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Helping Children Deal with Moving


Helping Children Deal with Moving, Divorce, Death and Other Life Changes

Children, jam-packed with vitality, enthusiasm, imagination, and determination to live life to the fullest, often find themselves confronting life's biggest challenges. Regardless of whether it a move or divorce, It's imperative to address issues with your children to ensure the best coping strategies if no other options exist. Communicate and ask questions to see whether the child expresses signs of insecurity or worry.

MOVING

For instance, children build unconditional friendships at an early age that solidify a foundation for future relationships. Despite this learning curve, some obstacles may arise that could detrimentally harm the child's perception of friendships if left unnoticed. If one or both parents have jobs that require consistent commuting, then relocation might arise unexpectedly. In reality, there are many reasons for moving, but the daunting effect it may have on children often goes unchecked. Children need stability to adapt to their surroundings and continuously form and strengthen current relationships. Constantly relocating may prevent them from developing these vital life skills. Try to answer the questions with complete honesty, and use visuals to help the child clearly see the new area's landscape. Exercising the aforementioned steps should help in coping with relocating from one place to the next.

NEW SCHOOLS

Moving to different neighborhoods, cities, or even interstate represents a major life transition for children. Similarly, the frequent changing of schools can also pose problems for children, especially when establishing new bonds. If a child lands in a new school environment incomparable to the old, then he or she may develop feelings of resentment over time. Peer pressure can overwhelm children early in life. If he or she transfers to a new school with xenophobic tendencies, then it may lead to an array of problems, including social awkwardness, low self-esteem, loneliness, and eventually behavioral problems if left unchecked. The ability, or lack thereof, of a child to make friends will always stick to a his inner psyche, which will cause problems later in life if a stumbling block or interference occurs. Be sure to ask a lot of questions on the child's first day of school, and try to regularly engage in the child's school life by participating in afterschool activities, Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meetings, and field-trip chaperone. Taking an active role in a child's school life will help to recognize potential problems that may hinder interpersonal development. Offer suggestions to help him or her adjust to the new school environment. Explain friend-making strategies and follow-up to see if it had any positive effect. Lastly, if the child continues to struggle with the new transition, then it may be time to hire a counselor to address any hidden emotional blockages.

ILLNESS

Chronically ill children have been stricken down with a severe illness. He or she will learn more about the illness and treatment options through existing physician care, other patients, and family and friends. Time becomes a precious asset to a child stricken with a chronic illness. unfortunately, this forces the child to mature far beyond his or her age group, which elicits more of an emotional response to the affliction. In fact, children may start looking at the past for comfort because of a bleak future with not much promising changes in sight. Some children (PDF) have no recollection of the past and only seem to focus on the illness itself. This situation presents uncertain circumstances that burdens the child. Parents, physicians and counselors looking to help a child to cope with this life-shattering event stumble across numerous roadblocks. Listening, informing, and rehearsing with a chronically ill child over future procedures will help alleviate anxiety. Emphasizing the child's strength, showing love and compassion, and getting the family involved in the child's affliction will show that he or she has ample support.

DEATH A ND LOSS

Children (PDF) may be confronted with loss and death at an early age, which will drastically affect how they perceive life. Children (PDF) may cope with death in ways which do not resemble the same behavioral patterns seen in adults. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, caregivers, teachers, ministers, and other significant role models should seek out how the child feels during a tragic event. Communicate with the child by expressing in concrete terms what death really means. Listen to what the child says in response to information given to them. Answer any additional questions with simple, direct, and honest facts that the child may understand. Provide the child with different ways to express existing loss, grief, and sadness, such as drawing, reading, or writing letters that may help vent any pent-up frustration. Some children may not understand the permanence of death. Practice patience and allow the child to freely express themselves within boundaries.

LOSS OF A PET

The loss of a pet will also hurt the child, especially if the event was planned through euthanasia. Unexpected emergency illnesses or injuries that lead to death of the family pet can stir up a lot of difficult emotions. Special considerations must be given to children when a pet death (PDF) occurs to help them understand the circumstances and how to cope with the grief and loss. Sometimes children will display certain signs of internal grief, such as withdrawing from friends and family, disinterest from usual activities, eating less than usual, reverting to bed wetting,being scared to go to sleep alone, and always thinking or talking about death (PDF). Never belittle the child's relationship with the pet, conduct an appropriate burial or memorial to remember the pet, and introduce closure to allow the child to say goodbye. Ask the child if he or she wants a new pet if considering on getting one for the family.

DIVORCE OF PARENTS OR CARETAKERS

Thousands of kids go through the experience of divorce every year. Each child reacts differently, depending on age, personality, and individual circumstances that caused the initial separation and divorce process. Divorce greatly impacts the children involved, usually inducing feelings of shock, frustration, anger, worry, sadness, and resentment. However, kids can overcome these feelings and transition into a stronger person if equipped with the proper life skills to better manage and cope with the trauma that accompanies divorce. Parents should keep all visible conflict, such as heated arguments and legal discussion away from the kids. Do not allow disruptions to occur during the kids' daily routines. Restrain blaming each other and other forms of negativity until meeting in private with a counselor. Do not neglect the kids during this troublesome period. They need their parents to help guide them through these tough times.

CRIMES

The FBI reports that the bureau investigates numerous crimes committed against children that fall under federal jurisdiction. Some of these crimes include inexplicable violence, such as child sexual assault, child physical abuse, child abduction, and Internet crimes that involve children, likely leading to one or more of the aforementioned crimes. Other crimes may include children as a bystander, such as home invasion, domestic violence, robbery, or other crimes that may inflict a traumatic experience. All criminal activity should be reported immediately to a local law enforcement agency, including county, state, tribal or federal jurisdictions. Depending on the nature of the crime (PDF), several law enforcement agents will be assigned to case and may interview the child for specifics regarding the details of the crime. It's a good idea to cover the basics when handling these situations. For instance, do not blame your child for any of the events that led to the crime (PDF). Do not correct your child regarding his or her account of the incident. Be careful about making promises, and tell the truth up front in order to avoid confusion. Respect the child's privacy and restrain any do your best to keep some normalcy in daily events. Always ask for help in the event things between you and your child go awry.

NATIONAL TRAGEDIES

Like many adults, children are aware of national tragedies, such as news reports detailing the escalation of the War on Terror, war atrocities, natural disasters, and a declining economy. Explaining the forces of nature that fall outside of our control never comes easy, especially when speaking to a child. Children have their entire lives ahead of them; however, death may come in the blink of an eye. The news media outlets provide ample coverage that elucidate these stories affecting thousands around the globe. Children (PDF) often watch the news or overhear other people talk about national tragedies, which may cause them to overreact. In a dire situation as presented above, it's a good idea to remain calm, and explain to the child that everything is fine. Inform him or her that trustworthy people are in charge, and that it's OK to feel upset. Stick to the facts, tell your children the truth, and observe his or her emotional state. Ask questions and maintain your stress levels. Always tone down discussions to an elementary level to ensure clear understanding of the situation.

TEST ANXIETY

Perhaps the least of all these concerns centers around test anxiety. Test anxiety, a type of performance anxiety, induces a feeling in someone who occurs right before taking examinations. Some of these feelings include the classic symptoms, such as "butterflies" in the stomach, shakiness, sweaty palms, and heart fluttering. Test-taking anxiety is not the same as doing poorly on the test. In fact, test-taking anxiety happens before, during, and right before receiving the overall grade. This type of anxiety is caused by a rush of adrenaline, usually provoked by constant thinking. Worriers and perfectionists are more than likely to have problems with test-taking anxiety. Students who fail to prepare before taking examinations may also experience this feeling. Asking for help, preparing, controlling negative thinking, accepting mistakes, and taking care of yourself by knowing you did your best are great tips to alleviate test-taking anxiety symptoms.