Effects of change on children

African Children 234 File photo

Tue, 19 May 2020 Source: Dr. Annie Gaisie

Change as we all know, is inevitable.

As humans we experience change regularly. As much as we have very little control over some of the changes we encounter in our lives e.g ageing.

There are other changes we do have control over. Like Moving around, changing jobs, relocating.

This is a process that affects children more than adults. Often, we think our young ones adapt better than we do to quick and sudden changes.

However, children may suffer greatly from changes that shake their stability and routine.

Children don’t always adapt easily and quickly to change. This is one of the greatest setback about children.

Like adults, children are afraid and anxious about the unknown before a big change. That’s why it’s important for parents to show their children that they can trust them.

Parents need to support their children to get through the transition of change successfully.

Most children face many emotions all at once. Some of the main ones may be sadness and fear of the unknown.

They have to break the bonds of affection with their friends.

Leaving the world that once gave them stability is very hard.

For that reason, these changes heavily affect children.

However, it’s hard to predict how children will respond to the change.

Just like adults, the situation can go better or worse than expected.

The intensity of emotions will depend on what children leave behind, as well as what they find.

If children go to school and make friends quickly, the change will be much easier. If they feel welcomed, they’ll learn to adapt much faster.

Many African families are immigrating from one country to another.

Some have changed several nations for various reasons. Recently there is an influx of African families moving to UK from other European countries.

As much as parents want the best for themselves and their children, there can be a huge price attached to such decisions.

Immigration causes considerable psychological and social stress for adolescents.

The drastic change in culture, society, language and environment creates struggles provoked by a lack of identity, stress, and intergenerational differences in the family.

Some young people really struggle to adjust to their new environment.

The known fact is, most parents do not prepare their children before the move. They do not put in place a discussion period where children are involved.

Children are not given a chance to have a period of closure to the environment and people they are familiar with.

So far, this is causing an emotional impact on the children.

This is something that needs careful planning and involvement of the whole family.

Let's not leave our children out when making decisions that will impact their lives as well.

By: Dr. Annie Gaisie, Psychologist - Addictive Behaviour.

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Columnist: Dr. Annie Gaisie