siblings. The ability to behave as a second parent to their younger siblings might cause some older children to become too domineering.
- Higher depression rate. One research found that firstborns are more prone to depression than middle or last-born. Firstborns often face more parental pressure to achieve
How can depression affect a person overall and what can it lead to? Read our article here to be more watchful for signs of depression.
According to research published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, 75% of moms report feeling more connected to their firstborn, their oldest kid.
Middle Child Characteristics
The middle children are said to be more prone to “have a condition similar to an inferiority complex” since they lack attention and are not the eldest or youngest. It is a belief that if you are neither the eldest nor the youngest child, you will get less parental attention and will feel “stuck in the middle.”
- Feelings of exclusion. This trait is basically the driving factor behind middle child syndrome: they do not feel like the beloved kid in the family since they play a hazy function in the bigger picture. Middle children are typically overshadowed by their siblings. Their siblings may have dampened their individuality, turning them quiet and calm. The middle kid often tries to fit in since they lack a definite function in the family unit.
- Feelings of needing to prove yourself. Middle children are constantly forced to compete for parental attention and must work a bit more to be noticed. The eldest child is often seen as a barometer of a parent’s success. Parents spend far more on their firstborn’s successes.” Successes of the middle kid are often taken for granted. They must establish their worth to others. Due to their undervaluation, this might work against them. They must strive harder to remove unfavorable preconceptions about them.
- Better social skills. Due to the fear of being “left out”, studies reveal that middle children have better social skills and can interact with a wider range of individuals. Outgrowing the “firstborn” or “baby” designations, middle children may learn to interact with various groups more effectively.
- Rebellious nature. Middle children may develop more rebellious conduct, without their parents constantly monitoring their every step. This might be a way to get a parent’s attention, or it could be a sort of boundary-pushing. Without strict rules, kids are likely to bend them, which may lead to a variety of outcomes, both good and harmful.
- Peacemakers. The majority of middle children serve as peacekeepers. Due to their proximity to other siblings, they are frequently concerned with justice and balance.
- Self-sufficiency. Being a middle child may make a person more self-reliant according to the study, as they have depended on themselves for direction, survival, and validation at an early age. This self-contained tendency may later benefit personal interactions and self-esteem measures.
- Flexible nature. The research found that siblings had better social skills than single children. They benefit from their elders’ wisdom and failures, and they may impart their knowledge to younger siblings. This enables them to be adaptable. The middle child is not allocated a role. They are capable of assuming any position, that of pupil or instructor.
- Good relationship partners. A 2010 review of birth order literature found a strong correlation between being a middle child and being faithful in monogamous relationships. Catherine Salmon, psychologist, and writer of The Secret Power of Middle Children state in her book, that she found that 80% of middle children never had cheated on their partners. 65% of firstborns and 53% of lastborns did.
- They are innovative & successful. The capacity of middles to think creatively, as a consequence of their increased receptivity to experience lends itself to innovative activities.” According to one research, middles are 85 percent more receptive to new ideas than firstborns are. Since 1787, almost half of presidents were middle children. Middle children’s attributes like independence and negotiating skills allow them to take more chances and work harder in adulthood.
Younger Child Characteristics
As with the older sibling, the youngest kid usually feels distinctive and has a distinct position in the family. They are more rebellious and self-centered, as well as creative, sociable, and extroverted. Being the youngest child defines as the family’s “baby,” an identity that they may carry into adulthood.
- The favorite ones. According to research done by Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life, the youngest kid in the family is often seen as the parents’ favorite child. A younger sibling who claims to be their parents’ favorite notices a stronger connection with their parents.
- The rebellious one. According to a 2010 study in the Journal of Individual Psychology, researchers discovered that among the oldest, middle, and youngest children, the last born has the most social interest and tends to be the most rebellious. In a 2016 study released by the Universities of Birmingham and Reading, researchers tested the “rebellious” idea and found that younger siblings are “more likely to be inquisitive, unorthodox, and risk-tolerant.”
- The relaxed ones. By the time the youngest child comes, parents have perfected the art of raising children and developed their own distinct parenting styles. Because they’ve done it all before, they’re not as frightened or worried, and their easygoing attitude clearly rubs off on their children as per research.
- Outgoing & social. Young siblings are also typically extroverted and friendly, especially when they are young. Because younger children may feel as if they are swimming in the wake of their older siblings, they may strive to carve out their own path by being gregarious and extroverted as much as possible.
- Self-centered. The last born may be self-absorbed. Because older, more competent siblings are taking on all the chores, younger children might easily develop a servile mindset keeping up to themselves only.
Unsurprisingly, 2020 research on university students discovered middle and only children had negative identity beliefs, whereas oldest and youngest children had good identity perceptions.
Only Child Characteristics.
Without siblings, a child develops unique traits.
- The private ones. When a child does not have to share a room with another child, he or she often has a greater feeling of privacy. They demand more privacy and personal space than other children with siblings since they are more private. It does not indicate that they are spoilt or unwilling to share; they just want more space. This may also lead to negative characteristics, such as difficulty sharing their belongings. Even when not in a competitive situation, they are constantly eager to be selected first. One may see that an only kid is too sensitive, resistant to criticism, and rather demanding. This might persist throughout adulthood.
- High achievers. Only children usually put a high value on their efforts and accomplishments. Due to the fact that their parents are able to devote their undivided attention to them, as opposed to their siblings, only children (or the oldest child) may be held to higher standards and have a stronger drive to succeed.
- Super ambitious. Only children tend to be goal-oriented, and this is supported by studies. It’s common for parents to tell their children that they can do everything they put their minds to. That lesson can only be fully absorbed by an only child.
- The Independent ones. According to Paulette Sherman, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of The Book of Sacred Baths, only children are often seen as responsible. It has been studied that only child learn how to be alone and enjoy themselves. They have many friends but also value their solitude.
- Organized. Only children are more cautious and organized with their belongings. They are often punctual and possess good life skills. As long as parents are not particularly sensitive to their children or do too much for them, they will soon learn about life and mimic adult manners.
- Closer to parents. Being an only child may establish a close relationship with one’s parents. It has been studied that they tend to have deeper ties with their parents throughout childhood and adulthood.
Who is the Favorite Child?
Researchers say most parents prefer their firstborn kid. 70% of moms and 74% of dads in UC Berkeley research agreed to have a favorite kid. It has been studied that younger mothers are more attached to their firstborn while older mothers are more likely to get attached to their lastborn child.
How to Encourage Good Familial Relationships?
Building relationships requires time and effort. Parents must make a concerted effort to cultivate a strong and dynamic connection with each of their children.
1. Be Respectful. Parents expect their kids to respect them. Respect must be mutual. Children need to know that their contributions are valued. Good communication builds respect. Respect your kid by sincerely listening to his needs and letting him know he is heard. Understanding his distinctiveness, even if it varies from yours, shows him that you value his identity. Set good examples and communicate clearly with youngsters so that they learn how to treat their members of the family, for example keeping a low pitch while addressing any member in the house.
2. Spend Quality Time. Quality time is necessary for the development of positive interactions between children and parents. Spending time together enables us to learn about one another’s experiences, ideas, emotions, and evolving interests. Quality family time has been shown to benefit both children and parents in the following ways: enhanced well-being, a feeling of belonging, and a favorable impact on children’s cognitive, social, and emotional development, as well as their later life choices.
Here are some strategies to ensure that your family spends quality time together:
- Establish some tough yet reasonable family rules. Rules are obvious declarations about how you want your family to care for and respect its members.
- Spend time together when all electronic gadgets are switched off & away This helps maintain everyone’s attention on what you’re doing or saying at the moment.
- Make time for yourself and your partner. It may be beneficial to explain to your children why this quality time with your spouse is beneficial to your relationship.
- As a family, engage in routine, enjoyable activities. This might be as simple as a Saturday family soccer game at a neighborhood park or a weekly family board game night
3. Foster Communication. Communication is vital because it allows individuals to voice their needs, wishes, and concerns. Communication helps family members to communicate their differences as well as their love and appreciation for one another. It enhances connections by making children feel understood, appreciated, and cherished.
- When your children or spouse want to speak, accept their wishes and listen attentively to them. Allow them sufficient time to express themselves appropriately.
- Conduct one-on-one conversations with each member of the family to reinforce individual bonds. It may be only five minutes before bedtime.
- Discuss sensitive topics, particularly with teens. Families sometimes struggle to address sex, alcohol, drugs, and economics with their children. However, such issues may be addressed via conversation.
- Remain Connected Using Technology.
4. Share Your Love & Support. A healthy family bond is developed by recognition and celebration of each member and there’s nothing greater than being able to maintain meaningful relationships with your family. Greeting one other before leaving and greeting each other upon return are forms of loving gestures. Make it a habit. Also, complement each family member on a job well done. For example, complimenting and thanking a teenager for caring for a younger sister would instill a sense of importance in them.
5. Eat Together. As already been mentioned, eating together as a family is very beneficial for a positive relationship and upbringing of children. Find a meal that everyone can share every day, or at least a couple times a week. Make something that everyone enjoys and encourage family conversations. Turn off all gadgets and encourage everyone to interact with one another.
6. Stay Involved. Proactively involve your children and spouse in any activity they are interested in. Be attentive enough to inquire about their well-being, ask questions, and really listen. It has been proven that these little gestures mean a great deal to them and may help you get closer.
7. Work Like a Team. When the family works together as a unit, every person feels appreciated for what they have contributed. Household tasks should be shared. Allow little children to assist with household duties such as tidying up their toys or placing their shoes back where they belong. Let children decide things of their own. The decisions you let your child make will depend on their abilities and maturity, as well as the rules you’ve set.
8. Teach to Forgive. Whenever anyone makes a mistake, healthy families teach their members how to confess and forgive. It instills in youngsters a sense of accountability for their activities. The greatest way for children to learn is by example and precept. Do not only teach youngsters to forgive people who have wronged them; demonstrate how forgiveness works to maintain family unity and love.
The Strong Family.
The University of Nebraska researchers identified six important criteria that good families share. All of these traits contribute to family joy and strength.
- Their spiritual well-being is because they believe in a higher power and have the same ideas.
- They make their relationship a high priority and readily available for them.
- They expressed their appreciation to other family members
- They always have time for each other.
- They converse about both major and little matters.
- They are capable of overcoming obstacles and catastrophes; they are persistent.
Your initial relationship after birth is with your family. To strengthen your relationship with your family, spend quality time with them, acknowledge their efforts, and participate. . However, establishing such families is not straightforward. To remain together and accomplish a single objective takes effort and commitment.