Resilient Family: Meeting Challenges Together
By North Carolina Cooperative Extension
What do bungee cords and families have in common?
Both need bounceability"
that may sound like a joke, the truth is that the power to bounce
back otherwise known as resilience allows a family
to adapt when change is needed and to cope when something serious
happens. And families today do, indeed, face many serious challenges
everything from divorce to job loss, time pressure to poverty.
National Network for Family Resiliency defines resilience"
as a familys ability to cultivate strengths that will
allow it to meet the challenges of life."
families have some strengths," says Wayne Matthews, PhD., an
associate professor in Family and Consumer Sciences at North Carolina
State University and a human development specialist for North Carolina
Cooperative Extension. By building on those strengths, families
can minimize the stress they will experience when something like
the death of a loved one, job loss or divorce occurs."
studies conducted in the United States and around the world, researchers
discovered that strong, resilient families share several characteristics.
Among these characteristics are:
Members of strong families are devoted to the well-being
and happiness of other members, and family unity is highly valued.
The human need for appreciation is strong, and a genuine
appreciation for one another motivates family members to behave
positively toward one another.
Talking about everything from the trivial to the deep
is key to expressing love and other emotions and is also
at the root of our relationships with each other.
Strong families spend time and lots of it together.
Whether formally religious or not, strong families have a
sense of a greater good or power in life, which gives them strength
ability Strong family members have a positive outlook that
allows them to see stress or crisis as a chance to grow and learn.
Someone typically the adults needs to lead
for a family to stay strong. While strong families allow children
a voice in some decision-making, in times of crisis, its the
adults role to get everyone to pull together.
can you nurture these characteristics in your own family? Matthews
offers the following practical suggestions:
Rank your activities and then schedule time to accomplish
your top priorities. (Be sure to schedule some family time!)
well Youll cope best with stress when youre healthy,
so eat wisely, exercise and get plenty of sleep.
Make a family budget and work together to stick to it.
Engage every member of the family in making a positive contribution
to the familys well-being.
Help build confidence by promoting self-reliance.
Share concerns as well as love and affection.
Humor is a great stress reliever.
Before saying anything, stop and think first the impact
of hurtful words is long-lasting.
Significant moments birthdays, holidays, good report
cards, etc. deserve special recognition.
stronger family requires the commitment, cooperation and hard work
of all its members," Matthews says. The payoff is a close,
more vibrant family that functions well during normal times and
during times of extreme stress."
Carolina Cooperative Extension, The Department of Family & Consumer
Sciences, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina
State University. Copyright 2004, NC State University. For more
information, visit: www.family-info.info