Family Resilience – Jennifer Oaten Principal of Santa Maria College WA
In the past week, I have spent more time with my children than I have for some time. There is no volleyball training, no evening events, no weekend sport and no social activities. You would be in the same situation, required to stay at home with your family. At times like these, our families are so important, yet living in such close proximity 24 hours a day can be very trying.
During this time family resilience will be important. Family resilience is the ability to develop and grow strengths that can help you meet life’s challenges, being able to work through problems in a positive way and to emerge stronger from the situation.
A resilient family is one where parents:
- Demonstrate a sense of calm and assist their children in facing each day with new energy and resolving to identify some positives each day.
- Encourage discussion about challenges and solutions, so all members of the family feel heard. Whether it be about sharing of spaces, internet challenges, annoying noises that others make, or comments made by teenagers, there are so many challenges to work through when a family are working together from home.
- Cultivate an environment of trust and dependability. As a parent, it is so easy to be frustrated and impatient, and our parenting skills are put to the test during these times. At the end of a long day, having conversations about your child’s learning is challenging but so important.
- Display good communication skills, show genuine affection, love and forgiveness. In this time of social distancing, we especially need reassurance and appreciation from our family.
- Encourage responsibility from every family member to contribute to daily tasks and the smooth running of the household such as baking, helping prepare family meals, doing dishes, assisting with washing, or caring for pets.
I received an email from a parent that I would like to share with you as it focuses on the positives of this situation.
Our family of four will all be working from home as of Monday; work, uni and school all online…who would have ever thought this would be happening a month ago?! It will be a unique and potentially fulfilling experience. This time last year we hardly saw each other altogether, everyone had so much on. Now we will be together almost 24/7. With the age of my kids, I am longsighted enough to see this as a moment in time that most likely will never happen again for our family. Without wanting to sound glib, I almost see it as a gift, as once it is over, they will be off and out into the world…as it should be!
So what are your plans for the weekend? Our plans include a table tennis competition, Monopoly and our favourite family card game called Up and Down the River. It might even be time to get out Scrabble, one of my favourites. As a family, we rarely make time for these sorts of activities, but this has been forced upon us, and no doubt, there will be many memories created during this time spent together.
Enjoy your time together and start creating these special memories.
Stay well, and God bless.
From the News blog of Santa Maria College Attadale, Western Australia, Jennifer Oaten Principal April 3, 2020
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