By Lavonne Kroeker, PHEc
It is easy to think that transitions only occur in the “young” part of a family’s life when in reality they continue to happen. Even as adult children we may find ourselves walking with another family member through a life event, even a happy one, that can turn things upside down for a while. Things like the introduction of an in-law, senior parents moving away from the home you grew up in and retirement of a sibling all signify positive, normal changes that can sometimes be challenging.
Here are a few tips to help make transitions easier.
- Talk about the change – communicating before, during and after a change can be helpful to validate and process your feelings. It can be reassuring to learn that other family members are also having some difficulty dealing with the change. Being honest with each other can be useful in directing efforts to provide assistance and encouragement.
- Exercise patience with yourself and other family members. It will take time for the “new normal” to feel normal. Extend forgiveness quickly to others in the family who may be finding the change hard. Find ways to show that your love for them hasn’t changed even though other significant things have. Be intentional about expressing to your family what you value about them.
- Remind yourself and your family of things that have not changed. There are still many activities that you can share and enjoy together even if not in the same location or with the same frequency. Try to continue with the traditions that you have enjoyed over the years even if you cannot enjoy them in exactly the same way. Be willing to be flexible in order to continue to spend quality time with those you love.
Transitions, even good ones, can bring with them some hard moments but as my maternal grandma liked to say, “This, too, shall pass!”
As a professional home economist, Lavonne Kroeker has worked in a wide variety of settings – an adult learning centre, child welfare, private industry and government. Her job involves “creating leaders” in rural communities – whether its supporting volunteer 4-H leaders, chairing a Safety Day committee, developing programming for women in business or organizing training for farm women, there is never a dull day!