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September 7, 2021

A ‘road map’ for family life

By Shelly-Ann Simon

Case Management Officer – Alternative Care, CCSJ/AMMR, rcsocialjustice.org

There are many versions of the family. One thing we can say for sure is that family is important.

Some would define the family in terms of structure with each member carrying out a particular role, such as father, mother, child, and so on. Family is where we form emotional connections and learn the values that shape us into adults.

Families should provide children with a safe, supportive environment, love, emotional support, and intellectual stimulation at home.

Even though we may believe that our children learn only from their parents and siblings, we know children learn from every significant person in their lives. In families, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, all help children to learn and develop.

The degree of love, respect and consideration are environmental benefits which enable our young to rise above loss and adverse experiences and enable them to flourish.

While we speak about respect and understanding, one must also understand that boundaries, discipline and understanding, ‘no’ as a response, are also integral to our children’s development.

Although many families often encounter unexpected difficulties, how the family deals with them also affects the emotional intelligence and resiliency of the child.

The way in which a family deals with challenges is a significant indicator of how our children will navigate and deal with challenges they will encounter throughout their lives.

Our children are innate reflections of our families and our values. Parenting is difficult. It helps if parents develop a ‘road map’ of sorts with respect to what they want their children to be or reflect in society, or what sort of adult they want to raise.

My brother, whom I believe to be a modern philosopher, once said “My child must not be a problem to society.” He has goals for his son. He has a ‘road map’ to achieving who he wants his son to be in society.

He understands, though, that there will be other influences outside of the family who can impact his son and influence his perspective on life. My brother has made many inputs into morals, respect, and civic mindedness which he knew would cancel or challenge external influences.

As adults and/or parents, we must understand that perfection cannot be the goal here. The goal is making so many good and valuable inputs into shaping your child’s morals and values that even external influences must remain minor anomalies within the existence and decision-making of your child.

As my mother would say: “Love is the key. There is nothing else. Nothing more important.”

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