The teen years come with their fair share of trouble, and that’s under the best circumstances. It’s a time when young people are becoming more independent. They’re trying to learn who is safe to be around, what their lives are supposed to be about, and how to become functioning adults (eventually). Strong family relationships play a big role in whether or not teens make it through this stage of their lives successfully. Here are three ways that strong family support helps teens during these crucial years.
Source of Stability
Family stability leads to child stability. Kids who experience a changing series of adults passing through both inside and outside of the home find themselves less able to create stable lives and stable relationships. They also don’t develop the ability to create consistent schedules for eating, sleeping, school, and other daily activities. Skills like these must be first taught to the child before the child can integrate them on his or her own.
A Layer of Protection
Troubled teens become vulnerable to the vicissitudes of life. This, in turn, makes them more easily influenced by those who would prey on the weaker members of society. Having good, healthy relationships with family and good friends can provide protection from loneliness, which makes people less vulnerable to getting pulled into trafficking and other serious circumstances. Teens who have solid relationships have someone who is looking out for their well-being and someone who knows when to expect them home. This might seem like common sense. However, the importance of good support can’t be overlooked when it comes to protecting teens from those who would harm them.
Being a member of a family is a bit like being a fish in a fishbowl. You don’t know how much you learn in the water until you’re out of it, trying to breathe. Family is the “water”—the environment that a person needs to thrive. Living in the family unit teaches teens how to develop healthy relationships with friends, future co-workers, and even romantic partners as they get older. It’s difficult to learn social skills without this important structure in place. Indeed, it’s hard to move forward, and in the case of extreme trauma and hardship, it’s even hard to breathe.
Teens who don’t have a stable family life become vulnerable to those who would take advantage of them in their weakened states. Moreover, the family unit is where they learn how to have relationships and how to manage their lives. The importance of family can’t be stressed enough.