Three Tips to Helping Your Child Adjust to Difficult Change
Change can be difficult for everyone in the family and is especially tough on children. Divorce, relocating, or changing schools can be extremely tough for them to deal with.
At a time in their life when children are learning to create foundations and support systems, change can have devastating consequences if not addressed appropriately in a healthy manner.
If your child is going through a difficult change, consider the following tips to help them adjust.
Involve Your Child in the Changes
Children have no control over certain changes in their lives, such as having to move due to a parent’s job change.
They may not be able to pick out their new home, but allowing them to select the color they want in their room can go a long way.
It can be devastating to lose old friends and be placed in a new environment. This is why a strong family support system is crucial to their overall happiness.
Children of all ages can have a difficult time understanding emotions. One minute they may be excited and the next sad.
For example, if they are moving, they may be excited to live in a new house. At the same time, they also may feel guilt for feeling happy when they are leaving friends behind.
Contradicting emotions can lead to distress. It’s important to allow them to discuss how they’re feeling with you.
Younger children may not be able to voice them as well and may require help to put a name to their emotions. Be patient with your child’s range of feelings.
Children thrive on consistency. Changes in their lives can lead to more stress.
Many children deal with stress by acting out. Keep things as routine as possible during this time.
For example, sticking to a bedtime routine may relieve some of their stress. Along with trying to keep some routine in your child’s lives, you may want to teach them the benefits of taking deep breaths when they begin to feel upset or even writing about their feelings in a private journal.
These things, no matter how small they seem, can be extremely beneficial when trying to cope with change. Help them get involved in school activities and the community with opportunities that point their focus on matters that take their mind off of the stress.
Change can be stressful for everyone involved. Be sure to make things as easy as possible for you, as well.
According to Wheaton World Wide Moving, an expert in the moving industry, many worry about the small details when moving. Hiring someone to do the packing and moving can remove some of your own stress so you can concentrate on making things easier for your child.
Relocating your family once first blended should be avoided if at all possible. Moving and the associated changes: new home and neighborhood, new schools, making new friends, loss of old friends, concerns of the other biological parent, etc. are potential stress producing events for everyone involved especially the children.
The addition of these stressors, plus the stresses associated with blending and adjusting to you the new stepparent can increase the difficulty in blending. With that said sometimes relocating might not be an option when you are offered a job or promotion you just can’t turn down.