Family Resilience

Family member holding seedling in soil together

Family resilience is the capacity of a family, as a functional system, to withstand and rebound from adversity. Some of these traumatic events include unexpected complications with predictable, normative transitions, such as the birth of a child with disabilities; highly disruptive events, such as the untimely death of a childbearing parent; anxiety-provoking disruptions, such as poverty, parental separation, incarceration, or military deployment. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, vulnerable children and young people were more at risk of being exposed to some form of neglect, violence, or exploitation when families need attention to cope with job losses, economic insecurity, social isolation, and behavior/mental health difficulty. 

Families that stay resilient possess the following characteristics: beliefs and attitudes that facilitate coping, maintain routines with flexibility, effective communication, and adaptive problem solving. In addition to coping, managing stressful conditions, shouldering a burden, or surviving an ordeal, resilience involves the potential for personal and relational transformation and positive growth. Although some families are more vulnerable to facing hardships, family resilience is grounded under the premise that all families have the potential to build resilience in facing their challenges.  

Maintaining family functioning includes: sustaining family membershipeducating and nurturing the young, caring for vulnerable members, and providing economic support. The Walsh Family Resilience Framework offers key processes that can help facilitate family resilience.  

In addition, to support families, it can be helpful to provide interventions that:  

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