What if, most of what we know as stress falls between our teens managing change and adapting to the unexpected. Did you see it coming?
While they are young.
There is no convincing, “but I want that one.”
Would you like me to call Jill’s mom to set up a play date. “No, I don’t feel like it.” You guys use to be best friends. “Mom!”
How are you doing in your classes honey. That teacher has a strong accent, He is mean, they don’t explain it, it’s always hot in the class room. The other kids make too much noise……
These are only a few examples that something is not quite right. And asking what’s wrong will often come up void because they have not yet developed the words to express the feelings.
If there are no known underlying social emotional or behavioral challenges you should try on a few things to build the ability to adapt to change.
Some of the ways to best aid our children in preparation for some of the major changes and transitions of their life.
- Family time, not just doing casual things together but truly taking time speaking and discussing morals, values, tolerance, forgiveness, patience, beliefs, faith, their purpose, and giving knowledge to them to name a few. (Intentionally) These and other matters of the heart are not something you can pay for, you can only pay for things that although might be valuable will eventually perish.
- Encourage trips with friends in your presence while they are young. Discuss any concerns with their interaction that are not aligned with the values held or expected. You need to demonstrate joy no matter the ages. Trust and believe the kids are measuring joy in your home. Imagine the memories you had about your first sleepover or visit to friends house. Love, Joy, peace and happiness was present or it was not.
- Find a team sport and/or activity that build partnerships and friendship. Make a commitment with them and see it through. One school year or half, just see it through.
- Speak into the things for which they are gifted. Give consistent words of encouragement for participation and process equal to that of triumph. Your words can serve as living water, fire, ice or a gentle breeze.
- Guide family and sibling interactions with things and words that tie. Not words that separate. Individual arguments only subside when values are instilled in non emotional interactions like agenda based family meetings.
- Pay close attention to their fears and be knowledge and wise enough in the area of concern in order to speak to it. (Learning never stops) Knowledge does not necessarily disperse fear it can enhance it at time. But understanding will keep them safe.
- Help them to identify who they are, and know that they are enough. Their self worth comes from you first, valuable things produce valuable things. They will mimic value!
- Encourage them to seek help through the right channels with the ability to understand who is for and against them. Have them do this with a sound mind and never in fear.
- Have them walk the school they are about to attend, spend time there getting to know the facilities and the administrative faces. Claim the places they desire to be as though it was already given. If it’s three schools do the same for all three.
- Keep Change applied in the home on things like chores and participation in the family. As they grow in age add responsibilities they can manage. Focus on “stick-to-it-ness” and task completion. Make sure to give a sense of security so that home base or center is never far.
- Honoring the parents play a significant role in adapting to authority and open to correction. Lack of honor where honor is due is a law. The world can be unforgiving in their correction. Earn and Expect their honor in the home.
These are a few things I believe help a child needs to acclimate and adjust to a new environment without feeling like they are losing some part of who they are… overwhelmed with the flood of new stimulus coming in. Be mindful that if you know the change to be good, trust it because some parts of us must die sometimes in order to live in the new.
Thank you for reading and I hope you can find one principle that can be helpful to you.
Note: The younger the better to introduce to walk with them through difficult things. The things you teach on the journey will last a lifetime. Do not allow them to cower or cringe in the darkness. They will not resent you as long as you are there to catch them. For when they are older your will have little effectiveness over their heart.
Teach them how to navigate now and don’t allow them to hide between or behind your legs. It’s not who they want to be.
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