Reviving Resilience During Summer Months
By Laurie Hollman, Ph.D.
As adults we like to think of ourselves as resilient, able to tolerate frustrations and upsets that come during the year alongside the accomplishments and achievements of ourselves and our children. But sometimes work and parenting stresses us out as unexpected disappointments and puzzling behaviors wear us down.
Warm weather in June brings hope and optimism as we make summer plans for our families. It’s a time when our resilience can be revived. It’s a time to plan for building relationships that may have fallen by the wayside with the preceding months of pressures that mount with our kids’ multiple activities, grades, and exams, combined with adult interpersonal squabbles and strivings to meet ambitions.
Thinking about being resilient means having an open mindset about each other. Spouses can listen more carefully to each other, paying close attention to each others’ needs and feelings. Parents and kids, too, can pay closer attention to each other’s desires and hopes for what can be a summer filled with learning, new adventures, discoveries and fun.
Resilience is the capacity to recover rather quickly from difficulties. This means tolerating frustrations with each other in the family. When you are careful to hear each other’s points of view and respect varying opinions, it’s amazing how resilient you can become when daily upsets throw you off kilter.
Often during the summer, families spend more time together than during the school year. Summer travel and living at summer homes means negotiating new routines and daytime activities. Too close contact can bring irritations with each other to the fore, so it’s important to also have alone time. In addition, it’s an opportunity for one-on-one time with family members. Spending time like this rebuilds bonds which further the capacity to be resilient.
Building Resilient Marital Partners
Furthermore, when kids go to summer camps, travel, and get involved in internships, married couples can have more time together. It’s important not to slough off this needed contact to resolve long held frustrations with each other that built up during the year. Airing wounds as well as what you are grateful for strengthens your love for each other which gives greater security not only to the bond of marriage but to the whole family. Kids feel more secure when they see their parents show their love for each other.
If there are disappointments and frustrations during summer events, adults can model accepting each others’ strengths and weaknesses and resiliently join together to share the attitude that we learn from mistakes and regain a positive outlook.
Key to resilience is empathy. When adults really sit in each other’s shoes and try to feel what it must be like to be their partner, it’s a wonderful feeling for their spouse. Each marital partner feels less alone as they learn something new and important about each other and their love and understanding grows.
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. Psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior is found on Amazon and wherever books are found. Visit her website: www.lauriehollmanphd.com.