Family Resilience: Growing stronger through the tough times!
The world today is a stressful place, especially for parents. We live in a chronically stressful world with daily challenges and demanding schedules. Our lives and brains are constantly working overtime. Parenting is difficult in the best of times and becomes more difficult with the pressures of daily life. Over time, families are becoming LESS resilient and our children are facing more trauma than ever before.
Guiding your child though some of the tough times can feel like being lost in the wilderness. Just when you think you’ve found your way, there are new challenges that make it hard to know where to go next. This may be the time when a family reaches out to a professional for guidance and hopes the path becomes much clearer.
Family resilience through the tough times helps you get to the other side without getting lost. It is important to teachers, therapists, and social workers who support the families. It is especially important to the parents and children!
FOUR CHARACTERISTICS OF A RESILIENT FAMILY
Resilient families intentionally build skills and have certain characteristics in common. The good news is that these skills and characteristics can be developed in any family with the right guidance and knowledge.
Flexibility AND Strength. To be resilient, families need to have both flexibility AND strength. When tough times strike, it is normal for a person or family to become more rigid and have fixed ideas about how things should progress. When there is a challenge to these fixed ideas, the rigidity only grows stronger and so the cycle goes. In a family, if each member becomes rigid, significant family stress and conflict can result. If they become rigid with opposite views or opposing needs, the stress is tenfold.
Gathering Strength through Adversity. Families that have resilience gather strength through tough times. Resilience based skills are developed prior to a big stressor or trauma. They are the skills that allow a person to persevere and see hope on the other side of a tough time. Although adversity can be difficult for anyone and is never fun, resilient people and families are able to use these experiences to develop greater courage, perseverance, and strength.
Becoming Stronger & Closer through Adversity. They also grow closer and find comfort from each other. Individual members of the family also seek out their family members when stressed. Without resilience, families can end up being torn apart and experience conflict when they are under stress. When a child has a parent that will support them when stressed, the child is more likely to turn toward the parent when facing difficulties. Without a supportive parent, children tend to withdrawal or avoid contact or discussion of what is bothering them. Supportive adults are the antidote to these stressful life events.
Resilient parents are the foundation. Resilient families start with resilient parents who build the foundation of resilience for their children. They have greater self-awareness when they are stressed and use their own strategies and skills to manage that stress. Resilient parents are very skilled at communicating with their children without judgement, fear…or even panic! They are also able to listen carefully, process the child’s experience, and allow for a great strategy to move forward. When a parent lacks resilience, the stressors a child experiences becomes the parent’s stressor rather than an opportunity to build the relationship and skills of the child. Regular daily opportunities to gather closeness and build skills are lost if the parent doesn’t have resilience.
Family resilience is the foundation to a peaceful and playful family. When a family becomes the safe haven for all members, there is greater closeness and security for everyone. The difficult times are met with a sense of togetherness and strength. Obstacles are seen as challenges and courage is plentiful. Resilient families meet the world with self-confidence and a sense of unshakable strength.
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