Working with families – the good stuff and the tough stuff

What promotes respect and cooperation in families? And what tends to encourage the not-so-fabulous stuff; anger and aggression, meanness and disrespect? What are the ingredients we all need for wellbeing and what are the conditions we need to avoid? What can families do where the tough stuff seems to be winning? Can it be turned around so that family members are more likely to be happy, content, fulfilled, and appreciative, loving and respectful of each other? What can anyone do when life just seems overwhelmingly difficult? And what can we do, as workers, to help in this process? Research and common sense point to some of the ingredients which promote each of these sorts of lives and doing so can guide us as workers with families to help them get back on track. Research and common sense can also guide us as to what preventive measures we might take as well as looking at what ingredients need to be present in our own work with families and communities. So this workshop will look at both background principles as well as practical strategies for being useful to families, and particularly those ones having an especially tough time.

To tackle difficult stuff with a family we need solid relationships with each family member and the family as a whole.  Relationships characterized by equal amounts of support and challenge, the serious and the playful, the best in people and where and how they want to be better. And we need conversations and processes with families that look not only at slip-ups and struggles, but that seek the best in people, find it, help it come out and then grow and flourish. So this workshop will focus on practical and straightforward ways of building compassionate, respectful and productive relationships with those we seek to serve; within which we can tackle the tough stuff, and strengthen the good stuff.