Many of the conversations I have with children and young people at school, involve managing change. Changes in friendship groups, living situations, changes to physical health, changes in relationships, changes in expectations and so on. Generally, with most of the issues that come my way, there is an underlying theme of coping with change.

Each of us cope with change differently. Some seek change regularly and embrace the challenges and opportunities that come with them, and others resist change at all costs, preferring the safety of the familiar and comfortable.

There are many factors which influence an individual’s capacity to manage change. As mentioned, some people are naturally more sensitive, risk adverse and cautious than others and it is true that our personalities play a role in our attitudes to change. Circumstances at the time of the change are also significant, and sometimes we are less equipped to deal with change when there are numerous changes happening at the same time, and we can quickly feel overwhelmed by the uncertainty and stress which results.

Of significance too is the way the change comes upon us. A change that we have initiated ourselves with thought, consideration and planning make us feel more in control, and unsurprisingly these changes are usually easier to cope with. More challenging, however, are those changes that we least expect, that take us by surprise, that we have not actively sought and where we feel others are making decisions about circumstances that impact us.

We are all living in a situation currently that represents immense change. Working from home, home-schooling our children, being physically isolated from friends and loved ones, loss of income, cancellation of normal activities, concern about our health and significant uncertainty about the future. At times it seems the world has been turned upside down and we are all just trying our best to adjust to a new normal.

One of the strategies I talk with children and young people about is the way our thinking affects our feelings, and consequently our behaviour. This is particularly important around times of significant change, such as we are experiencing. When we are unable to alter the environment or circumstance, we still do have control over the thoughts we have about those circumstances. We can choose to look for the positives about the situation and consider what might be the lesson learned for the future. During a conversation with a parent yesterday, she commented that she and her husband were really appreciating spending more time with their children. What a beautiful silver lining in these difficult times!

For me, these times of uncertainty and change are when I am reminded that God is in control and that he has a plan for each of us. Although we don’t always fully understand his timing and may not clearly see his vision, he is constant and reliable in his love.

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Further wellbeing resources can be found on the College website or by clicking here.

Jane Savage

School Counsellor