Use these tips from FOCUS to help your loved ones feel supported during stressful times.

During times of stress, each family member may have different feelings and perceptions of the same event. Similarly, each family member may need different kinds of support. Recognizing these needs will make it easier for everyone to understand and support each other during challenging times.

Here are some tips you can use to help your family members feel supported when they are faced with challenging situations:

  • Listening quietly – give family members your full attention and only offer advice if they request it.
  • Physical touch – a hug or a pat on the back might be just what is needed. It will let your family know that you are there and that you care.
  • Time alone – be conscious of family members desire to spend some time alone when they are feeling stressed and give them their space.
  • Words of affirmation – offer words of encouragement to family members who are feeling overwhelmed or upset. Remind them that they can get through this.
  • Help with problem solving – work collaboratively on stressful problems to help your family identify new solutions




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About the Author'


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. Couples and families learn to work together to manage difficult emotions, set goals and problem solve, communicate clearly and effectively, and develop customized strategies to deal with ongoing stress and change.

For more information about FOCUS, visit us online at or

Contact your local FOCUS site today to learn more about FOCUS and to schedule your personalized training sessions.
• Marine and Family Services, Bldg. 13150, Camp Pendleton, 760-859-6079,
• Dolphin Alley, Bldg. 265, NBSD, 619-556-6075,