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Challenges That Come with Change

God does not change. His love and his promise of help is always there. We can always depend on that. God’s promise “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20) assumes that there will be changes, not only in our individual lives but through­out the ages.

So life is full of changes, and the uncertainty of change is hard on both children and adults. We like predictability and stability. They lead to feelings of com­fort and security. Change creates an unsettled feeling. Change upsets regular routines and feelings of peace. Change often brings us to the brink of the unknown. This, in turn, can lead us to wish that things would somehow revert back to the way they were.

The death of a friend or relative, the divorce of par­ents, or the serious illness of a parent will bring major changes to a family. These changes will affect daily life. A parent’s new job, a move to a different home, a change of school, or a friend’s moving away can all pro­duce some discomfort. Even seemingly small changes, like changing seats in school, getting a different baby-sitter, or changing a bedtime routine may produce feel­ings of unease.

All change is accompanied by emotions. These may include sadness, anger, and worry.

Adults often have an easier time dealing with change than children. Adults have experienced many changes. Sometimes they’re the cause of the change. Adults are able to see how God has helped them work through changes in the past. Perhaps they can see the benefits of past changes and the blessings in upcoming changes. Children do not necessarily have that level of maturity or understanding.

When changes occur, consider doing the following:

  • Prepare your child for any anticipated changes. Knowing about a change in advance is helpful.
  • Explain the reasons for a change to your child. But remember, this does not necessarily remove the emotional pain.
  • Listen to your child’s hurts. Do not downplay feel­ings or dismiss emotions.
  • Be positive about change. Explain that even changes that are painful or challenging also offer new opportunities for growing.
  • Include your child in plans that lead to change. Help your child understand that God gives us the power to cause some changes in our lives.
  • Teach your child about things that never change: God’s love, his forgiveness, his promise to be with you and bless you, and your future eternal life with him in heaven.
  • Finally, pray about the change. Ask God to help everyone make the adjustment.

From Patient Parenting, by John Juern. © 2006 Northwestern Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Image credit: Mabel Amber, Pixabay (used under Creative Commons CC0)

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