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Week 5: Family Coping Strategies

Recipe for a Military Spouse

  • 1 1/2 cups Patience
  • 1 cup Courage
  • 3/4 cup Tolerance
  • dash of Adventure
  • 1 pound of Ability

To the above ingredients:

Add 2 tablespoons elbow grease and let stand alone for one year. Marinate frequently with salty tears. Pour off excess fat and sprinkle ever so lightly with money then Knead dough until payday. Season with international spices.

Bake 20 years or until done.

Makes unlimited servings.

SERVE WITH PRIDE.

                                                                                             —Langley Officers’ Spouses’ Club 

How do military families cope with the stressors and issues that arise from military life?
This week, you examine the different ways military families cope with military life and consider the strategies to help a family increase its ability to cope.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Evaluate family coping strategies
  • Evaluate strategies to strengthen coping skills
  • Create a Family Care Plan

Learning Resources

Required Readings

DeCarvalho, L. T., & Whealin, J. A. (2012). Healing stress in military families: Eight steps to wellness. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Step 1, “Connect” (pp. 3–15)
Appendix A, “Handouts for Military Families” (pp. 151–203)

Abraham, M. M., & Kerns, K. A. (2013). Positive and negative emotions and coping as mediators of mother-child attachment and peer relationships. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 59(4), 399-425.

Select at least two articles from the following list to support your Discussion and Assignment.

Beardslee, W., Lester, P., Klosinski, L., Saltzman, W., Woodward, K., Nash, W., & Leskin, G. (2011). Family-centered preventive intervention for military families: Implications for implementation science. Prevention Science, 12(4), 339-348. doi:10.1007/s11121-011-0234-5

Cafferky, B., & Shi, L. (2015). Military wives emotionally coping during deployment: Balancing Dependence and independence. American Journal of Family Therapy, 43(3), 282-295.

Godfrey, C. M., Harrison, M. B., Lysaght, R., Lamb, M., Graham, I. D., & Oakley, P. (2011). Care of self – care by other – care of other: The meaning of self‐carefrom research, practice, policy and industry perspectives. International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare, 9(1), 3-24. 

Mmari, K. N., Bradshaw, C. P., Sudhinaraset, M., & Blum, R. (2010). Exploring the role of social connectedness among military youth: Perceptions from youth, parents, and school personnel. Child & Youth Care Forum, 39(5), 351-366. 

Seiffge-Krenke, I., & Pakalniskiene, V. (2011). Who shapes whom in the family: Reciprocal links between autonomy support in the family and parents’ and adolescents’ coping behaviors. Journal of Youth And Adolescence, 40(8), 983-995. 

Fischer, E. P., Sherman, M. D., Han, X., & Owen, R. r. (2013). Outcomes of participation in the REACH multifamily group program for veterans with PTSD and their families. Professional Psychology: Research And Practice, 44(3), 127-134.

Qualls, S., & Williams, A. A. (2013). Caregiver self-care. In Caregiver family therapy: Empowering families to meet the challenges of aging (pp. 159-189). Washington, DC US: American Psychological Association. 

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014f). How families cope [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note:  The approximate length of this media piece is 7 minutes.

Discussion: Coping Strategies

Coping with military life can vary. While research supports the notion that military families are resilient, it does not mean every military family copes the same way. Some cope better than others. Some have the mechanisms in place to be resilient, while others struggle. As a helping professional, it is important that you gain insight into coping strategies and coping behavior in general, as well as how some military families cope in order to provide effective support services.

For this Discussion, review this week’s resources. Select at least two of the articles to support your response. You may select your own scholarly article in lieu of one presented. In addition, review the media, How Families Cope. Pay particular attention to the coping strategies of families presented in the media and whether or not those strategies were successful.

By Day 3

Post an explanation of what you consider important to know about the military experience and family coping strategies. Given your specialization (e.g., social worker, counselor, case manager, marriage and family counselor, school counselor), how might this information inform how you work with military families, children, or spouses? Describe one strategy you consider effective in strengthening coping skills for military families and explain why.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ posts.

By Day 5

Respond to two or more colleagues by suggesting alternative strategies to enhance coping skills.

Return to this Discussion to read the responses to your initial post. Note what you have learned and/or any insights you gained as a result of the comments your colleagues made.

To complete your Discussion, click on Discussions on the course navigation menu, and select “Week 5 Forum” to begin.

Submission and Grading Information
Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:
Week 5 Discussion Rubric

Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 5

To participate in this Discussion:
Week 5 Discussion

Assignment: Family Coping Styles

In military families, self-care is important. But what does it mean? What role does each family member play in supporting each other? Consider for a moment a military family that could benefit from a self-care plan. Is the family living with service personnel who may have PTSD, traumatic brain injury, loss of limb, or increased stress? Perhaps a family is struggling to cope with living overseas and away from a strong support system. Or perhaps parenting has been a long struggle and the children are not adjusting well.

A self-care plan is a strategy in which the family collectively agrees to engage in activities that will support the needs of each member of the family. Each family member should think about something they might do to take care of themselves individually, but also that would help take care of the family. For example, perhaps a family has been experiencing a high deal of stress due to a spouse’s deployment and the remaining parent and children do not engage in playful activities with each other. In a self-care plan, they all agree to build in personal fun time (e.g., the children have at least 1 hour of fun time a day) and family fun time (e.g., family picnic, game night).

For this assignment, think about a military family who could benefit from a self-care plan. What would you put into the plan and how would you support the family to follow through?

In a 2- to 3-page paper, develop a family self-care plan.

Imagine a military family experiencing an issue in which they could benefit from a self-care plan. Include the following in the plan:

  • Describe the issue
  • List the key players in the plan (e.g., extended family, children, spouse, significant others)
  • Referencing one of the activities in the Appendix of your text, how might it help you gain information to develop coping strategies to assist your family? Describe two strategies you might recommend and explain why.
  • Describe when the plan begins and explain any changes (if applicable) upon the military service personnel returning from deployment.
  • Explain the role of communication in the plan.
  • Explain how you might create buy-in from the family.
  • Explain how you might encourage the family to seek support if they need it.

Select at least one scholarly resource from the Walden Library to support your plan.

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