Families come in all shapes and sizes. “Family” includes anyone a young person sees as important because of a strong, enduring connection, whether related by blood or not.
Families that are resilient and function well give young people a positive identity, a sense of connectedness, and an environment in which they can flourish. Families differ in terms of the challenges they face, the social and financial resources they can access, and how well they respond to life’s challenges. Some families may be too taxed and have insufficient resources to be able to fully focus on nurturing their children.
Families contribute to resilience when:
- The youth has a sense of belonging and connectedness to their nuclear and extended family.
- The youth has one or more caring and supportive relationships with adults in the family other than his/her parent or main caregiver. This is particularly important when the parent factor is weak or in crisis.
- The wider family holds high and positive expectations for the young person.
- The young person has opportunities to participate in and contribute to the wider family. They feel a sense of responsibility to respect the feelings and self-worth of others and to respect and maintain the family’s values.
- The youth has a positive family identity and a sense of being valued within the family.
- Significant members of the family hold an optimistic worldview.
- Young people in the family feel able to be themselves, take risks, and be creative without losing or fearing loss of acceptance in the family.
- The youth has traits that are valued by others in the family.
- The family has gone through a crisis or hard time together.
Strategies to strengthen this factor:
- Engage youth in activities to identify family values, strengths, and rituals.