The structure and stability we’ve created as parents are a safe haven for our children. However, any new experiences, such as the arrival of the pandemic, welcoming a new sibling, or moving houses, can instantly topple over that security blanket.
And although change can happen in an instant, dealing with change entails a spiraling process that involves many stages, such as building awareness and adapting to said change. Moreover, everyone’s needs are varied. After all, we all handle change a little differently. As such, it’s imperative that we give all the members of our family the support they need to help them cope and adapt. That said, below are 5 things to keep in mind:
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1. Don’t be afraid to seek help. Try as we might, we can’t always be perfect role models and mentors to our children. What’s important is that we are able to acknowledge their shortcomings. In some cases, it’s even best to check in with a family expert that can help guide us. A counselor with a family studies background will understand what your family needs and will help you develop a plan together. Not only are they equipped with strong analytical skills to understand the root of the issue, but they also have the emotional intelligence to adjust their approach to every member of the family they talk to, especially children. Seeing an expert might be the best choice for those who have difficulty with communicating, marital problems, or dealing with extreme emotions.
2. Slowly adjust to the situation. When the pandemic struck, parents had a hard time adjusting daily routines in order to keep their families safe. The isolation from friends, missing classes, and canceled trips also required a lot of explanation from our side. But we’ve somehow managed to slowly adapt to this sudden life change. For changes that aren’t quite as sudden, we have the privilege to allot time to familiarize your child with the unfamiliar. If the life change is a new school, for instance, arrange for them to meet their new teacher in advance. Accompany them to look around classrooms, and take them through what happens on a typical day in their new school.
3. Manage priorities. Big transitions in life can be seen as opportunities instead of hurdles to overcome. When we’re going through change, we can really assess where our priorities lie. Are we putting my career over my family’s happiness and comfort? Are we being too resilient and refusing the help we need? Learning to manage your priorities can also make the change much easier, or at least, much more bearable. For example, after losing a loved one, prioritize the family’s health first instead of trying to return to normal at once. Making sure everyone’s getting rest, sufficient meals, and time off can actually help them recuperate better physically and mentally.
4. Accept emotions. Next, learn, as a family, to accept your own and each other’s emotions. In fact, marriage and family therapists have noted that it’s necessary to sit with the emotion that comes with any change. Be it grief, excitement, or stress, it’s human nature to feel emotions that might linger while we’re in the process of coping. For children especially, it’s important to acknowledge feelings without trying to invalidate them. For example, you can say: “Moving to a new place can be scary and sad, and it’s normal to feel that way. But we’ll handle this as a family, and we’ll be here every step of the way.” Shielding them from the reality of these emotions, on the other hand, can further slowdown the process of acceptance.
5. Be kind to one another. Lastly, it won’t hurt to teach your kids to be extra kind to one another. Set an example by offering to hear out their concerns and lend them a helping hand, even in the little things. At the same time, allow them to help you in the ways they can; this tip is best for families with addition to the family. Older children like to contribute and feel valued, so allowing them to watch over the baby and help with chores around the house can heighten their sense of empathy and responsibility. Of course, remember to be extra patient and understanding—everyone’s affected by this change, not just yourself. We hope these five tips were helpful and encouraging. Hopefully, you’ll be able to put them into practice and navigate the changes in your life with much more ease.