Major life changes are never easy, especially for kids who may not fully understand what’s happening. Having that initial conversation with your kids? Even harder. Everyone takes major changes differently whether it’s stress, anger, withdrawal or excitement. To make the conversation with your young ones easier, you’ll want to be transparent from the beginning, offer the positives of the change and allow them a safe space to air their concerns or worries.
Two common yet monumental changes in a child’s life are moving away from school, friends and familiarity and finding out they’re going to have a baby brother or sister. Being transparent with them is crucial in the beginning; you as a parent know better than most that kids are very intuitive and pick up when something is off. Ways to keep an open and truthful line of communication are explaining a timeline of when the new move or baby is on its way and allowing for input- even if it can’t change the situation. Most often than not, kids want to be heard.
Ask about concerns. Is your youngster stressed, nervous or scared? Have a conversation with them and let them express their feelings. Let them know that these feelings are normal and expected with such a big change in their life. Are they scared they won’t have any friends or are they feeling jealous about introducing a new family member? Accept their feelings and help talk them through. Let them know that although things are going to be different, that they will work out and to stay positive.
Explain and look at the positive. Sit down with your child and talk to them about new opportunities they may have, the chance to make new friends, although they can certainly keep in touch with their current friends via phone or even a handwritten note, and all the new experiences they’ll have. It will be tough at first for everyone, but looking for the positive will help everyone embrace the change with more optimism.
Address mental health. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, major changes are taken differently for everyone and some may express negative behaviors as a way of coping. For the first few months of the change, have monthly check ins with your kiddo and see how they’re doing. Has there been an attitude or behavior shift? A change in interests or excessive sleeping? These all may be indicators of depression or anxiety and shouldn’t be ignored. Take extra focus if you’re children are in middle or high school, as this is when they are beginning to figure out who they are which can be stressful enough. Remind your children that your house is a safe space and they should be comfortable talking, even if it’s a sibling or other close family member. If you have concerns about your child’s mental health, seek out help from a medical professional to help work through any issues.
If you and your family are going through or anticipating a major lifestyle event, let’s set an appointment and talk through the best ways to make it a seamless and less stressful experience. We’re here for you and are on standby for all of your family needs.
To schedule an appointment, call us at (561) 503-3059