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The truth about how your kids need you

Parents play an irreplaceable role in their children’s lives. “Even when young children spend most of their waking hours in child care, parents remain the most influential adults in their lives,” writes Dr. Jack Shonkoff, a board-certified pediatrician who sits on the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The essential role of parents in fulfilling children’s needs stems from the decisive influence of the first years of life for a child’s intellectual, emotional and moral development. This fundamental psychological insight is generally recognized and accepted. The CDC Family Structure Study released December 2010 reveals that children living in nuclear families—that is, in families consisting of two married adults who are the biological or adoptive parents of all children in the family—were generally healthier, more likely to have access to health care and less likely to have definite or severe emotional or behavioral difficulties than children living in nonnuclear families.

For example, children in nuclear families were generally less likely than children in nonnuclear families to be in good, fair or poor health; to have a basic action disability; or to have learning disabilities or ADHD. They were also less likely than children in nonnuclear families to lack health insurance coverage, to have had two or more ER visits in the past 12 months, to have receipt of needed prescription medication delayed during the past 12 months due to lack of affordability, or to have gone without needed dental care in the past 12 months due to cost.

Additionally, children living in nuclear families were less likely to be poorly behaved or to have definite or severe emotional or behavioral difficulties during the past 6 months than children living in nonnuclear family types. Also, this study reported that children living with two biological parents were less likely to experience behavioral or emotional problems than children living in other family types.

Knowing this does not help those who are doing an amazing and herculean job of raising their children without a partner. These are the moms and dads that all of us need to rally around to assist them in this daunting task. These are the moms and dads who are the heroes among us and who never get a break. It is the hope and the desire of The Center for Relationship Education to come alongside these parents to support them, respect them and honor them by educating, empowering and equipping their children with the skills necessary to develop healthy lasting friendships, build committed lifetime partnerships / marriages and form safe and stable families in their future.

• Children who have parental support are likely to have better health as adults.
• Students with involved parents tend to earn higher grades, have better social skills and are more likely to graduate and go on to post-secondary education.
• Children are more likely to be socially competent and have better communication skills when they have parents who are sensitive to their needs and emotions.
• Teens who are monitored by their parents are one-quarter as likely as teens with “hands-off” parents to smoke, drink and use drugs.


  • CDC Family Structure and Children’s Health in the United States: Findings From the National Health Interview Survey, 2001–2007 released Dec 2010
  • Berry Brazelton, T. & Greenspan, S. I. (2002) Die Sieben Grundbedürfnisse von Kindern. Weinheim: Beltz (English edition (2000) The Irreducible Needs of Children: What Every Child Must Have to Grow, Learn and Flourish. New York: Da Capo Press).
  • Bowlby, J. (1951) Maternal Care and Mental Health. Geneva: World Health Organization.
  • Bowlby, J. (1969) Attachment: Vol I Attachment and Loss. London: Hogarth Press.
  • Clare, S. (2001) Das kann ich schon allein! Wie Sie die Potentiale Ihres Kindes fördern. Kreuzlingen: Heinrich Hugendubel (English edition (2000) Releasing your Child’s Potential: Empower your Child to Set and Reach their Own Goals. Oxford: Pathways).
  • Ginott, H. G., Ginott, A. & Goddard, H. W. (2003) Between Parent and Child. New York: Three Rivers Press.
  • Keller Pringle, M. (1975) Was Kinder brauchen. Stuttgart: Klett-Cota (English edition (1986) The Needs of Children. London: Hutchinson & Co).
  • Leach, P. (1988) Baby and Child. From Birth to Age Five. London: Penguin.
  • Leach, P. (1996) The Parents’ A to Z. London: Penguin.
  • Maslow, A. H. (1970) Motivation and Personality. New York: Harper and Row.