By: Summer Masterson-Goethals, Masterson Law
As a family lawyer and mediator, I deal with situations that can become overwhelming for all parties. Divorce, child custody battles, visitation modifications, paternity and the like are all high-stress issues that take a high toll on members of the family. Crises can tear families apart, but they can also have the exact opposite outcome and bring the family closer together. The way these situations are handled determines the ultimate result.
In this blog, I discuss strategies for you to use to help your family stick together and be resilient during tough times.
One of the invaluable tools that you can use during tough times is the concept of recognition. What this essentially means is acknowledging what is great, not only in yourself but also in those around you.
Unleashing the power of Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness™ (F.R.O.G.), as described by recognition expert Sarah McVanel, is key to getting through tough times. Recognizing the greatness in yourself, as well as in your family members, can help identify strategies that turn negative situations into ones that promote cooperation, unity, productivity, and equal contributions.
Here are four ways to use the concept of recognition to help you get through tough family situations:
1.Do something unexpected. Make a nice gesture like offering a small gift or bringing a favorite snack for him or her to eat during a long negotiating session.
Surprising, unexpected acts like this send a positive message that says, “Yes, this isn’t fun, but thank you for your efforts.” It shows that you appreciate their commitment to working things out, even when negotiations become testy. It demonstrates that you understand the sacrifices that everyone will have to make.
2.Utilize a Think Tank Approach. When faced with a family crisis, sit down with other family members, even the kids, to determine what you’re doing right. Then, brainstorm together about what you can do differently or improve upon.
View this not as a complaint session, but as a time to generate positive ideas. By asking for feedback, you show family members that you value their opinions. It provides everyone with a sense of ownership.
Ideas and feelings that come out of such sessions can be surprising. You may find out that others have similar feelings to your own, or that your efforts have been more appreciated than you thought.
3.Recognize Everyone’s Strengths. Learn more about yourself by taking this free survey provided by the Via Institute on Character. Ask your family members to do the same. By taking this 15-minute survey, everyone will find out their best character qualities and learn how to use those strengths to foster well being.
This exercise is particularly helpful when you feel stuck and need new ideas. By mapping out your strengths, you can help everyone get through the trying times.
4.Measure and celebrate milestones. Breakthroughs are critically important. Reaching an agreement or getting through that tough situation is a big accomplishment. Note when you make progress to avoid feeling burned out.
Recognize how far you’ve come. Be mindful that you make these simple acts of recognition for everyone’s efforts. This helps everyone do their best no matter how tough things become. Celebrate, and do something to make everyone feel good about it.
Employing some of the points listed above helps you to recognize the good qualities in each family member during tough times, often when they least expect it. Recognize accomplishments and celebrate them, no matter how small they may be. Brainstorm and ask for input. This can be especially helpful with children who may feel lost in the process.
Also, employ the increasingly popular technique of mindfulness. This can also help everyone get through family crises. Mindfulness will encourage you to take an honest look at yourself and help you recognize what your strengths are. Don’t forget to ask family members for support when you’re feeling low. Finally, journal and make lists of successes that occur along the way to help you monitor your progress. It can serve as an excellent reminder of all the positives in life.
Summer Masterson-Goethals is an experienced divorce attorney at Masterson Law serving families, businesses, and individuals in Springfield, Missouri.