Military wife and mom, Cassie Landreth-Denzler shares how FOCUS helped her blended family find skills to support their closeness and resilience in a new town after lots of transition. Read on to learn more about how they use the Feeling Thermometer and family meetings to stay on track!
The Landreth-Denzler Family (and kitty)
We are a blended family from the same hometown. Both of those beautiful little girls are mine from a previous marriage, but if you met us all together you would never know it. I’m Cassie, he’s Chance, the little one is Kadi, and the one with kitty is Tempi. Chance has been around them since Tempi was 3 years old and Kadi was 1.5 years old. They do not remember life without him; they are now 5 & 7. This picture was taken 1 week after we were married and just a few days before deployment. We were engaged after a little over 2 years and wanted to wait to get married till after deployment, but the paperwork with the marriage and a PCS was too intimidating. This was especially true with us living in Indiana and him being stationed in Tucson, AZ.
After dealing with a deployment, wedding, family-moon, PCS, taking the girls away from their dad and other family members, and adjusting to each other, we thought we could use a little help. We thought that all of the adjustments going on may be a lot for the kids and it could help them to learn some new coping skills. The girls were adjusting to a new school, new lifestyle, and new surroundings and FOCUS helped with all of that. Our Resilience Trainer helped the girls understand their feelings and gave them coping skills to deal with the hard ones. She also gave us tools to use to help the girls process how they were feeling, good or bad, when they couldn’t do it on their own. We still utilize the feeling thermometer and coping skills. The thermometer is simple to use and is just a range for feelings from green, to yellow, to orange, and finishing with red. The girls were able to explain to us what color they were on and what coping skill they would like to utilize to get down to green when needed.
Another tool that we still use is family meetings. Allowing the kids to have their own time and place to talk helps them feel heard. This works really well for us. We were able to integrate into a blended household, new schools, and survive many field trainings and TDY’s after due to the skills we learned from FOCUS. We would recommend utilizing this tool for anyone dealing with new or challenging experiences.