Change is everywhere.
It’s in the air we breathe, the experiences we have, and throughout every stage in life.
Change can be HUGE for our kids and provoke lots of big little feelings in our younger children, and challenges in teenagers.
Change happens with or without our influence, and with or without our noticing.
As young people, change can often feel out of our control.
We move schools. We move house. Our bodies change. Our relationships change. Our world is changing, and we can’t seem to do a thing about it.
But it’s how we deal with change and how we allow it to affect us that truly shapes who we are, and throughout our childhood and teenage years, knowing how to adapt to and embrace change is intrinsically linked to our emotions and to how resilient we become.
Good changes evoke good feelings and energy whether we cultivate those changes ourselves or they come as a pleasant surprise. Change through love, connections, fun experiences, and positive life events bring with them happy memories, and this type of change is embraced with open arms.
Negative changes are the ones we feel are being forced upon us, the ones we aren’t ready for, and the ones we fear that bring about feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, indifference, and a stream of challenging emotions that test our resilience and fortitude. It’s the type of change we see as a threat to our identity and values.
Being a parent, helping our kids navigate change, prepare for it, and embrace it is one of our biggest and most crucial roles, and luckily, ‘CHANGE’ just happens to be an incredibly useful acronym!
Often, change and challenge can be two peas in a precarious pod.
By default, young people often see challenge as a negative because facing it head-on is a learnt skill with the help of time and experience not yet on their side.
But once that mindset is shifted through positive parenting, changing perspectives, and gentle guidance, young people can start viewing change and challenge as an exciting opportunity leading to growth and new experiences. Helping them to recognise the signs of a change/challenge means they’re better positioned to embrace it as a journey of self-discovery rather than something to be feared.
It’s a big ask for anyone – let alone young people – to sit with the idea of change and all the uncomfortable and confronting emotions that come with it. When we’re uncomfortable, we want a fast solution, so we go back to what we know is safe, we avoid, or we block. Teaching your kids how to halt that process, connect with their inner selves, and let their emotions, thoughts, and fears wash over them so they can process and reconcile change will lead to better acceptance and the ability to move forward. The unconscious mind is doing the grunt work in this stage so the conscious mind can take the baton in the next.
This stage is the most exciting! It’s when our young people’s unconscious mind transitions from all that background work to a star who’s setting goals for the next steps of the change. If ‘Halt’ is about dreaming and imagining change, then ‘Aspire’ is working out the action required to bringing about that change. Their mindset has changed, their energy is electric, and they’ve reached a turning point.
This stage of change means charting a course to the end goal and navigating those waters through rough seas and smooth sailing. Navigating change calls for a clear plan, even if that plan isn’t set in stone. It’s the conscious move forward and the lessons learnt along the way that are truly important to embracing change.
Growth is what ultimately comes from change in one way or another. It’s the change to self as the result of change to life and signifies the achievement of turning a change/challenge into a growth opportunity.
This is the big milestone of the change process for young people. Stepping out into the world transformed and knowing more about themselves as the result of change and how they handled it. It’s their opportunity to put the lessons learnt to task the next time change comes knocking, and along with it, opportunity.
As we kick off a new year in 2023, it’s time for a new perspective on change.
Use the CHANGE acronym the next time you catch wind of a change and practice the process to help your children achieve the same.
My name is LK Tommi – I’m an educator working in the education and psychology field, and the author of a resilience-based book and journal series supporting children and teenagers to better understand their emotions, thinking, energy, and behaviour, and how it all connects with their everyday life experiences.
The people that know me well will tell you how much I love to chat.
Please connect with me at Facebook and Instagram: The Resilience Tutor