Covid-19 · Fostering · Parenting

Change and Transition

The end of the school year is coming. Summer lies ahead!

It has been a year of so many changes as we adapted to online school and then in-person school in cohorts, and never knew what the next week would bring.

Change is often hard for people. We thrive in the familiar because we don’t have to spend emotional energy coping with the unknown.

We just finished a course on change and transition and although we use the words interchangeably sometimes the course defined them differently.

Change refers to something that happens to people. It is a point in time, often unexpected, and sometimes unwanted.

Change and Transition Participants Manual, Ministry of Children’s Services Alberta

This year has been full of unexpected and unwanted changes! We have all had to navigate the uncertainty and deal with the abrupt changes to our familiar routine.

Transitions are the emotional and behavioural reaction to change. They are common and a part of everyone’s life. We rarely stop to think about them or the impact they have on us until they create discomfort.

Change and Transition Participants Manual, Ministry of Children’s Services, Alberta.

Some people seem to just roll with every change. Others do a lot of complaining and others just can’t participate in the new way of doing things. Whether it was the masks they refused to wear or the vaccinations they couldn’t agree to they couldn’t transition to the new reality.

There are many reasons that change is hard for people and many reasons why their transitions are different. There is grace and room for all! If you have the ability to accept whatever comes your way and roll with the new reality be thankful and encourage those who struggle. If you have struggled to deal with everything that has come at you the past year it’s okay! Take your time and know that whether you need information or time there is support for both.

Changes will continue to happen all through life and you will choose how you navigate those changes.

Our foster daughter has decided to move to a different bedroom in our home. When we first presented the idea she was not interested at all. She liked her cosy room, she liked being close to us, she liked the familiarity… this was the only bedroom she’d ever had to herself and she didn’t want to leave it. For her it was the beginning of stability and independence. The first time she was separate from the Other Mother. The beginning of hope and healing.

Then the idea that she could paint the new room and decorate it how she wanted instead of just moving in to what was there was put forward. She thought about it, we encouraged her to look at paint chips. But she didn’t move forward on it.

One day our daughter-in-law showed her a paint technique she wanted to try on a wall and the question was could they do it in the new room? Suddenly moving was back up for consideration and discussions were happening. Then it was dropped again.

Next thing I knew she decided she wanted to move… the time was now, let’s get the paint. So we did! We got the paint we painted the wall and she had a great time learning that painting is not as easy as Mike makes it look!

As the room renovation was complete and we said she could move in the reluctance took over again. She stalled, fiddled with other projects, read and made excuses…

Although she loved the idea, the actual transition seemed hard!

Well we made it! She slept in her new room last night for the first time. She loved it. The reasons she didn’t want to move are still true. She still likes her cosy first room, she still likes being close to us, she still likes the familiarity… but she has made the transition into the new room, and she’s okay!

She didn’t have to make all her reasons untrue to move on. She has accepted they are true but the new room can also be cosy, we are still not far away, and there is something beautiful about having designed her first space to suit who she is and who she is becoming!

The change is worth it! She has figured out how to make the transition. Without realizing it she has practiced a life skill that she will use over and over again! We have learned that she needs time to think through the change, and time to transition. We can assist her with future changes by giving her time and support.

So whatever change has dropped into your world recently I hope you give yourself time. Give yourself permission to think it through, gather information and decide how you will transition into the new reality. You can do it!

In the midst of the mess

Marny

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