Helping your family cope with unemployment

A job loss effects more than just one person. Lisa Caldas Kappesser, author of “The Smart New Way to Get Hired,” on how to get everyone through it.

1. Communication
Discuss with your family what your job search strategy is and what steps you have taken or plan to take in the near future. Communication is critical in families, particularly in times of stress and crisis when many people tend to withdraw.

2. Empathy
Remember that job transitions affect the entire family. Everyone needs support and understanding. If you have children, listen to their concerns and keep in mind that most children are egocentric.

3. Optimism
Be a role model for your family in how to deal with crisis and change. Your children will be in a job search someday and will remember how you handled it. They learn from your behavior, so it’s best to model positive behavior.

4. Self-confidence
If you have confidence in yourself, your family and significant other will have more confidence that you can and will find another job. You need to think and act in terms of when you find your next job and not if you will find another job.

5. Conflict management
Accept that there will be disagreements and work to resolve them. It takes less energy to deal with a conflict when it first arises than it does after months of letting it build up. Dealing with disagreements openly can help everyone move in a positive direction. Know that you might not agree at the end of your discussion. In fact, you may have to come to an agreement to disagree with each other at some point.

6. Adaptability
During times of stress, it is normal to resort back to old, established and comfortable ways of doing things, but stressful times are often when new ideas and strategies need to be tried. Encourage each other to be flexible.


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