As family size shrinks in Singapore, we may need to rethink of how we define ‘family’ – to include extended family members such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and more who we can depend on for mutual care and support.
For the most part, our core values, beliefs and principles are heavily influenced by the family environment we grow up in, forming our sense of identity and belongingness. For most of us, Family is the first agent of socialisation. Particularly for young children, learning to interact and building relationships with different members of the family strengthen their social skills and ability to manage positive relationships with others beyond their family.
Likewise, grandparents who remain connected with younger family members are also more active and engaged, and able to better adjust to the fast-paced, ever-changing society. For all, strong family bonds not only help us stay socially connected but prevent loneliness.
Sharing Joy and Responsibilities
Beyond celebrating life’s milestones such as birthdays and anniversaries together, have regular family gatherings to be in touch and reconnect with our loved ones. Sharing the good times multiplies joy and happiness. Journeying through the bad times divides our burden and sorrows. The support and care from our families help us get through life's toughest spot.
Looking Out for One Another
Rope in the help of your sibling, aunt, uncle or grandparents to care for your children when you are ill or are occupied with other commitments. Having other adult figures in the family also mean more role models a child can look up to. Older family members could share their advice and experiences to help the younger generations cope with challenges. For example, issues that teens face growing up or adult children who may be experiencing pressures as the sandwiched generation.
With older parents who are less mobile, living in the vicinity makes it convenient for adult children to pop over and help with household chores and check in on their parents’ well-being. The Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) was introduced to help more families buy resale flats to live with or close to each other. This grant is especially helpful for young couples who are just starting out to create their own home together but prefer to stay close to their parents whom they can lean on for support.