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Each and every relationship in a child’s life is important for his development. Relationships help him grow up to become a well-rounded human being. Let us see how important relationships can be in your child’s upbringing.
The impact of a child’s “relationship environment” during his formative years is critical for developing him into a well-rounded human being. Interactions with parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, teachers and other adults actually build the base for how he will grow later. This “relationship environment” will determine a child’s future life, from his academic performance to his interpersonal skills. And this influence is multiplied many times over, if the environment is a joint family.
Let us see how important relationships can be in your child’s life
Different People, Different Roles
From the point of view of a child, all adults represent authority. It is eventually that he learns to recognize the subtle differences in each adult’s role. While it is the primary responsibility of parents to bring up the child, grandparents can also pay a supplementary role here. Obviously, there should not be any blurred lines of responsibility or authority between parents and grandparents, as this will only lead to conflict.
Children often look up to their grandparents as storytellers and generally someone they can get their way with. This level of trust and comfort is also necessary for children. Uncles and aunts could be a great source of fun. Cousins could be playmates. All these different relationships give the child a chance to develop that particular faculty of mind. If the child looks at all adults as only authoritative figures, he will learn to distrust everyone.
Learning New Life Skills
Having a wide variety of relationships, right from childhood, can prepare children to build and nurture different relationships when they are adults. Children are very perceptive and absorb all that happens around them. These relationships help the child in understanding different life skills such as sharing, caring, placing trust, being responsible and accountable, etc. Also, warm and trusting relationships help children to cope with life’s ups and downs better and manage their emotions well.
Not only can the other family members help parents, they can also be instrumental in helping the child directly.
- It is possible that a child who is scared to say something to his parents, might confess it to his grandparents knowing that they will be more lenient and will be able to placate his parents if need be.
- The parents might take parenting seriously, but an uncle or aunt could provide some levity. This will help in overall emotional development of the child.
- Family members could also help the parents in case the child is sick or in case they are unable to attend school meetings or in case they are away.
Sharing the Responsibilities of a Special Child
If you have a special needs child, the support of family members could be invaluable. In situations where a child needs constant attention, family members could take over responsibility for a few hours, giving some much-needed break to the parents.
The parents too will have the satisfaction of knowing that the child is with someone trustworthy. And this is not only applicable to practical matters. Even when it comes to the emotional needs of a special child, the insight and knowledge of family members could make life easier for both the parent and the child.
What they Shouldn’t do
Although there are many ways in which family members contribute positively to a child’s upbringing, there are times when this could become a problem. What happens in most Indian joint families is that one patriarch takes all decisions which others in the family are supposed to follow. This doesn’t always work in everybody’s best interest. Some decisions should be the sole discretion of the parents. Otherwise, it can result in conflicts which harm rather than contribute to the child’s perception of the adult world around him. So, having well-defined roles for each adult can certainly help. Also, parents should have full confidence and trust in the adults they allow around their children.
Building positive relationships with adults early on in life enhances a child’s sense of well-being and social skills. A child will thrive in close, dependable relationships which provide him with love, security, motivation and interaction.