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Tips for Building Family Resilience

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Resilience is the ability to bounce back quickly from stress and difficult life events. Learning to be more resilient can help your family deal with the demands of military life.

Resilient families are flexible and connected. They are great at using their resources to solve problems. Here are some ways your family can build resilience:

Stay smart

Keep up to date on child development and parenting information.

  • Know what is normal for your child’s age. This can help you have realistic expectations for behavior.
  • Learn how to recognize stress and deal with it in positive ways. This can increase your own well-being and show your children healthy ways to deal with challenges. Use these resilience tools to help with stressful situations.
  • Check out THRIVE, a free online parenting program from the Defense Department. Use it to raise healthy, resilient children from birth to 18.
  • Learn more about parenting and teen stress.

Stay connected

Relationships need to be nurtured with time and attention.

  • Simple acts like playing with children, listening to them and showing affection can build resilience. When children feel loved and secure it is easier for them to form healthy relationships and handle stressful situations.
  • Parents need nurturing too. Make time to do simple things as a couple. Take a walk, watch a movie, listen to each other and show affection. When parents nurture their relationship it can make it easier for them to support their family’s needs. It also shows children positive ways to behave.
  • Make community connections. Spend time with friends, family or community groups that share your interests and make you feel good. Social networks can help parents and children feel more secure and better able to manage life challenges. Learn more about connecting to the military community.
  • Give your children constructive outlets for stress and anxiety. Check out the military youth and teen programs offered through your installation youth center to help your youth engage in positive activities and strengthen community connections.
  • Learn better ways to communicate and stay connected in your closest relationships. Military OneSource offers communication training as part of its building healthy relationships specialty consultations. Build better relationships — with your children, spouse, friends and other family members — to help keep your support community strong.

Stay positive

Military life can present unique challenges. These include frequent moves and long deployments. Two ways to manage those challenges are:

  • Get comfortable with change. Try to see transitions as puzzles to solve rather than impossible situations. These challenges can present opportunities to build skills, expand resilience and experience new adventures.
  • Learn to focus on the things you can control instead of worrying about things you can’t. If your family has received orders, create checklists and track your moving tasks through Plan My Move. If your family is facing a deployment, tap into the Plan My Deployment resources to stay deployment strong.
  • Practice resilience as a family so that you can stay positive during challenging times.

Children learn as much from what their parents do as from what their parents say. When parents demonstrate resilience, they show children how to be strong too.

Use your resources

The Defense Department is committed to the health and well-being of military children and families. It provides a wide variety of resources to help families thrive.

  • Your Military and Family Support Center can connect you to parenting programs, support for special needs, activities for children and families, MWR programs and more. Services vary by location so contact your installation for more information.
  • Sesame Street for Military Families offers family support services including the Little Children, Big Challenges resources to help with deployment, relocation and grief.

Military OneSource is a great place to find information anytime, anywhere in the world. Here are some online resources to help your family build resilience:

Reach out for support

Sometimes being strong means reaching out for support. The Military and Family Readiness System offers an array of programs and services designed to help you and your family live your best MilLife. Programs and services include, but are not limited to:

Programs and services vary by location. For more information, contact your installation Military and Family Support Center.

Still have questions or need help locating support? Military OneSource agents are available 24/7 to answer questions and connect you with resources to help you and your family build resilience and stay smart, connected and positive. Call 800-342-9647, set up a live chat or use overseas calling options.

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