Breakups, Illness ,Career changes Complicated births ,Financial downturns, Moving and Graduating.
Many of us have experienced these common life events that can potentially trigger a great deal of stress. And as if change isn’t tricky enough for adults to navigate, teens and young adults have an even more difficult time with the inevitable uncertainties of this journey called life.
For teens, unwanted or unanticipated change may lead to feeling out of control and overwhelmed.
Below are some strategies that can help your teen cope with change:
1. Acknowledge emotionsThe first step in managing emotions associated with any type of life change is simply to give yourself permission to experience the emotion so it can run its course. Transitions, like graduation, seem to be entirely positive to onlookers but may trigger feelings of fear and anxiety for a graduate. The reality of entering a new chapter of independence can be profoundly daunting. Whether it is a change of schools or the breakup of a significant relationship, change can bring out feelings of anger, rejection, and abandonment. Encourage your teen to share their feelings through journaling, talking to a therapist or supportive friends to help process the full range of difficult emotions.
2. Focus on valuesRemind your teen it’s okay not to have all the answers to every question or to know how every detail will play out. Remembering what’s important—faith, family, friends, creative expression—is a powerful shield against whatever negative emotions threaten to arise. Ask them to list their values and help them to help the keep this life-change in the right context.
3. Reflect back Reflect with your teen on a time when they faced a significant change and successfully managed it, despite experiencing some initial fear. “Do you recall how terrified you were to start middle school?” Sometimes unfamiliar events are not as scary as they seem initially and may simply require a little time to adjust.
Life will bring change and challenge. Keeping our focus on the things that we can depend on can be a great anchor in the lives of our teens.
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