What does your family do when something bad happens? Do you think of every awful possibility and stay stuck there, or do you take the lemons life offered you and make lemonade? The definition of resilience is bouncing back after adversity. Resilient people have skills they can draw on to see them through difficult life events such as the death of a family member, serious illness, and divorce.
Resilient families still have problems. They experience the grief, anger or pain that accompanies life’s tragedies. If you have the skills to adapt to adversity in a positive way, you can still find a way to enjoy life and better handle the stress that can come with major problems. When children have experienced a family tragedy, this can be very important. Children need to know life will continue with the most important factors intact even during a crisis. Children who were asked what made them succeed against all odds told researchers that an adult mentor, neighbor or family member and positive peer relationships made the most difference in their success.
What can your family do to build resilience?
- Build strong relationships with family, friends and the community. These are the people who can give you support when you need it during a crisis.
- Maintain healthy eating and sleeping habits for the family.
- Continue the family routines, celebrating positive events like holidays and birthdays.
- Remain hopeful even though you cannot change what has happened. You can think about what needs to be done and make a plan for the future.
- Remember what has worked for you in the past. Use your experience to help you problem solve, and make plans to move forward.
- Keep building your relationship with your children by reading and playing together. Encourage their interests and talents.
- Set small goals to help each day have meaning. Both children and adults need to know they can have an impact on the world around them.