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Family Resiliency: Taking on Challenges Together

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

Many people can find the love, support, and sense of belonging they need in their family. However, like any other aspect of life, families face a variety of challenges and adversities. Family resilience is the ability of a family to bounce back in the face of these challenges and adversities. It is the constant fight to get back up when being knocked down. This blog will explore the concept of family resilience, its importance, and strategies to strengthen your family’s ability to overcome inevitable challenges and adversities.

Gaining a Better Understanding of Family Resiliency

It is important to understand that family resilience is a dynamic process that can be shaped by a combination of historical influences, current circumstances, and the family’s collective efforts to build and maintain their ability to navigate adversity and grow stronger together. However, families have the capacity to change and adapt, despite past challenges and current situations, therefore family resiliency can fluctuate over time. The family’s communication, support system, problem-solving skills, and ability to discover meaning in adversity play a role in the level of resiliency. It is not about living a problem-free life but rather how the family takes on the storm together and emerges stronger and more connected.

What’s the Importance of Family Resiliency?

  1. A Connected Family: A family who embraces challenges together is more likely to have stronger and healthier relationships. They know they can trust and rely on other members of the family. Experiencing difficult times can give family members the opportunity to show their love, support, and commitment to one another.

  2. Positive Role Modeling: Family Resiliency provides children with an example of how to approach difficult challenges. Children will have the opportunity to learn coping, empathy, support, and problem-solving skills that can assist them in navigating their own lives.

  3. Enhanced Mental Health and Well-being: A resilient family can expect family members to experience better mental health, less stress, and higher self-esteem. The connectedness of the family members creates a supportive and accepting environment where members feel confident and comfortable.

  4. Building a Stronger Community: Family resilience can spread across the community as one family exhibits strength and encourages those around them to do the same. Oftentimes families who experience tough times discover healing through reaching out and providing support to their neighbors and fellow community members, creating a resilient community.

Practices for Building Family Resilience

  1. Communication and Active Listening: The foundation of a resilient family is open and honest communication and active listening. A family that is comfortable discussing difficult conversations and open to hearing what other members say will reap the benefits of having a strong understanding of each other’s roles, expectations, and needs.

  2. Support and Empathy: These two components are vital to strong family resilience. Family members are more likely to have a positive outcome when feeling supported and heard. We may not know what the other family members are feeling but by showing support and empathy we can help them feel comfort and acceptance.

  3. Teamwork: Displaying that the family unit is united and that problems are solved together can cultivate family resilience. Everyone’s opinions are considered and decisions are made together. This will create a sense of belonging and shared responsibility among family members.

  4. Teach Problem-Solving: It is essential that all family members learn these skills in order to be helpful in the process of resolving issues. Encourage family members to be critical thinkers, creative, and to brainstorm various solutions.

  5. Teach Coping Skills: Family members should practice a variety of healthy coping skills like journaling, exercising, or any mindfulness activity that can easily be incorporated into their lifestyle. Doing so, will reduce stress and free the mind for better decision-making and emotional well-being.

  6. Practice Family Traditions: Family members can find comfort and support in spending time together such as weekly dinners, movie nights, or evening walks. This creates a feeling of stability and connectedness which can be essential during difficult times.

  7. Flexibility: Life can be unpredictable so flexibility is vital. Teach family members that change is okay and that learning to adapt is a necessary life skill, especially when faced with challenges. If we can embrace the change and think positively, change won’t be so bad after all.

  8. Seek Help: In some cases, life challenges can be too overwhelming for a family to approach on their own. It is okay to reach out for professional help to guide the family through the challenge and strengthen the family's resiliency. Family therapy is an excellent option to consider.

Family Resilience can help a family through challenging moments but it is a dynamic process that requires some work. We’ve discussed a variety of ways to cultivate resilience within a family. If you want to give your family the strength and determination to work and grow stronger together, focus on implementing the suggestions mentioned in this blog. You can expect stronger relationships, enhanced health, and a better community by improving family resilience.

Written by,

Shelley Plontke, Intern



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