“The only thing constant in life is change.”
Why is change so scary? Imagine if you could feel confident and safe about any change in your life.
Moving from primary school into high school is one of life’s big changes, especially when you are 12 or 13. Here I share my steps for making the transition from primary to high school smooth, easy and confidence building.
1. Find out what their imagination is up to?
When a child feels nervous, scared or worried, they will have a visual image or movie that goes along with it. Their imagination is probably going haywire with pictures of them being alone while others are having fun… maybe getting low marks or not keep up with the work.
They may have images of being treated badly, bullied or teachers yelling. There are a multitude of ‘imaginations’ without realising. It is these images that are causing the feelings they don’t want. This is how worry works for us all.
Ask your child to think about the nerves and fears they feel about starting high school and to take notice of what they are imagining when they feel this way.
2. Help them get clear about how they would like to feel
Your child knows they don’t want to feel scared or nervous but they would not be as clear about what they do want to feel. This is a very important step. Ask your child how they would like to feel about going to high school. They may want to feel confident, popular, smart or accepted. Children will have different emotional states that are important to them.
3. More detail please!
What would your child imagine about going to high school if they had the emotional state they want - if they felt confident, popular, smart, accepted, whatever? They can use their imagination to get as much detail as they did when they were imagining nervous/worrying thoughts. What would they be saying to themselves? What would their posture look like? How would they sound etcetra?
4. Access the feeling now!
Your child can imagine what it would feel like if they believed they were popular, confident, smart or accepted; imagine what it would feel like if it were true? Ask them to imagine that feeling right now. This is something anyone can do and it shows the feeling itself is not attached to the outcome. They can actually create the feeling by imagining the outcome, which is how the nerves and fear were created in the first place.
5. Connect the new feeling to going to high school
Get your child to practice the new feeling from step 4 often at neutral times in their day. The more they practice, the easier it will be to access. Practice experiencing the feeling of confidence while cleaning teeth, having a shower, walking to school or any other time where stress levels are not already high. Next, practice the new feeling while thinking about going to high school to help create a new pattern.
These steps can be applied to any change and any unwanted emotion. It is so powerful to do it together. Choose something you can work with by going through the above steps and share the experience with your child. Maybe you would like to feel more confident in an area at work. Maybe you would like to feel more peace at home. Whatever you choose, going through the steps on something real with your child will help them understand this is a skill they can use for life. Not to mention it will strengthen your relationship AND you will improve a situation in your life too. Win, win, win!
Like what you are reading? Subscribe today.
About the Author
Cindy Russell is a children's book author and instigator of change. After overcoming 13 years of anxiety and panic attacks, Cindy wondered why she had not come across the information that had helped her sooner. Cindy has been helping others for 19 years, especially children, build a solid emotional foundation. Cindy runs courses online for schools and parents as well as working one-on-one with clients globally. Cindy lives in Wollongong in NSW with her husband and 4 children. Cindy's website: cindyrussell.com.au