capacity to nurture her child is largely dependent on the
emotional support she receives from others in the family.
2. Helping the child develop a healthy
For the child to develop an integrated personality and to
form gender identity, the family must provide him with an
opportunity to observe healthy roles among parents and siblings.
The family members through their complementary roles, leadership
patterns and gender specific functions act as models for qualities
such as sharing, abiding by rules and living in harmony.
For this, it is essential that the parental unit is strong
and without conflicts. If the parents form a unit not only
as parents but as a married couple, the child is provided
with healthy adult models. A strong parental unit with healthy
communication between the various generations provides the
child with strong emotional security.
If this does not occur the child is subject to many conflicting
standards and values and is unable to achieve a healthy personality.
3. The family as a social system
The family is the first social system that a child knows
and into which he grows. He gains familiarity with the basic
roles such as that of a parent and child, husband and wife
and the responsibilities that go with each role. The family
value sytems, ideas regarding reward and punishment, monitary
transactions, sharing and togetherness and the value of authority
are some of the aspects of life that a child learns through
4. The family and culture
It is the family which provides the initial steps towards
culture specific matters such as food preferences, styles
of dress, play and games, religious beliefs, language, music
and other areas of intellectual stimulation. A child's first
teacher is always the parent or a parent substitute and a
large part of the child's life is spent in his initial school
i.e. the family. An inportant part of his psychological development
i.e. the intellectual and cultural development has its roots
in the family.
A study of these four areas of the family's role clearly indicates
the importance of the family and parental unit, how they behave
and communicate, how they relate to one another and to the
child and the emotional security and warmth that they offer.
Stability and harmony in a family is the ideal setting for
a child's healthy development.