Why Is Family Important? 9 Reasons It Benefits Us (and Society)

Extended family gathering in living room

Families are important to individuals for several key reasons. The definition of family seems to change with the times, but it usually includes a group of people related to each other and/or living together. Like many healthy social relationships, strong bonds with family members can have great benefits for society and individuals.

Why Are Families Important to Individuals?

Family support is important to individuals for various reasons, most of which are related to one's personal well-being. Family is crucial to people because it can benefit a person's physical, emotional, and mental health, and what it offers human beings can't be found anywhere else.

Family Improves Overall Well-Being for Individuals

Staying close to your family might actually benefit your health. A Harvard study looked at people's relationships, including those with family, and discovered that the individuals who valued family and friends and developed those ever-important bonds and connections experienced better health throughout their lives. Staying isolated can increase a person's chances of declining health in middle-age and later years.

Families Provide Personal Stress Relief

Family ties have been shown to provide stress relief by boosting self-esteem and lessening anxiety, especially for young people who have been exposed to violence. This strong bond can act as a protective shield and offers a sense of belonging in troubling times. Studies further illustrate that those people with strong family ties better develop mechanisms to help them better cope with the stresses that life throws their way.

Family Meals Contribute to Healthy Diets

The benefits of eating as a family are plenty, and one of those benefits is improved diets for family members. Across all ages, families who eat meals together have healthier diets that include eating breakfast, ample fruits and vegetables, and fewer processed foods. These healthy food choices create a foundation that lasts up to five years later for teens. Grandparents who eat alone are more likely to skip meals and eat foods with decreased nutritional values, so family meal-time is important in every generation.

Mother with three small children indoors in kitchen in the morning at home

Early Family Bonds Help Regulate Personal Emotions

Children who experience healthy family relationships at a young age show more control and regulation of their emotions when they're older, reports Sage Journals. People who have more control over regulating their emotions are self-aware and able to deal with feelings of any kind in appropriate and healthy ways.

Family Closeness Helps People Live Longer

In a long-term study, researchers found adults with no close relationships to family members other than a spouse were about twice as likely to die as adults with close family relationships. Results from the study also showed that many strong family ties were more beneficial than a few strong family relationships, and family bonds lengthened life more than friendship bonds. It seems there's something specifically special about family members that makes people feel supported and happy in a way no other person can.

Parents having fun with children at home

Why Are Families Important to Society?

The importance of family in modern society is evident when you examine research about topics like crime, the economy, and social services. The important thing to remember is that family type isn't as important as the stability of the family unit.

Family Ties Help Regulate the Economy

Families who share strong bonds tend to prefer living situations where they can remain close in proximity. This contributes to more regulated jobs and wages because families who stay together want a job market with security and fair wages so they won't have to move away. Labor markets are often dictated at their core by the workforce in the area.

Bigger Families Mean More Economic Prosperity

Large families are major economic contributors. From insurance to Costco runs, clans packed with people are by nature big spenders. Furthermore, families with droves of kids are producing droves of future adults, which will be needed to sustain the economic balance as aging populations leave the workforce. Smaller families will result in smaller numbers of economically contributing adults, while the aging population continues to be large and in need of economic support, hence tipping the scales of economic balance.

Big family in front of house

Family Interactions Help Prevent Crime in Society

A recent review of research shows that prisoners who visit with family members have a 40 percent lower chance of becoming a repeat offender compared to those with no family visits. Unconditionally supportive relationships in great times of need or change can help people get through tough times. Those who have made bad choices and continue to receive emotional support from family maintain a sense of worth and have something in life to keep them motivated.

Family Values Influence Voting Behavior

You've heard that kids model the behavior of their parents, and modeling is one of the strongest tools parents have. But did you know that childhood family values can last long into adulthood? Political experts agree that families who take their kids to the polls and discuss why they vote with their kids likely contribute to voter turnout in the future. Kids who watched their parents vote in elections were more likely to view this act as a duty of their citizenship, regardless of their affiliated political party.

The Importance of Your Family

Healthy family bonds and relationships give people a sense of belonging and help keep everyone balanced in life. Whether you're writing an essay about why family is important, or analyzing your own life, take a look at your family and think about all the ways they enhance your existence.

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Why Is Family Important? 9 Reasons It Benefits Us (and Society)