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Building family resilience

In simple terms, resilience can be thought of as the ability to handle stressful situations and bounce forward following difficult times.

Resilient families are better able to face life’s stresses and to adjust in healthy ways to life’s challenges. For this reason, supporting the resilience of families during periods of stress can help maintain and improve the health and wellbeing of the family.

A resilient family is much like a balloon; strong yet flexible and able to regain its ‘shape’ quickly after a period of pressure or pile up of multiple stresses. It is very important to acknowledge the word ‘family’ will mean many different things to each person and what is unique to all families are the family members themselves, each with their own special set of strengths.

Building a resilient family is a continuous process that requires the input of all family members. Below are some strategies parents can implement at home:

  1. Plan time together as a family. It can be easy to get caught up in the ‘must do’ activities and forget to have fun spending time together.
  2. Keep some basic routines. During busy periods like holidays, it’s important to schedule in a few ‘regular days’ as a family.
  3. Keep communication open. Remember family members and friends are not mind-readers, so communicate your needs clearly and remember to listen to theirs.
  4. Nurture your relationships. Accept differences and reconnect with what makes your family unique.
  5. Look after yourself and each other. Taking care of your own health and wellbeing will improve your ability to care for others.
  6. Stay positive. You can’t always change a situation, but you can change how you think about it.

Many things are beyond our control, but parents have the opportunity to influence and shape the lives of children and young people in the family. Helping children and young people to develop the confidence and skills to face, overcome, or even be strengthened by hardship, is a powerful thing to teach them.

More information on strategies around family resilience can be found HERE.

Published: 19 December 2018