Resiliency & Strengthening Of Family Systems

May 14, 2018

On the occasion of the International Day of Families observed on the 15th of May every year, Family Centre is stressing the importance of finding a level of resiliency to help to address the challenges faced by families in 2018.

Executive Director, Martha Dismont states, “The International Day of Families was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 and reflects the importance the international community attaches to families.

“According to The Bermuda Population and Housing Census Report for 2016, ‘The average personal gross income fell from $58,466 to $53,716 although inflation rose by 12 per cent between 2010-16. Bermudians felt the brunt of the decline as their average personal gross income fell by 9 per cent, compared with non-Bermudians, who had an average drop of 1 per cent. Unemployment among black people remained steady at 9 per cent.’

“We know that Bermudians, and particularly Bermudan families will experience the negative affects of these statistics, and our aim is to encourage resiliency and the strengthening of family systems to support what individual and families need to combat these challenges.”

Director of Services at Family Centre, Dr. Sandy De Silva remarks: “At Family Centre, we saw 147 families in counselling services last year. We care about the wellbeing of each and every one of those families, including the many that we have seen in the past and the many more to meet in our Continuum of Care Services.

“It’s an understatement to say that life these days can be a little chaotic, which is what often brings families to Family Centre. Parents often work long hours and multiple jobs while trying to balance their children’s school and activity schedules and demands.

“Families today face a whole new set of expectations and challenges with our highly evolving technological world and the speed with which information is exchanged. Both parents and children often want quick fixes for everyday problems.

“This can make facing problems very frustrating because there are very few quick and speedy fixes, which also makes building resilience very important. Resilience is a critical life skill for families and it can be learned. Our aim at Family Centre is to help build resilience in families.”

She continued: “Families need to shut down catastrophic thinking. This is the type of thinking that takes you down a rabbit hole with no escape in sight. Parents and children alike are susceptible to this type of thinking that often leaves you unable to take meaningful action because you are caught up in angst.

“Take a deep breath and turn your anxiety into action as quickly as you can and model this for your children. Identify your family’s strengths and use these to figure out solutions to different problems based on what each person brings to the table.

“Everyday each family member should ask themselves about what they are thankful for and what they want to accomplish in their day; this reminds everyone to lead with positivity which will result in greater happiness and hope.

“Parents should lead by example by taking risks and learning from mistakes, and children should be encouraged to do the same. They are much more likely to take risks if they know that they will not be criticized for making mistakes and that in fact, taking healthy risks is expected and will be rewarded. You need to be able to pick yourself back up when things get tough, choose a different path, prepare differently and head forwards.

“Having a problem, issue or challenge is something that unifies all families across Bermuda and the world. It doesn’t matter what class, ethnicity, or culture a family is made up of, we all need to grow resilience so that obstacles ahead can be faced with strength and perseverance.”

She concluded: “My older brother has said many profound things to me over the years and one of my favorites is that “love is a verb.” Love should not just be a claimed feeling for another person, but instead something that you do for someone else.

“Resilience reminds us that mistakes do not equal catastrophe, but rather loving one another in a family means picking yourselves back up, dusting yourselves off and starting again. “

Executive Director, Mrs. Dismont concluded by stating: “May 15th should be a day of celebrating the strengths that we have within families, and within the lives of individual adults, as we all know that we are not defined by the weaknesses with which we struggle, but by the strengths with which we build better lives.”

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  1. PBanks says:

    Sounds like a great opportunity for Preserve Marriage to take the lead on?