We've always thought of our home decor obsession as a means towards personal gratification. But it turns out that home decor may affect our children’s sense of self worth as well. Having family pictures around contributes to your child’s understanding of his or her family narrative, which is critical to their identity as an individual and as part of a family. A study by Emory University concluded that children with a comprehensive family narrative had a more defined sense of self. The study concluded that,  “the [children] who know a lot about their families tend to do better when they face challenges.”

In terms of family narrative, this means a comprehensive understanding of the history and the course of events within the extended family’s timeline. The study method was inquiring whether the test subjects (kids) could answer twenty “Do You Know” questions about their family. One such question was: do you know where your grandparents grew up?

Photo of Parents and Vintage Photos

They discovered that a sense of control over their lives, self-esteem, and family functionality were all highly correlated with stronger knowledge about family histories.  The researchers said: “because personal narratives move beyond simple memory of what happened, to include evaluations and perspectives on self and others, narratives are the way through which we create meaning of our personal and shared past and are linked to understanding of self as an individual and in relation to others.” The children who have a stronger understanding of their “intergenerational self,” as the researchers called it, were able to fit themselves into a larger picture, and proved more confident, resilient, and better at dealing with stress.

Spain beach home

A great way to open up your family to the narrative type of discussions is by having a broad range of family photography around your house. The “Do You Know” questions proved to be the most accurate predictor of a child’s self confidence, but it’s simply a correlation. How well someone understands their own family narrative could potentially indicate positive patterns of family communication, which could help to promote self confidence in children. Having open conversations about family history teaches children to become storytellers and theory builders.  

In short, framing and displaying your pictures can make you a better parent. One effective way to display your family photos is through an array of framed pictures around the house. This helps to get your children curious about their family stories. We have put together a few ways to display your family photos at home to create a compelling narrative:

Vintage Family Photos on Shelves
  • Vintage photographs
    Vintage pictures of your family will help spark the curiosity of your children. It will make them ask questions about not only the picture, but also the people in it and their stories. It will help create a cohesive and extensive family narrative that can stretch across multiple generations

  • Family Traditions
    The study by Emory found that any traditions were a good way to convey a sense of family history to the youngest members of the family. Celebrate these family traditions by not only passing them down to your children, but also by framing pictures related to those traditions.

  • Family Reunions
    Whether or not you technically have organized family reunions, holidays or other large celebrations can count. Put pictures from those events on display to remind your children of the larger unit to which they belong.