With the aim of exploring the question of “How can we support and strengthen the family unit in Singapore?”, Catholic Family Life is embarking on this research study to (a) understand factors that can strengthen and threaten Singapore families, (b) understand the unique state of families at different stages, (c) assess the current resource pools for family strength in Singapore, (d) create resources on how to build strong families in Singapore based on our research findings.
Why strong families? We believe that all families have their own strength, and more effort should be put into understanding what makes families strong and healthy, and how we can help strengthen the family unit to prevent dysfunction and breakdown in the future. Through our initial conversations with our therapists and befrienders, they shared that more can be done to support families as a singular unit - strengthening familial bonds, understanding, conflict management, and balancing expectations among family members. Thus, we decided to adopt a positive psychological mindset while embarking on our study of the family.
The concept of ‘strong families’ is based on the Family-Strengths Perspective, which argues that instead of ignoring family problems, families should aim to “(restore) them to their proper place in life: as vehicles for testing our capacities as families and reaffirming our vital human connections with each other” (DeFrain and Asay 2007:3). PM Lee also mentioned how families are "the bedrock of society" in his 2015 Chinese New Year message. Building a strong family requires all members to make decisions together, work together to accomplish a common set goal and overcome adversities together so that all may flourish together.
As previous studies on strong families have been done overseas, mainly in the Western context, Catholic Family Life wishes to conduct a study in the local context to strengthen families in our society.