During an AERC family education conference in 2005, Janet Blomberg (co-editor of Fitted Pieces) led a workshop on transitions. We all have faced them. We will all continue to face them. Our children are facing them. How can we face them better? How can we help our child who is struggling with them? How can we help a child who is facing her biggest transition yet (leaving home)? What are some resources with helpful transitioning information? First we need to understand transition. Let’s look at the normal transitioning process. And, remember, transitioning is a process.
1. Starting from a settled and defined environment, transitioning is characterized by the following:
*Commitment to a normal pattern of activities and relationships.
*Status- you have status and a place in your current situation.
*Intimacy- you have closeness with friends, family, everyday relationships.
2. Leaving– usually starts mentally 6 months before departing and can be characterized by:
** Preparation**Celebration and Closure**Denial
3. Transitioning – the chaos that comes with leaving.
*Status decreases– you are in a different place where you have little or no clout with people.
*Anxiety rises from the chaos and unfamiliar environs.
*Observation– beginning to recognize and figure out your new surroundings and people.
*Introduction–orientation begins and you reach out of a survival mode occasionally.
*Vulnerability– you feel very vulnerable and disoriented at this stage .
5. Re-Engagement–Becoming Settled Again
*Commitment takes place again.
*Status increases as you reestablish yourself in your new environment.
*Intimacy is found again with people and places.
Things that Aid a Healthy Transition are:
1. Reconciliation in your relationships before you leave;
2. Affirmation and Apologies with people;
3. Farewells–Say goodbye right. Ask kids who and what they need to say goodbye to. It may include places or things, too. Take pictures of favorite places and things. Nothing is insignificant!
4. Thank yous–say them to everyone it is due.
5. Transition Seminars– through various organizations are available to help.
6. Mentors can be helpful for youth.
7. Summer visits for youth before college can help prepare for later transition to college.
8. Nurture spiritual rooted-ness in your youth and they will walk close with Christ in the process
–Conference Notes by Delana S
Additionally, I came up with the following transition acronym: Make it a GREAT transition–
G- Goodbyes… to people, places, things- take pictures…
¨ Have friends write a letter
¨ Bind together with pictures and other memories
¨ Farewell party-
¨ Local music and messages from friends
¨ Don’t just pack up and put ‘other life’ away…
¨ Psalm 139:9…
¨ Don’t leave with grudges…
¨ Reconcile with others
¨ Discuss with whole family what is coming…
¨ Be realistic-
¨ Better to be overly prepared
¨ From you to others
¨ Write teachers/friends/co-workers
¨ What is on the way… check it out on the internet
¨ Make some ‘look forward’ plans
¨ Positive attitudes
¨ Point out what choices they ‘will’ have