Moving on after home foreclosure

After a home foreclosure, families need to take deliberate steps to recover from the experience.

After a home foreclosure, families need to take deliberate steps to recover from the experience. One of the first steps can be to reevaluate your family strengths, needs, wants and values. This will help you identify the skills you already have and the skills you need to improve to return your family to self-sufficiency and financial stability.

Family strengths are a “set of relationships and processes that support and protect families and family members, especially during times of adversity and change” (Anderson Moore, Chalk, Scarpa, & Vandivere, 2002, p.1). This is especially critical when attempting to survive crises such as foreclosure.

Every family, and every family member, has some strengths. It’s important for you and your family to identify – and in some cases, rediscover – those strengths as you work together to recover from foreclosure.

What constitutes a strong family? Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have identified six major characteristics of strong families. Although it’s not essential to possess every characteristic, they say that strong families:

  • Enjoy time together
  • Attempt to communitcate effectively with each other
  • Value and are committed to each other
  • Appreciate and have affection for each other
  • Possess spiritual well being
  • Manage stress and crisis effectively

Everyone has a range of attitudes, strengths, skills, experiences and education that can be assets to families in different situations. Some assets can be “hard skills” that can potentially translate into future employment for the family. Other assets are “soft skills.” These skills are qualities that can strengthen the overall family. Strong families understand each family member’s unique qualities and the roles that each can play. A self assement to help your family identify your family streghtens can be found in the Starting Over After Foreclosure ToolKit in lesson one.

How can your family positively adjust to change? Change is stressful, whether it’s positive change or negative change. Managing stress during times of change is vitally important. Employment loss and foreclosure are among the most stressful occurrences people experience.

Stress can trigger negative physical and emotional reactions. These feelings are normal and can elicit reactions such as:

  • Tense or angry feelings
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Feelings of frustration, often leading to arguments
  • Depression or feelings of discouragement

Learn to express your feelings. Positive family communication is one way to do this effectively. Crises can force you to make rapid changes in your life. This can be difficult but it also can lead to new opportunities.

Michigan State University Extension has a new online toolkit – Starting over after Foreclosure – that has additional information on recovery after foreclosure.

Michigan State University Extension offers a multitude of classes and resources on stress and anger manage, parenting, conflict resolution and violence prevention. For programs near you go to the events webpage.

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