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Our Experience with FOCUS

This month’s blog post comes from our special guest blogger Lori Allison. Lori is a military spouse and mom whose experience with FOCUS brought her family closer than ever before!

mother and daughterLiving this Military lifestyle has been an honor for our family, but it has not been without difficulty. In nine years, we’ve faced several challenges – separations, moves, career challenges for me, new schools for our oldest child, and the list goes on. If I’m honest with myself, I’ve wondered many times how we are going to get through the next step on the journey. How to get children through this sometimes challenging lifestyle is a question that many parents have asked, I’m sure. It was one I found I was asking myself again recently.

With our upcoming move approaching quickly, my “tween” daughter had no problem vocalizing her dislike of what was to come! Another new school, leaving old friends, and having to make new ones…well, that all led to those dreaded words that every parent can’t wait to hear.

  • “You don’t know what it’s like for me!”
  • “You don’t understand me!”
  • “You’re ruining my life!”

Very dramatic, I know, but these are the true tales of parents raising a “tween” daughter.

I was pretty much at my wits end when my friend suggested FOCUS. Honestly, I thought FOCUS was only geared toward families of deployed Service Members, but I did some investigating and learned that it was for Military families dealing with any transitional challenges. So we signed up and were very pleased at the results!

The FOCUS training gave us a lot of tools to use every day, but most importantly, my daughter and I learned how to keep the lines of communication open between us – a tool that truly has made all the difference now and no doubt in the future! My daughter and I now work with each other, rather than against each other. We have a much better understanding of the need to really listen to what it is the other is trying to say. This has helped bond our relationship and has allowed us to talk and understand each other’s feelings.

We learned to set and accomplish real goals – both individually and for our family. One of our family goals in FOCUS was to support each other’s feelings, ideas, and opinions. I wanted to achieve that goal but was unsure if it was possible because we used to argue and yell at each other when trying to talk about touchy subjects like moving. Our trainer taught us how to use the Feeling Thermometer to identify where we are, where the other person is, and then whether or not to go forward with a discussion or take a break. In short, no more yelling! Before FOCUS, solving problems was a bit of a challenge, often leading to feelings of frustration, distance, and anger toward each other. Our FOCUS trainer taught us how to use our strengths to successfully solve problems. Talk about strengthening my family as a whole – and what a great skill set to have!

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