Resilient Families Cope Together

Resilient families are able to cope with stressful situations without damaging their bonds or function. Discover more in the following article.
Resilient Families Cope Together
Elena Sanz Martín

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz Martín.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Every family’s different. However, there’s one important point that makes the difference between some families and others, and that’s the way in which they deal with adversity. Faced with a setback, some people are more united than ever, while others are almost irretrievably distanced. Thus, resilient families are those that are able to pull through together.

Resilience is the ability to face adversity and even emerge stronger from it. Unfortunately, all families at some point experience misfortunes and experiences that challenge their capabilities. And it’s how they respond that determines the degree of family resilience.

All families face problems

The difficulties that families may experience are very diverse. Some will have to cope with chronic and daily stressful situations, for example:

  • Poverty and lack of economic resources.
  • Chronic illness or disability of any of its members.
  • Problems of alcoholism or any other type of addiction in any of the family members.
Two men carrying their smiling children on their backs.

On the other hand, other family nuclei will suffer more occasional but devastating impacts, such as:
  • Serious illness.
  • The death of a family member.
  • Sexual abuse within the family nucleus.
  • Exposure to traumatic events such as natural disasters, robberies, or accidents.

In any case, these experiences will shake the normality of the family. They’ll impose excessive stress that’ll demand from them the use of all the personal resources they have at their disposal. In order to recover, the family nucleus will have to reorganize itself and be flexible in order to find solutions. Otherwise, the crisis will increase and become chronic, damaging each person and the emotional bonds between them.

What characterizes resilient families?

Since it’s not possible to prevent these setbacks or difficulties from happening, the key to maintaining and strengthening the family unit in the face of adversity is resilience. Thus, resilient families have two types of advantages, which we’ll look at below:

Protective factors

First, they have protective factors that minimize the impact of the stress they may suffer. These are simple habits or ways of relating that make the family stronger and less vulnerable to problems. For example, these families:

  • Tend to spend quality time together; they share and coexist from harmony and love.
  • Have family routines and traditions that provide a sense of unity and belonging. Members feel a part of something bigger than themselves, they’re part of a group in which they’ve got a place of their own. This is something that undoubtedly provides security and cohesion.
  • Hold family celebrations in which they celebrate achievements and are grateful for the presence of others.

Recovery processes

At the same time, resilient families are able to act appropriately when a crisis occurs. They put all their resources to work, acquire new skills, or ask for help if necessary to regain well-being. For example, these families:

A mixed-culture family.
  • Communicate assertively and respectfully, share perspectives, and take each other’s points of view into account.
  • Are even more united when life hits them, they focus their efforts on supporting each other and having each other’s backs. They always remember that they’re a team and work together.
  • Develop and maintain an optimistic outlook, focus on finding the positive aspects, and continue to enjoy one another as much as possible.
  • Turn to their social network for emotional, logistical, and other types of support. They rely on family and friends to help them cope better with the adverse situation they’re going through.

Resilient families cope together

Resilience isn’t a concept that’s exclusive to the family, but depends, to a large extent, on individual resilience. Thus, on the one hand, it’s important that each member has the necessary personal resources to cope with stress, that they’re able to communicate, and that they’re able to remain flexible. On the other hand, it’s necessary that family dynamics are healthy, that everyone listens to, supports, and motivates each other.

Family resilience makes it possible to give meaning to what’s happened (be it illness, death, poverty, etc.) and to move forward with greater strength. This family skill, if not already available, can be worked on. And it’s highly recommended, as it’s the one that allows us to safeguard the integrity and happiness of the family when stress hits it.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Gómez, E., & Kotliarenco, M. A. (2010). Resiliencia Familiar: un enfoque de investigación e intervención con familias multiproblemáticas. Revista de psicología19(2), 103-131.
  • Ramírez-Osorio, P., & Hernández-Mendoza, E. (2012). Resiliencia familiar, depresión y ansiedad en adolescentes en situación de pobreza. Revista de Enfermería del Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social20(2), 63-70.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.