“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
People always say, “Change is good.” But, people also always say, “Change is hard.” Which one is it? Well, sometimes change is all good, and sometimes change is really hard. Regardless, change is something we all have to go through. Children, teenagers and adults can all learn how to better deal with change, even if it is hard.
Beginning of the School Year
The saying goes, “Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems.” And, while that is probably true, when you are dealing with little kids, their little problems don’t seem so little. When children are adjusting to a new school year or a new school, this can be a difficult time in the home. Here are some ways to help them adjust:
Connection to the teacher. Your child needs to feel comfortable with his teacher in order to learn. Therefore, if you notice that your child doesn’t feel confident speaking to or reaching out to his teacher, be in touch with him or her. Most experienced teachers will pay special attention to your child in order to make sure that he is at ease in the classroom.
Set up playdates with classmates. If your child has friends in the classroom, he will be happier to go to school each day. To that end, set up a weekly homework date with a classmate whom your child feels somewhat close to. This will allow him to have a safe “buddy” in the classroom.
Give him an object from home. Your child might like to have a picture of the family in his knapsack. Alternatively, maybe he can hold a shell from the lake during the summer in his pocket. This can remind him that your home life is permanent and is always there even when he is away from it.
Stick to routines in the morning and evening. If his home life is peaceful and restful, he will be better prepared to face the day. Keep bedtimes early (but not too early!) so that he can get plenty of sleep and go to school with lots of energy.
Change in Responsibilities at Work or Loss of a Job
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist, wrote a seminal work, On Death and Dying, about the five stages of grief people go through when they lose a loved one or are dealing with their own mortality. Some argue that Kubler-Ross’s five steps can be modified in order to help you deal with changes at work or the loss of a job:
Denial. The first step when dealing with changes at work is denial. Generally, people attempt to keep the status quo because all change feels scary, as it is unknown.
Anger. Next, you might accept that you can’t change the situation, but you still feel angry that this change is being forced upon you.
Dejection. There is a lack of self-esteem as employees feel that this change is a reflection on them or their ability.
Acceptance. After feeling dejection, either from changes at work or the loss of a job, in order to move forward, employees begin to accept that this change is going to happen, so they might as well get on board.
Learning and development. Once acceptance is achieved, employees can recognize this change as a reason to improve their upcoming prospects and move forward to something better.
Death of a Parent
Losing a parent, whether you are young or old, is probably one of the more traumatic events you can experience. Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives. Therefore, dealing with their loss can be difficult and extensive. Below are four suggestions from grief counselor Dr. J. William Worden’s book Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy on how to deal with this major life change. As every individual’s circumstances are different, these suggestions must be adjusted as needed.
About the Author: An acclaimed educator and social skills specialist, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at email@example.com.
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