Keeping Your Family Strong - Essentials

Dealing with frequent moves, long deployments and major transitions requires stamina and strength. Some families seem to handle the ups and downs better than others. Building resilience – the ability to recover in the face of stress – can help your family deal with the demands of military life.

Resilient families are flexible, connected and great at using their resources to solve problems. Here are some of the ways families build resiliency:

Listen and show affection.

Your actions can help teach your children skills they need to cope with difficult situations. They follow your lead. You can help build family resilience by listening and answering questions with openness and reassurance. Simple acts of affection – such as hugs or loving words for younger children and listening to worries or being involved in activities for older children – have a big impact on a child's growth and development.

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Make connections.

Accepting help and support from those who care about you will help strengthen your resilience. Likewise, assisting others in their time of need can have a positive impact on you and your family. Connect with others through support groups or other organizations, either on your installation or in the local community. Having a solid group of friends and family to help out and give you advice can take the edge off a rough day and allow you to enjoy your family even more.

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Get comfortable with change.

Accepting the things you cannot change may help you focus on the things you can change. For example, sticking to a routine when a family member is deployed gives children a sense of stability. Creating new traditions helps, too. Plan something fun to celebrate each change, such as an inexpensive post-deployment vacation.

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Stay positive.

Part of being optimistic is thinking about the good things in life. Think about what you want instead of focusing on what you fear. Show appreciation for your spouse and children instead of criticizing. Keep your mind busy by trying something new or setting a fun goal for yourself.

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