Family planning and social development are tightly intertwined, a connection seen easier in developing nations than those already industrialized. In the real-world context of the lives of families, family planning represents far more than just the number of children a family chooses to have or not to have. Family planning has an immediate impact, creating tangible, positive change in the life of the individual family. It can dramatically expand possibilities and potentials, lifting some families out of poverty within a single generation. For many, family planning is the foundation of lasting social development.
In “Social Development: The Developmental Perspective in Social Welfare,” James Midgley describes social development as “a process of planned social change designed to promote the well-being of the population as a whole in conjunction with a dynamic process of economic development.” Access to family planning information and services is a major factor in reducing poverty and improving overall health and well-being for mothers and children. For the individual mother, wider spacing of children leads to healthier pregnancies, as the body can recuperate fully between children. Having fewer children also leaves more time, energy and money to invest in raising and educating each child.
Family planning protects women from becoming trapped in poverty and abuse, economically powerless with few options, a vital social development concern. When parents space their children thoughtfully and limit the number, they can prepare each child to be financially independent in adulthood. Concentrating child-rearing efforts on fewer children can make a huge difference in outcomes. Teen girls are less likely to get pregnant when they do well in school, have educational and life goals and have positive relationships with parents. Helping your daughter to avoid teen pregnancy is an important means of protecting her economic future and life options.
Social development is about more than economic improvement. It is also about education and human development. Family planning places that within the grasp of the average person. Spacing children widely or having fewer children allows you to strive toward your vision of a better self. You have time to continue your education and move from just a job to a career that is fulfilling. You can develop intellectual interests and pursue hobbies. That bit of "me time" helps you to be a better parent and models values that will impact your children's lives. If you value learning and yourself, so will they.
Family planning helps create a family environment conducive to social development through better parenting and better education. However, there is something else equally central to the sort of life success that social development has as its goal. When you space your children, you have time to form close-knit relationships. These relationships can help your children weather the inevitable storms of life, offering the sort of support that helps them to navigate the loss and disappointment that is a natural part of life, without falling prey to addictions or destructive behaviors, as so many others do.
- International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague: Indices of Social Development Handbook
- Yale University: How Does Family Planning Promote Development?: Evidence from a Social
- United Nations Population Fund: Family Planning and Poverty Reduction, Benefits for Families and Nations
- International Center for Research on Women: The Impact of Family Planning on Women’s Educational Advancement in Tehran, Iran
- The National Campaign To Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy: Promising Approaches to Preventing Teen Pregnancy
- Population Council: Family Planning Programs for the 21st Century : Rationale and Design
- The Urban Child Institute: When Parents Teach That Reading is Fun, Children Are More Likely To Become Early Readers
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