Element 3: Supporting Resilience

Element 3: Supporting Resilience

Father reading to his son

An ecological perspective helps consultants to see the whole child and family as they are influenced and impacted by various systems such as the internal family system and the community. It is important for consultants to learn about all of the things that may be impacting success for the child and family, including life stressors so they can work together to find solutions. Such stress often results in families feeling less equipped, less motivated or have less time and energy to devote to working with consultants.

Families who can cope with the stresses of everyday life, as well as an occasional crisis, have resilience; they have the flexibility and inner strength necessary to bounce back when things are not going well. Parents with resilience are generally able to cope on their own, but they also know how to seek help in times of trouble. Multiple life stressors–financial, health, work, housing, safety—may reduce a parent’s capacity to cope effectively with the typical day-to-day stresses of raising children. Moreover, raising a child with mental health challenges may increase some of these stressors as well as adding an increased emotional and social burden.

All parents can find inner strengths or resources that can serve as a foundation to cope. These may include faith, flexibility, humor, communication skills, problem-solving skills, mutually supportive caring relationships, or the ability to identify and access outside resources and services when needed. All of these strengthen the capacity to parent effectively. Helping families acknowledge stress and burden and helping families cope can strengthen the partnership.

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This product was developed [in part] under grant number 1H79SM082070-01 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views, policies and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS.