FOCUS teaches specific skills to help families support their service member and help them be more comfortable opening up about what is going on in his/her life. During FOCUS, married and unmarried couples and families learn new and creative ways to promote communication and family closeness.
Families have to deal with different challenges that arise with each new deployment, PCS, or even school year. As kids grow older, they might ask questions about the family's military service that are tougher to answer. They may also be faced with new challenges that are just a normal part of growing up. Parents may also find their relationship has changed over time and they need to learn new ways to talk about those changes and reconnect as a couple. FOCUS provides skills-training to help families learn new ways to deal with common challenges and form strong bonds.
FOCUS teaches kids techniques for dealing with their concerns about past or present challenges and hard times, including relaxation skills and ways to deal with their emotions so they can function better at home and in school.
FOCUS teaches parents to work with their kids to solve family problems by setting and achieving family goals in small, realistic steps. Parents also learn how to talk to their kids about any concerns they have and how to take care of themselves so they can feel strong and present for their family.
Even though kids are usually very excited when their parent returns from deployment, they can sometimes also have a hard time. FOCUS helps parents understand why their kids might have difficulty with this adjustment, suggest ways to talk to their kids about this change, and recommend activities to help with the reunion.
Service members returning from deployment might find it tough to adjust to being home again. They may be dealing with the effects of combat operational stress and/or physical injuries, and may find it difficult to talk with their family members about their deployment experiences. It may be challenging to feel part of the family again after being gone for so long and missing out on many important family events. FOCUS teaches families how to talk about deployment experiences, suggests activities that can help parents and kids reconnect, and helps families develop a plan to support service members dealing with combat stress or injuries.