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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 personality

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 his family.

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.


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