University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

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Publication #FAR5013

Family Liabilities1

Diana Converse2

Figure 1. 
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News headlines in recent months have been dramatic worldwide: hurricanes, tsunamis, mudslides, blizzards, floods, and war. Families across the globe have faced catastrophe. Numerous stories also carry messages of resilience and recovery.

It doesn't take catastrophic measures to throw a family off balance. Day-to-day struggles with health, income, and relationships can have enormous impacts on families as well. An important resource of families in crisis is just the ability to "hang in there." Being able to accept that everyone encounters problems and that sometimes it takes time to work them out gives a family a sense of perspective.

Some families, though, have characteristics that are liabilities. A common problem that many families struggle to avoid is the need to place blame rather than find solutions. Spending time worrying about who is right sidetracks the family from the real issue of finding a solution.

Another liability is having a rigid, inflexible approach to problems. It is very unproductive to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome. Healthy families seek alternatives until they find one that works for them.

With confidence in themselves and their ability to make it through difficulties, families can recognize and deal with problems instead of being paralyzed by denial or fear.

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

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This document is FAR5013, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 92 and ublished December 2007. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Diana Converse, Extension agent III, Hillsborough County, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.