but mom, why did we have to move to the other side of the world … but mom, I want to go back to my old school… but mom, I miss my friends too much … Any of these sound familiar? It sure does to me. Especially after we did move to the other side of the world some years ago. Family transition is part of any family life cycle. To some of us, it’s just more disruptive than to others. But I’m pretty sure, some time or the other, even if the topic is slightly different, you’ll have to answer similar questions from your kids as they’re trying to navigate their way through life.
Questions and concerns like these surface simply because life happens. And, it rarely turns out to be the well-devised path we envisioned prior to starting a family. Our lives take many unexpected turns and it’s our choice to either embrace or fight them.
Kids grow up. They go to school. Coronaviruses spread. Kids leave home. Coronaviruses mutate. Kids have their own kids. And in between all of that you might relocate, face relationship difficulties, or even have to fight illness. These are all family transition examples. And the only two things that are certain, are that family transition is inevitable, and it’s unique to every family. The question is, how can we handle it without the stress and overwhelm?
how to handle any family transition with ease
The success of getting through whatever family life throws at us, peacefully versus feeling completely overwhelmed lies within our knowledge to navigate it effectively. Thus on my quest to find tools to cope better with those expected and unexpected life events, I had a chat with one of our good mom experts, Emma Lees.
She is the parenting blogger at the InnerExpat.com and passionate about supporting parents with intentional parenting strategies to better handle the emotional stress accompanying any family transition. By sharing her encounters as an ex-pat, who lived with her family, in four different countries, she helps parents effortlessly glide through any transition. She offers advice not only based on her experience in successfully integrating a family into new cultures and communities but also the numerous parenting and psychology books and courses she loves to consume.
Before we learn more about Emma’s tips on how to best handle family transition, we have to spend a minute defining and discussing why it’s so important.
what does family transition mean
To make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s define family transition or also called life cycle transitions. To me, it’s all about experiencing different phases in life that warrant a change in lifestyle. It could be a result of normal life processes like getting older, but it can also be important events that force us to evaluate life from a different perspective.
Often family transitions happen without any distress.
Sometimes it simply calls for brief emotional tearing, like when you’re kids go to school for the first time.
But other times, it can cause stress, anxiety, and even mental problems when not handled appropriately.
This is what Emma replied to the question on how she defines family transition:
‘my definition of family transition would be any type of transition you make as a family which can be a small daily one like leaving for school and work in the morning to a large one like moving to a new country and changing schools, jobs, home, etc. Transitions can be a challenge for individuals and families and we have to work together to ensure that we all make the transition together, but also that each individual within that is heard, respected, and supported’Emma Lees, InnerExpat.com
but why is it important
Since enduring family and life transitions is a natural process, you might be wondering why it’s so important to learn how to handle it better within your family. And the answer is simple. Science shows us that stressful family transitions like financial struggles and developmental stages, specifically those entered during young adulthood, can negatively impact mental health. And the direct involvement of parents and families during these difficult times significantly relates to the successful treatment, or not, of related stress and anxiety disorders.
The knowledge that how we handle family transitions will determine the mental health outcome of our kids, is enough to make me pursue effective ways to handle it better. And when you’re ready to learn how Emma takes family transition by the horns and gets to the other side unscathed, watch our interview video below or read on to discover amazing tips you can start to implement today.
interview with Emma Lees
Watch the video and find out how Emma uses 4 LEGS to handle any family transition with ease. You will even discover some of her best parenting tips, like
trust your instincts and find trustworthy resources to help you be a confident parentEmma Lees, InnerExpat.com
4 best family transition tips
As discussed in the video interview, Emma uses the acronym LEGS to help us remember the 4 most important aspects of successfully handling family transitions and they include
- Emphasize & Normalize
She advises that listening is all about taking note. Not only of what our kids say and feel, but also focusing on our own needs. She states we need to pay more attention to our own hopes and fears. And use power strategies like journaling and meditation to get to the bottom of how we really think and feel.
I totally agree with this first leg. And if you need some inspiration to start journaling, you can grab a free copy of my 30-day Good Mom Journal printable. It will help you kickstart the process of listening to yourself with an open mind.
Emma then suggests that after listening to our kids and ourselves, it’s important to emphasize and normalize everyone’s experiences. We need to validate our fears and feelings without trying to fix them and then offer guidance and support.
Implementing this simple 4 step process is a valuable tool to better handle family transition. But it’s also a tool we can use effectively in everyday parenting life. Not being able to keep quiet and listen and validate our kids’ fears and feelings are often the starting point for many unnecessary battles. And easily avoided when we learn to stop and listen. Easier said than done though …
I love Emma’s tip on how to deal with new school nerves. She asks her kids what they want to achieve by the end of their first day. And their achievable goal, to be able to name one new friend, is so inspiring. It’s all about taking a step back and really focusing on the small things that are important to our kids. And following on from that is the parenting aspect we touched on by discussing the negative impact of transferring our fears onto our kids. You can watch the video to learn more about this.
family transition concluded
Change can sometimes be hard, but when we have the tools to successfully navigate any transition, family life becomes a whole lot easier.Dr. Estie Alessandrini, HealthyFamilyandMe.com
In my interview with Emma Lees from Innerexpat.com we discussed the best ways to deal with inevitable family transitions. She shared her 4 best strategies on how to support your family through any change by focusing not only on your kids’ fears and feelings but also on your own. Her LEGS acronym provides us with a powerful tool to turn a complicated family transition, into a stress-free or even fun, family event. Watch the Family Transition video to get all the juicy details and visit her blog for more expert-expat advice.
save and share the family transition post
If you want to easily get back to the post and start using Emma’s intentional parenting tips, save it now on your favorite parenting board on Pinterest.
and let us know your secret to handling family transitions. Do your kids struggle to cope with changes or do they simply take it in their stride? And do you have a specific family transition plan like focusing on the 4 LEGS? We’d love to hear all about it and inspire other moms to take action.
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