The concept of resilience used to protect people against the psychological risks associated with adversity is discussed in relation to the process of family coping in response to stress or crisis. This paper will explore: 1) definition of resilience (Walsh, 2006, p. 4). 2) establishing and maintaining resilience (Henry et al., 2015), and 3) recognition of family ethos (L. McCubbin, 2006) The emphasis on resilience has been receiving increased attention; shifting its focus from being considered as a characteristic of an individual, to being viewed as a quality of a family (Hawley & DeHann, 2003).
Psychological Resilience and its Influence on Family Relationships
Resilience has been defined as “the capacity to rebound from adversity strengthened and more resourceful… an active process of endurance, self-righting, and growth in response to crisis and challenges” (Walsh, 2006 p. 4). In life you must be able to be flexible in how you handle situations, whether they are big or small. Every stressor/crisis that a family may deal with must be resolved using resources or coping mechanisms such as resilience to remain at their regular level of function. Resilience is effective when a family remains cohesive and uses their set of family values to overcome each hardship they face. In the words of the great Napoleon Hill, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit” (Meah, 2018).
Families experience days of sadness and discomfort; where the day seems more chaotic than yesterday. A highly paid, middle-aged, Financial Advisor may have been laid-off by his employer, leaving his stay-at-home wife, and two teenage children wondering how the bills for next month will be paid. Following the Family Resilience model (FRM) when you have a stressor/crisis that may cause an adaptation in the family, resilience is present (Henry et al., 2015). This family has two choices. They can become fully aware of the situation, understand that life is incredibly challenging. They must evaluate what it may take to endure the difficulties they may face, like losing their home, cars, materialistic possessions and use family strategy to adapt. By communicating, establishing optimism, self-belief, focusing positively on the stressor, and using the social support of friends and family they can successfully problem solve.
Families also have the option to give up and let this crisis effect their family function negatively and send them spiraling out of control leading to a continuous crisis. If the father does not decide to use resilience to keep the function of his family positive, he may turn to resources that may impact his family negatively. His stressor may lead to a successful attempt at suicide, which would permanently change the role of every family member that survives. It would be extremely challenging for this family to return to the level of function they were at before the original crisis occurred.
Family resilience works like a web, each family member may possess different individual characteristics, but in the midst of adversity, they come together to create a cohesive unit and offer support to one another in their own unique way. For a family to possess resiliency, they must have belief, communication, and organization. (Everson, R.B., Darling C.A., & Herzog. J. R 2013). Some families’ resilience is based upon spirituality, or faith in a “higher being that’s in control”, while other families generally have a positive outlook on the world. A family who has built resiliency must constantly be open to change, while remaining caring and loyal and communicate and connect to one another in a clear, supportable way. The great quality about resilience is that through the life cycle many stressors/crises will occur giving the most vulnerable families the opportunity to grow and transcend.
Families build on their success as they pursue their goals and learn from things that didn’t work. Families build on their success as they pursue their goals and learn from things that didn’t work. Through the process of using the things that serve to protect families in adversity are basic processes of family functioning, such as communication, togetherness, secure belief systems and good parenting practice, they learn skills that can help them become proactive in preparing for future challenges and thrive in the face of adversity.