3 Tips for Single Mothers: How to Succeed Alone

Nowadays, single-parent families are becoming more common. Therefore, knowing some tips for single mothers is essential to be successful in raising your children alone. Regardless of whether it was a decision, a loss or a breakup, being a mother and not having constant support in this demanding task is always difficult.

There are many challenges on this path that you will have to learn to overcome. So, I want to teach you some very useful tips to help you face being a single mother in the best way possible. In this way, you will have all the necessary knowledge to achieve success and feel more confident in yourself as a woman.

List of Tips for Single Mothers: Everything You Need to Know

There are tips for single mothers that are important and remarkable when applied. It seems that when you become a single mother, everything is against you: time, people, and responsibilities.

Nevertheless, you should know from the start that this task is worth every second of your life. Despite the perception many people have of single mothers being incomplete, you must be clear about who you are and what you do.

Only in this way can you be the mother your children need and the extremely important figure in the life of your little one. One of the tips for single mothers that should be emphasized the most is the mental strength to keep moving forward regardless of the headwind.

This may mean starting on the right foot. These are the first steps toward a better future full of success. But, that’s not all. I will teach additional tips that will help you with the beautiful and very important work of raising your children.

1.   Go through and overcome any kind of prejudice

It seems unrealistic at first glance, but prejudices are more present than you think in many people’s minds. Although it is hard to believe, society tends to mistakenly label a single mother as incomplete.

Sometimes they will even dedicate themselves to overshadowing your victories, letting you know that you do not have a male figure as support. This undoubtedly has no firm basis, nor is there any kind of argument beyond prejudice.

Of the tips for single mothers that can benefit you the most, the first is simply to go through and overcome any type of prejudice they want to present to you. Despite not having a male or father figure, your effort, love, and dedication will always be very important in your child’s life.

Being a single mother is not an impossible task and you can do an excellent job if you put your mind to it. Forget about those who do not contribute anything and only criticize or judge.

2.   Don’t compare yourself to other people or women

This is something that happens more often than you might be aware of and will always be a negative thing for you. Comparing yourself to other mothers who are single or who have a partner won’t get you anywhere.

It’s about your life, the well-being of your son or daughter, and everything you can do to offer them the best quality of life possible. Everyone has their world and it is managed in their our time.

There is no point in comparing yourself because everything happens at the moment it must happen. Tips for single mothers must include a high level of focus on how you perceive your reality and how you take care of any challenges that come your way. So, you must value every step you take and everything you do to be a good mother.

3.   Make time for yourself and build a support network

This is one of the most complicated tasks that you will have to face as a single mother since free time is extremely scarce. However, you should do your best to have your own time and enjoy your company.

Going out to eat, watching a movie with friends, and having fun all count as important tasks in a mother’s life. Applying these tips for single mothers can make a big difference in how you feel in your day-to-day life and performance.

Success is not a matter of one day to the next, it is a path of perseverance and even discipline. Having your own time and enjoyment will help you make better decisions, live your life 100 percent, and be able to do everything, even have fun.

This doesn’t make you an irresponsible, immature mother or anything like that. Everyone deserves to enjoy their lives. Remember, “there’s a time for everything” and this important task (motherhood) doesn’t mean you shouldn’t or can’t take time for yourself.

Surround yourself with a good support network, family and friends you can reach out to you when you need it. If you manage to open a space in your agenda and apply this advice, you will be able to see a great change in your performance and in how you perceive your reality and your present.

God will always be your shelter and strength, your prompt help in all the problems you may have. You just have to trust and depend on Him at all times.

Single Mothers: Success is just around the corner

Now that you know these tips for single mothers, all that remains is putting them into practice. You will see that you can achieve every goal you set for yourself and be an example for your son or daughter without having to depend on anyone.

Children are a blessing from God and motherhood is something memorable for all women. We are talking about the miracle of life! Feel confident in yourself and face the challenges that come your way without fear.

That way you can see yourself in the mirror in a few years and be aware of how important you have been in the life of another person. In this case, your child. If you have questions or want more information, do not hesitate to contact us by phone at 407 618 0212

Single Mothers: Challenges They Face

The world of single mothers is a world full of pride and joy, but also responsibilities and challenges. Single mothers face even more challenges, as they go through this process on their own.

Beyond the time you spend raising your child or children, other factors pose a challenge for single mothers. And, because of this, the best option is to always be prepared for everything that comes.

For these reasons, I want to teach you everything you need to know about the challenges every single mom must face. Do not miss this post and discover some of the most complicated challenges in single motherhood.

Single Mothers: What are your challenges?

As I have already stated, single mothers have several challenges they must face and overcome. Having a child requires a total change in daily life. Now, if we imagine carrying out this task on our own, it is a tremendous responsibility.

Whether it’s a breakup, self-decision or some other similar situation, being a single mother requires a lot of attention to detail and amazing strength. Therefore, we want to help you identify challenges in time and provide an appropriate resolution.

Next, we will look at the challenges of single mothers that can become more relevant in your day to day life. Take a look.

1.   Going through and overcoming grief

Regardless of the problem that caused the breakup with your partner, this is a fact and it is necessary to go through it and overcome it in the best possible way. The grief that arises from a breakup always leaves some scars.

But the important thing is how you decide to heal those marks and fight to move forward. In the end, your family, made up of you and your child, is a suitable and fully functional family. It does not need anyone extra.

Overcoming this loss is undoubtedly fundamental to excellent performance as a mother. This way you can serve as a companion when your son or daughter goes through their own struggles.

You will know exactly how to deal with these situations, as you will have the necessary experience. Not to mention that you can be present in the here and now to add to your child’s well-being and quality of life.

2.   Step forward in the face of social stigmas and criticism

For single mothers who have experience, this is not a surprise. Our society is used to treating a single woman as rejected objects, something that never comes to mind.

For society, being single means being incomplete when it comes to educating and raising a child. However, some studies show that there are no major differences between children who grow up with both parents and those who are raised in a single-parent household. A God-led mother can be a great blessing in her children’s lives.

Therefore, you should know that criticism and stigma only represent ignorance. Anyone can criticize without knowing the situation 100 percent, but the only person who knows what you’re doing for your child is yourself.

Ignoring criticism and stigma or simply overcoming them will go a long way in coping with the responsibility in front of you. Your decisions will be supported by your strength and knowledge, not to mention that you will be able to focus on what truly matters: your son or daughter.

3.   Acknowledge that you are not both figures

To succeed as a single mother, you need to understand that you don’t represent both sides of authority and education figures. While it is true that a father figure is necessary to take care of some elements, his absence does not mean that you should take his place.

You can adapt, do your best, and be responsible, but taking on the other role is not good. Hiding this absence from your child or minimizing it will simply bring more strange questions and behaviors.

Strength and sincerity with yourself and your child, in this case, are extremely important. Your performance and effort should be measured in your responsibilities, not in the responsibilities of others.

You can be the best mother in the world without having to have someone next to you or impersonate a father.

4.   Economic autonomy

We can romanticize the challenges faced by single mothers, but certainly not this specific challenge. Economic autonomy is indispensable in the life of a single mother. This will prevent you from depending on someone else and putting your and your child’s dignity at risk.

We know that it is not an easy task to complete, nevertheless, the most important thing is always to take the first step and face all the challenges. Money is always a challenge to overcome, even more so when another life depends on it. Remember that God will always be your Shepherd and you will lack nothing (Psalm 23:1).

5.   Giving purpose to your life beyond motherhood

It is true that motherhood will occupy much of your time and that this life is full of responsibilities to the little ones.

But this doesn’t mean you limit your life to your child and that’s it. Before becoming a mother, you are a person, and every person needs to have moments of relaxation. Having friends, family, or moments of peace is valid.

Then, the most important thing is the help from the one who created you and made you a mother. The child you have is Jehovah’s inheritance and he is interested in your well-being. To be successful as a single mother, your must optimize your experiences and value each of them as much as possible.

Being a Single Mother: A Beautiful Challenge

Now you know more about some of the challenges that single mothers must face and overcome. It only remains to soak up knowledge and apply what you have learned so that you can develop your day-to-day in the best possible way.

Certainly, this is a challenge, but it is also one of the most beautiful, complex and amazing life experiences you will have. If you want to know more about this topic, do not hesitate to contact me at our phone number: 407 618 0212.

How do family rituals help strengthen bonds?

Family rituals are important to a family’s well-being and health; especially in an era in which we struggle to spend more quality time together due to the demands of work or school.

If you are a parent who worries because you do not spend enough time with your children; or who finds it difficult to have fun together with your children, family rituals serve this purpose, strengthening your bond.

For the past 50 years, this claim has been verified in a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology of the American Psychological Association (APA). It concludes that family rituals can serve to strengthen adolescents’ sense of identity; children’s health, and even their academic achievements. Stronger family relationships are another advantage.

Family rituals vs. family routines

The study was reviewed by psychologist Barbara H. Fiese, Ph.D., and her colleagues at Syracuse University; who explain that rituals are seen as a type of symbolic communication and that they serve to transmit “what we are.” Their meaning depends on their continuity through generations; they leave emotional traces in the memory of those who experience them.

This is what differentiates it from family routines; for example, which are seen more as instrumental communication that conveys the message that “this is what has to be done”; and are more of a momentary commitment than anything else.

Still, any family routine has the potential to become a ritual as it moves from being an instrumental act to a symbolic one.

To explain the difference between one and the other more practically, consider that when we talk about family routines, we are dealing with daily living activities; such as household chores, setting a reading time, or visiting relatives.

Family rituals, on the other hand, are more focused on special dates and special situations; such as Sunday activities, Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter. Likewise, funerals, and the way we understand the end of life according to the teachings of Our Lord.

The size of your family and rituals

The study states that the healthier the children are, the better they regulate their routines as a family. A fact you should also consider is that the size of your family influences the shape of family routines and rituals.

The study highlights how larger families need the father to play the role of leading mealtime; and that the mother’s leadership role is more evident in smaller families. In the same vein, in families with only one parent, that adult spends more time interacting with the children; much more time than in families of the same size with two parents.

Regardless of your family’s composition, the repetitive nature of mealtime allows everyone in the family to get to know each other better. It helps us be more tolerant towards each other’s characteristics and encourages academic achievement in younger children.

I know your family is busy, the older ones with their jobs or college; and the younger ones with school; but the emotional value of a quick meal cannot be compensated for in any other way.

Think of it this way, an average meal lasts only 20 minutes. Is it so difficult to gather together for 20 minutes? I assure you, it is not if you intentionally set them aside for your family. It does not even have to be seven days a week. Three or four meals are enough.

Why are family rituals so important?

Family rituals are created as a way to celebrate, to bond, and to highlight the special ties that bind us together. But in my opinion, the most important aspect is the power they have to create new experiences and positive memories for everyone. Rituals can nurture connections in the family and give a sense of belonging that cannot be found anywhere else.

This impact is much more noticeable in childhood because it is a delicate time in life where we seek to understand who we are and why we belong to the family. What is it that we share? What is the message it has? Why is it special? These are all very important questions to answer.

By performing a family ritual, your child will feel part of something important and extraordinary; that makes them unique and proud. It will also help them be more confident and more comfortable because these activities are familiar.

The benefits of family rituals

Do you still have doubts about whether continuing family rituals or creating new ones is a good idea? This reaches a higher level of importance as we are in December; since Christmas is a time of reflection and when sharing as a family is much greater than other times of the year.

  • They serve to create good memories: Family rituals are a source of fond memories that will last a lifetime. The more attention and dedication you give to them, the more inclined your children will be to continue them.
  • They provide safety due to their structure: Rituals are rituals because they follow a certain pattern each time they are performed. The fact that they are so predictable helps children feel confident and secure performing them.
  • Gives the family a sense of belonging: We all want to belong to something, and, as a family, it is the rituals that give us that unique character and that feeling of being part of something.
  • Other benefits: Additional benefits include the ability to transmit family and Christian values; as well as the ability to keep several generations interconnected.


Are you looking for professional help on this and other issues? Do not hesitate to call 407 618 0212.

All you need to know about family rituals

During this Christmas season, family rituals take on more importance than ever. December is a month to share in community, to celebrate Christian values and virtues; and strengthen loving bonds with the people who matter the most to us.

One way I like to describe family rituals is as the traditions that make us who we are and for which we are grateful. Many rituals originate from our great-grandparents and grandparents; as well as the festivities of our own country and cultures or those of our ancestors.

How can I strengthen family rituals? Which are the most popular or positive ones? Is it time to change old traditions? We have a lot to talk about regarding this topic.

What are family rituals?

Family rituals or rites are nothing more than traditions that are inherited in the family. These are based on the beliefs that family members have, and most commonly, are passed down from generation to generation. As a parent, if you associate a certain ritual with positive memories and good times, you will be more likely to continue them with your children.

As a family leader, you are able to create new rituals; and design new strategies to both entertain and educate your children.

I like that family members take advantage of their own traditions to implement healthy, loving, and beneficial habits for everyone. Even if no one understands them outside the family, it is still a gesture that is associated with the image of family togetherness.

Some of the most common family rituals

The world is full of so many perspectives and ways of looking at life that you may be surprised to learn that so many families perform the same rituals, just with a different face.

For example, using affectionate nicknames or code words that only you, in the family, understand, greetings with hand games in different forms, or Scripture reading sessions. You can also join in by preparing a special meal together on birthdays or going on vacation to a place that is important to you at a certain time of the year.

All of these activities can have so many variations in the frequency, timing, and ways in which they are done; that they become common, but also unique for each family.

There can be many other kinds of family traditions; such as volunteering in your community during the summer vacations, taking photographs in the same pose on a certain date; picking fruits and vegetables in the garden, having board game sessions once a week, etc.

Creativity has no limits, and as you have seen, each of these activities is meaningful, healthy, and will create precious family moments.

The important thing is that family rituals bring good values to your children and other family members. No one wants a ritual that makes them feel uncomfortable or uninterested. They are supposed to foster security, a sense of belonging, and self-identity.

Some of the best Christmas family rituals

For us Christians, Christmas is a time full of family rituals everywhere you look. Each year we celebrate Jesus Christ’s coming into the world; and it is a date generally abundant in symbolism and new opportunities.

Therefore, it is time to reinforce our traditions as followers of God, faithful to His Word.

Which Christmas family rituals correspond to these purposes?

  • Attending Christmas services as a family.
  • Studying verses that speak of the birth of Jesus.
  • Preparing food baskets for members who are in need in your community.
  • Writing letters full of good feelings and wishes for loved ones who will be far away.
  • Watching the family’s favorite Christmas movies.
  • Preparing your family’s traditional Christmas dishes.
  • Assembling the Christmas tree together, each choosing a part of the decoration that year.

How do I create my own rituals?

There aren’t many rules when it comes to creating your own family rituals; so I want to give you some useful tips on how to make them a reality:

  • Try to get everyone to like it: Sometimes, children will find it difficult to embrace these traditions because they do not understand the meaning behind them. But even if the first few times are difficult, as a parent, you should think about activities you know they will appreciate in the long run. Think about everyone in your family before considering a new ritual.
  • Do them frequently: Unless it is, for example, a Christmas ritual, you should repeat these traditions frequently so that they become a habit. Also, when it comes to Christmas rituals, do not even think about only doing them every other year, consistency is the key.
  • Make it fun: The best age to introduce family rituals is in childhood because it will be part of their memories from very tender moments. However, do not complicate things when creating new rituals. The basic principle is that they are fun. But above all, you should be able to learn something new every time they are performed.

How do I know if I should change a family ritual?

Your children will grow up, and as the years go by, you will notice that some family rituals are not as easy to perform as they were younger. Maybe your teenage son finds that special greeting you and him had a little too much to do it in public anymore; or your teenage daughter gets tired of watching the same movies every year.

Maybe they want to spend more time with their friends on vacations, or maybe, because of a change in your job, you, as a parent, will need to work on weekends. These are changes that life brings.

Is this the end of family rituals? No. It is not, because we must strive for new schedules that suit everyone and modify the activities that are no longer welcome. For example, if the greeting is too flashy for your son, you can simply modify it to be more modest. Or you can look together with your daughter for new Christmas movies that she might like.

I know it will make you nostalgic when a consensus is reached to completely modify some of the rituals; but it is inevitable and very necessary to follow the basic principle of them, which is that everyone should feel at home, grateful for the blessing of having the family they have.

Do you not know how to deal with family traditions without getting into conflicts? You can get professional help by calling 407 618 0212.

How to avoid financial infidelity

Let’s see some examples of financial infidelity. Santiago and Mary are the typical couple who fight tirelessly to achieve the American Dream. Santiago works in the banking industry and Mary works as a high school teacher. They have been married for more than 10 years. But even though they have steady jobs, they have serious financial problems. These problems have grown over the years. Now they find themselves on the verge of separation because trust and respect have been lost.

Mary alleges that Santiago never shows her the status of their finances. And he always tells her that there is no more money left. Santiago controls what spends and what does not spend at home. He gives Mary a monthly amount of money for her personal expenses. But, other than that, Mary does not have access to more money. She feels that her husband is hiding the family’s financial status from her.

However, Santiago confessed in therapy that he has a money issue. He spends the money buying unnecessary electronics without telling his wife, and justifies it by saying that he needs them to be able to work. But the most serious problem is that Santiago, secretly, sends money to his relatives in his home country so that they can build a house. Mary never knew about this expense. Santiago said he does not know how his wife will react to this and that he feels obliged to help his family. So, he came seeking professional help, so he can tell his wife what he has been doing for years.

Financial infidelity is very common

This is a typical problem in many marriages today, financial infidelity. This consists of spending money, owning credit cards or loans, having secret accounts or money deposits, borrowing money, or incurring debt without the spouse or partner knowing it. Financial infidelity in a relationship can include any financial decision made by one of the spouses that may affect, overload, strain, or delay the financial planning in the relationship, as we see in Mary and Santiago’s case.

The most serious problem with this situation is that it results in a loss of intimacy and trust in the relationship. The rate of financial infidelity has been increasing over the years, as a study in 2005 showed that 30 percent of respondents had lied about financial information and 25 percent had withheld information, while a 2008 study showed that half of the people who completed the survey had committed some kind of financial infidelity.

Why does financial infidelity happen?

Many people blame this growing crisis of financial infidelity on the rise of social media for setting unrealistic lifestyle expectations. According to a recent study by the Nonfiction Research Company, 28 percent of 18-24-year-olds admit to posting photos. These photos on Instagram make them look like they have more money than they actually have.

While some people rely on photos prepared cleverly to keep up with the Joneses. Others may actually be immersed in debts or go bankrupt in order to maintain an image or to keep their pride afloat.

This type of expenditure, called compulsive spending, tends to manifest itself in a person’s 40s. And, even though not everyone is a compulsive spender, most Americans are in debt. Even if it has not affected their quality of life yet. According to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, total debt balances have increased in recent years for every US age group.

How harmful is financial infidelity?

Financial infidelity has the potential to be as damaging to the health and longevity of the relationship as sexual infidelity. It is because conflicts over money are also a main reason for divorce. Given the role that finances play in the health of relationships, consumers benefit from being aware of financial infidelity and its consequences.

How to prevent financial infidelity

Be transparent about household finances. There is no magic formula. It is not easy to overcome the fear, guilt, and anxiety that goes with being completely transparent about your expenses. A key to developing this habit is to impose a rule on yourself: frequent and open communication, without exception. Especially if only one member of the family retains control over the household finances.

Develop an action plan

Research suggests that the best way to avoid surprises is to establish a well-defined plan and stick to it. Couples who pay their bills in a less structured way are more likely than those who had a more established budget. They plan to keep a financial secret from their partner. It is important to establish a family budget. It must consider not only regular expenses like mortgage or rent and utilities, but also long-term goals and emergencies.

Have only one bank account

Some financial experts suggest keeping only one shared account. But others recommend each spouse keep a separate account for the little things they want for themselves. I believe that a single shared account will prevent financial infidelity. If there is a fund in the budget meant for one half of the couple. Then that specific amount can be placed in a personal account.

If you are experiencing financial infidelity in your life, maybe it is time to seek professional help. Do not let finances destroy your relationship. Find the courage to confront your problem and heal your relationship.

Infertility and loss: What can the couple do?

It had been Mary’s dream to be a mother. She never considered the infertility for her. For her, being a woman was about having the opportunity to procreate and build a family with several children. Now, married to Peter, it was time to make every woman’s innate desire come true. But months after the wedding, nothing had happened. Then, after six months, they increased sexual intimacy, trying to have greater opportunities to conceive, but nothing happened.

Then, after a year, Mary and Peter began to wonder what was happening. Where was the problem? They went to their family doctor, who referred them to a specialist. After several tests, the beautiful couple, “You will not be able to have children through natural means.”

The emotional pain that overwhelmed Mary and Peter was indescribable. They both felt low self-esteem and had feelings of inferiority, low self-confidence, and low self-love. Besides, they felt ashamed and incomplete. They felt they were not enough. They even began to question their ability to parent and maintain their relationship. It was at this point that they decided to seek professional help.

Infertility is a real thing that causes a lot of pain

In the United States, 15 percent of couples will have fertility problems (UCLA Health, 2020). The World Health Organization (WHO, 1993) presents infertility as the inability to conceive after a year of regular unprotected sexual relations. As Mary and Peter’s story reveals, when a couple of experiences this, they feel in shock, frustrated, and there are extensive psychological effects.

The shock comes from being in a situation the couple never imagined. In addition, this shock is the result of false beliefs rooted in our culture that say that “procreation is a voluntary process,” that any person can achieve just by having frequent coital interactions. So, when this fails, the couple tends to question their identity and both members of the couple feel inferior as a man and a woman.

Infertility produces frustration, partly because the couple has to change the life plan they had outlined. For Mary and Peter, their life project was parenthood at a young age, so they could dedicate the best years of their own lives to their children. They saw parenthood as a culmination of their personal development, having children when reaching personal and professional maturity.

All of this produces great emotional pain as a loss is experienced. All losses bring sadness, anguish, pain, and often trauma. These adverse circumstances force the couple to rethink their life plan and make important decisions regarding that plan: to keep trying with their means, to decide not to have children, to try assisted reproduction, or to adopt or foster a child.

How a couple experiences infertility

When a couple with infertility problems comes seeking marital therapy, we help them process this experience by approaching it as a grieving process. Syme described infertility as a loss from an emotional and psychological point of view. The couple experiences this loss in different phases:

  • The first phase, when the pregnancy does not occur when it supposes to.
  • The second one when infertility treatment cycles begin and are unsuccessful, and finally, when an eventual pregnancy culminates in a miscarriage.

These stages of grief do not necessarily occur in order, and each person might experience them in different ways. In the Paralysis stage, the individual acts “like a zombie” or like being “in a trance,” very distant from others. There is denial, the person cannot believe what happened is real and he/she says to himself/herself, “someone made a mistake.” There may be physical manifestations, such as periods of depression, loss of appetite, and poor concentration.

Yearning stage

In the yearning stage, the individual has a great need to fulfill the desire to be a parent, so, when it does not happen, it becomes more fervent every day. Everything reinforces when the person exposes to promotional materials or items for newborns. Close friends and family do not help at this stage because they tend to ask the couple if they are doing things right. They tend to not consider the pain experienced by those with infertility.

Second stage

The longest stage is Disorganization and Despair. This stage characterizes by feeling guilty. We have seen how many patients think their infertility is a punishment. One given from God for sins committed when they were young. They feel a lack of control, anxiety, loneliness, grief, hopelessness, and couples withdraw from their friends because of the stigmas surrounding infertility.

The Reorganization stage is the one in which the individual accepts and reorganizes his/her personal life. In this stage, he all considers a new Life Project. This period can take years, or sadly, for many people, it never happens because they give up accepting their fate. Many people experience such deep emotional damage that they think no one can help them and that there is nothing anyone can do to alleviate their suffering.

You may wonder what can I do if I’m going through the same thing as Mary and Peter. What can I do to help someone in a situation like the one we discussed? Remember, if at a given time you need professional help, do not hesitate. Call 407-618-0212, or write to us at efrain.duany@floridaconference.com

Family resilience before the crisis

The most important structure in our society, and even maybe in the universe, is the family. Let’s see the importance about the family resilience before the crisis. The concept of marriage and family is not a human invention, but a divine one. God created a prototype of what He was. He is a God manifested in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

When God said, “let us make man in our image, according to our likeness” (Genesis 1: 26,27), He was creating an image of what He Himself was, through the marriage of Adam and Eve, that is, a God who lives in community. In this sense, God is also a family unit. The Kingdom of God is made up of families. When He decided to create this world, He started with a family.

The family is the main cell of a society. It is the foundation of the values, beliefs, and virtues of its members. Its walls become a shelter of hope for the people in it. It is that place where you can face the greatest crises in life because that is why it built, to protect and safeguard its members.

Family resilience

What makes one family rise above in the face of suffering and adversity, while others remain stuck in the same place without moving forward in a crisis? The answer is a positivist concept in psychology: resilience. Resilience’s definition could not be simpler, said Boris Cyrulnik, who coined this concept. He said that resilience was starting a new development after trauma. Others have said that it is the ability to overcome painful and traumatic situations, coming out of them stronger.

This concept does not only attribute to individual models of facing adversity, but can also be contextualized in families and communities. Family resilience can define as the processes of reorganizing meanings and behaviors, and overcoming and adapting that take place in the family.

It also allows the family system to recover in times of crisis, just like the one we are currently living through with COVID-19. Resilience cushions the stress, reduces the risk of dysfunction, and supports optimal adaptation. It implies more than just handling stressful conditions, it implies the potential for transformation and personal and relational growth that can be forged by adversity.

In addition, it is marked by what happens not only after the traumatic event, but before it has happened. Several studies show that people with a childhood marked by abandonment, in which they could not develop emotional intelligence or learn how to regulate their emotions, are more likely to succumb to a crisis compared to people who had parents who allowed them to develop a secure attachment.

These people usually deal with a small neurological malformation that prevents them from controlling their emotions, and they collapse when facing a serious life event, such as losing their job due to the coronavirus, marital problems, or a similar crisis.

Seven Resilient Family Practices

Resilience is not innate. People do not learn when the crisis arrives. It is an attitude that must be learned from childhood, since the first months of human life are crucial to controlling emotions in adulthood. In other words, the family structure is the forger of resilience in its members

1. They trust in God

Resilient families trust God. They know that their future is in God’s hands and that no matter what it may hold, there is a happy world beyond. Their eyes are always fixed on that world where there will be no more crying or pain.

2. They are optimistic

They are optimistic because they believe in God’s power. It does not matter what crisis comes to the family, there will always be a glorious morning at dawn. Optimism helps overcome difficulties. They grow in the possibilities, but they also accept the things that cannot be changed.

3. They are flexible

Furthermore, they are flexible enough to understand the crisis they are living through and adapt to adverse circumstances. They change in order to face new challenges. Likewise, they build a new sense of normality as they reorganize themselves in the face of adversity. They are firm, but at the same time flexible while employing authoritative leadership.

4. Connectivity

They maintain connectivity in the middle of a crisis. Not only that, but they value mutual support, collaboration, and commitment. The individual needs, differences, and limits of each family member are respected. And when the crisis produces emotional wounds, the family seeks new ways to heal and restore relationships.

5. Open emotional expression

They promote sharing a variety of feelings (joy, happiness, sadness, anger). There is mutual empathy and great tolerance to each individual’s differences. They take responsibility for their own emotions and behaviors, and avoid judging others.

6. They see crises as opportunities

Nothing happens in life without God allowing it to happen. The ways in which the family interprets adversity determines the emotions they experience. Adversity can be seen as a calamity or an opportunity to grow in life. One decision leads to death and the other one to hope.

7. Solving problems in a collaborative way

They work together in order to solve their problems. They brainstorm, invent, and seize opportunities to grow in the face of adversity. Furthermore, they focus on clear goals, prepare to succeed, and learn from failure.

The banana tree is very resilient, even when it seems so weak. No fire or typhoon can kill it. Even if its body is cut into a thousand pieces, it can still survive. The only way to stop it from growing back is pulling it out completely. God has created the family with this ability to be resilient even in the most difficult trials because no trials will come upon us that we cannot bear.

The value of the family resilience

While we recognize the value of the family in the face of crisis, we also honor the value a mother has when helping the family in the midst of crises. It is the mother who begins preparing the small child so that he/she can be resilient before the crisis, and who helps her children develop emotional intelligence. She is the one who makes the difference in the family.

The mother’s role is decisive in the resilience of the children, and, together with the father’s work, they will have in their hands the formation of future adults who will know how to face the changes of life in a conscious and effective way, and who will overcome any crisis that befalls them, together, without separation, without family ruptures.

Each home taking God’s hand will build resilient people from the teachings at an early age. Society will count on adults whose emotional intelligence is well-developed. Those whose psychological and emotional stability will allow them to establish mature, healthy, and beneficial interpersonal relationships. These will guide them to having their own resilient families in the future. We can conclude then that resilience is the key to having a healthy, prosperous, and balanced society. Everything comes from the family and home.

Characteristics of dysfunctional families


Let’s continue on the dysfunctional families topic. It is a broad issue that affects numerous homes today, and to which we must pay attention, as the family is the foundation from which human beings perceive reality and the world around us.

Let’s also analyze the following story: a boy was the son of a middle-class man who worked for the government. His father demanded absolute obedience from his children, and the family suffered due to his uncontrollable anger. When this boy was three years old, he witnessed how his father brutally beat his mother because she replied to him.

A story of dysfunctional families

When the boy was 4 years old, his father began to abuse him physically, practically daily. He remembers getting 30 lashes on his back when he was 6 years old. When his father needed him, he would whistle for him to come, just as people do when they call a dog. When he was 11 years old, his father almost beat him to death when he tried to run away from home.

Before this child was born, three of his siblings had died of diphtheria, all before the age of three and all with a difference of a month. His mother, fearing she’d lose another son, kept her distance from this son and did not develop an attachment with him. His father, always drunk, complained a lot about how Jews and minorities were causing all the problems in the world. The boy grew up hating his father, but could not find a safe way to vent his emotions.

The beginning of the problem

He began to mistreat other children, play violent war games, and give hate speeches focused on Jews and other minorities. This boy grew up and became a hateful man, who never got married or had a family of his own with whom he could share his emotions. Instead, he found a large audience to whom he was able to express his feelings of hate. He got to subdue an entire race with his hate and anger. That little boy grew up to be Adolf Hitler (Miller, 1983).

As parents, we often ignore the influence our dysfunctional patterns have on future generations. If you are honest, you will remember that when some of these things happened to you when you were a child, you made a vow never to treat your children that same way. And now, sadly, you find yourself in stressful situations, repeating the same words and behaviors of your parents towards your children.

Characteristics of a dysfunctional family

There is no such thing as a dysfunctional family. However, if you see that your family has some characteristics and traits listed below, your family is likely dysfunctional in some areas.

 Disappointment and denial

They deny their problems, thus problems are never solved. They also deny freedom to their members.

Forming rigid and static roles

Roles are created due to the need for the family system. Children give up their own needs to meet the needs of others.

Breaking boundaries

The members of a dysfunctional family have permeable boundaries. The boundaries are not respected and are mutually invaded.

Needs sacrificed

Members of a dysfunctional family cannot meet their needs. Individual needs are set aside to meet the needs of the family. There is almost always a certain amount of anger and depression in the members of a dysfunctional family. Individual needs are sacrificed to satisfy the requirements of the family.

Conflicting and Confluent Communication

They use open conflict or confluence (they agree not to disagree) as a communication style. Very rarely do they manage to make real contact.

 Irrevocability of the rules and control

in dysfunctional families, rules are set, and they do not change.

We must control our feelings and behaviors at all times. This is the most important defense mechanism.


We have to do everything right. The fear of not fulfilling what others expect of us is the main motivation. Family members spend their lives focused on their image.


When things do not go as planned, we blame ourselves or others. This keeps the balance in the dysfunctional family when controlling does not work.

Family members cannot speak

This rule forbids the free expression of any feeling, need, or desire. No one talks about loneliness or problems.

There cannot be any mistakes

Making mistakes implies vulnerability. This is not allowed. Family members have to cover up any error at all costs to avoid criticism.

There are other deeper characteristics, but the ones mentioned in the previous paragraphs we can observe easily in the daily life of many families, even those with Christian beliefs. The way parents raise their children will determine what kind of family future generations will have since they will repeat the learned patterns and will apply them to their family relationships.

The challenges of a dysfunctional family

It is not easy to be part of a dysfunctional family. The communication and interaction channels affect by the disrupted dynamics that take place. It does not matter what religion, culture, ethnicity, or social status family members comes from, dysfunction can be the foundation of any family.

  • Do these characteristics and rules of dysfunctional families seem familiar to you?
  • Do you think your family could be going through this?
  • Is it difficult to talk about important and deep issues in your family?
  • Do you feel that you cannot express yourself or be who you are?

If so, let me tell you that you are not alone in this. In our society, it is more and more common to see these family traits. But, remember, it is possible to transform family dysfunction into functionality.

I invite you to read our next post, in which we will continue talking about dysfunctional families. So, you can learn what can do to overcome this “family script.”

God bless you.

How do we react to emotional trauma?

The situations we lived in our childhood leave a mark on us for better or for worse. These marks last for a lifetime. They are called emotional trauma. If our parents or relatives have hurt us emotionally, or if we belong to a dysfunctional family; it will be up to us to take advantage of these experiences. You can use them as motivation to make changes in our lives to avoid continuing the behavior patterns we saw in our homes.

Emotional trauma

When we look back at our past, and our childhood, we can discover and recognize interpersonal situations that directly influenced who we are today.

According to Horney, basic anxiety (and therefore neurosis itself) could be the result of a variety of critical interpersonal situations we experienced at an early age, including:

“… direct or indirect domination, indifference, erratic behavior, lack of respect for the child’s individual needs, contemptuous attitude, excess or lack of admiration, lack of reliable affection, having to take sides in parental disagreements, too much or too little responsibility, overprotection, isolation, injustice, discrimination, broken promises, a hostile environment, and so on…” (Horney, 1945).

Three broad categories of neurotic needs of an emotional trauma

Throughout her work, Horney describes 10 neurotic needs that can be classified into three broad categories:

  1. Needs that move us towards others

These neurotic needs to make individuals seek affirmation and acceptance from those around them. They could be categorized as dependents, since they constantly and disproportionately seek other people’s approval and affection.

  1. Needs that move us away from others

Its main characteristic is what is called neurotic detachment. These individuals are often cold, indifferent, and distant. They could be categorized as schizoids. According to Horney herself, “they have an intimate need to put an emotional distance between themselves and others.”

  1. Needs that move us against others

These neurotic needs give room for hostility, antisocial behavior, and the need to control other people. They are individuals often described as difficult, dominant, or toxic.

How to use the neurotic needs

People who have well adapted use all three categories in a balanced way, shifting focus according to several internal and external factors. But for people who grew up in a dysfunctional home, they did not feel safe expressing their true emotions towards the people who were inflicting injuries. So, they defend themselves by expressing their anger against people they considered weaker than them.

The other alternative was to self-diminish and view themselves as a worthless person and worthy of the punishment received. Many times this was the action that their parents supported, telling them that it was all for their good (Miller, 1993).

Gestalt therapy talks about the defense mechanism of retroflection, in which the retroflecter does to himself/herself what he/she would like to do to others. The retroflecter is his/her own worst enemy. Instead of expressing emotions and feelings to promote change, he/she directs everything towards himself/herself, doing to himself/herself what they would do to other people. The person directs his/her energy the wrong way, becoming the object of action instead of the environment.

If this is your case, the truth is that you did not have someone who could understand how you felt or who could help you validate your emotions. You felt like a stranger in a strange land. As a result, you repressed your emotions, and your wounds remained unhealed until you reached adulthood.

Intergenerational transmission of emotional trauma

When you reached adulthood, you tried to heal those wounds. You do it by seeking to finally establish a relationship with someone who could understand you and help you heal those wounds. But, the process is not something done consciously and. Besides, you cannot control the other person the way you would like, you ended up not receiving emotional healing.

If all this effort you made to receive healing did not work, maybe because you gave up and tried to resolve these emotional traumas by focusing them on your children. Or by focusing on people who you perceive as weaker than you and easy to control. And now, you feel that you can do to them what other people did to you.

You need to be aware of your emotional trauma

But you do not feel guilty because you are not aware of the trauma you have in your mind. Possibly you treat your children the same way people treated you, thinking that everything is fine. As the adage goes: you cannot fix something until you know how it got broken.

If this is your case, possibly while you do not acknowledge or understand the harmful effects of what your parents or relatives did to you during childhood. You will destine to repeat the same cruel acts you learned from them. You will do it without perceiving them as such.

Instead, you will try to defend or justify your behavior. You will do it in the same way your parents did. So, they claimed they were necessary for you to grow and be like them. This is how traumas that produce dysfunction in our families transmit from generation to generation.

Do you know any other defense mechanisms for victims of dysfunctional parenting? Share it with us in the comments section, so we can help others identify other manifestations of emotional wounds. God bless you.

How do emotional traumas develop in families?

Families are living on a battlefield. The situations in our society have made it this way. How do emotional traumas develop in families?

Statistics about emotional traumas

Many professionals dedicate their time to studying this phenomenon. Among these professionals is Doctor Joyce Brothers, who presents some terrifying statistics (1984):

  • 8 million women are being frequently abused in their own homes. They are victims of men who had promised to love them.
  • About 3.4 – 4 million children are being physically abused by their parents.
  • The writer Susan Forward says that there are more than 10 million Americans who have participated in incest, and come from different economic, cultural, racial, educational, and religious backgrounds.
  • It estimates that by the age of 18, about 45 – 60% of children in this country have been victims of sexual abuse (DeMause, 1991).

What is a dysfunctional family?

Thus, a dysfunctional family is one in which conflicts, misbehavior, and, often, abuse by family members, happen regularly, which leads to other family members accommodating such actions. Healthy families also go through crises, but after the crisis, they go back to functioning normally.

To understand the process through which a family’s emotional dynamics transmit from one generation to the next one, we need to understand the systemic concept of the “intergenerational transmission process.”

It is the transmission of values, facts, secrets, stories, emotional dynamics, and dysfunctional behaviors from one generation to the next. When these aspects transmit in a non-elaborated or non-processed way, they go from one generation to another in the same way, affecting the family’s mental health and healthy balance.

Today, we will talk about the influence that the intergenerational transmission process has on the foundation of functional or dysfunctional families, o their characteristics. We also see how it causes emotional traumas and how the dysfunctional cycle in the family can be broken.

How do emotional traumas develop in a family?

Some families have dysfunctional behavioral patterns that go from one generation to the next. These patterns can be alcoholism, consuming drugs, emotional, physical, verbal, or sexual abuse, mental illnesses, and an autocratic parenting style.

Let me tell you the story about a man named Pedro. His life story is a sad one. I met him when I was living in Philadelphia. His wife, a church member, called me one day. She desperately said to me: “Please, Pastor, do something for my husband. He is addicted to heroin.” When he had no money to buy drugs, he would sell whatever he found in their house he could buy drugs.

One day, I saw him in an abandoned house buying drugs. He told me his story. His father was an alcoholic, so he introduced Pedro to that world when he was still very young. And, from that moment on, that teenager’s life of no control began. He went from drinking to consuming marijuana. Then, from marijuana to cocaine, and then to heroin. This is the story of a young man who grew up in a dysfunctional home and got lost inside the addiction maze.

Emotional traumas are common in dysfunctional families

The toxic effects of dysfunctional families cannot measure. Children are the most affected in this type of family. All of these maladaptive behaviors take away the possibility of having a happy childhood. They also avoid the parent’s need to become functional adults in the future. Behavioral patterns become a “family script.”

There are several clinical studies that it proved that small emotional wounds produce daily and the lack of attachment with our parents can produce traumas that last a long time. These emotional traumas were produced every time:

  • they were not taken seriously
  • when someone mocked them or made fun of them,
  • when they do not allow expressing what they felt.
  • Specialty, when they do not treat like people who have their own will.

Self-esteem and emotional traumas

And many wounds that were inflicted when they were told:

  • to go away,
  • get lost,
  • close your mouth,
  • get out,
  • do not act like that…
  • or do not be such a…

All of these experiences were emotional traumas that inflicted wounds on their self-esteem. Even if it was the scenario in your home and family. Or even if today it is the scenario you have in the family you have built. Well, I have good news for you.

Even so, the deepest traits of our personality affected by adverse situations can transform. Yes, with the desire to change and improve as human beings and to be the best version of ourselves in Jesus Christ.

  • Maybe this is something you already know, maybe you identify with Pedro’s story because you grew up in a dysfunctional home, a dysfunctional family.
  • Maybe you have not realized that those emotional wounds that have not healed yet are affecting your life and your own family’s dynamics, the family you have built.
  • Or, maybe you see yourself repeating those same words to your children, the words that hurt you when you were a child, and that your parents said when they disapproved of you.

Do you want to know more about this topic? Then, I want to invite you to read our next posts, in which we will continue studying the main effects and characteristics of dysfunctional families so that you can overcome these difficulties. God bless you.