In our fast pace world and chaotic lives we often forget that family and extended family are important to teens. We forget the importance of passing on traditions from generation to generation. Another problem that impacts family in our society is that we have become very mobile. We no longer live close to our relatives. It’s not uncommon for grandchildren to live in California and grandparents to live back east. And with jobs becoming more difficult to find and the cost of living increasing families are moving where ever they can find a job or to a place where the cost of living is affordable.
A close family can provide support and help for the entire family especially teens. Children could establish close relationships with grandparents and aunts and uncles. These adults could serve as additional role models and inform the parents if they feel there is a problem. However, we no longer have that today.
A close connection to generations also provides a sense of security for children. If there is a problem a child knew they could turn to their parents, aunts or uncles or cousins. It also helps children’s self-esteem. You have the adults who can reinforce that you are worthy and you have cousins who can defend you at school or in the neighborhood because you are worth it. Also your older cousins can help you learn what to expect as you go from grade to grade. There is a sense of support and security that most children don’t have today.
The advancement in computers and communication may provide a way to try to recreate this sense of family. With such things as Skype where you can talk and see the other person, it’s almost like being with the person. Children can Skype with grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins too. We just have to make time for it. For those families that live close to each other, you need to remember the value of family and make time for family. At times it may be difficult, but you will find that the time and effort are worth it. I have found that children with close family ties and connections to their cultures do better. They have a sense of pride and a sense of where the came from that other children don’t.
A number of studies have shown that children with extended family ties do better in life. One reason for Black History Month is so black children keep an attachment to their heritage. Every child needs this connection. I have attached a link to an article with a link to an article about sharing traditions with family. Check out this article from First 5 LA: http://www.first5la.org/index.php?r=site/article&id=3615&utm_content=buffere936a&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer.
I think you will find it interesting.
Dr Michael Rubino has been working with children/teens and their families for over 18 years and is well respected. For more information at Dr Rubino’s work or his private practice visit his website at http://www.rcs-ca.com.