By Kim Crosby, PhD., a FOCUS Site Director
Every family has goals. Sometimes, you can reach a larger goal by setting a series of smaller, more achievable steps. This way you get the result you want without feeling like you’re making a huge effort. After reflecting on the goals of the Military families who come to FOCUS, I’ve noticed something: These amazing military families make small changes to help manage the ongoing stresses of military life. Below are four strategies that I see military families use every day to stay resilient and strong.
Military families are really good at showing appreciation for each other. Parents hug their children, siblings praise each other, and families remember to say thank you. Appreciating where you are and what you have is important given the uncertainty of military life.
Go with the flow
Military families are incredibly flexible. They get creative and don’t sweat the small stuff. Families get news about an unexpected PCS or deployment and the parents say “Okay, we can work around that. We can figure out a way to get through this.” This flexible attitude helps kids to feel safe during times of transition.
Value being togther
Military families seem to recognize that they are stronger when they are together. Of course, this does not always mean physically together. Military families are great at creating the feeling of ‘family togetherness” even when they are separated. This can be achieved through the Internet and phone calls, along with family meetings at home, family fun days, or staying connected with other supportive adults and organizations in the community.
Enhance your strengths
There is great strength in military families. One of the most important things military families do is to build on what they do well. They often discover their strengths though challenging times and build on them. They are able to see the silver lining in challenging situations and learn from the experience, honing their skills for the next go round. They don’t dwell on the past, and instead enhance their strengths to prepare for the future.
I am grateful to military families for teaching me so much about resilience. I am proud to share what I’ve learned to help other families to bring appreciation, flexibility, togetherness, and strength into their daily lives.
FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress) is a resiliency-building program of the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED). FOCUS is an eight-session training program for military families that is grounded in more than two decades of research and experience serving families dealing with stress and changes. FOCUS is specifically adapted for the needs of military couples, children, and families and provides training in core resilience skills. These skills increase closeness, support, communication, and adaptability.
For more about FOCUS, visit at www.focusproject.org or www.facebook.com/FOCUSresiliencytraining.
Contact your local FOCUS site:
• Marine and Family Services, Bldg. 13150, Camp Pendleton, 760-859-6079, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Dolphin Alley, #265, NBSD, 619-556-6075, email@example.com