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There are times when you face a difficult situation or a low point in your life. You summon your inner strength, look for the bright sparks, learn from the experience and become more resilient.

Often, personal adversities also impact your family. For example, if you are the sole breadwinner and just lost your job, or when a serious illness strikes one of your family member. Are you able to cope with the stress as a family and draw closer, or fall apart under the pressure?

A highly resilient family sticks together and emerges stronger, despite the different personalities and needs of its members and the relationship dynamics at work.

But family resilience does not come about by chance. The seeds of resilience need to be sown in days of sunshine, so that your family grows strong enough before any storm arrives!

Use these seven habits to build a highly resilient family.

Related: Building Resilience in your Child

Build a Firm Foundation


Habit 1: Create a list of family values and rules that everyone agrees on

Ask your family what values and rules they think are important to create a happy family. Parents/caregivers can get the ball rolling by making suggestions but let your kids have a say too. They can be phrases like, “always treat each other with love and respect” and “we do not lie”. Once established, set a good example of following these rules and help your kids to follow them as well.

Related: Family Rules

Habit 2: Be nurturing and speak your family’s love languages

Do you know there are five different love “languages” to say “I love you”? They are: gift giving, spending quality time, saying words of affirmation, performing acts of service, and physical touch. Your child may crave praise and a hug from you rather than reminders to complete his homework. Your spouse may feel more loved if you took leave to spend the day with her instead of buying her presents. Know what your loved ones need and create a nurturing and supportive environment at home.

Related: Good Family Relationships: How to Build Them

 

Habit 3: Collect positive memories and build your family emotional bank

Happy memories create stable emotional foundations for your children and a deeper sense of belonging for all family members. Make plans for the family to do things together regularly. Have a routine, such as having dinners together, or going on weekly family outings. Birthdays and other special occasions are also great times to collect positive memories and make emotional deposits in your family’s “resilience bank”.

Related: Building Good Parent-Child Relationships

Habit 4: Demonstrate how to adapt and be flexible in different situations

Changes such as moving house or switching schools or jobs can affect the entire family as they often take people out of their comfort zones. You can show your kids how best to react in such situations. Set a good example through your own willingness to learn, make mistakes, and learn some more. This preps your family for bigger challenges that may occur.

Related: Mental Toughness is like a Fruit Bowl

When the Going Gets Tough, Get Going Together


With a firm foundation, your family can weather crises together and emerge stronger.

Habit 5: Make problem-solving a family exercise

Instead of hiding troubles and trying to resolve them on your own, make problem-solving a family exercise and brainstorm for solutions together. Even your kids can chip in with innovative and updated solutions, or help out with chores and take greater responsibility for themselves. Being able to count on each other during difficult situations greatly strengthens the bonds within your family and respect for one another.

Habit 6: Don’t be shy to ask for help

Having a support system outside of your immediate family can be very helpful in times of crises. Your support system may comprise of your extended family, a bunch of good friends or your neighbours who are just close by. Knowing when to ask them for help is a mark of resilience. Doing so may also bolster your children’s sense of security knowing that help is available, as children may feel more vulnerable during challenging periods.

Habit 7: Make time to rejuvenate and recharge

Make plans for the family to recharge and recover after going through a period of difficulty. This can be a time of reconciliation if the family has been going through disagreements or just an avenue for the family to take a breather. Spend quality time doing an activity that everyone enjoys and can be part of. This helps the family unwind and appreciate having each other on good days and when things go wrong.

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References

  1. Davis-Laack, P. (2011, Nov 01). 7 Strategies for Building Your Family’s Resilience [Website].
    Retrieved August 2017 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/pressure-proof/201111/7-strategies-building-your-familys-resilience

  2. Herman, P., Peterson, P., Schaaf, J. (2006). Be resilient: s-t-r-e-t-c-h, bounce back & roll forward! [Website].
    Retrieved August 2017 from https://fyi.uwex.edu/familyresiliency/

  3. Miles, J. (2015, May 19). The importance of building resilience [Website].
    Retrieved August 2017 from https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellor-articles/the-importance-of-building-resilience

  4. Health Promotion Board. (2012). Resilience [Website].
    Retrieved August 2017 from https://www.healthhub.sg/sites/assets/Assets/PDFs/HPB/Mental%20Health/resilience.pdf