Ways to support your child in handling change positively
By Dana Barto
Change is inevitable; it is continuous and an essential part of life, just like the seasons, the cycle of life and death, and constant change in the tiny cells of our bodies.
Throughout the past millions of years, our planet has never been in the same position in space given that the universe is constantly moving, expanding, and changing.
As our world has been going through a rough change lately, whether we accept it or not, we can all see our old way of life quickly disappearing and a new way of life starting to emerge after lockdown and after COVID-19.
And so, there is no better time to understand change and teach ourselves and our kids to manage it than right now!
Let’s be honest, not everyone is a fan of change. We may occasionally enjoy switching to another restaurant, rearranging the layout of our living room, or getting a haircut, but at the end of the day, we prefer certainty.
Certainty makes us feel safe and secure, it may also give us insight on what will happen next.
Change allows us to escape the good old "comfort zone" which oftentimes allows various uncomfortable feelings to emerge. While this is normal, it will not fade unless we mentally and emotionally move through the change.
To do that, it is important to understand the 5 stages of change:
Fear and Denial
Sadness and Depression
Bargaining and Resistance
This is similar to the grieving process because change, in a way, is grief over a habit or an old way of life.
In order to be able to move through these stages, you will have to be aware and accepting. Depending on your mindset, you may be able to move through them quickly or be dragged slowly and painfully.
Just be aware that when you emerge on the other side, you would have expanded your comfort zone and gained courage, self-confidence and hope.
Have you noticed that some more than others have a greater capacity to accept and move through change? What is their secret?
Those who deal creatively with change are more likely to have a better chance at surviving through the change: they thrive and the secret lies in their mindset.
Having a growth mindset enables us to manage change better and move forward. In contrast, when we don’t accept change, we develop a rigid mindset that keeps us stuck in our comfort zone and which eventually becomes uncomfortable.
So, "what is a growth mindset?" you may ask.
A person with a growth mindset:
knows their own core values and mission in life
is flexible and creative
thinks outside the box
accepts uncertainty with optimism
Fortunately, these are skills that anyone can acquire.
And when it comes to our kids here are some tips that you can use to help them handle change positively:
Talk to your child about the change and the feelings that are tied to it
Notice what stage they are at and help them identify the thoughts that are associated with that stage.
Help them identify the positive benefits and effects of the change.
Help them visualize their acceptance of the change.
Allow your child to participate in the change.
Help them prepare for change.
Create a positive environment at home.
Talk to them about your experiences and try your best to be their role model.
And remember, “The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.” -Socrates
[For more information contact I Can Self Development for Kids. Our coaches will be happy to answer your questions].