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Times are Tough for Many Families
Keeping Your Family First
Whether urban or rural, many families are suffering from economic hardship and mental stress. It is hard to pin point the reason why families are having a more difficult time, but cutbacks taking place in private industry and public services, drought conditions, in addition to the war 'Iraqi Operation Freedom,' are several. Prices for housing, utilities, and food costs have increased making it harder for people to remain at their same standard of living and 'make ends meet.' Workers have not received wage increases to keep up with living costs. Many people work at jobs with no or few benefits. And it's always easier to get an increase in pay than it is to 'cut back' after hours or jobs have been cut.
So how do families manage? Many families have strengths and coping mechanisms to use when times are tough. Some use humor, together time, and rely on their faith to get them through difficult times. Others seek help from others at work, their supportive network, or even professional counselors. Families who love each other and care about each other will be responsive to each other's needs. And so when one family member is having a difficult time, the others will respond effectively to assist that family member. This doesn't mean they step in and control the individual's life or try to 'fix' the problems. It means they listen, love, offer nonjudgmental help, and then empower the individual to be capable, use good judgment, and use problem-solving skills. It helps to know that there is a safety net of people who love you when times are tough.
- Dr. Kathy Bosch, Extension Family Life Specialist, University of Nebraska Panhandle Research & Extension Center
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Photo Credit - USDA