Children’s Commissioner
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The Big Ambition for Families: reflections from my young Ambassadors

Family is central to all of our lives, particularly children. The concept of family comes in many forms: for nearly every child my office has spoken to, it includes people outside of the traditional ‘immediate family’. This is an important distinction – because it isn’t how a family is made up which makes the biggest difference to children, but the way it supports its members.  

My Family Review established that all families tend to want the same things: to get along, and to love one another, to be able to support themselves and each other, to spend quality time together, and to be able to trust and rely on each other. The Big Ambition results show most children and parents feel their families can do all these things. The survey revealed common themes which were important to children: being able to provide for their members, enjoying their time together, and giving children the stable and loving start they need.  

My young Ambassadors have shared their views on the each of the themes from The Big Ambition, starting with families:  


“Family life is a fundamental pillar to children and young people’s health, safety, and wellbeing. Parents, carers and children need support systems to help them succeed. However, today, so many families encounter hardships that can impact their lives. Financial instability, unequal access to resources and inadequate education can contribute to the many difficulties already facing families.   


“The family is an incredibly important factor in the development of children and young people in who they will be as adults and members of society. In my opinion, a happy family is something that helps children and young people to be happy, because the atmosphere in the family directly affects the child’s mood and behaviour.  

“It’s vital that families give their children love, respect and understanding so they can develop into young adults and worthy members of society. Children tend to adopt the behaviours of their parents, and that is why I think it is important to make sure that parents have access to the best support to raise their children.” 


“For a lot of children and young people, family is who they will spend the most time with. That’s why family life is so important. I think it’s important that when we discuss the idea of families, we also consider families with members who have disabilities – these can be both mental or physical and can affect anyone in the family.  

“Families who have a member with a disability often need more support as life can be more challenging. For them things that might be simple for other families, such as going out for dinner, can be very difficult and stressful. For example, if a brother uses a wheelchair and a restaurant doesn’t have a ramp or lift, then this straightforward task becomes more difficult. Similarly, if a sister has ADHD, they could find being in a loud environment quite overwhelming and struggle to cope.  

“This often means that for families with disabled members, quality family time can be hard to come by. These families need more support, and they need to know that there is someone there for them.” 


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