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Communicating With Children

Topics: Family

 

 

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Communicating about worrisome, sad, or difficult topics can be challenging. Avoiding tough subjects does not help children or teens learn to manage worries and to accept that sad and bad things do happen. Age-appropriate discussions about the PSP job and risks can help children and teens worry less. If your child has concerns, understanding their point of view allows you to problem solve together and provide support. Below are tips for communicating with children and teens, particularly when dealing with difficult subjects.

  • Ask your child what they know about the topic, which can help you find where to begin. You can ask an open-ended question, such as “What do you know about…?”  
  • Listen. Allow for pauses and silence. Give your child time to think, respond, and elaborate.   
  • Avoid asking leading questions (where the question suggests an answer).
  • Find out how your child feels and validate their feelings (e.g., show that you are listening and understand, use validating statements such as “I can see why you’re feeling ___”). 
  • Tell your child how you feel. This is a good way to model the skills of identifying emotions and communicating feelings. 
  • Be honest (in an age-appropriate way). Avoid giving details that are too graphic or scary. 
  • Say “I don’t know” – it’s okay to not have all of the answers.  
  • It’s okay if they become tearful or cry when discussing difficult topics (learning to accept and talk about sad or anxious feelings are important skills).  
  • Comfort your child if they become upset. Let them know that they are cared for and loved. 
  • Have discussions at a pace that works for your child. Discussing a difficult topic may take place over several conversations.    
  • Let your child know that you will do everything you can to keep yourself safe, them safe, etc. 

A Note on Anxiety

It is normal for children and teens to worry or have some anxiety. Anxiety becomes a problem if it is intense, happens often, and makes it hard to do everyday activities. If you think that anxiety may be a problem for your child or teen, consult with your primary care provider or a qualified mental health professional.  

For more information about anxiety in children and teens, visit: 

 www.anxietycanada.com or https://kidshelpphone.ca/  

practicing open-ended questions

Open-ended questions or prompts tend to lead to more elaborate responses (not just a yes or no). These questions or statements can begin with how, why, who, what, where, when, or tell me about. Participate in the activity below to see if you can identify open-ended questions.

Using a variety of open-ended questions (or prompts), and waiting for a response, can take practice. During your next one-on-one conversation with your child or teen, try the following:    

DOWNLOAD: Tips to Open-ended Questions

 

Afterward, consider the following: What was it like intentionally using open-ended questions with your child? What did you learn?  

Once you have practiced using open-ended questions about everyday situations, begin asking open-ended questions related to PSP work or the lifestyle. The more you practice, the easier the skills of asking open-ended questions and listening will become. This can make it easier to initiate conversations about concerns or difficult topics, when needed.   

reading together and starting conversations

Reading books or articles can be a great way to share information about PSP work and start conversations with your child or teen. For older children and teens, you may wish to share an age-appropriate article, blog post, or video on a PSP-related topic to provide information and start discussions. For example, you could share a newspaper article and say, “I read this article and was curious about your thoughts on this…” and follow up with an open-ended “What did you think?” 

For young children, try the following: 

  • Find a PSP-related book that is a good fit to your child’s age/development. 
  • Read the book together when everyone has the time to read slowly and chat. 
  • When reading, point out what’s happing in the story and ask basic questions (e.g., “Do you know what her job is?”, “Do you know what a ______ does?”) or open-ended questions (e.g., “Why is Sam feeling scared?”).  
  • Feel free to pause during the story for discussions.  
  • When you are done reading, encourage your child to ask questions and share their thoughts and feelings about the story.  

After your shared reading time, reflect on this experience as a family. What was it like to read about the PSP role together? Are there other things you would like to learn about or talk about together? 

Below are examples of children’s books about PSP:  

  • A Hero Lives in My Family: A Story for Kids of First Responders 
    by Dr. Susan Hunt   
  • The Wolf was Not Sleeping
    by Avril McDonald (Canadian Edition available)

References for this page (click to expand)

Arruda-Colli, M., Weaver, M. S., & Wiener, L. (2017). Communication about dying, death, and bereavement: A systematic review of children’s literature. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 20(5), 548–559. https://doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2016.0494 ; 

Carrico, C. P. (2012). A look inside firefighter families: A qualitative study. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.  

Cox, M., Norris, D., Cramm, H., Richmond, R., & Anderson, G. S. (2022). Public safety personnel family resilience: a narrative review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(9), 5224. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095224 ;

Gurwitch, R. (2021). How to talk to children about difficult news. American Psychological Association. Retrieved December 10, 2022, from https://www.apa.org/topics/journalism-facts/talking-children

Kolucki, B., & Lemish, D. (2011). Communication with children: Principles and practices to nurture, inspire, excite, educate and heal. UNICEF. Retrieved December 10, 2022, from https://www.comminit.com/global/content/communicating-children-principles-and-practices-nurture-inspire-excite-educate-and-heal

Traub, S. (2016). Communicating effectively with children. University of Missouri Extension. Retrieved December 10, 2022, from https://extension.missouri.edu/media/wysiwyg/Extensiondata/Pub/pdf/hesguide/humanrel/gh6123.pdf

Walker, J. R., & McGrath, P. (2013). Coaching for confidence workbook. Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba. 

Wasik, B. A., & Hindman, A. H. (2013). Realizing the promise of open-ended questions. The Reading Teacher, 67(4), 302-311. https://doi.org/10.1002/trtr.1218

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Flexible Planning

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Skill building:

 

Things to consider…
  • Prioritizing communication and planning.
  • Developing a back-up plan if the PSP family member is called into work or will be late.
  • Talking to children about PSP work schedules and how the family makes adjustments.
  • Going ahead with plans without the PSP (they might be able to join later).
  • Finding ways to include the absent PSP (text or video chat, videos, pictures, etc.).
  • Using problem-solving skills to help develop flexible plans.
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It is not uncommon to feel a sense of helplessness when plans are always changing and family routines are disrupted. Identifying potential opportunities associated with shiftwork and long hours is a way to reframe the experience and reduce stress. There are workarounds that families can adopt that make the changes and PSP absences less disruptive.

Think about your own flexibility when making plans.

Out of ideas? See below:

Shiftwork

  • Are there any perks to shiftwork for you and your family?
  • Think about the advantages of rotating shifts.
  • Which shifts are favourites and why?
  • Which shifts are more challenging?
  • What can you do to make them easier?

Flexibility

  • PSP couples and families often become better at adapting their plans over time.
  • Think about times when your plans changed unexpectedly, and you and your family handled the change well. How did you manage this?
  • It can be helpful to consider not only what has gone wrong but what you are getting right.
Skill building:
Family Calendar Check Up

Family calendars are a key tool for coordinating family plans and activities. Take time together to consider the calendars that everyone in your household uses. Answering the following questions will get you thinking about how useful (or not) these calendars are and how to make them better.

  • What type of calendars does your family use (e.g., wall calendar, notebook/planner, digital/online calendar)?
  • How many calendars do you have altogether?
  • Where are they?
  • Are the calendars shared or does everyone keep their own?
  • What’s included on your calendar (e.g., work and school activities, extra-curricular activities, holidays and birthdays, other information)?
  • Is there a central family calendar (e.g., on the fridge) or synchronized family calendar (online) that everyone in the household has access to?
    • If so, who is responsible for keeping the calendar up to date?
    • What information is recorded on this calendar?
    • Are symbols, stickers, or highlighting used to abbreviate or allow for quick glances?

Sometimes you can make order out of chaos. Keeping a central calendar for everyone in the household is a starting point. When unexpected changes occur, adjustments will be needed. Last minute changes can be challenging but are usually temporary and the family calendar can help everyone get back on track. You may even want to add back-up plans to your calendar, so these changes are less disruptive.

Let’s see how a PSP couple, Alejandro and Sofia, manage their busy schedule.

Click on the “arrow” to visit a room, or click on the “plus” for more information.

References for this page (click to expand)

 

Neustaedter, C., Brush, A., & Greenberg, S. (2009). The calendar is crucial: Coordination and awareness through the family calendar. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 16(1), 1–48. https://doi.org/10.1145/1502800.1502806

 

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Adopting a Family-First Philosophy

Topics: Family

When family members take time to be together whether it is part of a daily routine, planned activities, or just hanging out, they feel valued and connected. Sometimes, particularly in busy households, PSP families need to recalibrate and think about what is important. Focusing on family values and adopting a family-first philosophy can help families stay on track.

How do you let your family know that they are a top priority?

Things to consider…
  • Having a family conversation about the nature of the PSP family member’s work, why the job sometimes takes precedence over family time, and the various feelings that might result.
  • Making sure family members who are not able to attend activities are not left out (e.g., videotaping a school play so the family can replay it later).
  • Leaving notes or texts to let each other know you are thinking about each other when you can’t be together.
  • Telling family members that they are the most important people in your life (sometimes we neglect to say the words that express how we feel).
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meeting family requirements – planning leisure time

Families who live together in the same house spend time together, but it may not always be quality time. When family members make a choice to do things together, there is an opportunity to build mutual trust and commitment. Consider the following exercise to connect and strengthen family relationships and demonstrate the importance of family.

This is a list of several types of activities (for couples or families with children). Each family member checks the type of activities they want to do more of in the next 6 months. Look for matches. Two or more family members must be involved in the activity and make a commitment to participate. Each family member commits to participating in one activity and can participate in more than one activity. Family members work together to determine what the activity will be, when, and how it will be done.

Start small and aim for success! Consider the time and resources that you have to commit to the activity that you choose. Making a special dessert might be more achievable than preparing a four-course meal, though that might be your end goal. Keep in mind the time that is needed for preparation before you actually start the activity (e.g., deciding on games you want to play, buying the games, understanding instructions).

.
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Download: Planning leisure time

References for this page (click to expand)

Carrington, J. L. (2006). Elements of and strategies for maintaining a police marriage: The lived perspectives of Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers and their spouses. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. https://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.itemid=NR18860&op=pdf&app=Library&is_thesis=1&oclc_number=289058279

Witman, J. P., & Munson, W. W. (1992). Leisure Awareness & Action: A Program to Enhance Family Effectiveness. Journal of physical education, recreation & dance,63(8), 41-43. https://doi.org/10.1080/07303084.1992.10609949

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Managing Public Perceptions and Social Media

Topics: Family

Skill building:

 

PSP families know that the public can be misinformed about the role and actions of PSP. However, opinions and news coverage can still be disturbing. There can be public distrust of PSP in positions of authority. In some cases, stereotypes of PSP sleeping through their shifts or hanging out at the coffee shop are also an issue. Inaccurate or exaggerated comments and images on social media can cause worry and upset. Opinions of neighbours and friends can be unfair and isolate PSP families. PSP families can also find themselves in the spotlight when incidents occur. Public safety organizations can help educate the public, but families cannot control public perceptions.  

 

Things to consider…

Have you tried:

  • Limiting exposure to social media.
  • Monitoring children’s use of social media and TV. 
  • Talking to children and teens about comments from peers regarding PSP. 
  • Seeking mutual support with other PSP families when incidents are reported. 
  • Proactively working on positive education and awareness social media campaigns with other PSP families. 
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Being aware of the effects that social media and news coverage have allows families to work together to manage the risks. Certain sectors of PSP are criticized on social media in ways that are not easy to ignore. Families who have shared values regarding the importance of the PSP role can provide mutual support. Open communication encourages family members to share their experiences and find ways to respond when issues arise (e.g., explaining the facts to trusted friends and encouraging children to report bullying to parents and school authorities).

Skill building:
Core Family Values

Every family has values, but they may underestimate their importance. Determining core values can help families recognize what they stand for and what matters most to them as a family. These shared values can be used to guide how families deal with challenges, including managing negative public perceptions and opinions. PSP family members often share beliefs about the role that the PSP performs and the importance of their shared commitment. When clearly understood, shared values about this way of life strengthen families. They can reinforce that “we’re in this together,” encourage open communication, and guide action when faced with adversity.

The purpose of this exercise is to discuss and identify your core family values. You may want to revisit your values in 3 to 6 months to see if they hold true or if other ones are more accurate.

  • Play the Family Values Drag and Drop below. Each word represents a family value. Sort the piles of words according to what is “Very Important”, “Important”, or “Less Important” to your family. If values that are most important to your family are not listed, you will have a chance to add them when you pick your “TOP 15.”
  • Once you have sorted all of the piles, consider all the words in the “Very Important” column. Your next step is to decide what your “TOP 15” family values are.
  • The final task is to select your 5 most important family values from the “TOP 15.” These will represent your core family values. Reflect on the importance of these values for your family. What do you do to demonstrate these values? How do these values guide you when you are faced with challenges?

Negative messages from the community and social media can be hurtful. Both adults and children in PSP families can be targeted. When this happens, open communication can reduce the negative effects. Families who share core values may be less impacted by misinformation. For example, a family who values “gratitude” can focus on the positive feedback they get from their community rather than negative messages. A shared commitment and understanding can help take the sting out of public criticism.

References for this page (click to expand)

Carrico, C. P. (2012). A look inside firefighter families: A qualitative study. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. https://digscholarship.unco.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1088&context=dissertations

Walsh, F. (2016). Strengthening family resilience (3rd ed.). The Guilford Press.

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Household Tasks

Topics: Family

 

 

Open communication about expectations and responsibilities within the household is important. The division of labour needs to be understood and renegotiated periodically, especially when there are changes to family members’ schedules.  

 

Things to consider…
  • Having a family discussion about the division of household responsibilities.
  • Working as a team to get things done.
  • Asking children to contribute to the household (in an age-appropriate way). 
  • Outsourcing household tasks (e.g., house cleaning, lawn care).  
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Recognition and appreciation of the ways that family members contribute to the household can reduce conflict. Many PSP families have busy households with a lot of demands on their time. Identifying and sharing household tasks can ensure that families also have time for leisure and rest.

Family Meetings

A planned meeting as a couple/family can be an effective way to connect and make plans. You can use this time to discuss the division of household responsibilities and renegotiate if needed (see Household Tasks List below). It can also be a time to check in regarding how everyone is doing/feeling. You can make upcoming family plans, show appreciation to one another, or share exciting news or concerns. Family meetings are also opportunities to practice speaking and listening skills.

To have meetings that suit your family’s unique needs, consider the following: 

  • Scheduling meetings ahead of time (e.g., weekly, biweekly, monthly). 
  • Allowing any member to call an additional meeting on short notice if needed. 
  • Agreeing on what a person needs to do to call a meeting. 
  • Having a back-up plan if someone cannot attend (e.g., called into work). 
  • Including something fun in each meeting (e.g., game, treat, music). 
  • Checking in at the start of each meeting to find out what members want to address.  
  • Discussing the process for family problem solving and decision making.  
  • Keeping notes from the meetings so you can track family goals.  
  • Including moments to express appreciation and gratitude.  

Once you have you have decided on the frequency of meetings and have considered everyone’s availability, schedule your meetings and make a commitment to attend. After each meeting, talk about what went well and potential changes for upcoming meetings.  

Household Tasks LisT

Together, make a list of all your household tasks (e.g., housework, preparing meals, vehicle maintenance, children’s activities, appointments, managing finances, etc.). Note the specific responsibilities within each area, how long it typically takes to complete the task, and how often the task needs to be completed. The purpose of this exercise is to work toward dividing household tasks in a way that is a good fit for your family and your current situation. This is a chance to review the division of labour within your family to see if anything needs to shift or change. 

When creating your list together, discuss: 

  • If there are household tasks you enjoy doing or prefer. 
  • Which tasks are a priority, and which can wait. 
  • Which tasks are daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonal. 
  • How “well” a task should be done to be considered complete. 
  • Who is currently doing each task. 

Here is an example of household tasks to consider:

Below is a template for creating a Household Tasks List. You may want to create a customized list and display it where it can be viewed by the whole family. Use the download button to save and print your list.

 

DOWNLOAD: Household Tasks List

References for this page (click to expand)

Goldsmith, B. (2012, September 5). 10 tips for holding a family meeting: Hold the best meeting you’ll ever attend with the people you love the most. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/emotional-fitness/201209/10-tips-holding-family-meeting

Gottman, J.M. & Silver, N. (2015). The seven principles for making a marriage work. Harmony Books. 

Petriglieri, J. (2019). Couples that work: How dual-career couples can thrive in love and work. Harvard Business Review Press. 

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Navigating the Childcare Scramble

Topics: Family

 

PSP work schedules can be unpredictable, which can create many challenges for childcare. Thinking ahead, being flexible, and having a back-up plan for childcare can reduce stress for PSP families. Children need reassurance that someone will always be there for them. Couples can provide this by coordinating schedules and dividing childcare responsibilities. Having alternative childcare plans is necessary when work schedules are unpredictable.

 

 

Things to consider…
  • Talking with your partner about the people you currently rely on for childcare.
  • Making a list of other people who could help and how you might best approach them.
  • Learning about childcare options in the community (e.g., daycare, after school programs).
  • Connecting with other PSP families who face similar challenges.
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Having conversations with family, friends, neighbours, and others who might be available to help with childcare needs is important. Who can watch the children if there is a shift change or a delay getting home from work (e.g., overtime, injury)? Who can help in the daytime? Overnight? Knowing your options ahead of time can help when plans change unexpectedly.

Childcare Support List

Make a list of people who already – and might be able to – support your family. Beside each name, identify what type of support each person can provide. When adding details to your list, consider the following:

  • Giving thought to their relationships with the children and their availability.
  • Talking to the people who have offered to help.
  • Asking them to be realistic about what they can do if you need to call on them for help (e.g., a friend can pick up the kids from school but cannot provide overnight care).
  • Recording contact information (mobile and work numbers).
  • Putting this list in order of who to call, from first to last.
  • Involving your child(ren) in the planning process so they know what to expect.
  • Being aware of childcare and school policies (e.g., regarding late pick-up, emergency contacts, approved list of people who can pick up your child, etc.).
  • Keeping the list handy with all the necessary contact information.
  • Remembering to review these plans over time with everyone involved so they remain current.
The Childcare Scramble

The following 4 scenarios are situations that PSP families with young children may find themselves in. A solution is described that takes into account the wellbeing of each parent and children and build on their decision-making skills.

 

*Sometimes low mood, depression, worry, and/or anxiety can make it difficult to ask for help from others. The SSO Wellbeing Course can be a valuable resource to work through emotions related to asking for help.

References for this page (click to expand)

Carillo, D., Harknett, K., Logan, A., Luhr, S., & Schneider, D. Instability of work and care: How work schedules shape child-care arrangements for parents working in the service sector. Social Service Review, 91(3), 422-455. https://doi.org/10.1086/693750 

Lero, D. S., Prentice, S., Friendly, M., Richardson, B., & Fraser, L. (2019). Non-standard work and childcare in Canada: A challenge for parents, policy makers, and childcare provision. Childcare Resource and Research Unit and University of Guelph. https://childcarecanada.org/publications/other-publications/21/06/non-standard-work-and-child-care-canada-challenge-parents 

 

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Supporting the Transitions to and From Work

Topics: Family

Transitions or changes are associated with movements to, from, and within the home throughout the day. Common transitions for couples/families include leaving for work or coming home, mealtimes, and getting ready for bed. The shift from one place or role to another can be stressful and it can be helpful to learn effective ways to manage transitions. For PSP families, the transitions from work to home and home to work can be especially challenging due to the nature of PSP work. Shift changes and absences require adjustments in roles and routines.

Do you want to know more about this?

Couples can support each other by having conversations to better understand each other’s expectations and needs when transitioning from work to home and home to work. Discussing what each partner finds helpful, especially on challenging days, allows couples to work together to negotiate a plan to support transitions. Think about how you typically navigate transition times together. The following skill building exercises will help you make a plan to support your transition times.

Discussion about Transition Times

Together, discuss the following questions:

  • What are the transition times in our family?
  • What can we do together to make transitions smoother?
  • How can we share our feelings and needs on the days when we need more time before re-engaging with family?
  • How can we negotiate transition times on challenging days (including setting an end point to the transition time)?
  • How can we support one another during this time?
Communicating Level of Distress

It can be helpful to communicate your level of distress during transition times. The following steps outline skills that allow for effective communication and planning:

  • Awareness:

Take a moment to focus on how you are feeling during transition times.

For example: Is there tension in your body? Are you able to focus? How reactive are you? etc.

  • Communication:

Some people find it helpful to communicate by rating the level of distress on a scale of 1 (no distress) to 10 (very high distress). Others come up with a brief way to communicate a high level of distress.

For example: Saying, “I’ve had a bad shift, I’m going to come home and give you a hug, but then I’m going to need some time alone to unwind.”

  • Planning Ahead:

Together, negotiate a plan for what transition times will look like when a high level of distress has been communicated.

For example: A PSP family member or SSO might put an object on the kitchen table (upside down coffee cup) as a non-verbal cue that the day has been difficult, and they need some time to recover (e.g., put the headphones on and listen to music or go for a run).

References for this page (click to expand)

Carleton, R. N., Afifi, T., Taillieu, T., Turner, S., Mason, J., Ricciardelli, R., McCreary, D., Vaughan, A., Anderson, G. S., Krakauer, R., Donnelly, E. A., Camp II, R., Groll, D., Cramm, H., MacPhee, R., & Griffiths, C. (2020). Assessing the relative impact of diverse stressors among public safety personnel. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(4), 1234. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041234  

McElheran, M., & Stelnicki, A. M. (2021). Functional disconnection and reconnection: An alternative strategy to stoicism in public safety personnel. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.1080/20008198.2020.1869399  

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Planning Ahead for “What-Ifs”: Illness, Injury, or Death

Topics: Family

Planning allows you to explore the “what-ifs” and sort out the details ahead of time. Everyone benefits when there is a plan, particularly PSP families who deal with both risk and uncertainty. Knowing what to do builds self-confidence and can reduce negative impacts. Planning and being prepared reassures couples and families that they will be able manage the consequences of illness/injury/death should it occur.

Things to consider…
  • Finding out what kind of coverage PSP family members have from the organization and personal insurance (e.g., disability benefits, critical illness benefits, death benefits).
  • Discussing who would provide care if the PSP were injured on the job.
  • Thinking about the changes that might be needed to manage childcare and household tasks.
  • Seeking consultation from a lawyer or other professionals for additional information and help with planning.
  • Having a discussion about who handles payments, banking, and other household accounts.
  • Knowing how to access these accounts if one partner has to suddenly take over all of the finances.
Do you want to know more about this?

Read through the Planning Checklist together. The aim of the checklist is to assess what plans you already have in place and things to consider going forward.

DOWNLOAD: Planning Checklist

Planning Checklist Discussion

Once you have assessed your current plans, it is time to make some decisions about what you want to do. Talk about how you feel about making these plans and consider the benefits of planning ahead. Then make some practical decisions about what items you want to address and how this will get done.

 

 

References for this page (click to expand)

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. (2017, April 28). 11.4 Estate planning. https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/financial-toolkit/financial-planning/financial-planning-4.html  

 

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Extending Your Support System

Topics: Family

 

 

 

Social support is important to health and wellbeing. When it comes to building a support system, there are different types of support. This could include emotional support (e.g., affection, understanding, comfort) or practical support (e.g., information/advice, financial aid, household help). Support can come from friends, family, neighbours, professional services, or community programs. It is often best to have a balance of these supports.

Do you want to know more about this?

Take a moment to consider the type of supports that you want or need. Also think about who is better at providing different types of support. For example, your sibling may be a good listener, friends may lend you their truck, and your family physician may provide reliable information.

The public safety organization that you are associated with may be an avenue for building supports connected to the PSP career. Support can vary depending on the organization. The following are things you could ask about:

  • Social events, which can help build a network of support between PSP families. This can be an opportunity to develop an informal communication network.
  • Private social media (e.g., Facebook) groups for family members.
  • Family friendly programs and resources (e.g., counselling for family members, books, education sessions, family orientations, visits to PSP workplace, off-site events).
  • A person within the organization who connects with families (e.g., deputy chief, psychological wellness facilitator, peer support team member, family liaison person, chaplain or spiritual care provider).
Map Your Support System

Think about all the people and organizations that support you and your family. Consider family and friends who you can count on for help, childcare providers, health care professionals (e.g., family doctor, psychologist), other professional services (e.g., mechanic, pet care), 24-hour emergency services, etc.. Review this example of a support system for a fictional PSP family (Aliyah and Wong).

Next, use the blank templates to fill in your connections and think about your system of support.  You can use the templates to identify supports for individual family members or the family as a whole.

DOWNLOAD: Family and Individual Support System Templates

 

Connecting with other PSP Families

PSP families may find that support from other PSP families is helpful. These families understand the demands of PSP work and the impacts on family life. Experienced PSP families can share their experiences with those who are beginning their careers or starting a new relationship. This can reduce stress and help families adapt to the newer PSP lifestyle.

Do you have other PSP families as a part of your support system? If you are interested in building or strengthening relationships with other PSP families, consider the following points below:

  • Brainstorm (on your own or with your partner) ways to strengthen current relationships with other PSP families and ways to develop new connections in the community and/or online.
  • Do some research and find out what opportunities are available. If there are few opportunities for your specific public safety sector, consider the broader community of PSP families. Is there something your PSP organization does to help families connect?
  • Consider all possibilities and start with one or two of your options and notice what difference this makes. Know that it can take time to build relationships and support – the most important thing is to start.

Below is an example of how you and your PSP partner can plan to connect and strengthen relationships with other PSP families.

 

Let’s make a game plan on how to connect with other PSP families by filling out the form with your PSP partner.

DOWNLOAD: Connecting With Other PSP Families

References for this page (click to expand)

Mancini, J., Bowen, G., & Martin, J. (2005). Community social organization: A conceptual linchpin in examining families in the context of communities. Family Relations, 54(5), 570-582. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3729.2005.00342.x  

Walsh, F. (2003). Family resilience: A framework for clinical practice. Family Process, 42(1), 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1545-5300.2003.00001.x 

Youngcourt, S. S., & Huffman, A. H. (2005). Family-friendly policies in the police: Implications for work-family conflict. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 1(2), 138-162. 

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