5 tips on how to help teenagers and children cope with change
No one likes change. And, for children and teenagers, in particular, any form of change can spark a whole host of anxious feelings and negative emotions.
There are lots of different life events that can trigger emotions in response to change, including breakups, moving house, the breakdown of a parental relationship, financial concerns in the family home, school moves, or a move to another country, to name but a few.
Going through these types of changes can be both scary and challenging for children, but there are lots of ways to help your little and big kids cope.
Here are our top tips on how to help teenagers and children cope with change.
Always acknowledge emotions
Change can trigger a catalogue of different emotions including fear, anxiety, anger, sadness rejection, and an overwhelming feeling of dread. No emotion should ever be ignored. It’s important that you always acknowledge what your kids are feeling, particularly during periods of change.
With this in mind, help your children to process these emotions by encouraging them to talk about their feelings. Many children and teenagers find it helpful to talk to a counsellor rather than a family member or friend.
Remind your children it’s ok to not always have the answer
Life is tough at times. Although it is possible to help children and teenagers to handle difficult emotions, it’s important to remember that you might not always have the answers they’re looking for when it comes to how things will pan out or what the future holds.
You should remind your kids that this is ok and that it’s ok to not have the answer right now. What is important, is that they talk about their feelings and take each day as it comes. Remind them that they are safe, supported and that you will always be there for them during change – this can take a lot of weight off their shoulders.
Whether your child is starting a new school or making the transition from primary school to secondary school, a great way to help them manage the anxieties associated with change is to encourage them to look back on other periods of their life when they have overcome change.
After all, fear is often overcome relatively quickly when a child gets used to their new environment. Reassure your child that these feelings are normal and, just because they experience initial fear, doesn’t mean it will last.
Always be compassionate
No matter how old they are, always be compassionate when helping your children through any period of change. Instead of feeling frustrated that your child is feeling this way, show compassion and empathy.
The mind is a powerful thing, and, in periods of change, it can often run away from us, making difficult situations worse.
We create our own mindsets through the narratives we tell ourselves. With this in mind, the way your child processes their thoughts and emotions is paramount. Spend some time instilling positive messages into your child. There are positives in every situation in life and there’s always an option and solution.
For example, if your child has recently moved schools, this is a great opportunity for them to grow, learn, and reinvent themselves – a new chapter that they should embrace.