A New Mexico State University led Strengthening Families Initiative 12-week workshop provided seven military families with the tools needed to strengthen their family dynamics. The program ran from January through April and taught families relationship strengthening techniques and parenting skills.
NMSU Extension Associates Diana Magallanez and Esther Hernandez ran the three month program intended to help streamline the lines of communication within a military family. The main goal of the program was to cover life topics which include: communication, money management, parents as leaders, and family values. Magallanez and Hernandez said they were interested in assisting military families because they knew the struggles they faced were unique – such as deployments, which could be trying for the entire family.
“We’re strengthening what they already do well,” Magallanez said. “We’re fortifying communication and setting family rules and having the parents lead by example.”
Military spouse Jade Jonas said the program not only helped with parenting advice for her 12-month-old, but it also helped her and her husband communicate and listen to each other better. Jonas said she received valuable tips on how to discipline her daughter in ways Jonas said she never would have thought of.
Though Jonas’ husband, a 2nd Engineer Battalion Soldier, was not able to participate in the entire program due to training, Jonas said the program provided valuable guidance for her entire family.
“I definitely recommend it for any families who are having any sort of struggles,” Jonas said.
Jonas said she also participated in the program back in 2012 with different NMSU instructors and she loved it just as much as she did this last session. Jonas said she is currently looking into attending a second program during the summer.
“I loved every week of it,” Jonas said. “I would love to do it again and find some other moms to do it with.”
Initially, Magallanez and Hernandez wanted to work with military families due to their unique lifestyles in hopes of finding new issues to tackle. They found that aside of dealing with deployment, military families also face some the same issues of non-military families.
“We were very interested to work with military families. They were not like the military families we expected. Basically, the women on post have the same anxieties. Just like any other family, they wanted to come together,” Magallanez said.
Magallanez and Hernandez said they enjoyed conducting the session at WSMR and appreciated the hospitality that Army Community Service showed. The NMSU duo said they hope to conduct another session on post in the future.
“We talked to beautiful people, very interesting families. My heart was very warmed. The stressors of a military life are a big one and I very much respect that. They wanted more and that motivated me,” Hernandez added.
The sessions, which are held three times a year, will continue to be held in churches within the Las Cruces area. The program is open to families who are seeking advice and guidance. A military family who has already participated in the session can still participate in another session as long as they are not concurrent. At least 20 people are needed to sign up for the course.
For more information, please call 575-646-4360.