Any kind of change or transition, no matter how small we might think it is, causes a chink in the armor we have worked to foster in our children. That “armor” has another name: resilience. Part of building a strong suit of armor is fostering a strong, deep sense of self worth in our kids. Am I a person people can like and enjoy hanging out with? Do I take responsibility for my actions? Do I show respect for myself and for others? When our kids can answer “yes” to these questions, they are standing on a solid foundation that will help them bounce back when the going gets tough.
Another aspect of self worth/self esteem and resilience is a firm belief that everything will be OK. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, and maybe not next week but things will be alright. In some respects, we are working against “nature” in developing this belief. The part of the brain (prefrontal cortex) that helps us connect past events to current situations and helps us connect past experiences to the future is not yet fully formed. That doesn’t happen until our kids are in their mid-to-late 20’s. It doesn’t mean they can’t do it. It means it is harder for them to do that on their own. Fostering resilience means (at least in part) fostering self worth. Fostering self worth involves connecting the past to the present and into the future.
Find ways to help connect those dots for your children. “Just because life stinks now doesn’t mean it will always stink. Remember the time….?” Ask questions that helps your child connect their feelings from that past event. Then connect how those feelings caused them to take action and remind them of the result of those actions. It gets better!!
No parent should move without a written game plan to help your children deal with the difficulties they face when moving. For more information about the Moving Families Initative, please visit www.movingfamiliesinitiative.com.