Family: the Best Medicine
The American College of Pediatricians wants the “Best for Children” and therefore seeks to educate parents, children and policymakers on the critical role that family plays in a child’s life. The natural family has been conceptually battered and bruised in recent decades. Children are suffering as a result. A family, formed and nurtured within the secure environment of a loving marriage between a man and a woman, is the optimal childrearing setting which leads a child to make healthful decisions.
Since prevention is always the “best medicine,” the College offers the following suggestions to maximize a family’s health throughout a child’s life cycle.
- Nurture your Marriage. This is foundational to the success of childrearing and the family.
- Parent your child authoritatively, which is a balanced approach to childrearing. Teach the high value of responsible, respectful behavior.
- Make raising your child a High Priority in your life. Be available and be involved in his or her life.
- Build Family:
- Teach that marriage is Forever. Model it and talk about it.
- Do things Together: recreation, vacation, worship, community service.
- Create the Family Table at an early age.
- Teach your child about your faith and convictions.
- Limit your child’s exposure and involvement with Electronic Media.
- Know your child’s Friends and monitor his/her whereabouts.
- Know the parents of your child’s friends.
- Don’t be intimidated by Adolescence
- Be Involved in his or her life.
- Set Limits. Teens are not simply small adults; they need your wise advice and direction.
- Know your child’s friends.
- Monitor your teen’s exposure to digital media. Restrict exposure to inappropriate media and settings.
- Require Healthy Lifestyle: sleep, nutrition, exercise, limited screen time, etc.
- Teach your child about Sex and how/why to avoid sexual activity before marriage. Delay one-on-one dating until late teens.
- Teach your child about the value of Marriage and choosing the right spouse at the right time.
- Be Available to your older adolescent
- Offer “coaching” advice.
- Give freedoms as his/her maturity allows: driving, travel, home alone, etc.
- Encourage your child to make mature marriage decisions to:
- Avoid cohabitation. This will harm your future marriage.
- Wait until your education is completed
- Secure a job before marrying.
- Wait until mature: after 19 years of age before marrying
- Find a spouse with similar spiritual values
- Get in-depth premarital counseling
- Parents: Enjoy your hard-earned relationship with your adult child.
- Result: Married couple pledges life-long commitment and makes the marriage the highest priority. They seek conflict resolution as needed and marriage enrichment always. Their children benefit and the healthy family cycle is perpetuated.
Family: It’s the Best Social Network
Although the ideal setting for a child to be reared is by his or her married, biological parents, marital disharmony and varying circumstances do result in the break-up of families. For advice on blended families, read Tips for Stepfamily Success.