1. Talk about it. If there is the possibility of disappointment talk to your son or daughter about how they might handle a change in the plans. Don't do this for every event but if the situation is not set in stone and for some reason they found about about it, let them express their feelings and practice how to talk about feeling let down or angry. Nobody wants to look forward to something and have it not happen and these are learning opportunities to practice appropriate responses to hard feelings.
2. Plan mindful changes in their schedule. If you have done the same thing every Tuesday afternoon for the past 6 months plan a small change to that schedule and use it as a teachable moment.
3. People fear change because it makes us feel powerless. As we mature emotionally we begin to accept change as we feel more internal and external power over our environment. Allow your child choice when change occurs. Allow them to feel more in control when the very structure that makes them feel in control is taken away. If something in their life is changing, big or small, give them options as to how they want to proceed. This can be as simple as choosing their new bedroom if you are moving or picking out new school supplies if their favorite teacher is leaving.
Learning to face change bravely is a sophisticated coping skill that comes with time and practice. Help them to get there by validating and teaching them that change does not equal powerlessness.
Manager of PWS Services
Change is Hard
Transitioning to Adult Services
“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.”