What Meant the Most to the Parents

At the conclusion of our year-long relational study with the 12 families we asked them what meant the most to them about the project.  Here is what they said.

  1. The power of being with them in their home. “You can only gain an understanding when you live with a child 24/7.  It is hard for anyone to have a grasp of what it is like to have a fear of the future.  After nine years it has become a chronic, wearing problem; food issues, behavior, staff meetings at school, medication, will there be new problems as he gets older? Hopefully some problems will change, disappear.”
  2. The power of commitment to a process. “It forced us to sit and do some self-reflection and talk about what we do think about the different areas.  It taught us we have something to give – our experiences could be beneficial for others.”
  3. The power of setting aside time to learn & focus. “I liked digging deeper into what makes us work and not work, as a family.  I do think we have some good positive, different views on things, and to challenge us to verbalize this – I thought, yeah, we are kind of weird or yeah, we DO do that.  We got to look at some things and think “that’ works for us” or “maybe we should approach this differently” – we don’t get chances to sit down and think about or talk about what we do or how we approach things as a couple and see how it might be different from others.”
  4. The power of making an empathetic connection. “I’ve found that in your interview, you are sincerely interested in our situation, beyond the requirements of the study.  That you want to know us as real people.  And that was important to me.  There are studies where the researchers try to disconnect.  There was always a personal relationship.  It helps us open up to you and feel comfortable in our conversations.”  “It’s strange, but when you know someone else is going through the same thing, it makes it more bearable.”
  5. The power of new knowledge – family member temperaments. “Reading the personality book was by far a key for us.  We have never done anything like that before.  It was an answer to prayer in helping us understand each other.”
  6. The power of new family-chosen solutions. “One positive is that this study caused me to think about what I can delegate, what can I get help with, what don’t I need to control, what I can let go to others.  The financial compensation helped me afford hiring someone to clean in the fall.  That worked out well because I was of the mind frame that this would help the whole family if we could get this one thing done that nobody has the time to do.”
  7. The power of affirmation, caring & celebration. “An awareness that others outside the family care about them. This past year with them made them feel special, being seen as heroes.  It was exciting to have others take an interest in them.”

In summary, the research process itself was a powerful positive intervention. It was akin to family therapy and can be used as a major component to other means of family support. Good research blesses!