Diane Sasser | 10/28/2005 8:50:10 PM
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have shown how strong Louisiana families can be. Parents and children faced with strains on time, money and emotions found ways to remain strong, healthy and happy.
LSU AgCenter family life professor Dr. Diane D. Sasser shares her insights on what makes families hold together.
Caring and appreciation
• Family members offer encouragement and support when another member makes mistakes.
• Parents find time to talk to and show interest in their children.
• Family members give one another quick pat, a hug, a kiss, a handclasp or an arm around the shoulder. People of any age appreciate the affection.
• Family members let one another know they matter through good manners and courtesy.
• Family members ask for opinions and listen to remarks.
• Family member continue to work together, even when times are hard.
• Family members practice family traditions. This year will be difficult for families to follow usual traditions, but a tradition can be as simple as prayers or a special meal.
• Compiling a family history is important. Older relatives share their life stories. They find books or pictures about the places their family is from, where they’ve visited.
• Strong families talk, share feelings, hopes, dreams, fears and joys.
• They make time to talk.
• They are good listeners.
• They make helpful suggestions.
Community and family ties
• Families get support from institutions and help out other people.
• They know ties with relatives, neighbors and friends are important. Parents teach their kids to become involved in the community.
• Families make decisions, solve family situations and do family work together.
• Parents are the leaders, but they let children discuss their opinions.
• Parents teach children how to make decisions so they can grow up to be responsible adults.
• Parents involve children with lining up chores and responsibilities. Youngsters are willing helpers when they are participants in decision making.
Flexibility and openness to change
• Strong families develop routines and a set of rules. After the hurricanes, Louisiana families developed new routines and rules that fit the circumstances.
• Many families put up a chart with household chores and rotate assignments. Scheduling is particularly helpful for those sharing a home with other families. If everyone pitches in to do their part, many people can live under one roof harmoniously.
"Building your family strengths doesn’t have to take any extra money," Sasser says, adding, "But it can reap many dividends for years and through generations."
For information on related family topics, click on LSU AgCenter Web site, www.lsuagcenter.com. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.
On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/
Source: Diane D. Sasser (225) 578-4448, or Dsasser@agcenter.lsu.edu