A new study shows encouraging information about helping our kids succeed: strong family bonds. Published in the journal, Pediatrics, the study surveyed over 37,000 adolescents in 26 countries, ages 11 to 13 from 2016 to 2019.

Researchers studied information from the International Survey of Children’s Well-Being which includes data from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. The results made up what they believe is the “first population-based study of adolescents showing the association between a measure of relational health (family connection) and flourishing,” according to the study.

A man and two sons have fun during family activities
Nathan Dumalo/Unsplash

While there have been plenty of studies in the past that show how strong family bonds helps kids avoid negative behaviors, this particular one shows that positive action results from that relationship, too. Basically, kids don’t just survive, they thrive with a healthy family connection.

That “family connection” was ascertained using five survey items, including care, support, safety, respect and participation. Adolescents were asked a series of questions and then required to rank how strongly they agreed with each item from 0 (“I do not agree”) to 4 (“I totally agree”) to get an overall score.

Additionally, the study also determined “flourishing” by addressing categories that included self-acceptance, purpose in life, positive relations with others, personal growth, environmental mastery and autonomy. A similar ranking system followed, but with options from 0 to 10.

Among the results, “the highest family connection scores and the highest prevalence of flourishing were for those adolescents who reported never having family financial worry, always having enough food, or living with both parents.” Overall, 49% of kids were more likely to flourish if they had a strong family connection.

As parents ourselves, we’d like to point out many of the factors that went into determining success and “flourishing” in this study do not require expensive vacations or pricey wardrobes. Providing an environment filled with support, respect and participation are just as key to creating a family bond that lasts––and it doesn’t cost a penny.

If you’d like to read the entire study, you can head here.


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