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Roles and function of the guidance counselor in Jamaica

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A good family is very important for children. According to the Oxford dictionary, “a family is the parents and their children, sometimes including other relations. These people may be related by blood, marriage or adoption. A family in my words is, simply a group of people who love, care, comfort and encourage each other. Family is an important unit of society. It holds great importance in social life. It is the strongest unit of society. A family is the first school in which a child receives the basic values of life. The morals and values learnt in the family becomes our guiding force; they make our character; they lay the foundation of our thinking. I feel fortunate to be born in a family where values are inculcated in early childhood. Children need emotional support, proper socialization, social and recreational support, and basic needs.

A good family is important for children in many ways. Firstly, children need emotional support. A good family provides this by showing love, encouragement and providing an environment where children can share their hurts, fears and disappointments without the fear of rejection. This is important for the child’s emotional development.

Secondly, a good family is important for children’s proper socialization so that they will learn good morals, values, discipline and good behavioural traits. If these are not provided, children may be able to function effectively in society. These are also important for the children’s growth and development. A good family will ensure that these are provided. According to Lev Vygotsky, “Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do. Fortunately, most human behaviour is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others, one forms an idea of how new behaviours are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide”.

Thirdly, they should provide enough time for play and recreation because this is a very important part in a child’s social, psychological and emotional development. Play also facilitates critical thinking, which eventually helps in school and daily routines. Piaget (1962) felt that play has a primary role in the child’s development; he placed little emphasis on play as a factor in the child’s responses to the social environment. Nevertheless, he saw a role for peer interactions within play for social-cognitive development. More specifically, play interactions helped children understand that other players have perspectives different than their own. Play, for Piaget, provides children with opportunities to develop social competence through ongoing interactions. Erikson (1963) maintained there is a relationship between make-believe play and wider society.

Make-believe permits children to learn about their social world and to try out new social skills. Moreover, play facilitates the understanding of cultural roles and to integrate accepted social norms into their own personalities. For Erikson, like Piaget, play promotes a child who is socially competent (Creasey et al., 1998). A good family is also important because it provides the basic needs of children. Children need food, clothing, shelter, education, protection and a sense of belonging. If these are not present, then the child may be affected negatively. In many instances, the children that are not provided with these things, become rebellious, disobedient, do poorly in school and are sometimes in conflict with the law; some may even become wards of the state.

Families need to model the behaviours, values and attitudes that they would like to instill in their children, as this is where the foundation is set. In essence, a good family life is very important for children to become valuable members of society; maximize on their potentials and understand how to continue a good family life for their children, thus creating a better society.

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