It is seen that young children look up to their family a lot as an idol. Significant studies have shown that almost half of kids involved nominated their parents, with a further quarter nominating a relative - usually an older brother or sister or grandparent as their idols.
Only some picked sports star or pop culture identity as their main role model. This establishes the significance of family relationships for children. Children also said they felt proud when they received parental approval, and regularly seek advice from their families when they are worried about something. They then are more likely to talk to friends or siblings, particularly in the absence of vital family relationships. Given that the family is the primary groups of significant others, it follows that a young person`s identity and existence is strongly influenced by the family system and the accompanying family relationships. It is not surprising that, for many children and young people, family relationships are both an indicator of well being and also a source of concern and distress.
Many factors affect family stability and well being. Changes occurring over the last 20 years have strongly impacted on traditional family life and the important family relationships. These changes include:
- increases in divorce
- single parent-families
- step and blended families and
- The proportion of couples having live in relationships.
However, when parents separate, the vast majority of children live with their mother in either one-parent families or in step or blended families. For a high proportion of divorced and separated fathers, involvement with their children drops off over time and relationships with children suffer, resulting in the suffering of ongoing family relationships.
With the breakdown of their family and the change to single-parent status many children suffer economic deprivation as a result of their lower socioeconomic status resulting in further stress. They also suffer the loss of the nurturing family relationships usually found within most families.
Given that couples state the main reason for separation and divorce as being relationship problems such as lack of communication, feelings of neglect and constant arguments, it is witnessed that many children having these problems have a gradual decline in their health following the family relationships also. Even in `healthy` families conflict occurs. Children are often the forgotten participants of family disruption and conflict between parents even though the tensions within family relationships are significantly impacted upon them.
Many young people are deeply concerned when experiencing family breakdown, separation or divorce. These young people talk about their feelings of distress, confusion and grief, about deciding which parent to live with, unhappiness with custody or access arrangements and breakdown in their family relationships with a parent are also frequent concerns. The nature and severity of young people`s concerns relating to family conflict and disruption and breakdown of family relationships vary widely. These concerns can be loosely grouped into the following issues:
- Fighting and arguments between parents
- Sibling disputes over sharing resources or responsibilities
- Issues around discipline
- The need for acknowledgment, time or affection from
- Teenagers seeking autonomy and
- The myriad of other issues that arise in families over affections, responsibilities, resources and privacy.
Apart from all these issues, it is witnessed that the family unit is central to society because it is where social behaviour is learnt and transmitted from one generation to another - it is the unit in which both personality and society are forged. In this the domain, healthy family relationships are crucial. Peace and stability within the family and family relationships are the bedrock of future well being for both individuals and policy-makers recognize the importance of family and prioritize resources to assist families to more adequately respond to their responsibilities.