FAMILIES STRUGGLING TO KEEP IT TOGETHER

“So, what’s the latest?” Ask your cousin, next-door neighbor, or a parent you see in the school’s lobby.

“Alright, thanks for clearing that up. For a week, Steven will be able to spend time with his family.

FIFO (Fly In/Fly Out) workers, shift workers, and members of the military may not be forthcoming about how difficult it is to deal with the additional stress they’re under. Many people put on a brave face in front of the public for various reasons, such as:

  • They may appear to have it all—stable jobs that allow them to pick up their kids from school, for example—yet may be under huge hidden stress and at greater risk of chronic health problems like diabetes and heart disease.
  • It’s not uncommon for FIFO families to worry that their partners’ ‘huge money in the mines’ would be misinterpreted, leading them to incur further financial stress and physical and emotional harm.
  • Families in the armed forces are reluctant to ask for assistance because of the negative connotation associated with doing so.

An important new study has been published on the family consequences of FIFO labor. This study contributes to our understanding of the stress that parents and families face when one of them is absent for long periods of time. While there’s still more research to be done, it appears that the partners of FIFO workers generally experience greater levels of sadness and anxiety, including being anxious about their partners.

Also, not surprisingly, many of these families also found it challenging to maintain routines and consistency of parenting during times when dad or mom is gone and when they’re back at home.

Military families have also shown a similar trend toward severe disciplines, such as shouting or beating when a child has an issue.

There is good news:

  • FIFO life, military service, and shift employment provide distinct obstacles to employees and their couples’ physical and mental health.
  • Counseling and support services are becoming more widely available, and the old-fashioned stigma associated with seeking help is being reduced.
  • Working with families, governments, employers, and communities are discussing issues and finding solutions.
  • Our ability to aid the complete family instead of just one parent increases as more individuals become aware of these concerns.

Don’t be afraid to inquire about your friend’s health and let them know that you’re here if they ever need it, even if they appear fine.

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