There are many types of support as well as levels or degrees of support. Sometimes these are represented by Concentric Circles and referred to as: Circles of Support.
Imagin yourself or your child in the very center of these circles.
The next circle surrounding yours or your child’s contains all those people who are and will consistently be there for you and/or your child and who provide love and support as long as both shall live. These people may not always provide support for you in the exact way you might wish; but they will continue loving and supporting you no matter what in the best way they know how. These people are often family members; but don’t have to be.
The next larger circle surrounding this one, like the last circle, is called a natural support circle. Natural supports are those people and organizations who provide support because they love and care about you (or your child) and/or have mutual interests which is more common in the outer circles of natural support. These natural supports are not paid to do what they do for you. They do it because of who they are and/or who your are. This circle could be called the kinship circle. This could include family and very close friends. Sometimes this may be the “aunt” Sally or the “grandpa” Frank who you refer to as a relative; but who are not related by blood, marriage, or adoption. These are additional people you can naturally count on; however while they are supportive, they may not be quite as absolutely supportive or long term as the circle closer to your or your child.
The next larger circle contains additional close friends and organizations with which you have a close and long lasting affiliation. This could include a religious organization, club, team, or other type of long lasting close nit organization.
The next larger circle is the last of the natural supports and contains groups or organizations which, for you or your child, create a more temporary connection. Some examples of this may be scouting, 4H, or a summer sports team.
The next larger circle, are all those organizations and individuals who provide support; but who are paid to do so. These individuals are often more transitory in nature and while they may truly care, they are they because they are paid to be there for you or your child.
Most people who are emotionally and socially healthy will make effective efforts to develop and nourish for themselves (and help their children do the same) and also become for others, close reliable natural supports.
Just as a side note: This requires healthy direct interactions, and as much as possible, without the aid of electronic devices. (Face to face is usually best).
Individuals with these natural supports, and who provide natural support to others, have a tendency to be more happy and to have better emotional and physical health throughout their life.
Supplemental tools and resources:
Easy Genogram & Ecomap Software
Genogram: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Eco-map - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Images for ecomaps
Personal Ancestral File, Free Genealogy Download