You can feel the crispness in the air. The days aren’t as long anymore. The palette of the landscape is changing. Recently a co-worker of mine who lives in Northern Wisconsin said, “The ferns are dying. Summer is over.”
That kind of change is good. It marks rebirth and helps us reset.
But some changes make us more uncomfortable.
My oldest has an issue with change. This year he moves into a different school. He is a seventh grader, so he will be in middle school for the first time, sharing a building with eighth graders.
He has dreaded this first day of school since last spring. We have had many dinner conversations about expectations and new beginnings. I think that may have put him at ease a little bit, but he still has a hard time not knowing what’s happening next.
I told him that I completely get it. Trusting something, whatever it may be, is really hard. I remember when I was a tyke and it took me a while to jump into the community pool, even though I knew that my big strong dad was going to catch me.
These are the times that we must flood our children with positivity and belief in their capability. Words like, “You’ve got this!” or “No problem!” can help. Just reinforce that it’s OK (and normal) to be anxious about new things, and give them the reassurance to overcome that. Share experiences from your own life.
Sometimes anxiety over change persists in our adult life. For example, I am a grown man and I still get nervous whenever Costco changes where various items are kept. Now this is a silly reason to be anxious, but we are all creatures of habit. I only get one of my two favorite subs from Subway, and I’ve been doing that for about 25 years. Just think about that. The Subway menu is vast and has many different kinds of bread, meat, and cheese options, but I only opt for the meatball or Subway melt. Perhaps you have some quirks like this, too?
We always revert to what is comfortable, safe, and predictable.
So if your children are having a tough time transitioning/handling change, try some things to make it a little bit easier. Hide their favorite piece of candy in their backpack, write a note of love and support and e-mail it to them the night before school starts, or tuck a favorite family photo into their folder…the possibilities are endless.
Life is filled with positive challenges. It’s how you handle those challenges that will ultimately define what those challenges mean and how important those challenges are in shaping behaviors, motivations, and goals.
There’s nothing wrong with change. (We just have to keep reminding ourselves of that.)
WATG Board Member
It almost always begins like this - a group of parents, caregivers, and grandparents are sitting in a circle, focusing on the joys and challenges of living with their gifted children day in and day out.
In these circles, many parents have questions about the unique characteristics of gifted children - their curiosity, their focus (or lack of focus), their incredible intensities and super sensitivities, their motivation (or lack of it), their possible susceptibility to perfectionism, stress, anxiety, and depression, or their inability to make many agemate friends. Their children may report being bored at school, and the adults worry about appropriate educational challenges. They come looking for resources, recommendations, and reassurance. Many report having a burning desire to talk to other parents, grandparents, and caregivers about their unique children, but haven’t found a safe, nurturing environment…yet.
Then…they experience a Parent to Parent: Sharing Your Wisdom workshop at a WATG conference. Here they meet others who are “walking the walk”. Guided by SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of Gifted) national trainers and facilitators, Dal and Jackie Drummer, the parents and caregivers share their joys and challenges. They offer advice, comfort, and knowing smiles. They share ideas and resources. They lift each other up. Sometimes they even share contact information and their children become friends. Sometimes the adults make new friends too. All of this is done in a confidential environment under the care of the Drummers, who have over 100 years of combined experience teaching, parenting, and grandparenting gifted children.
If you (or someone you know and love) is yearning for this type of experience, we invite you to register for the parent portion of the WATG Annual Fall Conference on Sunday, October 2 at the Wilderness Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells. The morning will feature the Parent to Parent: Sharing Your Wisdom workshop. It will be followed by an opportunity to network with other adults for lunch, and then a variety of afternoon workshops designed especially for parents, caregivers, and grandparents. If you have the time and interest, stay for the entire conference October 3 and 4; we have many additional outstanding workshops planned.
Do consider joining us; registration information for the parent conference (and the entire conference) can be found here. We look forward to meeting you!