6. The importance of social environment for young people’s well-being: family, friends, school and other areas of life

6.2. The importance of family and friends for well-being

What this is about

Family and in particular parents are young people’s most important social contacts. They provide the primary framework in which the majority of children and teenagers live. The majority of young people have a good relationship of trust with these key contacts. They can turn to them with questions and needs, as well as with positive experiences. This has a huge impact on well-being. However, this is not the case in all families. Sometimes, relationships with the father or mother are dysfunctional, or the parents have separated. This can have an adverse impact on young people’s well-being.

Of course, in addition to parents, there are many other people to whom young people can turn. Friends, for example. They are also very important in young people’s lives and have a major effect on their well-being. If young people manage to build friendships and perhaps even begin a first romantic relationship characterised by trust, this can provide support even if things in life become difficult. In this section, we describe in detail young people’s experiences of family and friends and how important they are for their well-being.