Family resiliency

  • Published
  • By Maj. Dennis P. Tansley
  • 8th Medical Group Mental Health flight commander
Being separated from our families when on a remote tour or deployment can be challenging.

It's important to work at being a resilient family during these times. Resilient families can survive and indeed thrive while separated from each other. A family member's ability to manage hardships while remaining resilient will contribute to the overall success of the mission and family preservation.

What makes a family resilient, and why?

· Communication: A family that puts an emphasis on frequent healthy communication increases its potential for strength and joy, more rapid recovery from adverse situations and decreases the family's risk for dysfunction
· Equality: The importance of self-reliance and independence grounded in equality appears to play a significant role in fostering adjustment and adaptation to difficult times. Make sure you and your spouse feel as if you are equals in your relationship
· Spirituality: Having a belief in where you and your family fit into the bigger picture of life. Knowing, understanding and having faith in something to strive towards
· Flexibility: Key in maintaining stability and recovering from adversity - be open-minded
· Truthfulness: Honesty is always the best policy
· Hope: Hope helps a family get through difficult times
· Family hardiness: The strength of a family's bonds will affect its hardiness, or resiliency. Families can grow together through hardship
· Family time and routines: Making time for family activities and maintaining your family routines as much as possible strengthens a family
· Social support: Be welcoming and supportive of other families, and they are more likely to be supportive of your family
· Health: A physically healthy family is more resilient against life's hardships
· Resourcefulness: Kknowing what may happen and where to turn in times of difficulty. Knowing when to rely on yourself and when to ask others for help
· Vision: Families can develop and share a family vision which supports both the military and personal values
· Responsibility: Families value family members' thoughts and emotions, but do not take responsibility for others' actions or feelings

You can use these topics to generate discussion with your spouse to help foster resiliency within your family and the community.

There are a wide variety of resources you can tap into to help you strengthen your family's resiliency. Base agencies such as: the Airman and Family Readiness Center, Military and Family Life Consultant, Chapel, Mental health and other medical services, Red Cross, and Force Support Squadron facilities.

Take advantage of what's available to you, and make the time to be a part of, and not apart from, your family so you can foster resiliency in yourself and in those you love.