There used to be the solid belief that blood is thicker than water – meaning that your family are the closest human beings you will ever have to yourself in your life.
In this day and age, that is not necessarily true. With families gravitating back toward the idea that “it takes a village to raise a child,” most parents are beginning to rely on their tribe of close friends for the same love and support you would expect from a family. That’s not to say that those qualities do not exist within your family. What it means is that when it comes to relationships, you can just as easily build close friendships into your family structure.
The very definition of family is ever-changing and nowadays it is generally accepted that close friends can be included in this description. So who are these people? And how do they benefit your child? Read on to see why establishing strong non-familial relationships has a positive impact on your child’s life.
Who Are These People?
They are the people you can count on.
All too often people provide aid and support to their family members more so out of obligation than altruism. Because they are related and tied through that bond of blood, they feel we need to help when asked and sometimes this can lead to feelings of resentment.
Your friends, however, often have nothing to lose or gain by helping you out. They do so out of love and caring.
When it comes to having children and needing that extra bit of help, good friends will come to your aid without that feeling obligation. They do it because they want to.
They are the people that feel like home.
The relationship you have with these friends comes so naturally, that it feels completely comfortable. You feel at ease with these people and you have no issues feeling open and trusting.
Whenever you are in their presence or their space, you feel completely at ease. Oftentimes you feel like you belong in their environment and not like a guest.
They are the people that love you.
These friends love you and that’s monumental because, in reality, they don’t have to. Whereas your family will always be your family, friends can come and go. Great friends stick around through the good and bad; they never bail or disappear.
They love your children too because they are an extension of you. They easily and openly give your child their care and support.
How Can They Benefit My Child?
Non-Familial Relationships Create Community and Support
Because there is no sense of obligation between good friends helping each other, the support goes both ways. They want to help you and you want to help them. With these people, you have a close-knit community that surrounds you and your children with help, concern, care and love.
Not only can you reach out to these people, but your child can too. In situations where approaching a parent can be difficult or awkward, your child can tap into this valuable resource as well. Sometimes having an objective ear to listen makes any advice all the more valuable.
Non-Familial Relationships Model Nourished Connections
Children learn what they live, and the quality of the relationships you keep can have an influence on how they handle relationships as they grow and develop.
Families don’t always get along and conflicts are going to have an effect on your children. They will eventually normalize these patterns of behaviour and expect that all relationships are tumultuous.
However, having a solid circle of close friends, with whom conflict resolution is civil and done with care, shows your child what a healthy relationship looks like.
Non-Familial Relationships Introduce Culture
Having a variety of close individuals in your child’s life exposes them to different cultures. Culture, in this sense, does not necessarily have to refer to different countries and customs. It simply means that your child will be given the opportunity to experience the different ways in which individuals live their lives.
Having connections with people your child is not related to gives them a chance to observe different traditions, different languages, different styles and overall different ways of doing things. It also provides your child with a chance to share their lifestyle as well.