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Family Photos and Their Impact on Our Children

One of the hidden aspects of family photos which many parents and photographers rarely see is the self-confidence it gives our children. Psychologists and specialists have even started researching this phenomenon.


In 1975 researchers from Tulane University followed a group of 4th graders in Tennessee.   Over the course of five weeks, the kids took pictures of themselves in various poses and expressions depicting various emotions. Using the printed photos, each kid made one album each week. At the end of the five weeks, the research found that 37% of the kids exhibited better behavior and better self-esteem than average. This research shows how taking pictures of kids can improve their self-confidence.


But how can taking pictures of a family improve your child’s self-esteem?


David Kraus, a psychologist for Cleveland, Ohio says “I think it’s important to show the family as a unit. It helps children see themselves as part of something important. The photographer’s role is to create the picture depicting an environment that makes kids feel safe and protected.” Kraus is one of the pioneers in using personal and family photo albums for therapy.


“It helps kids learn about who they are,” says Judy Weiser, a Vancouver-based psychologist and writer. “They learn where they come from and the unique attributes and story of their family. When a child sees a family portrait where they are included they say to themselves: ‘these people, I have a part of who and what they are, and this is why I belong here. This is where I come from.’”


When it comes to having a positive effect on your child – is it better to have digital or print photos?


Families seem to enjoy more and more digital photos whether on their mobile devices, computers or social media. But how does this help our child’s self-esteem?


“My stance is pretty clear. I think that family photos need to be on the wall,” says Kraus. “I’m fairly traditional when it comes to self-esteem and I think that hanging a picture on the wall for a child to see it every day is better than having to look for it on a mobile device or computer. It gives the child a sense of confidence and comfort. They have the certainty and protection that wraps their personality; they know where they are in the hierarchy, that they are loved and are being cared for,” says Kraus.


The importance of having printed photos in the home is now backed-up by experts.


In addition, Kraus recommends placing the family photos in the child’s room so that it’s one of the last things seen before going to bed at night and one of the first things they see when they open their eyes. “It means that we love you and care for you. You are important.”

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